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Challenger 3 – Youth Action Wiltshire

By Kate Stewart - April 11th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

10 young people from Youth Action Wiltshire, a charity which supports young carers and young people facing challenges in their lives, are joining us for a four-night voyage onboard Challenger 3 this week.

This opportunity has been supported by the Hugo Halkes Charitable Trust!

Read their blog to find out what they’ve been getting up to so far.

Day 1

Monday 10

We started our day very early, meeting the minibus in Devizes and travelling through Wiltshire to pick up the final crew members. On arrival in Portsmouth, we met the crew from Tall Ships Youth Trust and boarded Challenger 3.

After we ate our lunch, we had a tour of the boat and learnt about all the safety equipment, tried on our waterproofs and got our lifejackets sorted.

We then prepared the boat for sea, getting the lines and sails out of the locker. About 16:30, we left Portsmouth heading for Cowes on the Isle of Wight. On the journey over, the waves were large and made loads of people feel sick, but no one actually was sick. We got very wet and salty faces, from all the spray from the ocean as the waves kept crashing over the bow and spraying us all back in the cockpit and at the helm.

Dylan spent most of his time, with his eyes closed hugging the fender (called bob, by Sam). Crystal, Summer, Caleb and Luke all had a go at helming the boat, which was quite hard in the wind.

While we were sailing, we learnt some new knots, including the bowline and clove hitch. We persevered, but we got wetter and wetter and eventually gave up. Luke fell over because of the wind and dented Terry’s brand new water bottle with the power of his head. The highest wind speed we saw on the instruments was around 39 knots.

We arrived in Cowes and moored the boat on the pontoon, it took Starboard watch a while to put the boat to bed,, while port watch cooked chicken fajitas for everyone. Dylan and Sam were the chefs and everyone else helped with preparing the food. It was very well received by everyone.

We have all been enjoying a game of monopoly before we go to bed, night night.

Day 2

Tuesday 11

We woke to a lovely calm morning in Cowes, but we knew the weather was going to get worse as the day went on. Starboard watch cooked us some banging bacon rolls, which helped prepare us for the sail to Lymington. The crew got the boat ready by hanking on the Yankee 3 and Stormsails and when everyone was wearing all their layers of clothing, we left Cowes and headed out into the Solent and raised the Main on reef 3 as well as the Storm and Yankee 3 sails.

Dylan and Sam of Port watch oversaw the cooking of pasta for lunch, and Summer, Ruby and Alexia formed a human chain to get all the food to the others on deck. This was made harder because the boat was rocking as we were tacking frequently.

Those unlucky enough to be on deck when the first squall arrived experienced the pain of driving rain. Several further weather fronts then came through soaking us all. The highest wind speed recorded in the log was 28 knots (which is a force 6), but people said they saw higher ones. There were some big waves at points too. Nearly everyone had a go at helming the boat at some point during the day.

Sharon has been nicknamed the “biscuit queen” after always appearing in the back of photos eating a biscuit.

We raced Challenger 1 towards Lymington and we feel we had the moral victory as we used our sails to get us there, not the engine! Don’t believe their lies that they won, just because they arrived first. When we arrived, there wasn’t a space on the pontoon for us so we had to moor up next to Challenger 1 and this meant that when we got off, we had to climb over it. Thankfully, nobody has fallen overboard yet!

After sorting out the boat, we went for a walk around town, but all the shops were closed except Tesco. But, that did allow us to get fish and chips for dinner, it was very tasty.

While trying to create a video blog, we used the go pro but the file is too big, so we have had to write this for you all instead.

Day 3

Wednesday 12

A sunny but breezy start to the day awaiting the gale to come. We decided to stay in port today, given the forecast of a force 8/gusting 9 gale coming through. We measured 55 knots at one point, which is equal to 63mph.

So we spent our time leisurely cooking pancakes for breakfast, with Ruby, Alexia and Summer taking control of the frying pans and mastering the art of flipping the perfect pancake. After we cleared up, we joined Challenger 1 (who we are moored up next to) on their deck to practice man overboard drills with each watch having a go at being the casualty, the rescuer and manning the winches to get them back onboard. Both watches successfully recovered their willing victims.

After we made lunch, which was sandwiches, we were challenged to a game against the crew of Challenger 1. We managed to work as a team and successfully complete the task before the other team. We then waked down to the RNLI station in Lymington and got a tour from a staff member there. He allowed us to get on the RIB, which is the station’s lifeboat, and talked to us about their rescues and explained that there are 30 volunteers  paged every time there’s a call. We also got to see all of the equipment that they use, the dry suits, the helmets and very heavy life jackets.

We also got to have some free time in Lymington and found the shops open, so bought some more sweets, which we shared with everyone.

We came back from town and learnt how to read the charts and plot a course, which we’re going to sail tomorrow night on the night navigation exercise. It was then time to cook dinner and it was the best meal of the voyage so far, bangers and mash, with carrots, broccoli, onions and gravy. Port watch did really well in preparing the food, even if they did use every pot, pan, saucer and plate in the whole galley to do so. Washing up took a long time!

Before bed we had a game of spoons and slowly, one by one, the crew were knocked out. Sam was first (and was very excited to be out of the action). When Crystal was knocked out, she was sad that someone took her fancy spoon. At the end, it became a game of TSYT versus Youth Action Wiltshire, and in the final there was Summer, Monkey and Rachel. Rachel won, so YAW were victorious and this was the third consecutive win for us, better luck next time TSYT!

Day 4

Thursday 13

We were woken up by Terry with his fog horn like “wakey wakey, good morning, rise and shine”, even Dylan could hear him so he was that loud.

After the storm yesterday, we left Lymington very early to catch the tide, and got all the sails up. But this time we had to work together in our watches to put the sails up without the help of the adults telling us what to do and when, which tested our memories.

We had the wind behind us so we gybed our way down the Solent and then Monkey (Skipper) did a man overboard drill with us and dropped “Jeremy” the dan buoy overboard, and we had to retrieve it by taking the Storm and Yankee sails down and turning the engine on, then circling.

We got to Osbourne Bay at lunchtime and put the anchor down. Our lunch of baked potatoes with lots of different toppings was very nearly ready when we arrived, as we had put them in the oven many hours earlier.

After lunch we put the Spinnaker pole out over the side of the boat and nearly everyone got harnessed up and climbed up the ropes to touch the end of the pole (with the help of Hugo sweating the ropes). Sam found the experience fun, but quite scary at first.

Our final meal started with an appetiser of a baked camembert, which we all enjoyed. We even managed to leave some for Terry and Hugo who were putting the Spinnaker pole away. Main course was macaroni cheese and cooking that for 17 people on two hobs was a mission, but we succeeded and cooked a bit too much as it turned out. But it was really tasty!

Some of us watched the sun set from the deck as we prepared for the night navigation exercise. We put all of our clothes on and then our waterproof trousers and jackets, so we struggled to move in them. Port watch went first and navigated round their course of buoys without crashing into anything, then Starboard watch took the helm and each of them had a section to steer and Sue (Watch Leader) helped them make sure they were on the right course.

After we had both completed our routes, we came back into Gunwharf Quays and the tower was all lit up in different colours, at one point it was a rainbow. We moored up and put the boat to bed (with all its lines and sails needing to be put away in their bags), and we were supposed to have a chocolate fondue to finish the voyage, but unfortunately Sharon managed to make a rather solid chocolate ganache so we gave up and ate the marshmallows on their own.

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