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Ketch – Schneider Electric (DofE Gold Expedition)

By Danny - September 22nd, 2023 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Following a successful voyage last week, another group of young apprentices from Schneider Electric (aged 23 to 25) are joining us on board our 55ft ketch vessel to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Gold Expedition.

Read their blog to see how they have been getting on!​

Day 1

Wednesday 20

The day of the start of our second voyage together as a team has arrived! With everyone eagerly meeting up at Gunwharf Quays rather early, we all expressed a delight to see one another before heading down to our ship and being greeted by Sue, our Skipper and Jim, our First Mate.

The Tenacity of Bolton was now our home for the next seven days and although being smaller than the Challenger ships we were on last time, there was a cosy, warm feeling when we walked around for the first time which was welcoming.

After settling down and deciding whose bed is whose, we began by introducing ourselves more to Jim and Sue. We were then informed by Sue that due to weather conditions around Portsmouth and the Solent, we would not be leaving the marina that night but just having a more relaxed night of arranging what roles on the ship we would all have and preparing ourselves for a day of sailing tomorrow.

After planning our route for the next day and doing some learning on charts. We then set everyone’s roles for the week, planned meals and created a shopping list of resources we need – which mainly consisted of apple crumble and Billy Bear ham!

As a team, we then ventured out to the local Tesco in torrential rain, which was a task in itself! After picking up all the food we needed for the next few days and collecting a hefty amount of Clubcard points, we came back to the boat to start preparing dinner.

For dinner, Elizabeth and Angel cooked us a delicious vegetable curry which everyone enjoyed and ate all up. Once everyone finished their dinner and we washed everything up, we played a few games before hitting the hay.

By James.

Day 2

Thursday 21

This morning everyone was up and about at 7:30am we tucked into some bagels and fruit for breakfast and then showered and got ready to depart Portsmouth. Before departing we had a deck tour and a refresh on some of the names of parts, ropes, sails and knots we will be using across the week; we also had a safety brief to ensure everything we do is safe.

After not too long we released the lines and lifted the fenders aboard and began motoring out of Portsmouth. Malakai and James worked on planning our routes out of Portsmouth and into Cowes, using weather and wind forecasts also using tide times to ensure we’ll be safe departing and arriving in different ports. We then used this plan to decide what route we were going to take, which worked effectively.

After motoring for some time we decided to put the mainsail up. After only a few minutes, we realised the sail was stuck and not moving up any further then halfway up… After pulling and pushing with the sail for an hour we decided to call it a day and head back to Portsmouth so it could be fixed with the plan to head to Cowes later that night. On the way back we put the staysail and put it away again just to get some sail practice.

Once back in Portsmouth, ‘Monkey’ – who will be our skipper from Friday onwards – came to our rescue to help Jim and Sue fix the kinks in the sail and help it get up to the top of the mast.

Before leaving we packed the sail away so it can be easily used next time we need it – we then left Portsmouth Harbour for the second time that day and began to head for Cowes again.

Once out into the small boat channel heading for the Isle of Wight, we got out the staysail and mizzen sail to see how they worked. We then out them away and motored the rest of the way to Cowes. Before entering Cowes, we spoke about man overboard and some more safety protocols.

Once in Cowes, Ash made us up a pesto pasta and apple crumble for desert which was delicious and my highlight so far. We’ve had a really enjoyable and informative first couple of days and we all can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds for us!

By James.

Day 3

Friday 22

Today we woke up in Cowes feeling refreshed and had a relaxed morning not dissimilar to Thursday. Jim and Sue kindly assisted Ash and I as we planned out our route for the day. I must admit, the route was considerably more straightforward that it otherwise would have been if Malakai and James hadn’t kindly done almost the exact same piece of planning yesterday.

We made a smooth departure around 10:00 with clear skies above our heads and Angel indoctrinated into the engine maintenance cult. After a fairly dismal 0/4 sails raised yesterday, I would have been content to call even one a success, but somehow we managed to raise all four with relatively little drama and no buoys lost!!

We spent the majority of the day practicing our tacking and gybing (not the dance – thanks Angel) along the Solent, bobbing between the storm clouds with what almost began to look like poise, or dare I say it… competence?

Our other main activity for the day was the dramatic fall of Mr. Fender (just a fender to be 100% clear…) into the water, which led to a dramatic emergency manoeuvre and he was saved in spectacular fashion by Ash. This was a really good practice for the team, so if the worst ever did happen then we have some practice under our belts and we familiarised ourselves with the skills that had grown rusty since our time on the Challenger a few months back.

Finally as we arrived on Gunwharf Quays, we decided to add one last complication to the day by practicing with the emergency tiller, which as with the rest of our ventures so far, was not completely smooth sailing *badum tiss* but, it was a really fun teamwork challenge and learning experience.

Finally, we arrived back into Portsmouth with Sue sadly departing and ‘Monkey’, our DofE assessor coming aboard, signalling the imminent start of our final expedition.

By Edward​

Day 4

Saturday 23

Today we arose to a chilly morning in the wonderful and breezy Gunwharf Quays at 07:30. We enjoyed a great set of bacon and eggs with much to spare from the delightful Ash.

We managed to prep the deck and have the engine running by 10:45 as we slipped the ropes and gained permission to leave the marina. Once we had made it a fair way out of the main channels, we set the sails at 11:30 and navigated with the words from Elizabeth, from the plan that was organised the day before, getting us to turn after the third buoy along with a bearing of 260^. With this, we began our journey to Warsash.

On our first full day with Monkey, we all managed a few turns of taking charge tacking, with nearly everyone else having their own part in the manoeuvre. Around this time, with putting the Genoa out, Ed somehow managed to completely dismember the main jammer and attempted to replace it.

After this, we had a lush lunch supplied by Kshamya and Angel, which was an original dish; wraps filled with spiced beans and cheese, with a lovely cuppa. After some more successful manoeuvres of tacking, we went full steam ahead towards Warsash.

We arrived all safe and sound beside the Warsash sailing club masters office, tied up and had a review of the day. Finishing with a meal of stir fry, and a group discussion to make a plan for the first day of the final expedition.

By Malakai.

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