The Tall Ships Races is a massive international event, and cities chosen to host the festivities always put on a spectacular celebration.
What most of them don’t realise, is that they will also be playing host to another big event, one which has become a legend amongst Tall Ships trainees.
The “Rona II”, a Class D ship sailing from the UK, doesn’t let its size prevent the enthusiastic crew from throwing one of the biggest parties in port (which took place last night).
Over the years, this has developed into an expected and greatly appreciated tradition amongst the youngsters that take part in The Tall Ship Races, and this year certainly did not disappoint, according to the ‘Rona’s’ crew.
“This boat always takes part in the races, and at the end of every leg we throw a party of some sort”, said Ali, a trainee aboard the small vessel. “This year was the busiest that I have ever seen, with probably two hundred people partying here at any one time.”
Of course, with such a large attendance, there has to be some form of in house entertainment, and this is also organised by the crew.
“We had a paddling pool, full of beer, that people were bobbing for apples in, so that was fun”, said Jenny, another English trainee aboard the ‘Rona’. “The boat next to us had fire throwers as part of their crew, so we invited them to come along to keep the crowds entertained with their dancing and music. They were really cool and did a great job of keeping everyone amused.”
Other neighboring boats were also appeased, according to Ali, by being presented with a case of beer each, meaning that they were only too happy to join in. “We already knew a few of the guys in the boats around us, so after we gave them their present there was no opposition to throwing the party”, he tells us.
But where, you might ask, did the 23 strong crew of the Rona II acquire such a quantity of beer? From a beer company of course! The ‘Rona’s’ party has reached such a level of recognition that Sagres, the popular Portuguese brewer, sponsored the event with seven hundred and twenty cans of their beer.
“We always have a theme for the parties, and this time we decided to have an Olympic theme”, says Jenny. “We had flags and all dressed up as different sports players.” Another indication of the size of the crowd is revealed when Jenny shows her ‘Rona II Olympic Party’ wristband. “Everyone who turned up was given one of these”, she says, “but all three hundred wristbands were given out and there was still more people coming and going.”
The Rona II’s party truly is an International event within an International event, bringing hundreds of trainees, crew and locals together in a great party atmosphere. The crew of the Rona II are now busy planning to try and beat last night’s event when they reach Cadiz.
Photo: The crew of Rona II