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Challenger 4 – Round Britain Adventure — Plymouth to Swansea

By Kate Stewart - August 1st, 2022 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments
Challenger 4 has set sail from Plymouth for the second leg of our Round Britain Adventure!
The crew are a group from Youth Action Wiltshire. Their five-night voyage will end in Swansea on Friday (5th).
Read their blog to find out what they’ve been getting up to. ?


Day 1

Sunday 31

We got up early this morning to meet the minibus. The bus ride was slow, painful and boring, but Si was singing football songs and Josh was vibing in the back of the minibus.

We had lunch at the services near Taunton, where we weren’t allowed to go to MaccyD’s, but ate our sandwiches on the outdoor picnic benches in the rain.

We finally arrived in Plymouth after four hours of travel and walked many miles to the boat, why did it have to be on the furthest pontoon?

We met Paul, the Skipper, Sophie the Mate and Anna and Luis, the Watch Leaders. They are all really really nice. Sophie really likes talking about biscuits and the finer points of the differences between cakes and biscuits. We’ve been educated.

We learnt about the boat, where all the safety things are and how to use the toilets, which wasn’t as scary as we thought it was going to be. Up on deck, we got the Yankee and Staysails out, hanked on and ready for when we set sail tomorrow. We learnt to tie bowline knots and practiced with the sail ties.

Starboard watch cooked a lovely dinner of chicken fajitas, peppers and onions. Port watch did the washing up twice, because it wasn’t done properly the first time, while Reece and Warren watched the sunset from the pontoon.

Some of us are trying to beat Reece at Uno Flip, who knows whether we will be victorious!

Day 2

Monday 1

Today was our first full of sailing, we left Plymouth after having a breakfast of pancakes, cooked exceptionally well by Rachel and Ellie (some of them even had chocolate chips in them). We saw where the SailGP boats from the race yesterday would have been moored, but they had all gone! ☹

On our sail to Falmouth today, everybody had a go at steering the boat. Alessa spent over an hour at the helm, we almost had to pull her off the wheel.

En route, we did some sunbathing, put the Mainsail up using a corporate hoist method, then had “build our own pasta” lunch. The sea was really calm in the morning, but as the day went on it got windier and a bit choppier. Some of us felt a bit seasick, so we went downstairs and made ourselves feel worse.

After lunch, we all clipped on and sat with our legs over the high side of the boat, it was actually very uncomfortable as there was a bar along the edge, so after the photo was taken, we gave up.

The highlight of the day was when we saw some dolphins jumping out of the water beside the boat, but they were so quick that no one managed to get  a photo of them.

We put the Mainsail down and flaked it, before we got into Falmouth. Then, we moored up and went in search of an ice cream, as it was nearly closing time. We cooked chicken chow mein for dinner and are now sitting on deck watching the sun go down. ?

Day 3

Tuesday 2

We woke up to a drizzly Falmouth harbour and started getting the boat ready for the day. We finally left at 10.50 and then hoisted the Mainsail. We headed initially for the Lizard with Izzy at the helm. The sea was relatively calm to begin with but as we got further around it choppier. Nearly everyone clipped on and went to the bow while we crashed through the waves. We sang lots of songs, including Abba, Queen and lots of Disney songs. We then put the Staysail then the Yankee sail up, so we could turn off the engine and use wind power.

The weather got windier and some of us got soaking wet! We asked Reece to join us at the front… He did not. We’re sad that he didn’t. But he was feeling ‘unwell;, so we forgive him. He has now christened the Port side aft corner “Reece’s chunder corner”.

We had tomato soup and freshly baked rolls for lunch, which was difficult to eat with the way the boat was rocking. The first to feel ill was Ellie, then Josh. We rounded Lands’ End several hours later and while avoiding container ships, we had dinner of spaghetti bolognaise, which was really just bolognaise as no one wanted the spaghetti, after the earlier sea sickness.

At 19:00, we started our overnight watch system with Starboard taking the first watch between 19:00 and 22:00 as the sun set, which would have been lovely to watch had it not been for the clouds. Port watch took over from  from 22:00 – 01:00, then Starboard from 01:00 -04:00 and then Port from 04:00 – 07:00 who watched the sun rise and again, it was obscured by the clouds. Warren is upset by this, but there are two more sunrises to see! Starboard watch took the final watch as we arrived at Lundy Island at 8.30 after nearly 22 hours at sea. We then all got up to take the Mainsail down and flaked it, then went back to bed. We will see you after lunch!

