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Challenger 4 – Greater Manchester Police – Chief Constables Challenge

By Kate Stewart - October 25th, 2022 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments
Four groups of young people have set sail for the Chief Constables Challenge.
During the summer, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, challenged three other forces to take to the seas for a yacht race onboard our four Challengers.
Check out the blog below to see how the youngsters from Youth Focus in Greater Manchester have been getting on since their voyage began on Saturday!

Day 1

Saturday 22

We set off from Manchester Piccadilly by private minibus at 07:50 We played cards on the initial leg of our journey, before our first stop at a motorway service station, before swapping vehicles. We continued travelling for several hours, with another stop for lunch, before finally arriving in Portsmouth at around 14:30.

When we arrived, we were introduced to the crew, who gave us life jackets and waterproofs, in preparation for setting sail at 16:00.

We left through the large exit of Portsmouth Harbour after receiving permission from the KHM. We split for above and below deck safety briefings, and sailed for several hours before reaching Cowes on the Northern end of the Isle of Wight.

Once we’d moored the boat, one group cooked (mostly Abdul) while the other group showered, and then we all dined together while listening to some fabulous karaoke. The fajitas were top notch, but cleaning up afterwards, less so. The other group didn’t love that part.

The group that cooked then got to shower along with Abdul, who’d cooked with their group after a mix-up. We ended the day with hot chocolate and hung out in the saloon. Apparently Thomas and Abdul looked at the stars (awww). Today was funsies, looking forward to tomorrow.

By Millie and Ying.

Day 2

Sunday 23

This morning we woke up to the sound of thunder and lightning and rain. We ate a continental breakfast at 07:00 then geared up with our equipment: life jacket, wellies, waterproof jacket and pants, to prepare to sail from the Isle of Wight at 08:00. This began our seven-hour journey.

When we started, it was raining and cold. We learnt how to put up a sail and use a compass. We had to pull ropes to put the sail up and this was one of the most difficult parts of today’s journey.

Due to seasickness, Abid and Virginia had a very well-deserved nap to recharge.

For lunch we had pasta ravioli with pesto sauce, which went down well amongst the crew members that weren’t ill. Regardless, we were thankful for some yummy food.

During the course of our venture, many of the young crew became consumed by seasickness. This resulted in low morale, which was soon picked up when we spotted a couple of dolphins accompanied by a rainbow.

Before we knew it, it was 15:30 and we had arrived in Weymouth. Just like that, seven and a half hours had passed… time flies when you are having fun!

We then worked hard as a team putting the boat to sleep and anticipated our well-deserved chippy tea. It was the perfect way to end our first full day of boat life.

By Abid, Eve and Virginia.

Day 3

Monday 24

Today was game day! We woke up at 07:00 (the people cooking breakfast got up first, but everyone else stayed in bed). We had bacon baguettes for breakfast, but the veggie bacon kinda fell apart while Millie was cooking it, and the gas also ran out right before, so the veggie bacon came later. A lot later.

At around 09:30, all the boats met on the pontoon to hear about the day’s plan, which would involve playing tug of war, dragon boats and a bowline knot-tying race.

From around 10:30 we learnt how to tie bowlines, as we had no idea. After a long while, we eventually learnt how to do a semi-bowline, which we then forgot over lunch time. For lunch, we had pasties and beans, some were steak pasties and the others were potato, cheese and onion.

Games started at 13:30 prompt. We met the other crews on the pontoon and then the Challenger 4 crew dramatically sang Wonderwall on the way to the beach (if only it had been a good omen).

Jessica and Millie started off very confident and optimistic, while the rest of the crew where very apprehensive. After a lot of practise and step-by-step tutorials by Millie herself, everyone supposedly understood the assignment. However, as the race began, it became clear that some of the crew had forgotten what they had learnt only hours prior. It went swimmingly, with minor hiccups until we were announced the WINNERS.

AND THEN…

There was a rematch for no apparent reason at all. No explanation, no sense of certainty and most of all, no sense of hope. Even though every knot was right, we were informed that one of our clearly perfect knots was in fact, not perfect. Although it was clear that our knot had in fact been completed correctly, we were still slapped in the face (metaphorically) with an underserved loss (well second place but…)

We were CHEATED. Period.

Tug of war was next…let’s cut to the chase. We lost. Every match. It’s okay, we still smiled. We then cheered for Wales, who then sadly lost to the young people from Liverpool. ☹️ We may be cursed, or just have bad luck, who knows?

Next we moved onto the dragon races, where we initially were probably more scared of getting wet than actually losing to the others. After a horrendous first race (we didn’t actually complete the race, whether that was due to our bad luck or the tide changing, or because nobody else wanted to sit around and watch us row), we lost the first round. HOWEVER, after about five minutes of recovery, we came up with a better plan, which indeed allowed us to push through and smash through our race, WINNING, against the Welsh team.

After our glorious win, one of our team members may or may not have fallen one foot into the water (but no one was watching). All crew from each boat became very tired, so after a mutual decision, and points at a draw all across, the dragon races came to an end.

Although it may have taken the other watch about 1 hour and 45 minutes to make dinner (chicken curry with rice, naan bread and poppadums), it apparently turned out really well, as we kept hearing. So all’s good. We also enjoyed ourselves with cheery karaoke around the dinner table.

The day is almost drawing to a close, with washing up in the background and family games being played around the table.

We sign off with one last message, we won that bowline knot-tying competition!

Good night. xx

P.S the person who said our knots were wrong has been sailing for 45 years, so I’m on his side, the sensible side

Much love to be part of sailing history, abdoolio the great.

By Jess, Millie and Eve.

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