Day 1 (11/07)

On Sunday, we arrived in Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth, to a nerve-wracking Covid test. With more than half our fellow crew missing - those six, we pray for you [fellow pupils needed to self-isolate after receiving an NHS contact ping]. Once we'd all passed as 'negative' we boarded the very tall ship.

We were given a tour from our amazing guides, and were surprised to learn just how much effort it was to use the toilet πŸ™„.

Despite the fear of being thrown off the side of the very unstable boat we enjoyed pretending to be the ‘professional’ sailors you see in the magazines. I believe we enticed some passers-by into the brilliance of sailing, our poses were truly top notch.

We moored up for the night at Yarmouth harbour on the Isle of Wight. We made a brilliant spag-bol, which I burnt the entire roof of my mouth on, but hey ho. We also slept. And let me tell you the beds... are surprisingly decent – if you don’t mind constant back pain 😁. I think the crook in my neck was so bad I looked like a hyena.

Day 2 (12/07)

Today, I awoke. And smacked my head into the low roof of my bed, and the door, and the hatch, and the ceiling. I feel that I had significantly less brain cells by the end of the morning.

We ate cereal – Terry’s (the Skipper) mixed granola. We set off for Weymouth. I was told the views were wonderful. However, I couldn’t see past my hair as I chundered [vomited] over the back of the boat. We tied some knots and did some points of sail and tried to quell Terry’s competitiveness by coming into port better than the other boat (Challenger 4, Piggott School voyagers).

We had some loving fans stare me down as I struggled to remember how to tie a slip knot, hugging the mast and swing the rope round fervently, as onlookers tried to demonstrate with a rope made of pure air how to tie this knot. I didn’t succeed. Succeeding to subdue Terry’s competitiveness – Challenger 1 obviously surpasses Challenger 4 – we got to meander around the village.

I got ice cream and sunburn. The charity shops around here are very good, and there is also a very reliable Tesco’s Metro where we bought Uno. Terry’s competitiveness meant he didn’t participate. However, he did supply us with some very refreshing fish and chips. It was good. 😊

Day 3 (13/07)

Leaving the harbour early felt good because it woke me up. After breakfast (we had bacon roles) I was on deck prep, so I had to move all the lines to their right places and get the sails ready.

Climbing

Climbing the poll out at sea was really fun, it was very steep and you had to use a lot of upper body strength but I managed to do it and touch the top!

Dropping the sail

Dropping the sail is a very tiring job, what I have to do is, stand on these pegs on the mast and help guide the sail down for the crew to grab it. I also have to yank the sail down at the end then pull the pin out of the white line so it’s not attached so we can put the cover on.     

Something I'm proud of

My ability to remember stuff from when I did something similar back in August last summer, because I went on a boat a bit like this one, it was a bit smaller but still had like the same layout and things I had to do. 

Best moment of the day

Basically, whenever we're out at sea and doing stuff around the boat. Then it’s fun and gives me something to do because I tend to get bored easy.

The start of the day we got up and left Weymouth harbour where we had moored up and slept last night. That morning we were in charge of putting the big sail up again. Later that day everyone had a go at climbing the pole that went out to sea but was still tied onto the big sail. It was great fun. Everyone made it to the top and waved at the camera.

When we were close to mooring at Lymington, we and Challenger 4 had a race to which boat could bring the sail down the quickest. With our almighty strength we managed to get the sail down fairly quickly. Overall with no surprise whatsoever we won with one person short than them.

Something we were proud of today was climbing the pole even though the boat was still swaying but despite all that we all still enjoyed it. The best moment of the day was that we got to see a dolphin that swam right by our boat. It was the most amazing creature to see in the sea with the sun shining down upon us. 😁

Day 4 (14/07)

I woke up to fanfare. Paul's speaker serenaded us with army-grade trumpets. Terry contributed this morning with some surprisingly good pancakes and spa music. We got to wander around the village whose name I can never remember.

We climbed the mast and set sail at 0030. Terry’s competitiveness contributed today with a ‘friendly’ sail hoisting competition. We won. Thankfully. We ‘supported’ the other crew with three cheers and the reminder of our superiority over Challenger 4. As much as Challenger 4 tried to redeem themselves, according to Terry we will always be the greater crew. We actually sailed today – the last few days we had to use the motor due to a lack of wind.