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Challenger 1 – Biscay and Back – age 16 to 25

By Kate Stewart - August 14th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Challenger 1 is home to a group of 16-25-year-olds from across the UK, who are joining us for a 10-night voyage across the Bay of Biscay and back.

Check out their blog to see how they have been getting on on board.

Day 1

Tuesday 8

It was an interesting start, with up to 28 knots of wind, but it was nice to meet everyone!

The strong winds and choppy seas were a good introduction, allowing for everyone experienced or new to feel equally seasick.

Although one person in particular was crowned Lord Chunder-Dragon, following an unfortunate spraying of nearby victims, leaving the boat in quite a state.

There were big smiles when we finally saw land in France. After continuing sailing, for what felt like forever, we made it to Cherbourg.

Day 2

Wednesday 9

A later start of 10:00 allowed us all to recover from the night before. After checking in to France, we were lucky to be able to use showers as well as wonder into the town to buy assorted goods.

We set off again after lunch, and were pleased to find out the sea was a lot calmer, and the wind was lighter. At 20:00, we separated into our watches, continuing to sail south west.

Day 3

Thursday 10

By midnight the sky was clear, allowing us to gaze upon the tranquil twilight night sky, as we peacefully continued our voyage towards the north west coast of Brest.

The watches were in high spirits as dolphins kept us company, while a lightning storm in the distance kept us alert.

We were never unoccupied as we were thinking about our wishes for the many shooting stars that lit up the night.

Day 4

Friday 11

After what seemed like a distant misty night, we were escorted by bioluminescent algae, which dolphins danced and jumped through. A spectral fishing boat tailed us as we arrived in Lorient and our sails descended upon the sodden conditions.

As we went ashore and got showers, we felt joyous. Google Maps presented us with some retail therapy, which kept us busy. Upon finding said shops, our limited French caused a miscommunication, which led to an unfortunate lack of extortionate chips.

We then headed back to the boat for some intense, competitive games of cards. A new game was created, and Nuala became world champion.

Day 5

Saturday 12

After a night of much-needed rest alongside in the Marina, we set out to further adventure the wonders of the local town, Lorient.

Our first expedition was to test the French seaside experience. This harrowing event left some of us with sewage and engine oil in our mouths (it left a bitter taste in our mouths… literally).

This then prompted some to embark on a further expedition into the town centre, where we discovered a festival of the Celtic nations. We wouldn’t miss this for the world, especially as they mentioned that folk music would be played. With a uniformed parade of local music from Brittany and dancing, we were honoured to attend the greatest hospitality that Lorient had to offer.

Day 6

Sunday 13

As we entered the damp marina of Brest, spirits were kept high by the possibility of a McDonald’s. The crew ventured deep into central Brest to discover the rather broad array of shops to choose from on the high street.

We quickly rendezvoused back to the boat, before scurrying off to the border frontier for a roll call through a small drizzle of short-lived rainy spell.

As the crew dispersed towards showers, sleep or meandering nearby, the local crew got to work in the galley to prepare a luxurious pasta dish.

Day 7

Monday 14

The day started early, as any other, unsuspecting of what to come.

As we motor sailed our way through the Channel Islands with the blissful breeze in our sails and Brest behind us, we were munching biscuits and singing songs to keep the mood joyful.

As the early evening broke we entered small watches that enabled us to admire the stunning sunset that set behind us.

The chilly dusk gusts blew the rest of the evening as we relaxed.​

Day 8

Tuesday 15

After an interesting night involving a fishing net being wrapped around the propellor, we arrived in Alderney for a well-earned rest!

We finished the afternoon with a lovely day at the beach to unwind and set our troubles free. Some cycled around to sightsee, others preferred to adventure on foot. We encountered a rather derelict fort where we cautiously explored despite the sunny shining conditions.

Day 9

Wednesday 16

We enjoyed a smooth sail to Yarmouth, some beautiful sights and some fresh facilities. The crew were definitely content with the upgraded showers and shops. It was nice to be home in England, however many were surprised that despite the name Isle of Wight, the skies were still grey and gloomy.

Nevertheless, the crew enjoyed their night ashore wandering about the local town and stocking up on various confectionaries and candies. The main highlights of the night divided the crew into Taylor Swift fans and Taylor Swift haters.

Day 10

Thursday 17

Unfortunately, we had to blitz through the tides of the Solent as we had received an imminent Gale nine warning.

Fortunately, it was full blaze ahead for the rest of the journey. We reluctantly reached the end of our voyage and spent the rest of the day cleaning, which was perhaps the most riveting thing we had done the entire trip.




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