Race report 4: Tough conditions in the Tasman

14 October 2013

Race report 4: Tough conditions in the Tasman
The weather front is currently passing over the race fleet producing challenging conditions for all. 

Mick Millis, Communications Officer for Sail Training International sailing aboard Young Endeavour (Australia), reports, “The wind is really heavy now, gusting 60k with steady 45-50k. Heading 120 degrees and down to storm sails but still making 9.2 knots. Resorted easy to cook ravioli on board tonight, but all seems well in fleet.”
Europa (Netherlands) remains ahead on corrected time and leads on the water with 611 miles to go to the finish line with Sprit of New Zealand (New Zealand) close behind. 

Paul Bishop, Race Director said, “With lighter winds forecast after this gale has passed through, and with just 40 miles separating the racing fleet and over 600 miles to go, we are likely to see many more changes in placings all the way up to the finish line.
"The crews seem to be coping well with these challenging conditions by all reports and whilst the captains are racing hard, safety will be foremost in their minds and will have reefed well down accordingly”.

The top three placings on Corrected Times (handicap) are:
1st Europa
2nd Tecla
3rd Spirit of New Zealand
Crew log from Young Endeavour (Australia)

Monday 14 October 2013: Coming to terms

There are thrills and spills, they say, but the head scratching, planning, storing and excitement/trepidation of slipping out of the haven and into a long sea voyage is soon overtaken by the routine of watch-keeping, seeking the next weather forecast and preparing the next meal.

It's after the first few days that the crew come to life, mal de mare forgotten, a routine established and the comradery spirit becomes established in the watches.

The morning watch can be heard practising the shanty to be broadcast to wake up the rest of the crew, signalling the start of another round of watches and day. Today there is a birthday on board and everybody knew about it early.  We have now been at sea for five days and after two gales and a severe storm, we are sitting back licking our wounds, mentally tired, but physically coming to terms with the rolling, pitch and general motion of the ship. Lessons go on, deeper and deeper into the theory and practice of driving a ship through the water under it's own power generated from the wind.

Shortcomings are few and enthusiasm generally makes up for them, but there are lessons still to be learnt by the young enthusiastic crew. The more experienced are now looking for tasks in their quiet moments off watch. We have a DVD player and the major problem is that only DVD's found to date are Topgun, AC/DC and a video of a ship rounding the Horn. You can only run them so many times The decks are still wet after the storms, so the joy of sitting out and spinning 'ditties' will have to wait.

Captains logs from Europa (Netherlands)
Sunday 13 October 2013: The battle with Oostershelde

In the morning the lookout reports a ship at the horizon, dead on our stern, the watch is ruffled up to set more canvas. "More Sails" Skysails, Gaff top´sail, six knots, flying jib and trim the sails for crying out loud. Seven knots. Nevertheless she´s closing in, we appear to be dead in the water. She must be doing 9-10 knots, it´s inevitable. We´re overtaken by pirates ... but what a pretty picture it makes when we finally get her wind under our wings and we sail side by side.

Captains logs from Picton Castle (Canada)

Sunday 13 October 2013: Tall Ships in Sydney
We spent a whole week in Sydney, and it was such a hub of activity with both ship related work, as well as having fun in our time off. We got a whole new batch of fresh trainees that we had to whip into shape too. With new crew learning the ways of the ship, provisioning for the next leg and deck tours for the Tall Ship Festival, everyone was going at full speed.
We had 21 new trainees join us and each of them gets a full hour tour of the ship just moments after they step on board. They need to be shown how to use a marine head (always the very first lesson!), where we can and cannot go except at special times (chartroom, engine room), where we eat and how we clean, and what to do in the event of an emergency alongside. These are just the basics for the first day, and even this can be overwhelming. The next day is spent going into more details about seamanship, such as learning the names of the sails and starting to learn the running rigging. All Crew are part of our all hands “Up and Over” training which includes the use of harnesses. Crew that wish to go aloft also get a safety aloft lesson from the Mate, and we take them up the shrouds to lay out on a yard to see how comfortable they are. Some people are comfortable right away aloft, while others may take a few weeks before they feel useful at loosing or furling sail at sea. But everyone can go at their own pace. Some will never go aloft and that is fine. Getting new trainees also means a new stage for the continuing trainees. They are no longer the new ones and now others are looking to them for answers to questions.  They start to realize how far they have come and how much they have learned on the last leg.
Special mention must go to our superb Liaison Officer, John Abernethy, who really went above and beyond for us while we were in Australia. John’s ties to Picton Castle are very unique. His father-in-law sailed on Picton Castle back in 1937 as a 12 year old boy in the North Sea. Halfway across the world and we still manage to find very special friends. John joined us in Newcastle for the short sail into Sydney. Were we ever glad to have him once we arrived! He had much local knowledge, helped us provision, and dealt with all our little hiccups that come with trying to organize so many ships during a festival. All with a positive attitude. It was so great having him.
Follow the fleet
For live tracking follow the fleet here.

Race results
Keep up to date with the latest race results here. 

Photo: Europa

- ends -

For more information contact Sally Titmus, Communications and Marketing Manager, Sail Training International, Charles House, Gosport Marina, Mumby Road, Gosport, Hampshire, UK  PO12 1AH  

Tel: +44 (0) 23 9258 6367   Email: sally.titmus@sailtraininginternational.org

Editor’s notes:

What is sail training?
Sail Training is an adventure activity, which includes far more than sailing instruction. Participants are required to confront demanding challenges, both physical and emotional. It is an activity that inspires self-confidence and personal responsibility. It promotes an acceptance of others, whatever their social or cultural backgrounds, and develops a willingness to take controlled risks. Those who undertake Sail Training on Tall Ships generally find it a positive life-changing experience.

A two-minute film can be seen here.

About Sail Training International (STI)
STI is the international voice of Sail Training, a registered charity (not-for-profit organisation), which has worldwide membership and activities. Its purpose is the development and education of young people through the Sail Training experience, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, gender or social background. It organises the annual Tall Ship Races and other international Tall Ship sailing events. STI members are 29 national Sail Training organisations around the world and STI’s head office is in Gosport, Hampshire, UK.

The organisation was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2007 for its work in promoting international understanding and friendship.

Have you registered for this year’s International Sail Training and Tall Ships Conference?
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