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Challenger 3 – Youth Action Wiltshire

By Kate Stewart - October 25th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

On board Challenger 3 this week, we have a group from Youth Action Wiltshire joining us for a four-night residential voyage.

Who will win the annual game of spoons? YAW or TSYT? Read the daily blog written by the young people on board to find out!

Day 1

Monday 23

Portsmouth to Cowes

We all got in the minibus at various points in Wiltshire and drove down to Portsmouth – it was a bit noisy, especially Destiny.

When we got to the car park Terry (Mate) met us with a trolley and helped us get our bags to Challenger 3. We sat and ate our lunch while Monkey (Skipper) introduced us to the boat.

We got put into our watches, they are Port and Starboard (l am in Port watch). In our watches we then had a tour of the boat, finding out where all the safety equipment was and how to use everything, especially the loos, they are alright but will take some getting used to.

We then got the boat ready for sailing to Cowes by getting the Yankee 3 and Stay sails out of the sail locker and hanking them on, so we could use them this week. We were finally allowed to leave after the Condor ferry had arrived. On the sail over, there were some easterly winds and we had some rocky moments, some people felt a bit seasick, but no one threw up which was good.

We got to Cowes as it was getting dark, but we managed to set all the fenders and lines so we could moor up without crashing into anything in the dusk light. Watching the sun setting over Cowes was lovely.

After, we had put the boat to bed, Port watch got started cooking the chicken fajitas. River, Destiny and Luke cut up the chicken, which Katie and Kenzie cooked to perfection. It was very tasty and all of the food was eaten up. After dinner, we sat up on deck, singing songs and chatting before we went to bed.

By Luke and River.

Day 2

Tuesday 24

Cowes to Poole

We had a very delicious full English breakfast of bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, beans and hash browns, cooked by Will, Kieran, Riley, Cirilla and Maddison. It’s unanimously decided that it’s the best breakfast we’ve had on the boat so far (we have only had one!).

We then set the boat up for the day, Starboard watch got the sails out of their bags, the lines ready to slip and made sure everyone had their lifejacket on.

We left Cowes harbour and put up the Mainsail. This was hard work, both watches (Will, River, Kieran, Destiny) were working together to sweat the sails pulling on the ropes to raise it, with Riley, Luke and Cirilla were working on the winch to ensure everyone else’s hard work was not in vain. We then put up the Staysail, which was much quicker and easier. Riley had moved to the helm at this point and made sure the boat was pointing into the wind so that they could raise it.

While going down the Solent, we managed to dodge lots of rain clouds, only getting a few drops of rain on us. Terry even had to put his coat on because of the looming rain clouds, which meant he had to go downstairs, but when he came back outside, the storm had passed without incident and the sun was shining. He was sad.

We sailed past Hurst Castle, Milford on Sea, Hengistbury Head and Boscombe Pier. We then headed over towards Old Harry’s Rocks and did several tacks, where we all very busy pulling in lines and using winches. On the edge of Poole Harbour, we all worked together to bring down the Yankee, Stay and Main sails. Then we had the fun job of flaking the Mainsail to put it away (Terry loves this job), we all had to stand in height order to do this.

Once on the pontoon in Poole, we had some free time and we all went to Tesco to buy some sweets. We really enjoyed this and felt we earnt it after all the hard work with the sails today. Starboard watch cooked a banging pasta carbonara with bacon and mushrooms. We finished the day with a game of Uno flip and Maddison was declared the winner as we ran out of time.

By Will and Riley.

Day 3

Wednesday 25

Poole to Yarmouth

We woke up to Monkey cooking his magnificent pancakes (on the frying pans borrowed from Rachel and Sharon), they were really tasty, so lived up to the hype.

Once we had cleaned up from breakfast, Kieran had the fun job of cleaning the heads while the rest of Starboard watch cleaned the rest of the boat. Then we got ready to climb the mast. Monkey challenged us to all try to climb the mast and if we all did, then he would do the washing up for all of us. We all had a go at climbing the mast, some of us made it to the 1st spreader, some to the 2nd, some to the 3rd and a few made it all the way to the top. The views were great in between the cloud looking all the way over to Brownsea Island. Nearly everyone had a second go and climbed higher than they had done on their first go.

We then borrowed the dingy from the neighbouring boat (the Tenacity of Bolton) and practiced rowing around the harbour in pairs. Kenzie nearly fell while trying to get in and very nearly fell out the other side when she launched herself towards the dingy.

We then went shopping in our watches to try and find the tackiest souvenir for £2. We were given 30 minutes and all of the shops on Poole high street to search in, we will be crowing a winner tomorrow.

As we left Poole the sun was shining, but then the wind and clouds appeared. But we sailed across Poole Bay toward Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight. On our sail, there we had a competition to see which watch could raise and lower the Staysail the quickest. Port watch completed it in 1 minute 39 seconds and Starboard watch did it in 1 minute 43 seconds, so only four seconds between us! Starboard watch felt they were hampered by a broken clip, but it was just the wrong way up.

