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Challenger 1 — Team Together

By Tall Ships - August 3rd, 2021 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day 1


My name is Owen. I have enjoyed sailing my first day on the trip. It was fun to work on a sailing boat my first time ever in my life. It was interesting how stuff worked on a sailing boat.


Day 2


We woke up really early at 5am in the morning! Toby said he first looked at the time at 05:11!!! We readied all our equipment; life jackets and suchlike and got up on deck to start our day early. Once we got up on deck, we waved goodbye to Challenger 2, who left a little before us. We then prepped our lines and fenders so that we could slip away soon after. The first few waves we encountered were a little rough, but as soon as we had escaped the Needles Channel, we lost the ground beneath us. It was like being on a rollercoaster!

One by one, people started dropping like flies- a bit like bowling pins, one went down and another followed soon after. You could tell when someone was about to go down below to sleep in their bunks when they sat over the side and started to retch over the railings.  At one point, there was just four crew above decks! The bodies stared to pile up, so Owen and Toby hoisted the main sail, which was really heavy, as well as the headsails. The wind wasn’t that bad, but the splashes of water created whenever the vessel smashed into the water drenched everyone to the bone!

Even though Challenger 2 left before us, we managed to pass them a little bit before halfway, and left them following (eight nautical miles behind) for the rest of the journey! ? This was due to our efficiency in hoisting the sails- we had the main sail on reef 3, and the Yankee and the staysail up for most of the journey! We did one tack, and then pinched the boat into the wind to maximise our speed- at one point we managed to get up to 10 knots! We were supposed to have breakfast on the way, but that was quickly forgotten when we saw the rough conditions- we can definitely say that the fish didn’t eat any cornflakes today.

We could see land very faintly behind a wall of cruise liners, so we navigated around and tactically dodged them in order to enter Weymouth bay. Once the sea became a little more sheltered, people started to come back to life. One by one they started to emerge from down below, blinking in the bright daylight. We prepped our shorelines and fenders in order to cruise into Weymouth, however we couldn’t resist doing a little victory lap of the bay to celebrate our successful day’s sailing. Not that we’re competitive, but we later found out that Challenger 2 motored in from St Albans Head: a good 10 MILES more than us!

We moored up in Weymouth at about 1pm, give or take about 15 minutes, and ate lunch before stowing the sails and putting the deck to bed. It was nice to fill our bellies after not eating for so long! After lunch, we went exploring, and had great fun in the shops and showers — we no longer smelt really bad ?. After that we chilled out and relaxed a bit, something we definitely deserved after a weary day, and waited for our fish and chips dinner.

That’s about all for today. In summary, the day was good, but a challenge, particularly as we were missing many crew members for the majority of the voyage. However, we muddled through and learnt a great many things, including how to do reef knots and how to cope in choppy seas. We just hope the sea will be a little bit kinder tomorrow!

Toby, Toby, Santo, and supervised by Charlotte ?.


Day 3


Today was a lot better weather than yesterday as we were going downwind instead of upwind, so I don’t think anyone got seasick. We managed to put the main sail up and the front sail as well as the spinnaker pole and poled out the Yankee so that we could go as fast as we could, which was pretty cool as it was different to what we had done before and I have never seen it put up before.

We got the sails up and down really quickly as we all work really well as a team and communicate effectively and understand each other a lot better than we did on the first and second days. ?

Before we left Weymouth we prepped the boat but instead of the Watch Leaders leading and organising us, Skipper, Terry, assigned different leadership roles to us. I was in charge of cleaning down below deck, Lou was in charge of making and preparing breakfast for everybody and Hudson was in charge of deck prep.

We spoke to our respective Watch Leaders for them to tell us what needed to be done and then we were left to organise our respective watches into their jobs. Some of the things my watch had to clean were the toilets and cleaning the handles and anything that someone had touched when most of us were extremely sea sick yesterday.

Instead of docking on land we anchored in the sea near Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorset. The view was amazing, you could see Old Harry Rocks and the whole of the beach. I saw fireworks from way off in the distance, which was weird as you couldn’t hear them because we were so far away but it didn’t feel like we were that far away.

One of the things that I didn’t like about being anchored was the fact that we had to do anchor watch. This meant that we were split into pairs and had to stay awake on deck for two-hour intervals to make sure that we hadn’t drifted too close to land. I didn’t get in a watch but stayed up with some of the guys that were doing the first watch and went down to bed at about midnight because I was freezing and it started to rain so, I didn’t want my blanket to get wet.

Another thing that I didn’t like about being anchored was that the boat was moving a lot down below so it made me feel quite sick and I think it contributed to how I felt the next morning. Especially, as I forgot to take my as sickness pills the night before.

Martin taught us all the different ways you tell what the weather is doing on the boat so that we can navigate safely when we are sailing. Also about flag etiquette.

The day was beautiful, it was sunny and everyone loved the fact that the conditions were a lot nicer than the day before and we had just as amazing views.



Day 4


Today was a very in the middle type of day. At the start of the day everyone was feeling very sick and very tired and not 100%. Some of us, including me, didn’t make it upstairs as we were just feeling terrible but Charlotte was amazing at distracting those on board from being sick by singing camp songs and call and response songs. Everyone joined in and their singing could be herd over the waves and all the noise of the engine and it even made me feel better and allowed me to join everyone else back on deck when we set sail for the second time. She did this again when we were sailing into port and not one person went down sick as we were all singing and getting very wet above deck but we were happy and our minds were occupied so nobody was sick. ?

We saw a Royal Navy ship today and we remembered what Martin had told us yesterday and dipped our flag at the back and you could see somebody running across their ship to dip their flag to us and then raise it again.

When we had docked the boat, Challenger 2 pulled alongside us and we put all the sails in their sail bags and put all the halyards at the side of the boat for the night. Then we just explored the island and showered.


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