This week on board Challenger 3, we are joined by a group of young people from YMCA Dulverton Group.
Read more about their voyage – in their own words – below:
We arrived in Gunwharf Quays with a warm welcome from the Tall Ships team. We were escorted to Challenger 3, boarded the boat, familiarised ourselves with the top and bottom decks, set up our bunks and stored our belongings.
Once familiarised with our new surroundings, we were given a safety briefing and suited up in the lifejackets and wet weather gear, ready to set sail.
Before leaving, we spaced out a few of the fenders including ‘Riley the Fender’. We took the mooring lines and the last fenders off the side of the boat and left Gunwharf Quays.
As we left, we passed a lot of very large vessels – some passenger ferries and one large cargo ship. The further away we got from land, the larger the waves and the faster the wind. One large wave crashed against the side of the boat and gave me an early bath!
As we got ever closer to the port of Cowes, we all got up from our relaxed positions and got ready to moor on to the pontoon. After tying a few fenders, I got given the job of holding the middle mooring line.
I gave Kyrian some slack so he could move the line onto different mooring points of the pontoon, and once on the correct mooring point I pulled the mooring line on the winch as much as I could to make sure the boat was not going the drift away in the night.
Once moored, we could take off the wet weather gear and lifejackets and explore the beautiful town of Cowes. The hours flew past and it was suddenly time for dinner; I stepped down to the bottom deck to be greeted by lovely fajitas and once they were all tackled, it was time to go into our bunks and tuck in for the night.
Once I was fully awake, I walked down the pontoon onto the marina to have a very refreshing shower. When I boarded Challenger 3, I was met by the smell of bagels toasting away, ready to have a coat of chocolate spread on it for breakfast.
Once the plates and cutlery were all washed up it was time to clear up the ship; my job was to clean the heads (toilets). Once the ship was cleaned we set off to the RLNI factory; to get to the factory we had to take a chain ferry over the river to East Cowes. It was interesting to see how risky some sailors are trying to sneak past the ferry instated of being patient and waiting for a clear gap.
When we arrived at East Cowes we had a 5-minute walk over to the factory, where we were greeted by our tour guide. After a briefing, we put on our white hi-vis jackets and walked upstairs to start our tour.
We started at the very top of the building where the D-class lifeboats are fitted with the floor of the boat; moving down the factory we saw where they fit the inflatable sides of the boat and were given a demonstration of how they cut the material to shape, which was very interesting to see. I was also given a special cutout of the shape on the D-class ship, using the material used on the actual ship.
Moving away from the fitting room, we were shown down to the room where all the engines are either maintained, or for any new Yamaha 115 engine they would be fitted with a special waterproof mechanism so if the boat was to capsize, the electronics and combustion chamber would be safe from any water filling up.
To finish, we had a group photo with the freshly made D-class vessels before we made our way back to the ship. For lunch we had some lovely Cornish pasties with beans and got fuelled up for the scavenger hunt to get more familiar with the town of Cowes.
The scavenger hunt involved taking photos of various points of interest such as Egypt Point, the Royal Yacht Squadron, the row of golden cannons and many more. There were two teams and at the end it was a draw that needed a tie-breaker, with the winning team prepping dinner and the losing team washing up after dinner.
The tie-breaker was to find a sailor’s favourite place that has a full-size boat on the roof. My team and the other team set off and after five minutes my team found the place in question: The Union, a pub tucked away down a small road. We got our picture of the location and ran, just as we were running the other team found the place and were not hanging around!
As I was running I took a wrong turn to the marina, however I was still ahead – but not by much as you can’t run on the pontoon. It was neck-and-neck and the other team won by a hair’s breadth.
While the sausage and mash was being prepped by the other team, I took a trip to the shops to explore a little bit more of the town before eating.