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By Tall Ships - August 14th, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

The Beginning

I was already smiling as I made the short but difficult journey to Challenger 1. The heavy suitcase in my hand helped has much as clambering over Challenger 3 when it came to reaching, what would become, my home for the following few days. By this point, I’d already met Bushy – the skipper, Anna – the youth worker, and Beth – one of the resident Sailors. (The word ‘Sailors’ here is a term I’m going to use to refer to the people who knew what they were doing on a boat like this). My Mum, as she always did, stayed behind to talk as I ventured down into the bowels of the ship. This habit of hers seemed notably less infuriating that day. I promptly met Steve – another Sailor, (and our comedian) and Sam – the first mate (my go-to for anything I wanted to know about the boat). Out of everyone I met that day, there wasn’t a single one who I didn’t like. That is how my week long voyage aboard challenger 1 started.

Robert Wolrige Gordon

Voyage Crew​

Day Two

The first night on the boat was really good we all got to know each other and we all had a really good laugh from day 1 to the very last day. The adult on board are just amazing and I never had a dull moment onboard. Not just the adults were amazing so where the crew they always had your back and if you needed help it was right there for you. I think that we work very well as a team the duration of the trip and I have made so amazing friends including Kevin the duck.

Aaron Featherstone

Day Three


Climbing up to the spinnaker pole was definitely a highlight. Almost everyone moved themselves up that rope. The only ones who didn’t were Steve, who claimed he did, and Kevin, who physically couldn’t as he’s a rubber duck. The fastest was Sam, who was up and down so quickly, some members of the crew didn’t realise he’d even been up. I was the last to go as I spent much of the time at the helm, keeping the boat on beam reach. When I did get up there, I spent longer than most at the top, as Anna not only had to take a photo of me with her camera, she had to take one with mine. The downside of this extra time ‘off of’ the boat was that I was concentrating at looking at the camera than looking at the view.

Robert Wolrige Gordon

Voyage crew​

Day Four

We came across challenger 4 around mid-afternoon we decided it was a good idea to do the Mexican wave… I think we just confused them

We had a delicious fish and chips for dinner and we explored the surrounding town

Unfortunately it wasn’t very interesting and was full of old people

Day Five

Kevin the Duck

Throughout the voyage, there was one constant companion. Whether he was sitting on the raised corner of the sofa, or on the table in the galley; or even on deck with Steve, he was always there. In fact, he was once referred to as the ‘overarching eye’ by Steve. His story was shared one evening round the dinner table, and it is inspiring, to say the least. His name was Kevin, and he was, and still is, very important to Steve. He declared on the first day that if Kevin went overboard, he would go too. Kevin was a rubber duck with a hat very similar to that of Sherlock Holmes.

The story of Kevin began during Steve’s time in service. One of his comrades was Harold, affectionately called ‘H’. He seemed to be the father figure of Steve’s group; that was the sense I got from Steve’s story. He too had a rubber duck, though its name is lost to time. One day, Steve asked H why he had a rubber duck. “When you hold him underwater, he pops back up” H explained. “No matter how many times you do it, or how deep you hold him down, he always pops back up, and always pops back up.” Whenever life gets tough, no matter what happens, you have to pop back up; always with a smile on your face. That’s what Kevin is to Steve. Kevin is what keeps Steve popping back up. Steve explained that everyone has to find their own Kevin. It doesn’t have to be a rubber duck with a silly hat, it can be anything. My Kevin is my parents. My Mum and Dad are what keep me popping up and down. Find your Kevin, and keep him with you, always.

Robert Wolrige Gordon

Voyage Crew

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