Brrrrr, in the cold last weekend of November 8 brave Aquanauts decided to go sailing because it seemed fun. However, it wasn't just sailing around, it was team sailing! Which is a form of racing where 2 teams, each consisting of 2 boats, compete against each other. As no one wants to be humiliated, we decided that good preparation is key. For this, Jelle and Rodin went to the depths of the internet and far corners of the sailing world, looking for race wisdom. On the way we found the elixir of life and other peculiar curiosities. In the end, not every document turned out to be trustworthy. Thus, a meeting was held to share the acquired knowledge about rules, tactics and strategies with the crew. After discussing left, right and center we concluded that neither one of our boats should finish as last. Later on, Jelle and Rodin asked the match favorite D.S.W.Z. Broach (Delft) to join their training, while actually wanting to spy on their tactics. It was a very valuable training and we won't doubt to repeat it next year. Thank you Broach!

After many warnings of cold, windy and wet weather the race day had arrived. Our team assembled for the palaver (= not so boring and pretty quite important talk by the organisation) at the Braassemermeer. Team Aqua had to start the 2nd race. The fast J22's were used for this. Rigging up our boats was problematic, especially with missing parts. More problems surfaced when Rodin dropped his smartphone in the lake, by accident. Tip for everyone: keep your phone at all times in a waterproof bag in a closed off pocket and wear a water resistant digital watch with timer function. Luckily for this instance, the umpires shouted to us how much time there is left until the start signal.

"TUUUUUUUT!!" and off we go. The course started with a beat on windward, followed by sailing beam reach to the spreader, a downwind leg to a mark, then repeating this round and finishing downwind. One of our boats was in position number 1 and the other was fighting for position number 3. The first boat was constantly looking behind. It turned out, we had position 1 and 4, which is a losing combination. So the first boat turned around to sail back and help their teammate by blocking and pushing the opponent boat (who is in position number 3) into the wind. After this tactical position swap we had position 2 and 3, which is a winning combination. The adrenaline was peaking and the blood rushed through our veins. The opponents fought back and after many starboard-tack against port-tack, windward against leeward and mark-room moments we lost. Over the day we sailed 5 races of which Aqua won 1 against Borionis (combined team of Boreas (Eindhoven) and Orionis (Amsterdam)). The other races were tense too and we were very close to winning 2 more, but just lacked a bit of experience.

To sum up: in the heat of the race, the cold didn't bother us anyway. And the catered lunch was superb! Many more races will definitely follow next season. We all had so much fun! Who are we? Jesse, Kees, Xam, Jelle, Inger, Seppe, Lucas and Rodin. Ask us, and we will tell you more with pleasure. Multiple great memes were made, which can be viewed at wszvaquamemes. Foto: Twirre Bogaard.

Aqua First-years activity

Hello Aquanauts! On the 17th of November, the first years organized their first activity and revealed their name (more on that later). The evening started with maintenance. The Aegir got her first good scrub of the winter break and was released of all that nasty rust. In the meantime, other Aquanauts made sure that the hard-working people could expect a good and delicious dinner: stamppot! Which is a traditional Dutch dish which was related to the theme that the first years came up with for the activity.

The theme of the evening was cold, which was enhanced by the beautiful Titanic Soundtrack music. The evening was divided into two areas. In the main building of the Water Scouting, origami boat folding was held. With the prize for who folded the best boat of course being eternal glory. In the warehouse, a nearly Olympic sport was being played. It was the sport of ice hockey with an ice cube and wooden skewers on aluminum foil. The games got quite intense at moments with the field being destroyed and the aluminum foil having to be replaced. The game and evening as a whole were very successful. To keep us warm there was lovely choccy milk and glühwein.

And now for the moment you have all been waiting for, *insert drumroll* The first years will from now on be called: The Rhine-o’s! We have chosen this name because Rhinos are alive, Wageningen is the city of life sciences, Aqua is in Wageningen and we sail with Aqua on the Rhine.  

It all began on Friday night. While a lot of us had train delay in Utrecht, we did lots of games before we went to sleep in our cosy cabins.

On Saturday morning we woke up at 8, had breakfast and headed to the boats for a sailing trip to an island in the Gaastmeer to have lunch. After some dancing workouts and covered in bird poo we sailed back to camping De Bearshoeke. While some of us learned how to sail without the rudder to intuitively learn how the sails work, Jesse thought it would be smart to learn to sail wíth the rudder first 😉. Also some of us took on the adventure to illegally go to idyllical places to stick Aqua stickers where they were already placed years before. To keep the subtropic autumn temperatures (~19°C) of these weekend days going, we had a tropical themed party in the evening. We dressed up and played games again. Things got heated and at least the games got horny. After drinking some white whine with soy milk, we were content and went to bed, because on Sunday we went dew sailing! Although we didn’t have to wake up as early, because lifehack: go dew sailing on the Sunday just after the switch from summer to winter time so you also have to get up at 8 mentally, whilst it is actually 7 on the clock! Afterwards we had breakfast and did a few sailing matches where the skippers were not allowed to sail. Some rules were harmed, like starting to paddle or wrongly taking of precedence, but all boats and participants survived. We also played tag with some balls where we had to throw in other boats main sails. Sadly the wind was going down a lot in the afternoon so a lot of us had to stop early. It was such nice weather though! Lots of sun and it was warm, so we could strip off our sailing pants early to dry our itching butts in the sun.

We enjoyed some very welcome soup and finalized the weekend by making the annual group picture on the camping playground, where we would ‘play at own risk’, as the camping explicitly put on a sign. Then we all went home, by train (another adventure where you could get stranded because the busses you call to come get you are too small to take everyone in one go) or by comfy car.