Challenger 1 - Late Summer Channel Islands challenge Entry One On day one of the tall ships week to the Channel Islands we were welcomed to Portsmouth with rainy skies and horrible weather. We boarded the 72 foot challenger yacht, on our trip we are going to the Channel Islands. Fingers crossed that this week the weather will become better as at the moment it is very rainy and windy! Today on the first day of the trip we are not leaving the port in Portsmouth due to the wind, this gave us ample time to familiarise our-self with the boat and its facilities. We made our bunks into a home from home, as that is we’re we will be staying for the next week. Tonight’s meal was made by starboard watch, it is spaghetti bolinese. George Harley Entry Two After waking up from our first night on board, we rushed up the jetty to cram a quick shower into our already busy morning. Soon after, it was time for breakfast; loads of cereal and fruit to sustain us for the voyage ahead. Breakfast was rapidly cleared away, so we rushed up on deck for our first briefings of the week. A long hour of briefing later, we wearer ready to prep the boat. This included moving heavy sails, ropes and – as Gareth said – ‘unnecessary and large balloon things.’ Five minutes later we were happily motoring out of the harbour and onto the sea for the first time! The next job to do was to hoist the mainsail; this was a long and methodical process which we achieved quickly as everyone was doing their bit to help. Once we were under sail, we switched off the donkey, (the engine,) and were well and truly sailing for the first time! To increase our already substantial speed, we hoisted the ‘yankee’ sail. The difference was immediately visible, as our speed increased from seven to nine knots. We were rapidly nearing Cowes, and, by now, the ‘Needles’ were visible. Some speedy sailing later, we were passing the Needles and approaching the end of the Solent. By now the sea was really choppy, and the wind speed had changed from a force three/ four to a blowy, four/five. The boat was heeling over at a twenty degree angle, which was scary but us enthusiastic sailors were loving it – except Joe, who was ‘chunder dragoning’ over the side. Entry Three After waking up from our first night on board, we rushed up the jetty to cram a quick shower into our already busy morning. Soon after, it was time for breakfast; loads of cereal and fruit to sustain us for the voyage ahead. Breakfast was rapidly cleared away, so we rushed up on deck for our first briefings of the week. A long hour of briefing later, we wearer ready to prep the boat. This included moving heavy sails, ropes and – as Gareth said – ‘unnecessary and large balloon things.’ Five minutes later we were happily motoring out of the harbour and onto the sea for the first time! The next job to do was to hoist the mainsail; this was a long and methodical process which we achieved quickly as everyone was doing their bit to help. Once we were under sail, we switched off the donkey, (the engine), and were well and truly sailing for the first time! To increase our already substantial speed, we hoisted the ‘yankee’ sail. The difference was immediately visible, as our speed increased from seven to nine knots. We were rapidly nearing Cowes, and, by now, the ‘Needles’ were visible. Some speedy sailing later, we were passing the Needles and approaching the end of the Solent. By now the sea was really choppy, and the wind speed had changed from a force three/ four to a blowy, four/five. The boat was heeling over at a twenty degree angle, which was scary but us enthusiastic sailors were loving it – except Joe, who was ‘chunder dragoning’ over the side. By this timer we were approaching Poole, the port we were going to be staying in before our crossing to Alderney the next day. Stowing the sails, the occasional call came for a stray lobster pot for the helm to avoid. Another thing for the helm to avoid was the pesky chain-link ferry – which at times, seemed to be deliberately slowing us down! Sluggishly, the boat crawled into the marina and we tied up just as the sun ducked beneath the horizon to end a brilliant second day! Rafe and Layla-Mae Entry Four The day got off to a brisk start; I hadn’t even finished my breakfast before the boat pulled away from Poole Marina and we were cruising through the silken early morning waters. Our time in Poole was brief but lovely; we all made use of the Tesco express and the shower facilities were in very nice condition. We were, however, itching to get to Alderney and began our voyage brimming with positivity. The weather was mild and warm throughout the day which gave everyone plenty of opportunity to practice new skills such as helming, sweating, climbing and practicing new knots. The highlight of my day must have been climbing out of the boat on the spinnaker pole and dangling over the water in the afternoon sun. That or my afternoon nap in the snake pit with my friend Claudia. I can’t say I particularly enjoyed taking the beverage order; it was very stressful trying to pour boiling water whilst the boat was rocking violently. Still, the biscuit collection had had an upgrade thanks to Ian, who let us buy Oreos and party rings in Sainsbury’s. I think there is a huge cloud which is always over Britain because as soon as soon as England fell below the horizon, the clouds subsided and gave way to beautiful blue skies. Back to sailing, today I tried helming for the first time. I definitely enjoyed it but I think my technique needs some work. We all made use of our teamwork skills in a Port watch vs Starboard watch race which required endurance, balance, communication and knowledge of knots. Port watch won, unfortunately. All in all, it was an amazing day and I will go to sleep feeling fulfilled and excited for tomorrow. By