Day 1 - (Monday 30th) - by Kai Surcouf and Tyler Horton

We started our day at 6AM at Jersey intentional airport, after goodbyes and whatnot we continued into the airport for the first time in ages, it was all a bit of a foreign experience having not travelled in almost two years, we eventually got on a tiny plane after multiple trips to duty free. We then took the surprisingly short flight to Southampton which took 30 minutes. After that, we took a short coach ride to Portsmouth harbour where we took a short walk thought the town to get to the harbour. The boats were moored by Spinnaker Tower.

When we arrived on the pontoon we all did a Covid-19 lateral flow test before we were even allowed to step foot of the boat, we all tested negative, luckily. After putting our bags on our bunks we had our first five briefings before we got out to sea. In the briefings we were taught about the set up of the boat and the safety precautions we would have to take while sailing. We got told how to use the winches properly and even the toilet.

Once we finally started sailing, it was amazing. All the youth crew onboard race small single and double handed dinghies so we have had limited experience on boats bigger than 30 ft. Everything on the boat was a lot bigger than I had anticipated, especially the loads on the winches and the deck space. We had three sails up while we were tacking up past the Isle of Wight, the fastest we went was 8 knots which was quite good since not many of us had ever been onboard. I really enjoyed today as it gave me a chance to do more hands on work with the safety of having experts in case I get it wrong.

Day 2 (Tuesday 31st) - by Will Dengate, Juliette Walton and someone from Port watch.

Wowee….. We have learnt a lot in only two days! Sailing can be hard work, especially when we have all been feeling very queasy and yet we are still sweating ropes and getting our seas legs.

We started the day off with some ‘crispy’… not burnt bacon butties (courtesy of the Port watch). However, we appreciated the effort; at least they tried. After washing the dishes under motor we got ourselves ready to set sail and put our big buoy boots on for a long day at sail. Unfortunately Mike (skipper) didn’t warn us of the swell to come, so we didn’t chew our Stugeron tabs early enough. We all showed a brave face and got the jobs done, like real troopers.

Today’s challenge was to stay with our inside voices throughout and to keep the language to a PG state. It was a huge struggle for most, with Russell having a whopping 3 points, Dengate having 2 points and Kai drawing with 3. The forfeit of this all mighty challenge was to be burdened with the task of cleaning the heads (good luck Kai and Russ).

Port watch had the task of cooking lunch with a building swell on the beam as we sailed further from shore. Starboard watch were responsible for washing up, although several crew members had to go up on deck, as the swell was making them sea sick despite the Stugeron.

We have all made such good friends so quickly, especially with our watch master Lucas, who lead the sail flake EXCEPTIONALLY WELL. THANKS LUCAS! Me (Juliette)  and, sitting here writing this epic blog are dripping and shivering from the cold dip we braved in Worbarrow Bay where we are currently anchored. Not too sure if we are looking forward to waking at 11pm for anchor watch and getting back to bed after our shift at 1am, especially after tiring ourselves out from all the singing we have blessed everyone’s ears with.

Starboard Watch (THE DAPPER DANS)

Day 3 (Wednesday 1st) - by Russell Walton and Kyla McDonagh

Last night we all took turns on an anchor watch in groups of 3. A lot of the time it was very cold, however we chatted our way through the 2 hour watches. In the morning we pulled up the anchor in a bay that we cannot remember the name of. We continued the last stretch of our journey to Portland and arrived for lunch in Portland Marina, which was hot dogs!!! We saw some AWESOME boats including spotting some Jersey boats and a lot of Olympic British Sailing Centre where we even saw some Olympic Rings and Will thought he knew every sailor on every dinghy we saw.

Next we climbed the mast!!! We went all the way to the top and managed to take some AWESOME photos and videos. It was an experience to remember but very scary. We also competed in some dinghy races with our tender in which Luke won but it was very fun for everyone. Then we walked to a very cool pebbly beach to have a BBQ! Kyla, Kai and Freddie all managed to fall over! It was excellent and everyone enjoyed the food. Lastly, to finish off our late night, we finally got our showers in the Marina!

Day 4 (Thursday 2nd) - by Grace Sherrington and Luke Garnier

Our day started with a nice lazy morning in Portland. Several people made the most of the marina facilities and took a second shower. We had bacon for breakfast, which, thankfully, was not burnt this time. Whilst one watch made breakfast, the other did deck prep - which went smoothly.

As soon as we left the marina, we realised just how cold and rough it was. We were told that we would be night sailing, which some of us were dreading! Everyone had taken lots of Stugeron which made us quite sleepy so we took naps on deck, between tacks, trimming, sail hoisting and helming. Juliette managed to sleep through hoisting the yankee 3, and the tacks!

To keep up morale, we sang lots of 80s hits and playground nursery rhymes at full volume, including Sweet Caroline, Never Gonna Give You Up and Take Me Home Country Roads!

We had chicken, cheese, ham and salad (aka rabbit food) wraps for lunch. Later, Guy made us a delicious chilli con carne as we were passing the Needles. We saw a lifeboat near the Needles and the lighthouse of Hurst Castle. It was quite dark by this time and we passed a lit cruise ship on the way to Cowes – the Ventura. It was really cool to see it. Starboard watch then started to wash up – the red lights didn’t help and with continual karaoke it was quite atmospheric.

As we approached Cowes we took the mainsail down in the dark. Freddie dropped his headtorch into the bottom of the sail locker – later retrieved! One of our neighbours in Cowes had been in Portland this morning – they beat us to the marina.  After a very long day, we eventually headed to bed and everyone was quiet for once!