We woke up to a wonderful sausage sandwich breakfast. It was cooked by two extravagant, elegant and talented chefs, Greg and Joe. People ate varying amounts of sausage, between 1 and 4 each. (With the chefs having 4.)
After our delicious, wonderful and visually appealing breakfast we built a very impressive model boat led by chief designer, Tom. The people who crafted this masterpiece was Joe, Greg, Tom, Miss Hurley, Mrs Stewart, Charlotte and Harriet. It will be judged on Thursday against the other challenger yacht, crewed by children two years older than ourselves.
After this Greg and Tom went up on deck and “checked” the man overboard equipment. They found an eye patch fit for a pirate. Greg donned the eye patch and looked dashing and exotic. It helped us through a dinghy race against people two years older. After being informed that if we didn’t win we couldn’t have lunch. With this at the forefront of our minds, the brave and skilled oarsmen (Tom and Mia, Harriet and Abbi and last but most definitely not least, Greg and Joe) prepared for their mission. We absolutely obliterated the other team. By the time last two men had finished the other team was still switching from leg two to three.
The victory was fabulous. We listened to We are the Champions during our victory feast cooked by Baz. It was delicious oven-cooked jacket potatoes. Joe and Greg once again ate the most. We set sail but due to the poor wind conditions we were forced to use the engine.
We arrived in Osborne bay and after awakening Charlotte once again the two exquisite, experienced and extraordinary chefs, Joe and Greg, cooked another unforgettable, perfectly balanced and nutritious meal of spaghetti a la bolognaise with handmade sauce by Greg and Joe under the tutelage of Mrs Stewart. Whilst this was occurring, Charlotte boiled some dried pasta. Harriet handed out some pre-grated cheese. And for the third time today, Joe and Greg ate the most.
At this very moment, we are plotting a route to be used after darkness has fallen, incorporating bearings, cardinal signals and speed approximations. Once it is dark we will be travelling to Portsmouth.
By Greg and Joe (the wonderful, well-rounded, fabulous, beautiful, well-dressed, marvellous, slightly annoying, unique, wonderful glasses wearing chefs).
Its day 3 on Challenger 2 and tensions are high – on the lines (ropes), because its race day! We woke this morning at the usual time, 7.30 and started getting ready. Unexpectedly we were told we had to be ready on deck in half an hour. All at once people were getting dressed, brushing teeth, cutting bread, frying bacon and making sandwiches ready for breakfast and then the big day ahead. We relaxed more once told we didn’t have to leave off until 10.00. We rushed off into the local town where we’d landed, Poole, to buy an item for the tacky souvenir competition. We were all back by quarter to, in our life jackets, ready to cast off.
We sailed back in the direction we had come from and soon enough raised the main sail slightly differently than usual so it was shorter because of the wind. Once around the boat was almost completely blue in every direction and islands in the distance we noticed Challenger 1 sailing up beside us. We knew it was time. Time to race. After turning the engine off and floating on for a while a sound came through the radio. Skipper gave us all places be and jobs to do. 5 4 3 2 1!!! We raised the two front sails and tilted the boat sideways ploughing on through the multiple knots of wind. We went a slightly different path to Challenger 1, lucky for us (as you will see later), so we won’t go to close to them.
After a while the other boat was near to the horizon, and it was time to start tacking. Two of us were cranking at the lazy winch and two of us loosening the working one. In a hurry to turn the boat we didn’t realise that it was now tilting the other way. We tacked (if that’s the right word) quite a bit now and the land we were aiming for was in the distance. By now the sea was fairly vicious and the wind dramatic. It was my turn at the wheel. Whilst on it the wind reached 29 knots! We were travelling at a steady 7 or 8 but later went up to 11 – 12 knots. Several of us had a go at the wheel and the encouragement was buzzing. We could see the buoy we were aiming for in the distance and Mia took the wheel. Challenger 1 was coming up behind us and then…
Once all the excitement and cheering was over we took down the two front sails and had lunch, a tortellini pasta in a mascarpone sauce. Before long we were back on deck heading to Lymington with the cooling wind in our hair. Once ported we calmed down and prepared for dinner before being informed there was a saltwater swimming pool next door. So we headed there. The cool water was refreshing and fairly pleasant but the inflatable obstacle course was a challenge that made it the most fun.
This trip so far has been a challenge. Mentally, being away from our families and our normal routine. Physically, all the work at the winches and hoisting the sails. And finally socially, stuck on a boat with 16 people we don’t know that well and all bonding and working as a team in such a short time.
To finish the evening we went to the pub (No drinks though) to watch the football – England vs Columbia and those who weren’t interested played some cards games including myself and had some fun before heading to back to the boat and back to bed for a well-deserved good night’s rest!
On our second day of our Tallships adventure, we had (for some people) a good night’s sleep. In my night, us girls discussed some things, then settled down to sleep. Then, we listened to the boys on the other side of the ship chatting before finally falling asleep at about ten thirty PM. I woke up early and sat in the galley, which we eat our meals on when we don’t sit up on the deck. In the time that passed (between half five and half seven), I watched as people woke up. First, Greg came and read his book – the Edge of Greatness, look it up – then went back to bed. After we’d been sat for a while, Paul came in. He made himself a cup of tea before heading back to bed. Barry came into the galley with his newspaper a couple of minutes after. He read his newspaper and read some articles out to us. Greg went back to bed at that point. After a couple of minutes of conversation, Paul came in and made us a cup of tea. When Sam woke up, he went straight to the deck. Terry came into the galley and sat down. At around half seven, us who were up started putting a breakfast of cereals out, and waking up the others.
