Challenger 4 – Cross Key Homes Jack Hunt School

By Tall Ships - September 25th, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

When we first arrived we went to our sleeping quarters to set our things down. After that we retrieved our life jackets and learnt how to properly equip them. We had to adjust them to a required tightness in which we could fit our fist between our midriff and the life jacket. We were told how this is important-it inflates when in contact with a large amount of water or when you pull a string with a red pulley (this was only necessary if the inflation did not occur in contact with the water).

Upon leaving the harbour several jobs had to be fulfilled: the buoyancies had to be untied from the railings and held level with the dock; this was to prevent damage to the boat when docking. We had to bring in the black ropes (this was to keep the boat in contact with the dock and prevent it drifting away). The ropes were brought in and tied to the boat using a “naught-cross-naught” knot.

We travelled to the Isle of Wight where we re-docked for fuel. We were then taught in more detail how to work the ship, this included a tour of the upper and lower deck where we learnt a range of terminology such as: rigging, bawl, boom, mast, port and starboard. After that we learnt how to use the winch. In this tutorial we were taught to always keep the rope taught and to wrap the rope 3 times around the winch clockwise, then to pull the rope with your thumbs closer to you until you can pull no more. A fourth loop is made and then the rope is fed to a metal clasp which is then followed by teeth. The handle is then inserted into the top and is rotated accordingly, it’s then removed and a safety loop is made with the remaining rope and then “elephant ears” are applied. After that we wandered the local streets of the dock, and returned at 7:30 to have fish and chips. That then brings us to this current task to write this blog.

Kieran Diamond & David Whyman

Day Two

We woke up very early this dull morning in Cowes, Isle of Wight, due to the wind whistling through the harbour. We all then got ready for the day, by having a shower at the marina and then setting up the breakfast table. After clearing up breakfast, we hoisted the ensign which is the Union Jack in the corner of a red flag. Then we all had the chance to raise the sails so that the group was prepared to set sail.

Shortly after having lunch, we had a briefing and we learnt about sailing points and navigation map charting. We raised the fenders from the side of the boat and then set off. The wind was rough at force eight, affecting the balance of our boat. We then hoisted the main sails to ensure we were on track to our next stop. Tilted, the side of the boat almost touched the sea. We had to tack many times in a zigzag due to the wind pointing to the close haul sailing point. Finally after four hours at sea, we reached our destination at Lymington. We had to make sure that our timing was right so the tide was high enough to be able to enter the harbour with our yacht. For dinner we made fajitas, including two massive bowls of salad. Yum! We’re sat here listening to Terry’s playlist, singing Alicia keys. Goodnight! 🙂

Day Three

These are the voyages of challenger 4 the on-going mission to explore the English Channel.


Today’s voyage was delayed due to information received from another tall ships boat that winds were at 40 knots; this was not suitable for sailing so the decision was made to hold off said voyage.

During this delay we learned how flares are used. There are several types of flares, these include the parachute flare, handheld red and white flare and the orange smoke flare. We also found out that if you are to dispose them you must hand them over to the coastguard, if wrongly disposed you can be arrested.

The red flares are used to alert nearby boats when you are in danger. The white flares are used to indicate your positon to larger vessels at night. The orange smoke flare is used when a helicopter is overhead to avoid damaging said helicopter it is also used to show the helicopter the direction of the wind. Parachute flares are used for alerting when in danger, they also last slightly longer.

Red and white flares work on the same principle In that you hold by the handle pull the tether and then the string within to release the flare. As for the orange smoke flare you must remove the cover and throw into the water.

Along with learning how to use flares we learnt how to rescue bodies when someone is overboard. There are three main methods, one being a large net that is tied overboard to assist the person in the water, this would be one of the worst as you will have an inflated buoyancy aid and heavy, soaked clothing which will make you struggle getting on board. If the body is unconscious there are two ways, both include another person going over to help on a harness. The first method is helicopter straps. Two are used, one under the shoulder along the back and another beneath the knees to lift the body out horizontally this is to avoid blood rushing to the legs if lifted vertically and causing a heart attack and death. Another method is using a blue sheet of plastic to roll the casualty along the side of the boat.

At 16:00 we set out to East Cowes at first by motor then via stay sail due to the fact that the wind speed hit forty or more knots. We arrived at Cowes at 1730 hrs all safe and well.

Day Four

First off we had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast; it was a struggle to get everyone up for Terry, Rory and Jack as we were all drowsy and drained from the previous day.

After breakfast we went above deck to help prepare the ship for sail from East Cowes to Portsmouth. During the trip we got the odd spray from the sea and there was chaos down below when Lukrecija and I were making tea, coffee and hot chocolate for the people above. Soon after the incident we arrived at Portsmouth; after 20 minutes of mass confusion we were able to moor safely into the marina although under much struggle.

Then after docking we had an enjoyable lunch of jacket potatoes with the choice of beans, sweetcorn, butter and tuna and sweetcorn (mixed). We had a brief to make the ship better or cleaner than we found it so we were assigned a variety of chores to do. These included: cleaning the heads (in which there was a complication), brushing the floor panels, thoroughly washing up, cleaning the galley along with the saloon area and the deck pack up (which included coiling the ropes, packing and storing the sails and making hot drinks for people)

And tonight we had spag bole with cheese and garlic bread. Not long after having tea the whole crew sang happy birthday to me (Jack S) as the cake reviled itself with Terry with it.

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