By Tall Ships - November 11th, 2019 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One


This morning, after awaking to a duey mist, at around 7:30 am we began to move to the kitchen. This morning we made bagels and cereal ( a culinary masterpiece ) and were happily bought the specific condiments to fill our bagels, consisting of three varieties of jam, being : strawberry jam, blackberry jam and marmalade. Half of us then tidied away the kitchen with the other half going making a brave journey to Sainsbury’s… We had already previously gone through our pantry to discover what we could use for our meals for the next few days. We began with a list: a few tins of tomato soup, baked beans, baguettes e.c.t. … despite this, we were blissfully unaware of how many people 12 people truly was… 

So the day began… Andrew layed some maps out onto the table, showed us how to measure as well as plot our journey’s between buoys, this gave us the foundation to plan our route for the day, we then stopped up the river to get some fuel so during the meantime, we brought out the ukulele and sat on the trampoline and sang some original tunes. When leaving we decided to bring out the sails, one by one. First being the main sail, after a short time after realising the wind had forsaken us we brought out the genoa, so we then decided: ‘this wind is pathetic, let’s get out ALL THE SAILS !’ so we had all four sails out and were still going at a snail’s pace so we decided: ‘sod it, we’re motoring.’

By this point in the day, it was around Lunchtime. It was time to put our shopping trip to the test! Unfortunately, four cans of soup is not nearly quite enough for 12 people, so we had a pathetic mug of half a cup of soup and a sad looking eighth of a baguette with some cold gouta. Also by this point in the day, we’d also come to the conclusion that we’d let ourselves down, we’d let our families down but perhaps worst of all, we’d let Mike down. The rest of the day we could have layed bare, hungry and grumpy so we decided to plunge into our only saviour… A packet of Maryland chocolate chip cookies. Like a pack of blood sniffing sharks, we plunged ourselves into the caring arms of the deceptively sweet snack. It didn’t last, yet surprisingly enough we remained resilient, strong, determined and as a pack we steered into port at around 4:30pm. Graciously, we were granted ashore after a smooth and quick landing. We went to a local supermarket in Yarmouth and bought ourselves some ice creams, chocolates as well as some water, we sat on a park bench for a while and let rest our sea legs, just for a moment. 

We got back on the boat at 5:30pm and discovered another problem, while wanting to make ourselves some pasta carbonara, we had once again let ourselves down. We had bought one singular pot of sauce for our 12 person pasta, it seemed that we, as a group, were not too confident with our budgeting and rationing abilities… happily our skippers had realised our utter incompetence and saved us at the final moments with two spare sauce pots. We did happily end up fully fed ( one could even argue OVER fed ) with leeway for three to four second helpings. 

We then began to deliberate and argue over out budgeting abilities, we were working on our meal plan for the next five days or so and did not have the option to re-buy or go over our deliberated budget of £150 with strict rules such as ‘no doubling up on meals’ and being sure to properly feed our crew. Our problems seemed to mainly arise around that of fruit, specifically quantities of fruit… we were not seeming to get much better at budgeting… But Hark! a hope appeared ! It seemed to us that Mike was aiming to give our sorry arses a hand ! by making disgusted or confused faces at our choices. It seemed to me, personally, at least that he was working from a wise place Unless he was pulling our legs from out from under less to teach us yet another lesson ! trust no one !  Never the less, I have hope that he wishes to eat well for the week…

Silva Cunningham and the crew of the Tallships Cat.

Day Two


Today, we rose earlier than perhaps we would’ve under different conditions. We wanted to leave dock early to ‘catch the tide’ and so came upstairs, all half awake, cold and still tired. Nevertheless we persisted ! getting off the dock quickly and calmly. I won’t lie to you, I cannot remember what we did for the next short while as I took a quick 20 minute recoup nap on the trampoline BUT strait after that, I assume we put up the genoa as well as the main sail as by the time I had reawaken both were up and i was being shouted at… so I went downstairs to try to find a place where I could both nap and look mildly useful, but much to my dismay we were beginning to cook a well catered breakfast.

In our group we have a long standing joke, that our lovely gentle giant friend Tom Durrant can not cook bacon to save his life… But alas, our one rule was overlooked and the breakfast we were awaited with was served alongside somehow undercooked and burnt bacon ( don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful but when carried and un-chewable meets your plate you have reasons to laugh ) The over catered full english was still a success! with all parties eating well without anyone being scrutinised for underdelivering. 

