Challenger 2 – Half Term Offshore Challenge

By Tall Ships - October 29th, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

A night sail all the first night ment an invigorating blast to Dartmouth. High speeds of 10 knots plus all the way brought us into the river Dart with the first light. A fairly shattered crew recovered after a good sleep on a mooring buoy in the harbour and we later moved to the harbour jetty to explore a little. We had a visiting ships kitten who loved the large decks and melted hearts of all.

Day Two

The second sail of the week went a lot smoother than the first. We started the day at the crack of dawn and set sail from Dartmouth to Plymouth at 8.30am. Amazing weather conditions for a great day of sailing. We were accompanied by dolphins in the early hours of the sail, which was obviously a lot more enjoyable than the safety lesson with the skipper. A lovely view of Dartmouth when leaving this morning with the castle on the right and some amazing houses on the left. We did some safety procedures like a man over board and what the steps are when the boat is sinking or on fire, all of which we hope won’t happen this week. We have a small crew this week which is good because it’s easier to communicate with each other, there’s more space on the boat and everybody can just fit around the table. There’s the skipper, who is in charge of the safety of the rest of the crew, the mate, who is in charge of running the procedures, the watch leaders, who are a part of the teams and helping the crew, who are hoping to achieve their competent crew award and who are extending their knowledge more and more each day about sailing. The man over board procedure was very helpful to the crew on learning what to do. Starting by shouting “man over board” and pointing in the direction of the person who fell overboard, then somebody sends out a mayday call to the coastguard where you’d give them your position and that it is a man over board emergency. As somebody is doing the mayday call, somebody will have pressed the button that pin points where the person had falling. The person on the helm would tack so that the wind isn’t pushing the boat forward and would turn to get as close to the person overboard and then let the boat do what it wants to do and quite quickly you will have floated to the person and finally got them back on board. Getting into Plymouth was easy and it didn’t take too long for the crew to get everything done that needed to be done. We got to have showers and have a walk around the town while tea was cooking which was sausage and mash tonight which was delicious. Ready for a good night’s sleep for tomorrows journey to Brixham. And remember, STAY HYDRATED! SUNCREAM!

Day Three

Today we woke up early at a time of 07.15 and set sail by 08.00 for Brixham. On the 9 hour journey we did a number of things ranging from: raising and lowering sails and tacking several times. We learnt and went through different flares and what they do. Today’s weather was perfect all day; blue skies and little to no cloud making sailing harder than previous. We carried out a racing head sail change learning how to work as a quick and efficient single team. We also did some downwind sailing today making use of the poles to goose wing our sails. During this time we also climbed out to the end of the pole and it was rather challenging. We arrived in the marine at 17.00 and docked on the jetty again working well to get lines in place quickly. We then packed away all the unnecessary lines and wrapped up the sails neatly. We then had time to shower and look around Brixham, there is minimal wifi of phone signal but we managed to carry on. Dinner was prepared and underway by 19.00 and served marvellously 20.00 (by far the best meal of the week). Now all tucked up and ready for some sleep for our trip tomorrow to Weymouth.

Day Four

A slightly later start today, we didn’t have to get out of bed until 7.30. We had a small breakfast, and then quickly set sail from Brixham to Weymouth, we hoisted the mainsail and the Yankee sail and got going at around 8kts quite quickly! We then hoisted our staysail and went even faster. After sailing for a while and learning how to get a weather forecast from the VHF radio we came across the best thing of the week so far, DOLPHINS! We were joined by a large pod of dolphins, they jumped around our bow for around 30mins, in that time we got some very good photos and videos as they leapt out of the water again and again right under our noses.

After the excitement of the dolphins (which lasted a long time), we had a very nice chilli (which definitely wasn’t reused bolognas from last night’s meal) for lunch. We hydrated and had some biscuits just in time for the wind to drop off meaning that we had to turn on our engine. This meant that we dropped both of our head sails. With both of our headsails out of the way, we were able to climb the 95ft mast. It was an unbelievable experience from which some of us brave enough to take out our phones out, took away some very good selfies!

Once we had all had a turn up the mast, we were given the task of flaking and stowing the Yankee, we all worked together to get the sail back to the snake pit, to flake it and stow it away. Once that was done we were approaching Weymouth, we readied the boat to get into harbour. Once docked, we packed the boat away, stowing all of the sheets in the sail locker and tidying up the deck. We had a great fish&chips dinner, and are all looking forward to a good sleep after a very enjoyable day.+

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