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The Rona Rambler - 4th August 2017

Crewmember M. Clark Leads 'Renewables Revolution'

After a fiercely contested interview process, Matt Clark has been named Rona
II's 'deputy director of renewable resources'. Mr Clark, 17, claimed the
coveted position after a stellar performance under intense scrutiny from
interviewers Nathan Meager and Callum Buchanan.

Mr Meager and Mr Buchanan said they were particularly impressed by Clark's
enthusiasm for the role. When asked, 'if you could change one thing about
the lazarette, what would it be?', he replied, 'nothing, it's perfect as it
is'. Not all applicants displayed such passion. Cameron Fall-Everett, when
asked why he wanted the job, responded, 'I don't', explaining that he had
only really applied out of a sense of obligation.

As deputy director, a role also known, less poetically, as 'laz rat', Mr
Clark will spend much of his time sorting recycling in the lazarette. While
many might not immediately see the glamour of spending long hours shunting
bin bags of crushed tins around a dark, dank, cramped space, though, Mr
Clark sees the post as a golden opportunity. He declared he was 'honoured'
to have the opportunity to lead Rona onto the next stage of her unfolding
recycling journey, going forward. The crew wishes him well.

After the intensity and drama of the renewable resources interviews, today
has had a gentler quality. Proceeding towards the revised start line under
a combination of power and sail, as the changeable winds allowed, the Mayans
were treated to the latest in the ship's 'an audience with' series. This
time crew member Theo Darlow was under the spotlight, providing an insight
into the world of the international rower. The Mayans also indulged in some
cloud spotting, extended their lead in the inter-watch quiz competition
(today's round focused on chocolate, a subject on which skipper Gareth
Parker appears to be an expert), and were treated to a masterclass in
'whipping': not the form of naval discipline, but rather the art of
preserving the ends of sheets and lines - by watch officer Nathan. Viking
watch, meanwhile, have led the tributes to their watch officer, Paul Wayman,
on his 'boat birthday'. Their offerings to their fearless leader include a
potato printing and a poem:

The Viking Chieftain, fierce and proud, surveys his glorious realm
Where crested waves like steeds abound, which charge the trembling helm.
And deep within his longboat the other tribes prepare
To battle with the elements, and spar with Odin's heir.

Yet from the bowels of this fell ship begins a mighty roar
Which throws the 'tidy' sailing kit across the rumbling floor.
Greater than Thor's renowned fires, harsher than Loki's word
Perhaps a dragon full of ire, or the wingbeats of wrathful birds.

Oh no, my bad. That's Angus' snoring.


Lunch was a slightly more prosaic affair, but none the worse for it; a
hearty, hearty, death-by-carbs lunch of pesto pasta with bread. The former
was spiced up with pepperami, described by George Hopkins as a 'cheeky'
culinary masterstroke, while the latter, crafted by Alex Macfarlane, was
gloriously light and fluffy. After lunch, as the wind died away and the sea
remained calm, skipper Gareth Parker and mate Andy Wright decided the moment
was ripe for a group swim. Led by Mr Wright, the crew plunged over the
side, splashing into waters over 2500 metres deep. A glorious afternoon was
rounded off by the appearance of a pod of spinning dolphins soaring from the
water as the crew munched on flapjacks prepared by Viking watch.

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Rona II - Current Tactics

Greetings from Rona II. It's early morning on Monday, still dark, and has been a busy night as we've changed steadily down from genoa, staysail, full main and mizzen, to no 2 yankee, staysail, second reef and mizzen. The wind has come aft a little and we are trucking along. Tactically over the next couple of days we're trying to play to Rona II's strengths. She's an absolute weapon with the wind a little aft of the beam and around 18 knots of breeze, so with more wind (and a higher sea state) to the north west, and less of both to the south east, we're adjusting our (generally north east) course to try and keep ourselves in exactly that much wind. Ultimately it looks like we'll go quite a long way north before turning east, covering a longer distance in order to stay in Rona II's sweet spot for as long as possible. It's too early to properly know what the rest of the fleet is doing but we suspect we're the most north