Sadly, after this renowned success, the load of washing up was almost comical ( for someone that was not me or Durrant ) the dishes kept coming and coming wave after wave, dish after dish, the pile kept growing and growing, overcrowding the microscopic kitchen to the point of no return. Tom and I, feeling like maids from the 1600s, scrubbed the day away with hours passing by us. If you ask someone else it might seem as though Tom and I were simply being lazy, creating formative teenage experiences and all that, but no we were breaking arms and elbows in attempts to find all the cutlery, bowls and plates. Suffocating amounts of bubbles from the dish soap and overfilling bins from the sheer amount of leftover soggy egg. We were intrenched in walls upon walls of dirty dishes, whilst upstairs they were re-inflating the dinghy.

For a while It felt as though we were moving at a good speed, perhaps my dizzy perception from below deck was throwing me off, but at least whilst we were washing for about an hour or so I assumed we might of moved somewhere, but it seemed to me that whilst Tom and I had busted our elbows scrubbing the charred remains of sad soggy egg off the bottom of pans, the boat above have only travelled about half a kilometre… This struck me as odd, I could tell we were moving, moving in some direction at least but at every turn the wheel made, the boat seemed resistant to follow so we remained patient, as patient as we should be I assume since moving at 1.9 knots was not the most thrilling experience of my life. 

We had began another navigation exercise and were making our way past the buoys one by one eventually. after about a month, Mike must’ve grown tired from our suffering so he turned on the engine and he began to motor down to old harry’s rocks as the rest of us put away the sails in a hurry. We were driven down to a small beach by newly pumped dinghy and were told to meet back for 5:30 for a BBQ. in the meantime we wanted to find some icecream, so recounted our steps from several years prior to locate some frozen treat. we walked up to south beach, waited a while, forgot why we’d come and left again… by that point we were met back on the original beach with two instant BBQs and all the meats. 

When we’d got back to boat we were al shattered, but we were tasked with a night sailing exercise so we sat at the front of the boat and watched the sunset. Our communication skills as a group could improve as made evident by this exercise… it was meant to take 30-40 mins to get to poole but it ended up taking an hour or so due to our inability to get across the important information between navigator and helmsmen. The noise and panic caused by our inability to work seamlessly could have been headache inducing ! and it was ! I sat downstairs holding my head squinching my eyebrows and hoping to get to land soon. It was 12 mins into my headache when I got over my fragile ego and tried to help in some pathetic way, it was coincidentally at this time where our communication skills truly reached a peak.

We ended up exhausted and cold in poole at around 9:45 ready for bed, ready to begin another shopping adventure in the morning…

Silva and the crew.

Day Three


This morning we arose to a cold yet eventful morning to mark the start of our DofE expedition. It began with a 7:30 start followed followed by a quick breakfast of cereal and bagel quarters (for some), This set us off on the right foot to start the day. we first started by making a list of the food that we would need for the upcoming four days of sailing, then with £140 in our pocket and £10 back at the boat we ventured to the local Tesco’s express which in its self was the largest hurdle we had encountered thus far, due to the ever changing list and the number of items that we did in fact need to purchase , however after a good 40 minutes of browsing, reevaluating our shopping list , more browsing and finally purchasing we made it back to the boat with our arms filled with food. one could perhaps even argue all the food. Then came the task of unpacking and stocking our minuscule mini fridge(s), the entire situation could have been improved with a crowbar at the half way point, ( the crowbar perhaps being a more aggressive approach to the previous calm shoving of loaf upon loaf of bread into an unforgiving pantry)  however with much encouragement , order and a touch of stubbornness we again overcame our progressive and ongoing struggle with food and budgeting. 

