Challenger 4 – Exploration Voyage (12-15) – Greenock

By Kate Stewart - October 9th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

We have a group of 12 to 15 year olds from across the UK joining one of our Voyages of Exploration from Greenock, Scotland this week.

Read their blog to find out how the voyage is going so far.

Day 1

Monday 9

Today we boarded the ship and the first thing we did was split into two groups (Starboard watch and Port watch), first we got a tour of the boat and saw where the saloon, bunks, toilets and the sail locker are.

Then, we were shown round above deck where all the sails, ropes and cockpit is. We brought two of the smaller sails from the sail locker up to the deck and got them ready to hoist to the top of the mast ready for sailing tomorrow.

We learnt about winching and safety procedures that ensure operating winches is safe and can keep your fingers attached to the rest of your body.

Starboard watch made and prepared dinner (fajitas) for the rest of the crew, while Port watch had some free time and tried to catch a fish with soggy mouldy bread for bait.

By Rachel, Barnaby and Ben.​

Day 2

Tuesday 10

We anchored in the bay at Port Banartyne. When we left there, we headed for the Kyles of Bute.

We hoisted the sails, which caused the boat to keel over and almost sent us flying into the sea. A few of the crew members decided to crawl to the bow of the boat and get the full experience of the choppy waters – they were getting thrown around.

We moored into Tarbert Harbour after dropping the Main and the Yankee sails. As Patrick was fishing off the edge of the pontoon, he heard a splash! He turned to see a man who (in his words) resembled Father Christmas himself, belly flopping into the manky harbour water. His phone going with him.

Not long after helping the man, Patrick caught a fish – upon later inspection we were told it was a mackerel. Patrick then left it to flop on the pontoon, to its death. Sue then cooked it, to make the whole mission sustainable.

We all had a day full of laughter and fun, which ended in a cosy shower!!!

By Claudia, Patrick, Greig and Poppy.​

Day 3

Wednesday 11

Today we were in Tarbert for the day. We started of the day with cereal and bacon sandwiches. First, we went on a walk and explored Tarbert before going up to Tarbert Castle where some of us nearly got in a fight with a sheep.

Afterwards, we had some free time where most of us got sweets and then we had lunch, which was baked potatoes, and some of the left over bacon from the morning bacon rolls. No sign of the Father Christmas looking geezer who lost his phone the day before.

Patrick, Ben and Grieg all caught fish with the hand lines of the pontoon. The fish were fried by Sue and eaten before dinner, they were very tasty.

We also climbed up the 95ft mast while in the water, it was also in very gusty weather. We found we couldn’t sail today because while we were doing the engine checks, we found a slight leak in the cooling system and we discovered a large puddle of water at the bottom off the hole where the engine is located.

While Megan and David fixed the problem, some of us went for a walk to the beach to do a beach clean. Meanwhile, Barnaby, Claudia, and Megan stayed in the saloon are and painted/drew. Barnaby, Ben and Rachel made two dinners, spaghetti bolognaise and a vegetable one.

Tomorrow we are going to Holy Loch.

By Rachel, Barnaby and Ben.

Day 4

Thursday 12

Day 4 commences, with one day to go the crew made a collective decision to put our all into the 35-mile journey from Tarbert to Holy Loch.

An early wakeup call from Skipper Sue set the day up with an interesting tone and some yawns from the teenagers aboard the boat we have all grown to love.

We hoisted three sails consecutively and departed Tarbert, heading for the bottom of Bute Island. From what Skipper Sue told us, the weatherman supposedly predicted sunshine. But, instead we were gifted with rain. It rained. A lot. Slowly but surely the sky began to clear and to celebrate, we munched on biscuits (with a side of soup and bread).

The crew arrived at Holy loch, exhausted. In the hours following our arrival, Skipper Sue treated us all to a few hours of quiet down time. For the boys however, this was not quiet at all.

After some critical thinking, Skipper Sue decided to grant the boys with permission to rake through the sail cupboard and retrieve the deflated (engineless) dinghy…under one condition. They had to execute the task of setting it all up, entirely by themselves! This mission began with an enormous amount of enthusiasm and oomph…but after an hour of tedious hands on labour, the boys surrendered and abandoned ship.

For compensation, they received a banging plate of sausages and mash. Today, the crew seemed to have had a jolly good time, until it was time to put the dingy away…

By Claudia and Poppy.

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