We have started the “Challenger 4 Chunder Chart”

Competitor Total
Ellie 9
Reece 3
Alessa 3
Summer 2
Josh 2​

Day 4

Wednesday 3

We woke up at 13:00 after our late night/early morning sail. We skipped breakfast and went straight to lunch with filled pasta, though some people had cereal instead, so l suppose some people skipped lunch. We put the boat to bed, meaning we put the boom cover on and stowed the Yankee and Stay sails and got the tender out and inflated it.

We then went ashore in small groups as the tender isn’t big enough to take everyone at once. Unfortunately, the outboard motor didn’t work so we had to make three trips to the island to get everyone there with the adults rowing the dingy. Once we had all landed in Lundy, we walked up the very steep winding path up the hill to the shop, but unfortunately we were half an hour too late and couldn’t get an ice cream. However, Rachel went to the tavern and bought us all a coke or lemonade as we had worked so well yesterday doing the overnight watches.

We had some free time to explore, where the boys found a great loo with the best sea view, Kieran said it was totally bangin’.

On our way back down to the beach, we stopped at the church and looked at the history of the island. As we were skimming stones across the sea, we counted who could get the furthest and Warren got seven skips before it sunk, so we declared him winner. After the first group left on the dinghy, it took ages to come back as Izzy and Luis kept rowing in circles. Then Josh and Luis had a go and it wasn’t much better. But we all got back and had several seals following us  for each trip.

We were greeted with the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack blasting through the speakers. We also sang along to lots of punk Disney songs while we helped Sophie make dinner (meatballs and pasta) and we then presented her with all the rocks we had picked for her from the beach, one was the size of a small baby. She is very pleased with her presents, we think!

We then tidied the boat and are now going to bed as we have to get up at 04:00 tomorrow, so we can get the Mainsail up to sail to Swansea.​

Day 5

Thursday 4

We were rudely awoken at 04:00 by Sophie singing to us, we don’t think she was completely in tune. But we all got up and it was still dark when we lifted the anchor and we had the hard task of hoisting the Mainsail using Barry the boom in the pitch black. We left Lundy Island at just after 05:00 as it took some time to get us all sorted. A few of us went back to bed, but most of us stayed up on deck to cast our own musical versions of Frozen, Tangled, Moana, High School Musical and Mamma Mia. For Frozen, our cast would be:

Younger Elsa – Izzy, Older Elsa – Alessa, Younger Anna – Ellie, Older Anna – Molly, Sven – Warren, Olaf – Josh, Kristof – Keiran, Hans – Zak, Marshmallow – Luis, Queen Iduna – Anna, King Agnar – Paul, Duke of Weselton – Summer, Bulda – Si, Reece – Oaken, Sophie – Director and Rachel – camerawoman.

When everyone had finally got up after their naps, we then had breakfast, which consisted of croissants and pain au chocolat, which Luis the legend heated up for us, but Sophie insisted on pronouncing them pain o chocolate.

Our sail from Lundy took less time than we had planned as we found favourable wind. During this time we measured the boat in lengths of Warren, using him as a new method of measurement. He was very obliging and lay down along the length and width of the boat.

By the time we had reached the edge of Swansea at 11:00, we had worked out that Challenger 4 is three whole Warrens and a head wide and 12 whole Warrens and a leg long. We then measured Warren against the length of the saloon (four whole Warrens and a knee), a mile (982 whole Warrens), the distance between Swansea to Devizes (100,885 whole Warrens and foot to chest) and the circumference of the planet (23,478,511 whole Warrens). The total distance we have travelled on our voyage was 246,295 whole Warrens or 227 nautical miles.

We dropped Sally the Staysail, Barbara the Yankee sail and finally the Mainsail with Luis helping us flake and store it for the last time. We arrived at the Tawe lock and went through it using the traffic lights and went into the marina, where we moored up against the wall.

We then had to put Sally (normal stay) and Barbara (Yankee 2) to bed in the front of the boat, they needed to be folded up and wrapped in their sail sleeping bags and zipped up by Nancy the zipper.

This afternoon we learnt about man overboard situations, flares and rules of the road before kitting up to climb the mast. Most people had a go with quite a few getting to the very top of the 95ft mast with great views over Swansea marina.

Dinner was bangers and mash with onion gravy cooked by Starboard watch, supervised expertly by Keiran. Afterwards we had a game of spoons, which Reece won after Sophie, Kieran and he made it through to the final.

Going to bed now as we have to be up early, but later than today, to clean the boat before we depart. Night night!

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