Monday 27th - The Arrival - by Shah and Ishraq
We arrived at GWQ Marina in Portsmouth after a very hectic fuel crisis, however with the sun shining, Mr Smith got us here safely. It was extremely windy. We met Chas at the marina gate and he escorted us to our boat; Challenger 4 where we met his A team; Tony, the Skipper; Jim, the Mate; Ella and Sharron, our Watch Leaders; and David, our award-winning, humorous photographer. We boarded the boat and were split into our watches and allocated our bunks. A very tight but cosy place.
After that, we walked to the ‘tech deck’ at 1851 Trust to do some STEM work about sails and wind turbines, which we personally found very interesting. We were told to design sails by ourselves with limited resources. We both managed to create a sail which miraculously had a negative lift; something never achieved before! Soon after this, we were told to design our own wind turbines to measure how much voltage can be created by our models. After a very heart-breaking defeat from our first task, we managed to turn our luck around and design a wind turbine able to generate 12.5V which is enough to charge our phones, our genius should be scouted by NASA.
After a very exciting start to the day, we walked back to our boat and began our lives at sea, COOKING! We were the onion and chicken cutting maestros. Shah has never cried so much in his life and that was possibly the lowest point in his life. Ishraq became a professional butcher and now his career desires have changed from engineering to catering. Time to open a restaurant! The food was absolutely immaculate, cooked by our own Michelin star chef, Tameem. Overall, the day was a great experience and we thoroughly enjoyed our first day. We can’t wait to see what adventures the next few days have in store for us.
Tuesday 28th - Challenger 4 and the Blustery Day - by Amine and Yusuf
Having woken up at 07:00, Starboard watch had been tasked to prepare breakfast for everyone onboard. After finishing our food, Port watch did an engine check to ensure everything was running smoothly. It is expected for the engine to be checked once every morning. Starboard watch prepared the deck for our journey across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight. This involved getting the sails out and prepped while the fenders and lines were put in the sail locker as we departed.
We were taught how to hoist the main sail, which is held on a 98ft mast. Then we were tasked with getting the four sails hoisted collectively as a team. This process involved sweating, which is essentially milking a cow (hand over hand) then bell ringing then ultimately sweating. Consequently, the engine was switched off and we were sailing ourselves. At many points through our journey, the wind reached speeds of 35 knots (nautical miles per hour).
The Skipper, at many moments, asked us to execute a task called tacking. This is so we were able to approach the wind at a certain angle in order to efficiently sail rather than heading straight for the wind. This process involved us having to winch and for the skipper to turn the wheel completely to the other side.
A couple of individuals had the experience of actually controlling the boat today for the first time. We were taught that the boat has an automatic rudder system and that very minimal movements are required in order to achieve your ultimate direction. The boat is state of the art and is extremely stable. It is able to withstand hectic weather and is able to move fairly quickly.
Wednesday 29th - An Outbreak of Sunshine! - by Nabeel and Nasir
The day started at 07:00 in Cowes, where Port watch were tasked with serving breakfast for everyone onboard. The breakfast consisted of cereal, toast and tea which was enough to satiate everyone for the tough day ahead. Some of us had decided that we would go to the local town to increase our rations in snacks and other goods. It was a pleasant morning, a lot better than the days prior as we were all used to the living standards on a boat. The plan -onwards to Lymington!
After breakfast, Starboard watch were on cleaning up duty while Port watch were handed another task of preparing the deck. The sun was out and unlike the days before it was warm, peaceful and wherever you looked, there was a fantastic display! To prepare the deck we had to undo the covers for the sails, fasten and unfasten specific halliards (ropes) to raise the sails to prepare for the voyage ahead. This task had to be done hastily and efficiently wasting no time to set sail. Although this may seem like a duty, we all were having a lovely time working together concordantly as a team. Once this was over, everyone on deck! It’s time to set sail!
As we were slowly drifting across the sea, we finally raised the sails, turned off the engine and followed the direction of the wind. We moved swiftly as, although there was sun, the winds were strong. Funnily enough, it was us two who were asked to make tea for the crew. This seemed like a simple task – as you would expect as a land lover. However, on the seas, swaying Port and Starboard; you have to focus intensely as one wrong move… hot water all over the floor, seats and more importantly, us! We managed to somehow overcome this and delivered 9 teas and 5 coffees to everyone. While we were below deck, the crew suddenly decided to set the sails down as a MOB signal had been alerted nearby by a sailboat. It did not take too long for the rest of the crew to do this, while we were down below.
For lunch, Starboard watch had decided to make baguettes which had filled our empty stomachs and refueled us for the rest of the journey. This was well needed and they had done a great job. We finally got near Lymington and had to put down the main sail which had been done very fast as we were used to it after learning from an experienced skipper and mate. Finally, land ahoy!
We’ve landed at Lymington and we are on dinner duty, we are tasked to make Thai chicken curry which will be a blast. Today marks the midpoint of our journey. Lots of fun days to come ahead of us we hope. We’ve got to go and make dinner now. Over.