We have two groups of Army Cadets on board Challengers 2 and 4 this week joining us for a seven-day voyage of Empowerment from Portsmouth to Caen, France and back.
This blog was written by the cadets on board Challenger 4, check it out to find out more.
We arrived in Portsmouth. Then we met our crew and crew leaders and got into our separate groups.
After we boarded the boats, we had multiple briefs and safety talks which were interesting to listen to.
Once fully briefed and ready to go, we set off on our adventure to France.
We started off doing stag, meaning we had to stay up throughout the night on different watches.
Port had to be on watch from 18:00-21:00 and 00:00-03:00, while starboard had to be on watch from 21:00-00:00 and 03-06:00. At around 08:30, we arrived at France.
When we got into a French canal we docked up and set off on an adventure to the toilets. But when we finally found the toilets, there weren’t any ordinary toilets, instead they were automatic self-cleaning toilets which would do everything for you at the push of just one button. France is truly a sceptical.
After getting some well-deserved sleep after day two, we woke up on day three. We woke up at 07:00 and we all went on an 8k walk to see Pegasus Bridge museum, which we all found fascinating.
As well as this, we found a little café that sold Nutella Crepes, which were delicious. We also watched our ship go through Pegasus Bridge, which looked like an action-packed made in Hollywood thriller.
We hopped back onto our boats and sailed to a luxurious marina which gave us the opportunity to shower which would be the first time in the trip after visiting the German bunker, which had an outstanding view from the top.
We set off on our journey around France and we saw dolphins, which was a magical experience.
However, Poseidon decided to make our trip filled with adrenaline by dropping an unsuspecting lobster pot, which was very deep and not where it was meant to be. It wrapped our propeller preventing us from being able to use the motor.
This meant that the other boat had to come and retrieve us from the vast ocean, during the rescuing process in comedic fashion one of our crew members got annihilated due to the lack of observation, which led to a rope being thrown at his knees.
After the other boat towed us into the marina, we went side by side and unfortunately lost our beloved fender lucky as one of our crew members didn’t tie her on properly at 23:34. After this tragedy, we docked up at the marina and went to sleep at midnight.
On Thursday, we had a lovely late awakening at 10:00 and had our second showers of the trip. Also this day, we had an adventure into a little town in France where we discovered a shopping centre when our crewmember “Mr Cool” aka Bradley got bombarded by a group of about 10 teen French girls.
After this eventful day, we headed back the the boat all filled up with treats from the “boulangerie” where Sophie was introduced to something called a raspberry tart, which started a mild addiction.
After this, we came back to see our boat as good as new as a French diver had unwrapped our propeller, which allowed us to lock out of France
We had a beautiful day of sailing on Friday. We were out at sea for 10 hours, but at 11:34 we found a stranded fender, which happened to be Lucky! – a truly historic homecoming exactly 32 hours after we had lost it. The chances of finding her were basically impossible, but we did!
To retrieve Lucky, we put Mathew over the edge which was one of two man overboard drills we did and it was a very good experience. Later on this day the second man overboard drill was very successful where our designated swimmer Bradley successfully retrieved our flag, which was acting as a body.
After this, we sailed into the extravagant port of Gosport. After this we cleaned the boat and then everyone did a successful mast climb, where we went the the tippy top of the mast. It was scary for some and not so much for others. We went to bed after this.
On the last day of the trip, we did one last deep clean waking up at 07:00, ready to go home at 10:00.