Then came the actual sailing part of our sailing Duke of Edinbrough , which started of rather poorly with us realising that we first needed to know where we were going and how we intended to get there , this all occurred with a hustle of people working two different routes and another cluster clearing the remnants of breakfast off the table on which we were plotting our route , however once the table was cleared and the route plotted we left the harbour. This came with a new found joy as the clouds cleared and the sun shone through , this invigorated everyone both waking them up and giving a kick to the morale. With the quay behind us the sea in front we set off , our first hurdle came when negotiating our way along and out of the channel and out into open water , this involved a bit of hassle (a lot less than first anticipated) but hassle non the less , as we worked our way down this narrow straight we bounced from buoy to buoy with the every present fear of ferries and other vessel , however in the end we made it out of the channel and into the open sea, where we began our long last stretch to Lymington , this was by far our longest single stretch actually sailing without our motor, this did come with the trouble of time sadly beautiful weather. There was simply no wind from the moment we left the channel , this led to us crawling along at 1 to 2 knots for a good two hours , in this time we managed to fix a gourmet meal of cheese , ham , pickle and cucumber sandwiches for our lunch , however as the wind started to pick up and our sails filled we gained some speed and moved on to our destination , and soon the ten nautical mile endeavour passed and we made it to our destination. We came into lymington at around 3:30, by the time we docked and sorted everything out it was four o’clock. From there all eight of us went into Lymington to have a look around the area , this began with a collection of ice creams form a VERY enthusiastic welsh sounding man who seemed to take a bit to much pleasure in his job. From there we moved on with half of us spending their time in Costa and the there half of us killing time in Waterstones (this involved listening to a man trying to order a quidich set ‘for his younger brother’) , we then all convened at costa and made our way back to the boat for a well needed dinner made by Catherine and Naomi which was surprisingly edible and as of this moment in time we have seen no repercussions which is a benefit. 

After supper and clearing up we all went for our showers and cleaned and then came back to the boat where we watched a very good and pleasant film during which Georgia spend the entirety screaming, flinching trying to take her mind off of seemingly nothing. 

Our evening ended with a brief hot chocolate and biscuits and then to bed. 

For the first time in a while the majority of us went to bed in a warm(ish) room which led to a decent nights sleep. 

Tom D. 

Day Four


Today we woke up after a small lie in at 8:00. We started a breakfast of fruit salad and got ready for the day. We quite quickly realised that although we had planned to leave at 10:00 and arrive at our destination Beaulieu at about 14:00, we had not taken into consideration the fact we would be arriving at low tide. Therefore to avoid running a ground we decided to stop for lunch around the headland. We then left at 10:30 to head east for lunch, with the wind behind us all the way we let the sails out and continued to jibe down the solent until we stopped for a lunch of bacon rolls. As we still had time before we would be able to enter Beaulieu when the tide was high enough we decided to look for the party rings. Unfortunately after having all 12 members of our team searching for the biscuits and 4 people separately checking the same cupboard repeatedly, before we turned on each other we decided to accept the Sainsbury’s Own Brand biscuits and begin the second leg of our journey. 

After washing up lunch we proceeded to sail up wind back where we came from. during which we experienced the spectacle of Andrews dancing. After some engine assisted sailing we made it to Beaulieu docks. After docking in the worlds smallest space (breathe in) (Mike is amazing) (The worlds best boat captain) we arrived on solid land. We then proceeded to have showers and eat super then bed. 

Cathrine and Tom 

Day Five


We started the day in Beaulieu and were woken up to “Wake up it’s a beautiful morning” at 8:15 as our alarm. The irony of this was so incredibly apparent as we, stock frozen, looked un-longingly out our window at the rain solemnly falling  down our window pain.   We then had cereal for breakfast before preparing the boat for the next leg of our journey. Sadly, this morning our cereal was not kindly accompanied by warm bagels since our budget would not allow it… it’s days like this where you truly feel the genuine struggle of the duke of Edinbrough, but we, as headstrong middle-class teenagers banded together and pulled through the almost unbearable pain of JUST cereal. happily for us our luck only went up from there!  it was high tide at 10:30am (the time at which we had planned to leave two days prior), after having to rearrange our plans Tuesday due to the great effect of the tide on Beaulieu river.

As we set sail for Gosport it was frigid,  however we managed to keep up moral using a continuous flow of music and hot drinks -a choice of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. and huddling together like penguins in the Antarctic. Perhaps one of the bonuses to the bad weather was that the strong winds and expanses of open sea played to our advantage as we reached speeds of over 6 knots in the afternoon. Truly, speed demons we can say we are! We sailed for the vasty majority of the day, taking care to switch helms regularly so as not to let anyone get too cold. 

