Race report 8: Historic win for Europa

18 October 2013

Race report 8: Historic win for Europa
"Race control, race control, race control - this is Europa.  At 08:30:05 UTC, Thursday 17 October Europa crossed the finish line at Nukutaunga Lighthouse in position 34 55.3S 174 00.3E. No other ships ahead and Tecla approx. 31 miles behind.  See you in Opua!" 
Eric Kesteloo, Captain, Bark Europa

The first three vessels in the Sydney Auckland Regatta have crossed the finish line in the Cavalli Islands. Dutch Bark Europa (Netherlands) crossed first followed by Tecla (Netherlands) and then Spirit of New Zealand (New Zealand).

All three vessels are currently moored in the Bay of Islands with Lord Nelson; which had retired earlier on as a precautionary measure after a stainless steel fitting failure on her mainmast backstay.   All vessels received a magnificent welcome in Opua by local visitors and national TV crews. Spirit of New Zealand and Young Endeavour are due into Opua at around 08:00 local time tomorrow (Saturday 19 October).

Spirit of New Zealand spoiled a clean sweep by the Netherlands Tall Ships. In fourth place is the Dutch three-masted schooner Oosterschelde (Netherlands) and Young Endeavour (Australia), now retired from the race, lies in fifth place.

The Sail Training International Race Committee has agreed to bring the time limit forward to 00:00:00 UTC Saturday 19 October to ensure a suitable estimated time of arrival for Oosterschelde and Young Endeavour into Opua.

Paul Bishop, Race Director, Sail Training International said, "It's an historic win for Europa, but whilst it looks like we have our top three winners, the race results will not be final until the race committee has received all the race declaration forms from the ships in Opua.  We need to do this to formulise the results in the unlikely case there were any rule contraventions. 

"Saying that it looks certain that Europa has won on corrected time (handicap) in the first Tall Ships Race to be organised by Sail Training International in the Southern Hemisphere.

"The crews of the ships have a wonderful programme to look forward in Opua to over this weekend before setting off to Auckland for the festivities between 25 and 28 October."

Current placings on Corrected Time are:
1st  Europa
2nd  Tecla
3rd  Spirit of New Zealand

Crew log from Europa (Netherlands)

Thursday 17 October 2013: Stunning sails

Stud-ding sail \ ´stuns´ls (usual nautical pronunc)  - a light sail set at the side of a square sail of a vessel in light winds to increase its speed.

Last night the final line of squalls pass, Europa and the bull rush forward one last time and slowly ease down to a leisurely pace bathing in moonlight. These are the moments a race is won or lost!
Anticipate the change and adjust to the new situation as quick as possible. And Europa has a final trick hidden in her sleeves - studding sails.

Setting Stuns´sls during the day is already difficult enough, but to do it at night requires a special kind of cooperation by all on watch. Six sails flying like kites on either side of the foremast, all with booms blocks, halliards, downhauls, sheets and clewlines. To set them all hands have to work as one, commands are relayed from the fore deck to the poop "Haul away on the halliard" "Ease innersheet" "Take up on the outer, hold".  

One watch relieves the other and in the morning light our work shines bright.

Crew log from Young Endeavour (Australia)

Thursday 17 October: Pirate Day

It's been deemed 'Pirate Day' onboard and the vessel has been boarded by the scurvy scum. AAAAgh.

We are approaching Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand. The swell has subsided and light winds mean our speed has dropped to 3-4 knots. Obviously this means our arrival in Opua for the first of the functions, a traditional haka, might be on the missed list.

We have been fighting tooth and nail with Oosterschelde, who has been in sight for the last three to four days. The lighter winds have shown both vessels to have similar performances. Both are Brigatines, so the vagarys of the wind direction and speed affect them in the same way.

Europa crossed the finish line at 2030 local time last night after sailing a very good race in what for them has been perfect conditions. Those Antarctic gales have perfected their skills. Tecla and Spirit of New Zealand continue to sail very well in these light conditions and battle it out for second place as they sail down the east coast of northern New Zealand.

Yesterday the trainees ran the galley and ran a 24 hour watch of producing the meals for everyone. We lived very well with four choices as normal.  Swords and scarves to the fore, it's going to be a fun day here on Young Endeavour, as it is everyday, even if we are bringing up the rear.  AAAAAAGH

Crew log from Young Endeavour

Thursday 17 October: Ahoy there

Day eight marked the half way point of the duration of the voyage and unfortunately did not begin with positive news.The crew was awoken by Blue Watch performing ‘The Circle of Life’ from a platform on the foremast, just above our lowest square sail. Two noticeable highlights were Meg’s angelic voice combined with Watch Leader Dougie’s harmonious flute solo. The amusement of the performance was quickly overshadowed by the disheartening news that Oosterschelde had overtaken us during the night.

During the morning briefing, Salty thoughtfully decided to try and lift the ships morale by demonstrating his eerie ability to utilise a ship’s cannon to bring forward the onset of labour in a heavily pregnant actress. Unfortunately, the sight of ‘Bearded’ Tim in an adult nappy sucking on an oversized dummy did not have the intended effect on the crew, many of whom experiencing nauseous flashbacks to their first sick days at sea.

Rope races culminated in a strong victory for White Watch who managed to score seven of a possible nine points, one of the points gained was from a pear fruit-off (fastest contestant to eat a piece of fruit wins a point for their team). The victory was quickly forgotten by the sudden arrival of Brother Nutzi and his keeper who had arrived onboard Young Endeavour to perform an ancient and taboo tribal ritual to summon more wind for the vessel. 

Brother Nutzi first confiscated the Youth Crew’s cameras in a bid to prevent any accidental capturing of his powerful soul. He shouted for the Youth Crew to fall to their knees before his greatness and informed them that he would be choosing two candidates to be sacrificed to his Gods in exchange for the much needed wind. The youth crew eager to claim victory over the dreaded Oosterschelde, happily complied.
Eventually Mitch and Mel were deemed worthy and were ordered to lie face down at midships. Brother Nutzi began his ancient chant, however, instead of summoning wind Brother Nutzi only managed to convince his Gods to appease the ship with rain which came in the form of a fire hydrant. Unfortunately for the two sacrifices bound directly in the path of the incoming water, it was quite a wet experience.

Afterwards, the Youth Crew found themselves engaged in a special challenge from Sailmaster Matt.  We’re sworn to secrecy at this stage, however, we can personally guarantee it’s going to be something to remember. Move over X-Factor, the Young Endeavour crew are coming!

During the last sunlit watch for the day a few members of Red watch made contact with Oosterschelde, briefly inquiring about life onboard their ship and what the weather was like on the other side of the horizon. Some firey banter ensued before the Oosterschelde crew retired to their evening meal, but they did seem to be looking forward to meeting the Young Endeavour crew in person when everyone arrives in New Zealand.
The final piece of excitement of the day come from the starboard side of the ship, some of the crew saw a shark fin, they weren’t able to confirm if a shark was attached to the fin but none the less, I guess seeing a shark fin counts as seeing a shark.

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.

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.

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