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Tall Ships Cat – Bryanston School DofE Expedition

By Tall Ships - April 5th, 2019 | Posted in Voyager blogs No comments

Day One

We boarded the big cat for the first time today. The Skipper and first mate introduced themselves and showed us around the cat. We were shown the safety procedures like the jack stay which we were told to attach ourselves to whilst operating the boat. We then had to collaborate to organise a food schedule, sorting out what we would eat for the next week. This had to be a balanced diet including an equal proportion of protein, carbs and vegetables (or other). We left Portsmouth and set off to Cowes in the Isle of White. On the voyage we learnt to tie clove hitch and OXO knots which we need to tie the fenders onto the side of the boat so that we could moor safely. This we managed with a great deal of success and teamwork. Whilst moored, half of the group cooked supper whilst the other half were allowed to go ashore for a short a while. The food was very filling and nicely balanced to renew some of our lost energy. The other half then cleaned up which was done in an upbeat and enthusiastic manner. In the evening we received lessons on navigation buoyage. We finished the day off with a game of cards. I look forward to tomorrow.


Day Two

Another busy day out on the water today, sailing out of Cowes in the morning after half of us  cleaned and prepped the deck and tidied the saloon and galley. The other half embarked on a shopping trip to stock up for the next two days. We practiced our skills, ‘slipping the stern and bow’ and we set sail! We received many lessons from Skipper and first mate today. We all learnt a lot including: navigation: point to point navigation and how to take lines of latitude and longitude. We learnt about different the sails, (mizzen and stay) and the different points of sail (head, foot, luff, leach, tack and clew). We also practiced some more knots: reef, bowline, double half hitch and clove hitch. We all continued to practice and learn these knots throughout our journey. We sailed from Cowes to Newtown Creak, where we anchored for lunch, then using our navigation skills collaborated to navigate and helm the boat. After lunch, (a tasty baguette and fruit!), we sailed to our final destination of Lymington, where we explored the town and enjoyed the sunshine. The evening was relaxed and enjoyed a meal of sausages, mash and veg. All tired but excited for tomorrow.


Day Three

Today was a rather eventful day, we started off as usual with one group making breakfast and the other cleaning up. The two groups then began to clean the boat and make ready to set sail. We then left Lymington at 9:20 towards Poole, our navigator were pretty good, until we over shot one of our way points and then had to turn around to get back on track. Other than it was a relatively good day, we had some good wind so we got to actually sail for the duration of our journey, we were able to put up 3 of 4 sails and then successfully put them all down at the end. Unfortunately because of the direction of the wind, we had to alter our plan of stopping at Studland for lunch, and headed straight to Poole. As we arrived in Poole our group began to look around and admire the yachts that were parked in the port, we even had the chance to look at a French mine sweeper. Once we had successfully parked the boat, the Captain and Skipper gave us a few lessons on how to throw the rope (as we had several mishaps in previous docking attempts), navigation, and we learnt how to tie a sheet bend and a round turn and two half hitches. After our lesson we were given some free time to go ashore and walk around Poole, with the instructions to stop by a super market to buy some food that we would need for dinner and the next day. The two groups then split up again as one began to cook dinner and the other would clean up after. I think we can all agree that our pasta carbonara as relatively good. I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we’re all ready for bed, but I think we’re all excited to see what the next few days hold in store for us.


Day Four

As usual this morning, one of the groups prepared breakfast, and the other cleared away. The one who made breakfast, cleaned the deck with the scrubbing brush, checked the engines, and removed the sail cover. All these things were done in order for us to set sail at 9.15 am. We left just before, with a fast and efficient clean up. We set sail to Weymouth, and did so by passing through Poole and sandbanks again, following the route we came in on, the previous evening. The Winds were coming strongly from the east, on our way there, and our navigators suffered some seasickness from standing and navigating. We had some chompy wind, but moved swiftly towards Weymouth for ca. 2.30 pm, but stayed around before heading into our spot at Weymouth bay, and sailed in circles to practice and learn our man over board drills and regulations. We successfully set up three sails today and took all three down successfully.  Once in our space in Weymouth, we started planning our final expedition, with meal and shopping plans, as well as another man over board drill, and some mapping planning, as well as going over the mapping of today’s route, what could have gone better, and how we made our chart planning work well. All in all it was a very successful last training day before the expedition, and we can only hope that our next days of the expedition go as smoothly as these last days.


Day Five

Today there was rain and there was also quite strong winds. We set off at around 9 and went out of Waymouth towards the Isle of White, it was a very long journey with lots of different types of weather and even hail! There journey went well but there were a few difficult jives and a few difficult moments wrenching the sails in again. Toward the end of the day the meson sail got stuck which made parking hard making us have to resort to leaving three crew members lying on the sail which we had to collapse on the deck. We finished up the day in Yarmouth but all in all the navigation went well and everyone is ok. The menu today was a lovely sandwich and then pesto pasta. The highlight today was going past the needles under sail and it was briefly nice weather while I helmed, and it was the first boat I sailed and it is very big. In my first visit to Yarmouth it was very nice and there was a lovely pier where I watched the sun set.


Day Six

Today we set of from Yarmouth, we left at 08:50am. Rafe and I were on Nav and gathered the appropriate weather information from the Harbour Master. We had plotted our route out the previous evening. The sea was very calm and there was hardly any wind and it was very sunny. We did experience some turbulence though with the hail. The journey was very smooth due to our well planned navigation. It was a much shorter leg than the day before, only four hours (18 miles). We did hit a snag though, when we wrote in the wrong longitude and latitude which led to us to think that we were further along than we actually were. This was a good learning experience though, a mistake which will not be made again. On arriving in Portsmouth we had lunch which was pasties and sausage rolls which were very tasty. We then had some free time and went on a walk as a group around the town of Gosport. We then had dinner which was spagbol and garlic bread. I’m now very tired.


Day Seven

We woke up today to lashing rain and howling wind to which we were meant to spend the day sailing in. Luckily we had predicted the bad weather in advance so had already planned to spend the day in and around the port. Chaz came aboard at 8:15am and joined us for a later breakfast at 8:30 – although we did in fact have to get up at the same time in order to clean the decks and prepare the food for breakfast. Afterwards we set sail at 10:02 having been told where we were to be headed today by Chaz – we elected not to use any sail power on our journey up toward the Solent from Haslar Marina due to the high winds and choppy water. The journey was only 18.8 Nm however this was made much shorter due to the challenging weather and narrowing river. After our journey we decided to try and venture back into Haslar Marina as a safe place to sit and have lunch however this proved challenging due to other boats moving in and out of the marina. We elected to sail over to Gun Warf Quays where we had lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon tidying, gathering evidence and improving and solidifying our sailing knowledge.


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