Ketch – Swarkestone Sailing Club

By Kate Stewart - July 12th, 2022 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Onboard the ketch this week, we have a group from Swarkestone Sailing Club joining us for a seven-night voyage to complete their DofE Gold Expedition.

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

Day 1

Sunday 10

The day began with some early risers and a few late risers- not mentioning any names.  A lovely breakfast of cereal was dished out, although this nearly exhausted the milk rations- again, not mentioning any names. This cannot be blamed on the vegans (who only take up a good 40-50% of the crew).

After a rather long but of course necessary (!!) brief from Skipper, Adam, the engine was turned on and we found that our resident Marine Engineer, Stefan, actually did know what he was doing. Thanks Stefan, love your work.

Lines slipped from Haslar Marina, a moment of silence was taken for the departure from the beautiful Haslar showers.  Big love to the designers, please come and do my house one day. All four sails were whipped straight up like pros (because we are) into the skies to catch that beautiful summer breeze.

After finding some additional sails in the lockers, along with some interesting crabbing apparatus, a strange hankerchief-like sail was found and hoisted, soon to be voted out quicker than Theresa May after her Brexit deal.

After a couple of hours of this entertainment, our fortune ran out, as the tide was now literally running out and back towards Portsmouth. We soon made friends with an anchored houseboat we could not make ground against and after beating past Cowes for a good three hours, we were soon sick of the sight of it (no offence, we love you Cowes).

After some sketchy dodging with some jet skiers (this hassle had allowed the sweet potatoes to bake themselves to perfection, which paired with some vegan mayo was scranned down a treat), the fight against the tide continued, not unlike Tyson Fury’s fight against Deonte Wilder. We soon got sick of the sight of a yellow marker, which was also proving difficult to pass, so that was another shot of unnecessary sight-sickness.

A god tier chickpea curry was cheffed up, which unfortunately wiped out one crew member with the chilli-eye touch. In addition to this mishap, another crew member was unable to realise that the electric kettle is unable to connect itself to electricity in the middle of the Solent, so the rice water was left sitting in an unboiling kettle for ten minutes.

Shortly after this, a great sight was to behold when Yarmouth came in to view, although this excitement was slightly subdued when we realised how far away it still was.

Nevertheless, the sails were soon dropped quicker than Boris Johnson lost his reputation and a spiffing coming-alongside was pulled off, with the much appreciated assistance of the bumper car, aka the harbour master (legend).

The day was finished off securely tied to the rustic and ironically rusty hailing station in the harbour. Brews were then able to be made in quick time when the electrics were actually connected.​

By Kate.

Day 2

Monday 11

We awoke at 07:00 with the sea on our minds and our stomachs calling for food, only to find cereal and milk (with a side of fresh fruit) prepared in the crew’s mess. After the admittedly rushed meal we used the Yarmouth shore facilities for one last time, said goodbye to the gribble and set to preparing the ship for sail.

In a mad rush to set the lines to loose and protect the boat with the roving fenders we pulled out of Yarmouth and began our journey back to Portsmouth. Much like the previous day, the wind had decided to stay scarce, so we powered on with reliance upon the engine. Nothing eventful happened for the rest of the journey.

At Gunwharf Quays, we had a change of Skipper and the preparations for lunch began. Over bowls of tomato soup and a garnish of garlic bread, we introduced ourselves and revised our plans for the day. Austin Malachi Smith took the helm to take us off the pontoon and we moved away with ease.

Out in the Solent, some of the crew took part in a team building exercise where pairs were handcuffed to each other and had to find a way to escape. During the process there was a change of helm and the two pairs took three quarters of an hour to find a way out.

As we pulled into Cowes, we had to wait in a vain attempt for a more viable space to open up. Ultimately, we had to pull off a tricky manuvoure to inch onto the end of the pontoon, fenders at the ready. After a quick tidy up of the ropes, we alighted the boat onto the shore and to use the facilities.

As an easier meal for the evening, we picked up some fish, chips, and sides from Sainsbury’s. The crew took their food for a short walk along the beach in a search for a good place to eat. Eventually we settled for a bench on some grass where we enjoyed what was an excellent meal.

After eating, we went down to the extremely stony beach where some of us decided to brave the icy depths, while others were contented with trying and learning to skim stones (even with their feet). After a lovely polaroid picture on the quayside with the sea as a backdrop most of the crew walked back while two of them devised a devious plan…

Checking that no one was looking, they raced up the grassy hill and down the road in a desperate attempt to overtake the others. Running up the now deserted high street, the buildings offering some much needed cover, they made it to the gate into the harbour. Unfortunately, the code that had been given didn’t work and it was an unnecessarily difficulty to have it opened from the inside. After making it back, the two pesky crew members waited a while before looking for everyone else, they eventually made it back after spending a little more time in Cowes.