When breakfast was finished, we put the main sail up, and sailed out of Cowes Port. We went downwind and travelled around the needles. We put a pole up onto the mast and had goes at climbing up to it. Abby went first, and I turned to Andrew and said, “If you do it, I’ll do it.” (Which I realise was my mistake – I didn’t know what I’d just signed myself up for!) Andrew – lucky person – is quite short. He could hook his leg up over the rope and use it as a brake. He was up the top and touching the pole quickly, and then it was my turn. The harness was tight around my legs but not too tight. Then I went over the safety rail and – taking into account that the yacht was going at 4 knots but seemed like a lot more- put my leg over the rope. If it weren’t for the rope pulling me up, I wouldn’t have made it and touched the pole. When I did touch it, it was a long palm-on slap that meant, “I’m here, I did it, now get me down.” Going down was easier than going up though. Next to climb the rope up to the pole was Tom, and then Joe, Mia, Harriet, Charlotte and Greg. Once everyone had climbed up to the pole, the pole came down. We then had lunch, comprising of pasties and beans, and folded the sail – which there was only one up at this point, the main – went out to port, and we settled down for another two hour journey, after a thirty minute break between Port and briefings, and the raising of the pole (which took about an hour and a half).
When we finished our journey we were in Studland Bay. Studland Bay itself is too shallow for our yacht, so we moored about 5 miles out from the beach. Then we fought to fold away the sail. When we’d closed the sail, we blew up the dingy. The dinghy then had to be connected to a small propeller, and lowered into the water. The first group went into the dingy and went to the shore. I was in the second group, so I had to wait with my group to go. Getting into the dingy was hard enough. The sea was choppy so every second the dingy changed position slightly. There was no graceful way to get onto a dingy. The dingy was bouncing along on the waves, and it was enjoyable, to say the least. I trailed my hand in the wash, and the water was cool, not too cold and not too warm. In the sun we had today, it was bliss.
After messing about in the water for what didn’t feel like an hour but was, we had to get back in the dingy. I found out that you have to lift one leg up, and twist your body until said leg is above the dingy, and leap in that position into the boat. The dingy-ride back was certainly wetter than the ride there, but ultimately more fun. We all got a little wet, apart from Joe and Sam who sat next to the engine. When we got back to the boat, we jumped onto the ladder, soaking wet, and climbed onto the deck. Then we moored at Poole Harbour and cooked dinner, burgers, chips and salad. People had showers and that brings us up to the point of the writing of this blog. Everyone is getting ready for bed and having showers at the minute.
Written by Ellie Parr
We were led down to our ship called the Challenger 2. We met the crew and got to know each other a bit better in the Saloon area. Our Skipper is called Terry and he is the captain of the boat. Our Mate is called Sam and he’s a bit like Vice Captain. We have two Watch Leaders called Barry and Paul. Barry leads the Starboard Watch and Paul leads the Port Watch. Each Watch group takes it in turns to cook, clean-up, hoist the sails, bring them down again, etc. We were split into groups (not our Watch groups) and one group stayed below deck whilst the other group went above deck. Above deck, we learnt about the different areas of the boat. There’s the Bow at the front of the boat, the Snake Pit just behind the mast. It’s called the Snake Pit because that’s where all the ropes are stored if they are not in use. There’s the Cockpit just behind the Snake Pit where there are stairs leading below deck and seats so you can sit down if you want to rest for a bit (although you don’t get much rest!). At the very back of the boat, there’s the Horseshoe where the Helm (steering wheel) is and then behind that there are some lifeboats. Below deck we were shown where the sails are kept, how to use the toilets, where the waterproof jackets were and what our bunks were like.
After we left the marina, we pulled up the Main sail first which is around the middle of the ship. Then we pulled up the Yankee and the Stay sail which are two small sails at the front of the ship. As we went further into the Channel, the wind picked up and we were able to cut off the engine completely and sail using the sails. We learnt how to tack which is like zigzagging across the wind. By tacking, we managed to sail to Cowes, Isle of Wight. Throughout our journey we could see the depth of the sea change every few seconds. We could also see our speed in knots. We did about 15/16 miles (13/14 nautical miles) from Portsmouth to Cowes. Just before we came into the harbour, we put down the sails. We put the Yankee and the Stay sail down first and then we put the Main sail down. We had to fold the sail onto the Boom and tie it together with sailing ties. Then we had to cover it up with its cover. We drove into the harbour and docked. As soon as we docked, the Starboard group went downstairs to make Chicken Fajitas for everyone whilst the Port group stowed the Yankee and Stay sail back down into the sail area and cleared the deck. Tomorrow these roles will switch and the Port group will be cooking whilst the Starboard group put the sails away and clear the deck. Now we are just relaxing above deck ready to go to sleep at 9:30. It’s been quite cloudy but still very humid so having that extra bit of cover from the sun was good and the sea breeze whilst sailing has helped keep us cool. It’s been a brilliant first day and I’m sure all the other days will live up to this one.
By Mia and Abigail