For lunch we had soup and sandwiches – Georgia and Heather buttered the sides of the sandwiches lovingly and chopped up clove upon clove of lettuce, When it came to the filling of sandwiches I must say that from my perspective at least, I (Silva) felt as though I were perhaps too harsh with the amount of fillings allowed per sandwich, Georgia tried to convince me that we had enough for each person to have two slices of ham per sandwich, and to that I said ‘ Georgia, if we give them two slices of ham PER sandwich they’ll get used to it ! they’ll become ungrateful! ‘ as it turns out, I must admit defeat as we had almost twice as much ham left over than that of what we’d used. I was ashamed of myself, utterly embarrassed so I stowed myself away into the kitchen to take on the key load of washing up in solitude. 

By the time I’d emerged, like a troll from under its bridge it seemed as though all roles were assumed, so I sat downstairs watching the rain fall and the boat top from side to side. I began to navigate tracking our boats location and assuming my very own role on the tipping ship. Happily for me the navigation hub is right next to the aux chord thereby alluringly me to play by terrible tunbridge wells rap with ease ( as well as the vast majority of people coming down and changing my music when they’d finally reached their limit ) 

Overall the journey took up most of the day and we arrived in port at early afternoon. Having docked we then proceeded to walk to Gosport, My only aim when in Gosport was to redeem the boats lack of party rings, but sadly our total when we’d reached Morrisons went over £40 so my party rings idea looked almost hopeless, But Hark! a ye olde pound saver was spotted so I went in bought myself some well deserved party rings to share out and three hand warmers. 

Once we got back to the boat we were all gathered for a very important announcement, 21 creme eggs had been misplaced around the ship ! ’twas indeed and job for 8 hungry tired teenagers who wanted nothing more than a good old fashioned easter egg hunt. And what a hunt it was ! Hour upon hour we searched tirelessly, so tirelessly in fact that Tom W (or small Tom if you prefer ) our resident eracnophobe managed to butcher Naomi’s iPhone while looking for it in a little cubby hole, in his own words ‘I got scared by a spider, i proceeded to freak out scrambled bak out through the hole backwards chucked Naomi’s phone to her. She did get her phone, that wasn’t the issue. I then jumped out of the hatch slammed it shut, not realising that the phone was in-between the hatch and the floor. Now the home button has fallen out… yeah that happened… ‘ 

But after pulling the halliard, un-cleating the main sheet, almost falling off the boat and breaking a phone we finally found all 21 creme eggs…

Georgia and Silva 

Day Six


This morning we woke up early, in preparation for our final evaluation. At that point it seemed like just another day, but now upon looking back at it, as well as the entire week, I have the safe ability to say that we as a collective have made some good memories here, some indeed memorable memories, all the memories one might say.

The day stared off as normal, with Andrew serenading us with his ironic tunes to urge us out of bed. This morning the task was porridge, and you could not suspect how difficult it was for us to make a mass of porridge fit for not a boat of 12, Nay a boat of 13.  But we were more than capable of making a seemingly cement like paste of oats and water.

We then set off, leaving dock smoothly, sadly realizing it being our last time to leave as a collective… our navigation for the day followed a circle more or less, following, at least for the first half of the day a very similar route to the first day we set off… today it seemed as though it the weather could be acting against us but much to our luck by the end of the day we’d got a gusty boy to push us through the final stretch.

Mid way through the day, Chaz must’ve gotten wildly bored of our games so he decided to start his own. He began by slyly pegging a clothing peg onto the back of Andrew’s lifejacket, before long it was utter chaos. Clothing pegs everywhere… all the clothing pegs ! people walking around with clothing pegs on their hats, on their shoes, their socks the entire charade eventually ending up with Andrew rolling around on the floor as though he were on fire. Have no fear, we as a group did our best to help him put the imaginary fire, would not let the fake fire hurt our friend. Still to this day, I believe that Andrew has still got pegs on him somewhere.

At the end of the day, we’d been gathered by Chaz to inform us that we’d done well enough but we still need to clean the entire boat despite it being ‘Ghastly’ (as mike put it) …

After a flavorfully soft sausages and buttery mash we presented our gifts to our wonderful skipper and mate. We presented Andrew with a box of ‘small chocolate chip cookies’ and Mike with a terry’s chocolate orange and a crown thereby dubbing him ‘princess mike, maiden of the sea’ ( still today – Friday – he wears his crown proudly like a pleased cockatoo presenting itself in the mirror )

We’d had a successful week and all I could think whilst doing the mountain of washing produced from our sausages and mash was that, while it might of taken a while… we’d finally learned to fully fed the boat!

Silva and the crew of the Tallships Cat

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