After our filling day, all that remained for us to do was fall asleep and look forward to the next day of adventures.

Day 3

Tuesday 12

The crew awoke slightly later than usual and went about a leisurely repeat breakfast of cereal and a large array of milks, putting the Sainsbury’s dairy shelfs to shame and fuelling the crew with much needed carbs for the morning chores ahead.

The heads were cleaned; the coffee cups away in cupboards and the midweek shop commencing. Shopping bags flowed into the mess filled to the brim with a large variety of food, including more vegan dairy products and other vegetables, later to be transformed into a fabulous lunch of roasted peppers stuffed with couscous and mushrooms, that was scoffed down quicker than an Irish eats potatoes.

The lines were slipped after breakfast and we were sailing with intentions for Studland bay, a popular anchorage near Poole. Within five short minutes, we passed an all too familiar yellow mark, that had proved to be an hour sucking task just two days before. Bruised egos in hand, we continued our journey, and after a few hours of The Tenacity sailing wonderfully, we arrived at our anchorage a little before 16:00.

During our trip, the Skipper initiated a game of ‘boat murder’ to which Liam, caught unsuspecting and unaware, was the first to be killed with a mooring line on the Starboard side of the vessel and after some quick thinking, we reached a unanimous decision for a forfeit of rainbow glasses and an extremely funky, slightly suspicious bucket hat to be awarded to the latest execution after each kill.

Inspired by the super yacht crew -anchored to our left- sliding into the chilly Solent water down a giant inflatable slide, we invested in a more budget friendly activity of jumping off the deck *insert silent sound of the wallets emptying*. This naturally evolved into a competitive race around said boat and a relaxing row.

We finished the evening afloat with some cheesy vegan pasta ironically made non-vegan by the majority of the crew opting for some extra mature cheddar to garnish, followed by at least the fifth biscuits and tea round of the day.

Mafia began: a tactical card game in which some crew members were late to understand that the game principle was deceiving others into believing you’re innocent. Therefore, they were not required to be completely honest and could in fact deny that they were mafia, leading to the amusingly self-brought on loss of the game.

Provided with a pink Bluetooth microphone, off-tune karaoke bellowed through the boat till the sun set; consisting of dancing queen, wonder wall and other karaoke classics. Vibes were all round high and continued through to the final game of cards against humanity, to which the universal rule of “what happens on holiday, stays on holiday!!” applies.

Crew returned to their bunks and found it easy to sleep, exhausted from the day’s events and ready to sail to Lymington the following day.

By Carl and Tanya.

Day 4

Wednesday 13

To begin the day we woke up at anchor to the wonderful peace and quiet of the water lapping against the side of the vessel, with the sun gently kissing our eyes. This was beautifully complimented by the sweet taste of Weetabix- coated in enough sugar to cause diabetes and soon needed as the following taste was the chill of toothpaste to bring our senses back to reality.

The wind was feeling a bit sorry for itself this particular morning, however its partner the sun was luckily in an amazing mood therefore making the motor to Totland Bay an extremely relaxing one.

Pulling into the anchorage, we were greeted by a mine field of lobster pots waiting for its next victim, luckily this wasn’t to be us as we anchored with astonishing grace and held perfectly still upon the mirror bellow us.

Once the team had established that it was way too hot to not plunge into the blissful water, the race to the swimming costumes began. This was won by Tanya who produced one of the more flawless dives of the afternoon with pointed toes and very little splash. Once the salt water had completely flooded our brain, we took to sun bathing to a beautiful view of gaff rigged cutters gybing mid race which became a highlight of our afternoon.

By this time, the tide had turned in our favour to make it to Lymington, the wind had also perked up a little bit to give us half an hour of sailing before having to turn the engine on to make the skinny approach into the marina.

We had been given a berth behind marmite, which is bad on toast and also bad to park behind as she was double stacked on another large motor vessel. However, we executed coming alongside as if we were a professional crew (far more professional that the current state of the political system) we had a quick debrief with our Skipper/local politician, Josh. By which time, we were all starving, so the dinner team began.

We all joined the kitchen for moral support while online boat shopping, we came to the conclusion that boats are probably the worst investment anyone can make, however the memories they make are totally worth it. The dinner was an exquisite green Thai curry with saffron rice, the spice hit beautifully and was perfectly topped off with tofu, beautifully marinated and coated in flour. This concluded an amazing day on the water, thanks team!

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