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Challenger 1 – Summer Escape to St. Malo (age 16-25)

By Kate Stewart - July 21st, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Challenger 1 is voyaging to St. Malo and back this week, with a group of individuals from across the UK on board.

Check out their blog to find out more!

Day 1

Sunday 16

There were massive and chaotic delays today. We were planning to join our voyage at 13:00, however a bizarre event caused the Portsmouth Harbour train to be completely cancelled.

Four of us arrived at around 15:00, which wasn’t the best time for everyone to be present. After an extended session of briefing and unpacking, we did some work to set up the sails and lines, prepping for the morning, followed by a team game, requiring us to answer some questions on a sheet of paper. It was especially difficult, but our two teams ended the game in a tie.

We originally planned to leave in the evening, but due to terrible weather, our departure has been rescheduled to 08:00 tomorrow morning.

After splitting into two watches (Port and Starboard):

  • Starboard team cooked dinner, which was a delicious spaghetti bolognese
  • Port team cleaned and washed up after dinner

Everyone had a good time, resting up in the evening aware of the tasks the following morning would have to offer.

By Hussein, James and Georgia.

Day 2

Monday 17

Today we worked in watches (shifts) to sail from Portsmouth to St. Malo, we started at 08:00 and sailed right through the night until 08:00 the following morning. During our watch, we had all the sails up and no motor, but we managed to reach a max speed of 10 knots, which is yet to be beaten!

It was really fun to helm with winds as high as 29 knots, as well as fighting the tides. We ended up at a 30 degree angle, so waling around became a challenge. The night sail was also interesting, we played games as well as spotting lighthouses and buoy lights. There were so many stars!

By Charlie and Dylan.

Day 3

Tuesday 18

Tuesday, 00:00, Starboard switched with Port to be on night watch. We saw shooting stars, fishing boats and crab pots (always spotted far too late). We played many shopping lists games and reminisced about past trips to keep us going. We went off watch at 04:00 and Port took over…..

…Only to be woken up at 5.53, as we had arrived in St. Malo!

We had the whole crew on deck to help get the boat ready to enter the lock and go alongside the harbour wall. We took the Mainsail down, and put lines and fenders over the side.

Once we were alongside (thanks to Terry’s epic manoeuvring), we went to customs to make sure we were here legally before heading back to the boat to get ready for the day.

We entered the Old Town of St. Malo in one group and quickly split into two groups (with a third temporarily lost).

Georgia and Becca went off and found Morgan, Josh and Holly and they wondered around for the day. They found the Cathedral, a funky, dad-dancing marching band, a sweet café called Columbus Café and Co, bracelets, some swam in the sea and ate many ice creams and a crepe.

James, Piotr, Hussein, Dany, Charlie and Dylan walked around the city, went to the supermarket, found two beaches, and went to lots off shops that Charlie wanted to go to, like the Harry Potter shop. After some walking, Charlie and Dylan came back to the boat, while the rest got food. After they came back, they proceeded to lose their minds by playing two and a half hours of Uno!

Morgan led a very tasty dinner (pork chops or fish pie or chicken with assorted vegetables and mash), with help from Charlie and James, and occasional assistance from Georgia, Piotr and Josh – meanwhile Becca and Holly got lost at the showers.

Then most people had showers, while the Port team washed up. We then settled down and got ready for bed at 22:00, after a long day awake (almost 18 hours)!

By Georgia, James and Becca.​

Day 4

Wednesday 19

This morning we left St. Malo around 07:30 with an early wake up to go to customs in our pjs – only to be followed an hour later by the French coastguard/ Maritime police for inspection.

On the way to Sark, we saw dolphins!!! woohoooo! After the calm and windless, journey this was an exciting turn of events. We also covered knots with Charlie leading the session and James assisting.

On arrival to the mooring buoy, Morgan (me) kitted up with a harness and helmet (safety first!) and hung from the boat to retrieve the buoy. Unfortunately, when we tried to get ashore to Sark, the engine on the dinghy malfunctioned and we were disappointed that we couldn’t explore the outstanding, beautiful and rich in character Island of Sark.

We did however made the best of the sticky situation, and figured playing card games and Murder (not real) would be a good idea.

Thanks to Peter and James who set the mood with their brilliant music taste, we enjoyed a disco while washing the dishes with Mamma Mia, Guns n’ Roses, and Adele followed by the Macarena in the galley!

By Pete, Morgan, Ching (Josh) and Georgia.

Day 5

Thursday 20

Upon leaving Sark, we saw Dolphins!! They came right up to the boat and played in the bow wave (so close we could see their faces).

We then sailed across to Guernsey where we learnt about the RYA Green Blue Scheme, and practiced more knots (test us on the bowline, sheet bend (double), rolling hitch, round turn and two half hitches, clove hitch, figure-of-eight, sheep shank, admiralty stopper knot, reef knot). We had a lesson on tacking and gybing by Piotr, and we practiced tacking with the whole crew involved.

Luckily the mooring spot was free and Terry (again) maneuvered us into it and we could breathe!

Unfortunately, we are on a non-walk ashore pontoon, so a dingy is needed. This caused an issue due to the wind, tide, lack of engine, and a few punctures, trips to St. Peter’s port were on a need only basis. However, we had an amazing time ashore because of the festival with live music, we busted out our dance moves, and ended the night with the firework show!

By Georgia, Josh, Charlie and Piotr.​

Day 6

Friday 21

Today we explored Guernsey by bus – taking trips to Cobo Bay and Vazon Bay (where we got stuck for an hour and passed the time by playing catch, wheel barrow racing, running, handstands and frisbees)!

However, first we fell victims again to the dingy of doom as the tide and wind pushed the second boat far far far off course and caused Terry some stress! It was quickly rectified and found a new more efficient system.

Once we got back to the boat, we dealt with the grey water (Holly and Dylan), flares, flag etiquette and dinner (fish stir fry).

By Charlie, Piotr, Georgia, and other Charlie (James).

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