Elly with help from Claudia J Entry Five Today, everyone was allowed a day ashore to discover the beautiful island of Alderney! We began our adventure with scrumptious bacon rolls, but before leaving, we ensured our beautiful vessel was sparklingly clean for our return tomorrow. This included scrubbing the decks; mopping the floors; cleaning the heads (toilets – it wasn’t a nice job); tidying up the ropes etc. Until finally, we were able to set off! In two groups of five, we set off towards Alderney via a tender (inflatable raft) as our vessel was anchored away from the pontoon. We all got a bit wet, but that didn’t dampen our mood! Once we were all ashore, in two groups, we left to explore the island. The first group rented some bicycles and began to traverse across the rolling hills of the island until they came across some old forts that were occupied by Germany during World War II. The team investigated these mysterious structures, and even managed to decipher some German inscriptions on the walls of what used to be their bunks. After discovering these, they headed to the beach, where a belly-flopping competition took place, of which the winner has not yet been decided. Then, to finish the day, the crew sat on the sand with an ice-cream in the stunning sunset of Alderney. Our group then set off, walking around the main street of Alderney. The dainty shops that covered the street had a range of shops from handmade jewellery to seeds for planting a huge variety of vegetables and fruit. Although the town was small, the landscapes and buildings made for a beautiful place full of fresh sounds and smells from the local shops and bakery. Then we began setting off to venture into the abandoned forts placed at the south-east end of the island. Walking around to the forts, surrounded by spectacular views and lush greenery we stumbled upon an entrance to the fort, unfortunately, it was too dark to see inside so we decided to not have a look too far inside. As the fort was large and set upon a hill, looking out felt as if the farthest point was the edge of the earth, as if nothing lurked beyond that point. Afterwards, we headed out, toward the lighthouse and beaches (walking on the train track as it only runs on a Sunday luckily). After admiring some spectacular views, we decided to split of, some deciding that they wanted to take pictures, others heading over to the Odeon; a German lookout fort. Meanwhile, we (Rafe and Layla,) were exploring the coastline, and on a hunt for ‘artzy’ photos. When we made our way down to the beach, we found an interesting little hut; as it turned out, it was a German shelter that could hold up to 12 soldiers. As we peeped our heads cautiously inside, we found we could barely squeeze ourselves into this sardine tin of a shelter, let alone 12 fully grown men! As we progressed through the shelter we found a room full of concrete slabs, which must have served as a table and chairs and old rotting fabric which would have been used as bunks. In the final ‘room,’ we found a plaque of German writing that we later translated to something to do with potential gas attacks. Emerging into the sunlight, we found the stretch of coastline we that we had spotted earlier, and began the short climb down onto the beach. Once we had ungracefully fallen down the steep decline, we removed our shoes and started looking for wildlife. A few photos later of mainly seaweed, I spotted a purple object floating around in the water, however, at a closer look, we found that it had fronds dangling off its underside. It was a jellyfish! Layla got her waterproof camera out and snapped away at what could only be described as a rare sighting! Later on when we reviewed the photos, we found that there were actually two more clear coloured jellies that we at first didn’t realise. After our encounter with the jellyfish, we clambered back up the cliff, and away from the beach. We walked along the train tracks towards the lighthouse. Soon, we got bored of following the train line, and started following a different path along the coast. Eventually, we came to a dead end – however, there was a way to get through. We breathed in, and squeezed between two large rocks. As we emerged from the cavern, we saw an odd sight – what seemed to be a flooded house. It was in the middle of a large lake, with no way of crossing by foot. We were just about to turn around and come back the way we came, when I spotted a small, blue, rowing boat. Soon, we were rowing across what we soon found to be a fishing lake. Splashing and sploshing the oars in and out like a rhythmic beat, we made our way across. When we reached the other side, we pulled the boat up onto the rocky beach and, continued walking towards the lighthouse. We quickly found our way back on to the train line. Within no time at all, we had reached the end of the line, and found an old train wreck, dying in the heat. Layla and I took some snaps, and continued on towards the lighthouse. By the time we had got to the lighthouse, we were wondering where the others were; so, I called Sam. He told us that they were by the lighthouse, and instructed us to where they were supposedly hiding. We looked around baffled as Sam told me that he could see me, but they were nowhere near the lighthouse, they were spying of Lalya and I from the top of one of the nearby hills! Soon we were all together on one of the nearby beaches relaxing in the sun and swimming in the, freezing cold, sea. After a while, Sam suggested that we should have a go at jumping off some of the nearby rocks – we all agreed. Once Layla had checked that the depth was ok, we started jumping in. It was great fun! Layla got a video; after a while we all started to head back the way we came, to the harbour. All in all, we all had a great day! Rafe, Layla, Sam and Darcy.