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Challenger 4 – Voyage of Empowerment – Portsmouth to Plymouth

By Kate Stewart - April 18th, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Onboard Challenger 4 this week, we have a group of young people aged 16-25, who have previously sailed with us joining us on our first Voyage of Empowerment!

Check out their blog to see what they’ve been getting up to.

Day 1

Monday 17

Our voyage started at Gunwharf Quays Marina in Portsmouth at 13:00. All of us from different areas have come together for this week long expedition to Plymouth. After walking down the pontoon to Challenger 4, we engaged in an icebreaker challenge where we had to get everybody’s luggage onto the yacht without using our hands! We learnt everyone’s names along the way as we put our minds into one and used the main halliard as a make shift crane to help stow our belongings below in our berths.

Once onboard our home for the next week, we familiarised ourselves with maritime lingo and nautical necessities. All of us took part in explaining certain workings of the boat and if we didn’t know, the crew onboard were ready to expand our knowledge further. After a safety briefing and a revision of different knots and equipment, we were ready to set sail!

As the sun beamed onto our faces and the smell of English Channel beckoned, we released the mooring lines, finessed the fenders and sorted the Staysail ready for tomorrow’s excursion. Leaving the marina, we brought in and coiled the mooring lines, set up the sheets and put away our little bubble buddies, the fenders. Briskly moving towards our anchorage for the night, we engaged in a friendly competition to see who could sweat and hoist the Staysail the fastest! Joel and Joshua had a tied winning time of 33 seconds!

Along our journey, towards our destination, we also learnt how to correctly spot and plot a previous coordinate of where we were and how to illustrate it on a chart. Completing this, the crew onboard Challenger 4 had arrived at our location for the night, lowered the anchor and raised the anchor ball.

Down to the galley we went after organising the deck as it was time to prepare for dinner. The menu tonight; fiery fajitas… but without the fire. The prepping of the meal was completed in record time and the feast of fajitas commenced. Around the table there was a satisfied silence as tummies that were once famished were filled… WITH FAJITAS.

Concluding dinner, we tidied the saloon and galley and had a moment of down time before our debrief of the day. During our day one debrief, we set targets and goals for ourselves to aid in our personal development.

Tomorrow will be an early start of 08:00 with breakfast and a new topic to learn; skills and drills! As a whole, we have all really enjoyed our first day on the boat and will update you more tomorrow!

Signing off ~

Riley and Sofia.

Day 2

Tuesday 18

We woke up. Still aboard Challenger 4, we arose from our smitten slumber and ate our breakfast, ready for today’s tasks! The crew’s first task was finding our location on the charts, using our longitude and latitude. We then used what we had learnt to plot a course through the Solent towards Yarmouth, where we would be moored for the night next to the Challenger 1 crew.

Before setting off at 10:30 we prepped the deck, raised the anchor and then set off towards our first marker, SE Ryde Middle. With full stomachs, courage and determination, we set sail, literally! The crew hoisted the Mainsail and trimmed the sheets bathing in the sun’s radiant heat, like the fire that burned in our souls fuelled with desire to reach our final destination.

After sailing down the Solent and reaching Yarmouth, we had a new obstacle in our way. THE TIDE! Yarmouth has a shallow entrance and we required enough clearance between us and the muddy sea floor. But, “how do you solve this conundrum?” I hear you ask! Simple. We stood by, poised like coiled springs waiting for a higher tide to allow us the clearance between the keel and seabed.

During our long wait to enter the marina, we set up a tack and tacked numerous times to ensure we knew what we were doing for the journey ahead of us. After tacking numerous times we j32689eyhyhey3 e3r6dksjdj ssyenvod uwphdfjhs fuqejeedfgh…- sorry, I fell asleep on the keyboard. All of us are extremely tired!

By Jacob and Riley.

Day 3

Wednesday 19

Today we woke up at 03:30 and we were on deck by 03:45. ready for a 04:00 departure. It was very cold and dark, but we were all extremely excited. Due to the conditions, we needed to use good verbal communication and work as a team to get the ship ready. The sun rose at around 06:10 and was absolutely stunning, by this point we already had the sails up and were cruising at a decent speed of around nine knots.

At about 06:30, we enjoyed a continental breakfast. We were then split into two groups, one group started a two-hour watch on deck, while the other watch was able to go down and rest for two hours, which was much needed after an early start and then we switched.

By this point, it had really warmed up and we all enjoyed a nice relaxing sail, soaking up the rays and the cool ocean breeze. At around 12:00 we started some fire evacuation drills, which was really interesting, we heard about a family called the Robertsons who had been shipwrecked some time ago and managed to survive for over 30 days!!  Absolutely incredible!

Then, when we least expected it, we had a pod of dolphins seemingly come out of nowhere and follow the boat, they were surfing the wave of the bow, it was absolutely awesome and definitely the highlight of the trip so far.  Soon after this, we arrived in Salcombe which is a beautiful place and well worth seeing. We moored up alongside Challenger 1 and cooked dinner.

By Josh and Joel.

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