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Challenger 2 – HSBC Portsmouth to London

By Tall Ships - October 3rd, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

The story so far…..

Today we travelled down to Portsmouth; the journey was very long and for many hours we had to sit inside a very hot mini bus for bare time, luckily we had a mad bus driver called Anthony who allowed us to stop for McDonalds for about 20 minutes. I met the rest of the crew and they were quite welcoming to me, we soon came up with nicknames that should not be repeated, also we became Somalian pirates and rebelled against the other tall ships and took their food. On our first night together we all got sat around the cockpit and got to know each other a bit more. We told jokes and told each other what we liked doing in our spare time and our weird traits, this allowed us to be more free with each other and enables us to be more comfortable with our crew mates. We then listened to Nick and Sue as they explained what parts of the boat do what and how to use the equipment after that we took a light walk to the beach. When we got back it was almost time for bed so we had a bit of time to chill then everyone went back to their own ships and we went to sleep.

The next day we had to get up very early as we was getting ready to set off to France it was tiring and people got seasick but eventually we made it and we had food then went to sleep because everyone was tired. The next day we all took showers and got ready for more exciting activities later on we all had a go at climbing the mast then we went off into a town in France and had a little look around and we got some time to ourselves which was nice it gave us time to talk and reconnect to our loved ones back at home. We then went back to our ships and had something to eat . After tea, we were able to socialise with the others from the other boats and had some time to ourselves. After a while, we went to bed as we had to get up early in the morning to go to Dieppe.

The next morning, we all got up at 7 and started the boat so we could make our way to Dieppe. We had some breakfast and then we all got up on deck to hoist the main sail, which took less time than yesterday as challenger 4 boat got stuck so all the other boats were delayed, and was hoisted a lot easier, and the yankee 2. After a while of having the yankee 2 sail up, we decided to put it down as there wasn’t much wind so it weren’t doing much. Dinner time one group gathered to cook tomato and chicken soap, I think everyone enjoyed it as it was mostly all gone. Later on in the day we had a few lessons about buoys and tying ropes. In our spare time we all had a game off uno and listened to music through the speakers. When we went back up on deck we were all gutted as we thought we were going to be last but we managed to get first.

Today the sea was a lot calmer than the other day as no one was ill. The weather has been so sunny and hot, most didn’t wear our waterproofs or coats. Lots of us had to put suncream on. While we were driving past all of the other challenger boats we could see them doing challenges such as climbing and helping each other out. There were a few of us who had the opportunity to drive our boat which was great fun. Before lunch we had free time for us to have a laugh amongst each other, sun bathe and read. It was so relaxing. After we all worked as a team to get the sails down, so we all sat on the floor and folded the sail up and pack it away as we didn’t need it.

Challenger 2 crew

Day Two

What happened next….

This morning, which dawned crisp and cold, we had an excellent breakfast of croissants and pain au chocolat – in true French style. The boat gathered, or rather dragged themselves to their respective jobs afterwards. Deck washing, washing up, drying up, brushing, moping, wiping. Phew! Then the infamous dingy racing preparation began. My first impression of the dingy, after we managed to inflate it (which was quite a task in itself) was not a very reassuring one. Yet the others seem to be in joyous moods, which eventually infected me too. Once the dingys were set up, we all took practice rounds so each pair that was chosen by Tom would take turns in rowing the dingy and making sure they have well enough chemistry to row effectively together. Later on we got all the dingys lined up and set off on the relay races and Challenger 2 won the race, lapping the other crews. After the race was won the challenger 2 ship crew all celebrated and cheered in joy. In the afternoon after we finished packing everything away we got showers and had some time to spend together before we went off into the town of Dieppe and tried learning some French to impress the people, well in my case girls.

Once this was all finished we went down to the beach and was left for a bit to wonder around. We had quite a while to ourselves which I thought was nice. Dieppe has a quiet yet inviting feel to it. We couldn’t find the perfect places like the locals, however we refused to stick to the seaside like some common tourists. We roamed the high streets, toured the alleyways and attempted to somewhat communicate with the locals.

Starboard Watch

Day Three

And back to England….

