Challenger 4 - Offshore adventure to Spain and back Entry One Day 1 on your way to sunny Spain. The first evening was eventful lots of ill people in the big waves across the English channel but after a few hours those who were ill began to feel better and get used to the weather. We are making good progress and sailed for several hours across the channel. The time is 08:20 hours on Tuesday 21st. we are currently going past France at 7 knots. We have been split up in to two different watches port and starboard. Last night we did 4 hour watches now we are doing 6 hours during the day. Entry Two We had our first night watches last night. I was on the watch starting at 23:00 and finishing at 03:00. With the wind still very light, the mainsail up and the engine still on, it was quite uneventful to begin with. We spent the time talking and trying not to drift off. Towards the end of our watch, one of us suggested that we come up with a song to welcome the next watch. However, we never settled on one. The highlight of the night was definitely the dolphins that swam alongside us. We watched as they kept pace with us for some time. The wind has remained stubbornly light, except for the few hours we turned it off for when I was still sleeping this morning. It is now 19:45 and we are in the early stages of passing Baie De Seine. With any luck we will reach La Coruna Friday morning. Robert Wolrige Gordon. Voyage Crew. Entry Three Twas a mild morning to which the sun had alluded itself from behind its recluse cloud hideout. Its shining rays berthed life to the slumbered crew of Starboard as we awoke and rose from a semi recumbent posture. Upon the first batting of eyelids and sleep dust falls we were engulfed within the warm embrace of our life jackets, ready to embark on the Perales journey that betwixt us. When first grasping the suns warm hand a mysterious marvel lay before our eyes, a large sea beast to our Starboard side bewildered us and took control of our gaze. Though it’s grand and menacing phasic should have caused fluttered bellies and a slight nervous disposition, we were entranced by its ominous beauty. Photographs were captured and feelings were shared, and the memory of the Whale lingered within the Starboard crew for watches to come. As the day progressed with laughs and nautical musicals, Starboard Crew was handed an opportunity of most wonderers nature. A yard arm was erected from the Starboard side of the ship and a harness was placed for our climbing pleasure. Every crew member rose and fell from the rope as honestly as the day cycle, with faces that resembled the warm touch of summer with joy. And that’s about It :D. Rob (the Starboard watch one) Entry Four After four days at sea we made it to A Coruna in time for fuelling and a well awaited shower. Friday we went ashore on our wobbly legs on a quest to find tapas and visit the city. With some tentative Spanish we managed to order a mixture of things but being typical British tourist abroad we weren’t always sure what we were eating. The same went even for our less creative crew members who chose to go to burger king but were unable to say the word hamburger in Spanish and so found themselves eating non-descript Spanish burger king. After a good few tortillas and calamari we ventured through the old city past A Coruna’s famous boat like windows. However major city sites which we are pretty sure made the local news included the skipper of Challenger 4 in his bright yellow helmet riding his bike through A Coruna leading his crew, also in bright yellow helmets. Particular (yellow) highlights include watch leader Bruce (G’day Bruce) riding 30 metres behind his fellow crew mates because he did not want to have to deal with the first mate’s Disney music singing. They learnt a lot from the experience: Terry, you can’t go two ways down a one way street and Bruce, that the bike was in fact electric (something he only realised when he got off). Ice creams in A Coruna proved to be a whole different game: about 1 metre filled with Philadelphia and strawberries, we were thankful for the 1 euro flann-elle (also known as flannel) which was purchased from tiger. This came in handy when ice cream collided with our faces in the only wind of the week (‘the only wind of the week went in my ice cream’ – Terry). Les Miserables and the Greatest Showman were re-enacted during a dramatic washing up session which included the use of Shirley’s Tesco clubcard because as she puts it ‘every little helps’. After a motivational team talk from Terry we are on our way through Biscay thinking we are going to have a great day! (please notice the rhymes.) Thank you, good night and sleep tight. Entry Five Today’s wake up was the normal routine. Up at 11, full oil skins for a very cold but enjoyable shift until a very wanted warm bed. Up again at 7 for the morning shift. We were able to bake a cake on board, which was thoroughly welcomed by all the crew. From having left port a few days earlier we have been able to get the sails up and sail most of the time. Today has been better as I have not been feeling sea sick unlike some of my other crew. Hopefully they will feel better in a few days’ time. Have got used to sleeping in a bed that rolls with the sea after having spent a number of nights in port. Getting into bed has become the real challenge when going to bed instead of falling asleep. Have started to see more traffic when on watch now as we start to enter more of the shipping channels. This means that you have to stay aware of what to look for when on watch. It is interesting learning about all of the rights of way when at sea and between the different types of ships. It has become normal to when cooking to have the hob moving underneath you. That took some getting used to. The quality of the food we have been eating is surprising good considering the size of the galley and the angle of the tilt of the boat at times. Looking forward to the next couple of days to see what they have in store. Entry Six Biscay to Sark As we waved goodbye to the 70 metre high lighthouse at Oussent we made our way around the North West of France in the direction of the Channel Islands. In the morning we put our sails up and enjoyed our first proper chance at sailing (we reached 9.2 kts!!). At around 4pm we arrived at Sark where we moored up having done our quickest flake of the sail yet. After arriving in Sark we had to pump up the dingy to get ashore. Sark is truly an amazing place, it feels like someone has taken a chunk of Devon, taken all the cars out of it, and plonked it in the middle of the sea. The walk up from the beach takes you up through a wood until you come to a track road which comes to the centre of the town, which is just a crossroad. The only traffic which we came across was a tractor. Even though it’s such a small place it comes complete with a golden letter box due to the Olympic achievements of the Sark-born horse eventer Carl Hester. After a quick look round we made our way back down to the bay where we awaited pick-up from the dingy. Getting out of the dingy had been fine however getting back into was a whole different story! As the swell had grown in the hour we’d been gone, boarding the dingy was an art that came with face plants, wet jeans and soggy bottoms. Sark made an impression on all of us and is a place that we’d all like to come back to.