Day 1 (Monday 16th)

We all gathered in Portsmouth ready to embark on our week’s adventure, by 1PM. We were given a short safety briefing, before setting sail! Under the power of the wind, Tenacity of Bolton headed towards Cowes on the Isle of Wight (but not before our first unsuccessful fuel stop!).

After arriving in Cowes, half the crew set about making dinner, while the others relaxed after the first day. Following dinner, we all disembarked for an hour’s walk around Cowes.

Day 2 (Tuesday 17th)

An early start meant that we were bound for Yarmouth quickly, preparing for another attempted fuel stop. We deposited our First Mate Sophie, and crewmates: Callum and Issy, on the water-taxi and headed for the fuel pontoon in Yarmouth Marina. Here they were greeted by a broken fuel pump; from which they managed get a whopping 76p’s worth of petrol! On instruction from the Skipper (back on-board), they went for a walk to kill time, while waiting for the engineers to finish, which ended up taking an hour (and still to no avail!)

The day took an “exciting” turn when the waters became very (very, very) choppy passing The Needles, with most of the crew feeling a little queasy! (Un)lucky rocks were thrown at Sharron below deck while she was preparing soup, as the Ketch crested a particularly large wave!

We found calmer waters, dropped anchor, and Starboard Watch took their turn at cooking dinner. A few crewmates were initially sceptical of “Quorn Bolognese”, however that night, we all agreed, we ate well!

Day 3 (Wednesday 18th)

It was another early start today, but croissants/pastries etc kept morale up for the long day of sailing ahead. The waters were initially calm, but got rather choppy as the day progressed; we were all very glad we remembered to take our seasickness tablets!

Port Watch made chicken wraps for lunch, avoiding flying utensils and sauces! By 3PM, we were in Weymouth Harbour, safely attached to a fellow Tall Ships Youth Trust Challenger Boat. Sophie’s promise of gelato in Weymouth had kept us going all day – and it didn’t disappoint!

Our endeavours on land included a tacky souvenir competition (won by Clare with a… unique magnet); a trip to the arcade (waste of money); paddling in the sea; and – best of all – a chippy tea! Bedtime was later, but by 11PM we were safely tucked up in bed.

Day 4 (Thursday 19th)

We woke up at 8AM and had a couple of hours to had breakfast (scrambled egg and toast thanks to Port Watch) and a few people helped Sharron with the shopping for the days ahead. We’d left Weymouth by 10.30AM and motored for a while before letting the sails out.

We weren’t so lucky with the weather today so we “oilskinned” up (for those not in the know, we put on our waterproofs). It was certainly a bit drizzly, but the sea was calmer thankfully. It was quite a long day sailing (interspersed with cups of tea and pasties for lunch), but – after several attempts of ‘reverse’ parking – at 5pm we pulled into Poole Port.

It was chicken curry for tea tonight, and showers all round.  The evening ended with a quick walk round Poole and a game of cards.

Day 5 (Friday 20th)

We motored out of Poole to Studland Bay for some fun, which entailed jumping off the boat and clambering back in, going to the shore for ice cream via the dinghy and having a look around.

Once safely back on the boat, we sailed round to Lymington and got there around 5PM. We showered and cooked a stir-fry that ended up a bit soupy.

The evening concluded with biscuits and card games accompanied by music (thanks to Sophie’s speaker).

Day 6 (Saturday 21st)

Up at 8AM with cereal for breakfast today. It rained for a little, but as we were going for showers it didn’t matter. The showers proved difficult to find, and a neighbouring yacht club’s lax security led to a shower debacle - some of us located the corrected ones where others did not…

Once that was over, we began our traverse over to a pit-stop in Warsash. The crew split with some taking naps whilst others had a go at rowing the dinghy to the shore (for a much needed ice cream).  While stationary, we got to know a friendly bull-dog called Bull. Unfortunately, the Skipper wouldn’t let us get our own canine companion!

After a navigation lesson, we were ready for the night sail, something we'd been looked forward to for the whole week. We started at around 8.30PM and sailed through until 12AM. Using the buoys as navigational aids, we made our way to an anchor point near Bembridge. On the whole, we found it easier than day sailing in a lot of ways!

We were all in bed by 1AM ready for our final full day.

Day 7 (Sunday 22nd)

Today was a slightly later start given the last night’s sailing and the timing of the tides. We quickly dressed and breakfasted at 9AM and then changed into our swimming costumes for a dip in the sea – some were more eager than others! The dinghy was also blown up temporarily, but the engine failed on us before long.

After having lunch, we began the final sail to Portsmouth. On the way, we practiced a ‘Man Over Board’ drill, using a fender. We were successful, thankfully, and the poor buoy is recovering well!

We made good time, and were safely back in the marina by 3PM. The boat needed cleaning so we shared out the jobs and got to work. Once done, we showered while Paul cooked a smashing carbonara. As it cooked, we explored the nearby town; the Cadbury’s shop was a hit.

We spent out last evening chatting, playing cards and basking in the glory of our new (well-deserved) title – Competent Crew Members!  

Shoutout to Elspeth and Annie for encouraging our writing and sailing exploits!