We then put the Spinnaker pole out over the sea and took it in turns to climb out to the end of the pole, it was quite scary to begin with, but once you had gone some way out you could hang in the harness and watch the water below you. We arrived at Freshwater Bay and anchored there to wait for it to get dark, during this time we made a competition to see who could climb the pole the fastest, Monkey said he had done it in 10 seconds so we tried to beat him. Destiny managed a time of 10.23 seconds so crowned herself the “new Monkey”, Kieran did it in 10.42 seconds, but finally finally River managed to climb it in 8.26 seconds and blew the competition out the water! He claimed the title “ape”. While we were anchored there the waves got bigger and it became very rocky, so cooking dinner of bangers and mash was hard, but we succeeded.

When it was finally dark, we could start our night navigation to Yarmouth, we were looking out for all the different coloured buoys (with red and green flashing lights) and cardinal marks as we sailed past the Needles and Hurst Point. We then docked in Yarmouth and have had a nice shower before bed.

Esmerelda came out today.

By Will and Cirilla.​

Day 4

Thursday 26

Yarmouth to Warsash

We woke up a bit later than normal at 08.00 in Yarmouth. Though some of us did get up at 07.30 to have a shower in the lovely new facilities. For breakfast, we had muffins and scrambled eggs cooked by Starboard watch. While the adults had a coffee, we went for a wander around Yarmouth, but as most of us had spent all of our money then, we weren’t able to buy anything. Will was able to get some fudge and fossils for his family as he hadn’t spent all his money in Tesco in Poole.

Once we were all back on board we finished our ASDAN worksheets, which we have all loved completing this week, that statement may not be true. We then watched a video from a special guest that is joining us on board, more details about that in tomorrow’s blog.

We left Yarmouth and put up the Mainsail, this took a while as we were all tired. We managed to do that in the dry, but then a big rain cloud caught up with us and we managed to get soaked in a rain shower, so lots of people had to go and change their clothes. While Kenzie was at the helm she managed to do a donut (360 degree turn in the boat) and she wasn’t sure how easy it was to do, turns out it was very easy.

For lunch, Port watch cooked macaroni cheese and baked several camemberts for the adults, but they let us try them, not everyone was a fan but some of us liked them. We then all learnt about what to do if someone fell over board (a man over board) or other emergency situations and what flares we would use.

While sailing up Southampton water, we unhanked the Staysail and walked it back to the snake pit then we packed it away by sitting underneath the sail bag and folding it into the bag. Sharon was helping, but also hindering us by standing on us (by accident apparently!) to fold it into the bag. We then got all the fenders and lines ready on our own, so we could moor up in Warsash.

We had a lovely dinner of fish and chips and Monkey stuck to his word and did the washing up. Harry then judged the tacky souvenir competition. Port watch presented their treasured ceramic fish and Starboard their treasure chest with assorted loot. Harry was swayed over by the story behind Spongebob Squarepants magical transportation fish, so Port watch won a stick of rock each.

We finished the evening with a game of spoons, there is a long-standing rivalry between Youth Action Wiltshire and TSYT as to who can win the game with a trophy spoon given to the winner. We went in having won it three times and TSYT only once, so it was all to play for. But Monkey had enlisted some friends to come and help him try and win it back. Sam and Gary joined the TSYT team and slowly people were picked off until it was down to the final three, Sam, Rachel and Monkey. It was all to play for, but unfortunately for us Sam grabbed the spoon and won. He was so happy and even posed for a photo, then he wanted to take it to the Antarctic with him, but Monkey said no and he is going to keep it safe in the office till next time. In the words of the terminator “we will be back”.

By Kenzie and Katie.

Day 5

Friday 27

Warsash to Portsmouth

We were woken up very early at 06.30 this morning by Tery shouting “WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKEY WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKEY” as we had to get ourselves ready for our special guest.

Drum roll please, it’s Maddy Anderson, who is a kite foiler aiming to go to the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028. She came with her entourage of a photographer and a reporter and they were there to take our pictures and talk to us about our voyage this week. They arrived at 07:30 and came on board to get out of the rain and introduce themselves.

Once we had got kitted up in our waterproof clothing, we slipped the lines leaving Warsash behind and hoped we would miss the wet weather on our route to Portsmouth, which we did with some excellent steering by Luke and River.

During the journey, we got to ask Maddy lots of questions about her life, how she got into kite foiling, who her heroes were and what it was like being part of an Olympic squad full time. She was very kind and answered all our questions while we were sailing back to Portsmouth and even helped us get the boat ready to moor up, putting out fenders, sorting out lines and packing away the Yankee sail.

When we got back, we were given t-shirts and posed for a few more photos wearing them. We said goodbye to Maddy and started cleaning Challenger 3, so she would be ready for the next group. Once we had all picked our jobs out of the cup and completed them, we had a mini prize giving and Monkey gave us our Start Yachting certificates and we thanked him, Tery and Mark with boxes of chocolates for all their hard work this week.

We are now heading off back home, we have all enjoyed our week, but are looking forward to sleeping in our beds and not the bunks. Thanks for the memories.​

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