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Challenger 1 – Debdale Outdoor Activity Club

By Kate Stewart - July 26th, 2022 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Onboard Challengers 1 and 2 this week, we have a group of young people from Debdale Outdoor Activity Club, in Manchester.

Read their blog to find out what they’ve been getting up to since they started their four-night voyage on Monday (25th).

Day 1

Monday 25

Willow: This morning, I got on the minibus. I didn’t know anyone at first, but when we got to the first rest stop I got to know Eve, so we sat together in the middle of the bus. The seat had a questionable rip in the fabric, which we found amusing.

When we got to Portsmouth, Chas tricked us into thinking we had a two mile walk with our bags. I actually thought he was being serious, but it was only a short walk through the shopping centre. On the way through, we stopped at the loos.

When we got to the harbour, after about a fifth of a mile, Eve and I thought we were going on this giant looking ferry, but when we got on the right boat, Eve felt seasick.

We got a fully exclusive tour of the boat, including the mechanics of the toilet that works by pumping seawater through the system. We learnt that it can’t take loo roll, so we need to bag it and put it in the bin.

The beds are super cool (although I don’t think Eve likes them too much), they are tiny three story hammocks, the top one level with my shoulders, but at least we have shelves (nooks with safety clips) to put our bags in and don’t have them smooshed at the bottom of our beds, like I was told we would.

When we were used to the boat and the mind-spinning bobbing, we launched the boat. We motored out using the engine, but when we were further out at sea, each group took it in turns to put up the sails.

We spent most of the time above deck, even when we were just chilling, the cool air made the seasickness better, but Eve found a spot between the heads (toilets) where she claims the rocking of the boat doesn’t affect you.

The lifejackets onboard are different to the style I’m used to, it’s like strapping a heavy scarf around your neck and shoulders.

I know people quite well now and to think, I didn’t know their names before this morning!

I helped chop veg for the fajitas and washed the knives, I sliced off a thin layer of skin on the end of my thumb (by accident, of course). It didn’t bleed and was only as big as a nail clipping, but I was worried when it happened because my hand was inside a lettuce and I couldn’t access the damage… long story. Usually when stuff like that happens, I’m not paying attention.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, we’re probably going swimming in this place with a lot of sea horses, but most of all I’m wondering what the hammock beds will be like!

Matthew: I’m looking forward to helping more on the boat tomorrow! I’ve enjoyed the steering and working with the sheets on the boat and the cooking of the food.

Damien: I helped with chopping the veg for the first night’s tea, and I also helped with hoisting the sail on the ship!

Day 2

Tuesday 26

Charlie: Today was an exciting new experience, I really enjoyed unpacking and repacking the Mainsail. I also really enjoyed helping above deck and getting involved with the sailing. I loved how we were allowed to jump of the boat for a swim. I enjoyed swimming with my mates and front flipping with them. I really enjoyed today and so far I’m having a great experience

Matthew: Today has been great fun, with the helping of the sailing of the boat and then jumping off the boat into the water and swimming with my friends! What we ate for tea was also really nice!

Macy: Today was a very good day, I had a lot of fun. I had a go at helming, which was my favourite part of the day, we also learnt what to do if someone falls overboard and how to respond if it happened in real life. Today, we did a lot of tacking and we learnt how to put all the sails up and down, it was a lot of fun . At the end of the day, we had a swim in the sea, which was very cold but good. It was a very good day!

Day 3

Wednesday 27

Willow: I woke up this morning to someone shouting “sniff m’ toes”. The perfect start to a perfect day.

I helped cook veggie sausages for breakfast, but I think I burnt them a bit.

After breakfast, we rigged the ‘Spinnaker pole’. Google it, it’s cool. I climbed it, and reached the end. It was awesome.

We sailed from near ‘Old Harry and his wife’ to Weymouth. At the dock, a kid was throwing a crab net, and shouted “SUI!!!” I shouted it back. Not sure why.

When we docked, Mattie, Damion and I went to the fair, and went to the Arcade. Mattie and I went on the bumper carts and I made a point to smash into everything.

After that we got donuts and I got a slushy. Then we walked through the shopping centre, but most of the shops where closed. The Range was open though, so we went in as a joke.

We spent about ten minutes running down the up escalator and up the down escalator. At the top I shouted “there’s a trampoline!!!” The woman sorting shelves told me to chill out.

We looked around The Range for a bit and almost decided to co-own a mirror for only £11.99.

Then we realised it was time to go back and sprinted back the whole way. Damion tried to jump over a side street. When we got back, we had fish and chips tor dinner.

I was the only one who wanted mushy peas, so I had the whole tub to myself. I ate some of it with my chips, but I had some left. So I drank it.


Eve: Today I climbed the Spinnaker pole, I did it in 30 seconds. I didn’t eat breakfast or dinner as I wasn’t hungry. I got to shower today, which was bloody lovely. I got a tattoo of Hello Kitty on my neck. I went on the spinny ride and I screamed. I was also very happy when I was able to dry my hair!


Damion and Austin: We had breakfast and then we hoisted the Spinnaker pole and climbed to the end. We had to try to get a time of an under a minute. We hoisted all of the sails and turned off the engine, then we did some proper sailing, I did some ‘sweating’ of the halyard to get the Mainsail up​

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