Day 1 (Monday 25th)

We started with the obligatory Covid-19 tests, thankfully we were all negative, which we're all very positive about!

We drove from Wiltshire in the minibus and we walked through Gunwharf Quays carrying all our worldly belongings, telling everyone who would listen we weren’t homeless.

After putting away our bags, we got to know the crew and the boat, both upstairs and downstairs! We don’t have a favourite crewmember yet, but Khyrham doesn’t like Natasha’s chicken so he’s not winning at the moment.

We have motored across the Solent towards East Cowes and we are now anchored near Osbourne House for the night. We have got the boat ready for tomorrow by hanking on the Yankee and Staysail and running the sheets.

Dinner was chicken fajitas, which were expertly prepared and cooked (to a Gordon Ramsey level of excellence) by Starboard watch. Port watch are currently taking ages to clean and put away all the dishes.

Now we are playing some some Uno Flip (card game) and Ben is going to try and beat Rachel. He says that tomorrows blog might include the lines “Rachel won at Uno and made a young person cry”.

Day 2 (Tuesday 26th)

After playing many rounds of Uno Flip (the much better and more vindictive game) Rachel was not crowned victorious. So there were no tears before bedtime!

As we were at anchor last night we had to get up in pairs throughout the night to check that the anchor hadn’t moved and we had floated away, possibly into the path of the frequent container and cruise ships, leading to calamity. Whilst most of us were up at the right time, one of us (Erin) didn’t make it up for their watch, but she made amends with cleaning the anchor of all of the slimy mud.

We were greeted by a beautiful sunrise with a multitude of reds, oranges and purples. Our route today took us from Osbourne Bay out past Hurst Castle and the Needles across to Poole.

After putting up the Main and Yankee sails, the wind picked up just as we left the safety of the Solent and this brought some mammoth waves, meaning most people had an accidental sea water shower. Along the way we ripped the Yankee sail so May, Ben and Chad had to venture into the “eye of the storm” to take it down.

We arrived in Poole as the sun was setting, we have had showers, eaten fish and chips for dinner and are now back on the Uno Flip.

Rachel (group leader) is trash.

Day 3 (Wednesday 27th)

We awoke to a cloudy Poole harbour and after manoeuvring around the other Challengers that had docked next to us yesterday, we got ourselves ready to leave for Yarmouth.

After a hearty breakfast of pancakes cooked by Starboard watch that tasted amazing, the galley was left in a poor state for Port watch to clean.

We left Poole and headed out into the Solent, Charlie excelled at helming and it helped him feel less sea sick. No one was actually sea sick today, but Tash had a tactical chunder before we left Poole, but that doesn’t count as we hadn’t left the marina.

Whilst we were out in the bay we were followed by the other three Challengers and the ketch. It was an unofficial race to put up our sails and “race” to Yarmouth. We enjoyed surfing the waves whilst sailing downwind with goose-winged sails and Felicity and Erin had fun sitting with their legs over the side “walking on the ocean” every time a large wave crashed over the side of the boat. May didn’t break any sails today (just the Yankee two yesterday), but there is always tomorrow. She did get the Yankee hanks twisted, but Monkey saved the day.

Once we had got into Yarmouth we moored up next to Challenger two and most of us climbed the mast, Molly, Charlie, Chad, Ben, Reece and Felicity all made it to the top, Felicity did it twice! Everyone did really well to climb to their own level.

The showers are officially peng according to Tasha and Felicity. Getting a solid 10/10 on their newly agreed shore facilities scale.

The last minute provisioning run to Tesco this morning meant that we had all the necessary supplies to make cheese and marmite pastry twists, which Rachel showed us how to make and are really easy. We demolished them warm straight from the oven.  

After a great dinner and whilst watching the footy game, the evening finished with a lengthy game of spoons (refereed by Reece), many friendships were tested but eventually it was won by Harry, mostly due to his quick thinking and lightening speed reflexes.

It’s all over now, West Ham have won and we are going to bed.

Rachel is now awesome because she made a banging chicken korma.

Day 4 (Thursday 28th)

We awoke in Yarmouth as the ferry came past and rocked the boat. After a mammoth fry up with sausages, bacon, eggs and toast we got ready for the day.

We had been moored up next to Challenger 2 and we did a man over board demonstration with May (as the casualty/victim) off their boat onto the pontoon. While we waited for the tide to be high enough to leave we got the boat ready. Once we had left we put all the sails up and sailed up Southampton water, missing all the container vessels (because Tash and Charlie were steering), tacked and jibed our way there and back.

We had a late lunch (pasties and beans) as we were busy cooking chocolate brownies, they were very tasty but the edges were crispy and the middle was very gooey, we need to try harder next time!

Before we got to Cowes we did a man over board drill and retrieved the dan buoy that Monkey (Skipper) had carelessly dropped overboard. Reece felt like this was a massive game of capture the flag!

When we arrived we put the Yankee and Staysails away by flaking them back into their bags and stowing them in the sail locker.

We cooked our final meal onboard which was a lovely spaghetti bolognaise, before carving pumpkins (which Ben mistook for parved cumpkins) with a variety of scary and funny faces as well as a ghost (not a goat as Erin kept calling it).

We didn’t like the shore facilities in Cowes, they get a 4.5/10 by Erin and Tash. We are all very tired and going to bed soon so we can get up early tomorrow to leave for Gunwharf Quays.