We woke up fairly early, about 7am, preparing to leave for 9am. ‘Twas the coldest night during the journey so far, in the boys bunk Charlie and Jervaughn was dressed ‘inappropriately’ for the weather, as in everything above the waist was left exposed….’Twas quite unpleasant. After breakfast we removed the covers off the sails and left port before 9 as we desired. Towards lunchtime England was visible on the horizon, therefore we was able to view both France and England comfortably from the boat. While Tom’s watch was preparing Lunch, Pearl’s watch was making a ‘little Einstein’ remix suitable for singing on the ship which featuring the lines “we’re going on a trip with our skippers Sue and Nick” Which eventually evolved into an amazing short strip of the Einstein theme song. At this point we soon starting preparing a tack to cut through the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme), before then revealing the beautiful land of Dover. Which we carried along the coast of until we finally reached our destination being Ramsgate. Comparing here to all the previous ports we have visited… it is HORRIBLE. Coming here actually convinced Jervaughn to move to France and revealed how ugly Enlgand is. Especially since entering the borders of England, the weather and the mood was so much more depressing than the joy we all shared entering France.

Starboard watch

Day Four

Yesterday, we woke up at 8am, for breakfast we had eggy bread (French toasts) and that was pearl’s team who made them, they were really nice. In the afternoon we did a boat only with recycling things and I think we all did a really good job with making the boat float and also the details, and we are definitely going to win the competition. Around 3pm we leave Ramsgate and the wind and waves was quite strong for us (the youth because, this was our first time experiencing a level 5 force but, at first some of us felt sick but then it was really fun it was like a rollercoaster. We got to Queenborough at 11pm and we all were really tired and went straight to bed.

We sailed quite late into the afternoon, after the lunch affair had been finished, and the usual grumbles about washing up had been out of the way. Before lunch, there was a little squabble amongst us youth on the subject of the recycled boat. Everyone seemed to have a new idea yet couldn’t seem to combine them all, though eventually we managed to piece together all of thoughts into a river of one idea. It seems that our boat would excel; it has everything: style, stability, superiority.

The Man over Board drill was an exciting and fun activity, contrasting harshly with its necessity and danger. Although it seemed that all of us were made suitably aware of the consequences of going over board, so don’t!

The sailing itself is quite a tedious and physically taxing task in brilliant weather, but add rocking waves and sharp wind; it was a huge challenge at the beginning. The ship seem to raise out of the waves, then drop down so suddenly by the constant, unforgiving wind. In the end it was all worth it, as all difficult things usually are, because we were gifted with the most beautiful sunset. The palette of reds, oranges, and yellows seem to blend together so intricately and radiate each hue with such delicate manners, almost as if they would bleed right of the sky into the bright blue juxtaposing sea.

We reached Queenborough well into the night, all of us working like a well-oiled machine right to the very end.

Day Five

This morning we had a late wakeup call: we woke up at 9. However, most of us woke up at 8 due to Ellis’ nuisance which wasn’t pleasant. For breakfast, Tom’s watch made pancakes. They tasted really good! Pearl’s watch had to do a thorough clean around the boat. This included cleaning the heads, sweeping and mopping the floors, wiping the sides and as usual washing up. Before the job roles was completely decided, Ellis had to pick which hand the orange peel was in from Pearl’s hand to decide whether him or Charlie would clean the heads… Ellis had to clean the heads. He procrastinated for a bit but after a while finally cleaned them. While Ellis cleaned the heads the rest of the crew had to wait for him on the shore before we could go exploring. When exploring Queenborough there wasn’t much to see: it was a very small town with very little sights. Some of us had fish and chips while others trekked all the way across town to eat from KFC. Most who travelled to KFC ended up being almost an hour late however, Jervaughn and Charlie decided to run back so they made it back in time. Pearl’s watch made toasted baguettes with two types of fillings; tuna and corned beef slices. After lunch, we started to sail to Gravesend around 2. To start with we had the stay sail and the yankee 2. After a while we took them both down due to both sails not doing much. We decided to motor the rest of the journey. There wasn’t much wind and the waves were not as intense as the day prior. Also, while sailing we had a chance to develop our song. Downstairs, Emily was teaching Nyomi how to play the chords on the ukulele which were C, G, C, A, A, F, G. Nyomi picked it up quite quickly. Tom’s watch made sausages and mashed potatoes with carrots and gravy. After dinner, we had a competitive quiz. This was a competition between Pearl’s watch and Tom’s watch. It was highly intense. Pearl’s watch won by 1.5 points so it was an extremely close game but it proved that Port’s watch was the best watch! Then we brainstormed ideas for our banner which we would present in our presentation. We didn’t conclude to a final idea but there was a lot of creative suggestions and input.

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