Challenger 3 – YMCA Dulverton Group

By Kelly Field - April 6th, 2022 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

This week onboard Challenger 3 we have a group of young people from YMCA Dulverton Group on a four-night voyage.

Read their blog to find out more. 👇

Day 1

Monday 4

Setting off from Bridgwater in Somerset at 09:30…

We arrived in Portsmouth for 12:30 and met the crew of Challenger 3 at 13:00. We were greeted with a warm welcome from our Skipper, Josh, followed closely by Mate Sophie and Watch Leaders, Els and John. We were given a tour of the upper and lower decks, to show us all the facilities and accommodation, and we learnt the boat lingo along the way.

Just before departure at 16:00 we released the breast and spring lines (that attach the boat to the mooring pontoon), and set off from Portsmouth to Cowes.

Along the way we set up the Yankee sail and learnt how to ‘tack’ (turning the bow of the boat through the wind), so we could use the wind to our advantage. Just before our arrival we also learnt how to take down the Yankee and set up the fenders to prepare to dock for the night.

We set up the spring and breast lines, covered the sails and tidied the halliards (ropes), upon arriving in Cowes. Along the way we learnt how to tie an ‘OXO’ knot around the cleats, navigate, use the sail locker, let lines down gently and realised how much work it takes to run a tall boat!

After establishing a stable connection with the pontoon in Cowes, we started to make dinner plans. The plans consisted of fajitas, ecstatic conversations and enjoyable singing while we cleaned and made sure the kitchen and saloon were tidy ready for breakfast tomorrow morning.

To conclude; all of us thoroughly enjoyed being educated on the whereabouts of equipment and maintaining the ship. We came closer as a group of individuals and worked well as a team, allowing all of us to show what we learnt practically.

Riley Brookes and Georgie Hardy J

Day 2

Tuesday 5

Today, we worked as a team setting sail. We managed to get out of the dock where we untied the rope as a team, Connor got in the right direction where the wind was coming from and we started putting the sails up.

We started putting the main sail up and then we got up the smaller sails. We all took turns in sailing and navigating the boat and experienced being on the ‘high’ and ‘low’ side and knowing what side to be on and the risks involved while walking on deck!

We all experienced doing different roles and making sure things were going the right way. We had a cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate after we got closer to Lymington. As we neared our arrival, we worked as a team to prepare the boat while Skipper, Josh, sailed us in and we got the fenders and rope ready to hoist our boat in the right place. We then packed the sails down for the night and covered them over.

Connor and Jade.

Day 3

Wednesday 6

Today, we woke up in Challenger 3, docked in Lymington. The weather was looking rather treacherous, so Skipper, Josh wisely decided that sailing to Poole was too risky.

So… instead of departing from Lymington early, we charted our route for tomorrow night’s sail back from Cowes to Portsmouth.

After successfully charting our route, the crew prepped the deck ready for our expedition. We flaked the sail, removed and coiled the sheet lines, tightened all halliard lines, made sure all the breast and spring lines were taut and strapped on more sail ties to ensure the main sail was secure.

As a crew we played a game, enjoyed some lunch and engaged in some witty banter in the saloon around the table. After lapping up the enthusiasm of all the crew onboard, we had some free time to explore the beautiful surroundings of Lymington and eventually ventured our way back to Challenger 3.

Then things took a wild twist…

A few of the crew, joined by Mate, Sophie and Watch Leader, Els, started singing a parody of Elton John’s “Your Song” The lyrics go as followed:

“It’s a little bit chilly,

This feeling outside.

The Challenger 3,

Has nowhere to hide.

I know how to chart,

But buoy if I didn’t

We’d crash into land

And the boat would sink.”

After creating our masterpiece we settled down for dinner, delicious homemade stir fry. Finishing our meal, we washed and cleaned, settled down for a bit and then BOOM!


Everyone engaged in dancing, showtunes, pop hits and catchy singalongs. The crew and everyone onboard felt the electric atmosphere, the vibes on the boat were spectacular! Eventually all of us were called for bedtime as we had a busy day of work ahead.

To conclude everyone really enjoyed the third day of our voyage and are fully prepared for any difficulties we shall face tomorrow!

Riley Brookes and Georgie Hardy

Day 4

Thursday 6

Today, we set sail for Portsmouth… at night! The crew prepared the deck ready for the expedition, the charts were mapped and everyone on board ready.

We departed from Cowes at 20:30 and headed for our final stop at GWQ. The breast and spring lines were removed, the fenders were raised and we started on the route.

We made our way to our first cardinal marker, a green marker signed “S Ryde Middle”. However, there was a minor hiccup with how we sequenced our chart so Skipper, Josh, encouraged us to re-write our plans and correct any errors. We re-charted the map, set up our route and Josh was happy with our plans.

After successfully making our way to Cowes, to our final marker (outer spit). We started preparing to dock in Portsmouth and set up the fender, breast and spring lines, arriving at 23:15. We docked for the night and made it to bed for about midnight. We needed our sleep in readiness to deep clean the deck and whole ship tomorrow.

To conclude: the whole trip has been a blast and the crew are ready to take on any challenges like this again!

Riley Brookes and Thomas C Pettit

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