Challenger 4 – HSBC Portsmouth to London

By Tall Ships - October 3rd, 2018 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

It all started on the 24th September when we took a mini bus to Portsmouth it took all of 7 hours to get here so we set off at 06:15 and it was very boring and has made me very exhausted. When we arrived we were greeted and grouped with other people then we got to know their names. After that, we learnt about the boat these included learning about the sheets, the different boat sides and the crew who were very welcoming and polite. We then split into pairs to put the sails up and then we grouped back together to learn how to tie a bowline knot after that we went for a beautiful stroll along to Southsea and saw some mesmerizing places along the way such as the hovercraft boat. Once we arrived back from the walk we made dinner (fajitas) which looked like curry and was very enjoyable. The other group washed up whilst we got to know other teenagers from across the country. Finally we went to sleep is our nicely presented beds.

Day Two

We started our journey at 6 am and successfully arrived at 9;30. The journey was a rough one as 6 people were sea sick however we powered through as a team to sail the boat. The most ill was Callum and cause of this he slept all day. For lunch we had we had pasties and beans. This was very nice. After lunch we relaxed for a couple hours. However we still had a successful time sailing and navigating.

After time past dinner (spaghetti bolognaise) was being cooked by Terry. This was delicious and nice. After we took the stay sail, Yankee sail and main sail. This was difficult however we got it done. After this was taking down we went to sleep and relaxed. We also arrived in Le Harve at 2130hrs.

Day Three

Today has been a “school” day.

We learnt

  • MOB (man over board) drill.
  • A variety of knots
  • How important communication is on when instructing the crew.

We went into town and went to McDonalds again and the beach then came back and did some fishing then ate food

I like the boat we took sails down without help and commanded other people

Helen, Ty

Day Four

Today was a later start waking up at 8.00 which was bliss as we were all knackered.  The skipper made some lovely pancakes. We had the pleasure of racing dinghies against the other boats however the outcome was not the one we wished for-we came 4th. However the day took a turn when we had the opportunity to go and explore in Dieppe. We each took our own path some went McDonalds whilst others enjoyed the taste of crepes and ice-creams. We also took upon the challenge of finding the tackiest souvenir which we have not yet judged.

We then came and had a cheeky dinner made by the starboard group; however some were a bit lazy and are now having to pay the price. Overall we had a day full of banter and are all excited for our trip tomorrow to Boulogne.

Done by Carter and Robyn

Lovely jubbly xxxx

Day Five

Dieppe to Boulogne sur Mer

We woke up at 7am and sailed to Boulogne Sur Mer and on the way we learned a few new things. Firstly today, unlike all other sailing days before, we did the deck prep after slipping lines whilst we were on our way out to sea. This was much more challenging than usual because the wind was blowing everything about and the constant movement of the boat made moving around the deck whilst running lines and carrying sails quite difficult.

But having overcome the challenges set for us we successfully made it out to sea and were sailing!

The second new thing about today was tacking. Previously the wind had been such that we had been able to stay on the same tack (with the sails on the same side of the boat) the whole way but today we changed course a number of times. We were shown how to let go of the sheets on one side and pull them in on the other, grinding them in to create the perfect trim, all in one fluid motion to change course and keep the boat sailing all at the same time. This may sound easy but to start with we found it difficult to get each step happening quickly and in order and we also found out how physical you have to be to grind on the winches.

Having tired ourselves out after many tacks we all gathered round in the cockpit for a less physical task of learning about flares. We talked about many things including the colours of them and how and when to use them.

Later in the day, terry took us all by surprise with a sudden man over board drill. We were sailing at the time so had to quickly crash tack and drop the headsails to the deck. The engine went on and we brought the boat around to make an approach to our MOB (or in our case a horseshoe bouy with attached dan bouy). After successfully recovering our target and with landfall in sight, we set course under engine to Boulogne.

On our way in we dropped and flaked the main and prepped to deck to raft alongside challenger 3.


Day Six

The day began when we woke up to travel 35 miles from Boulogne to Ramsgate. We all got on deck and prepared the boat; including overcoming the problem of our sail being broke as a team. We prepared ourselves for a challenge against the other boats in which we tested who could pull the main sail up the quickest – we came second which showed our great team effort. The weather was rather chilly however as we travelled through the day we got to see the beautiful sights of the English Channel. We then soon arrived at our destination for the night where we settled in and began to cook dinner where we were greeted by some fans and the sight of a lovely Weatherspoon’s.

We then began to think about how we could use our recyclables to make the best boat possible, plan our tacky souvenir presentations and our badge emblems which are all coming along great. The discussion at the table was about how lucky we are to have the privilege of one of London’s biggest landmarks Tower Bridge lift up for us which we are all really excited about! Some dispute occurred about the curry however was all solved by the Skipper. Overall the day was lovely and we all can’t wait to arrive in Queens borough as we near the end of a life changing journey.

By Robyn

Day Seven

We woke up at 8 o clock am and started preparing the deck before we started to sail at 2pm we made breakfast at 9 am. We had lovely scrambled egg on toast it was lovely and we cleaned up all the mess and cleaned the whole of the boat and then we went to challenger 2 and done a man over board drill then we come back to start lunch at 12 and then we left Ramsgate at 2pm we was sailing in 27 knots of wind towards the river Thames.  Around us was windmill farms and many other ships.  We had to tack several time and had to avoid other ships using the London VTS.

As it got dark we saw a lovely sunset and were able to take loads of pictures.  When we passed the last windmill farm we put the engine on and dropped the sails and made for Queensborough.  When we got here it was dark and cold and very late.  We tied the boat up against Challenger1 which was nice as we like Challenger 1.  We all had hot chocolate, made by Helen and then we went to bed to prepare for Terry’s birthday tomorrow.

Another great day on Challenger 4 and more to look forward too.  Bring on London


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