Today we woke up bright and breezy at 8am, to Gucci gang making breakfast of crumpets, bagels and toast. We prepped the boat and waited for our D Of E assessor. Before he arrived we planned our root to Norris buoy and back again. The treacherous plan required deep and meaningful negotiation of the charts, we took our sweet time but we got there in the end. Further preparation of the assessor’s arrival was held in the preparation of a football shirt hand made by our very own Annabel Barlow, it was forged on the chart table with whole hearted good intention as we believed that he was in fact a fan of Tottenham football club. It wasn’t long before we saw a man walking over the promenade, Alex was the first to recognise him as none other than the Tall Ships man from before; he had returned. It didn’t take long for us to remember his hate for Tottenham and we dashed to the cabins to hide from him. Once all apologies were made and shirts handed over, we set sails into the bright white water of outside Portsmouth. We headed into the wind, Ned and Annabel sat at the helm.
We lifted mizzen, very well. We lifted the genoa, impeccably.
Once we arrived at our lunching destination we ate omelettes or as Bruneu commented rather rude, we ate scrambles eggs. After lunch the anchor was lifted, lifting up all the mud from the deep, this ended up on Ollies face and left his skin in really very nice shape. The rain picked up again as we returned to Portsmouth meaning that the wind was wet and so the boat got wet. This, contrary to what you might imagine, didn’t dampen the mood. We docked, locked, and were done for the day.
Today we woke at 8 am to breakfast, served by the Starburst crew, of cereal, bagels and cereal in the port of Yarmouth. After planning the route the night before, we set off in hunt of Haslar marina. We knew that it was going to be quite different conditions today when we were planning and had it noted down as a force six on the beaufort scale, meaning that the skipper thought it was necessary to bring out the waterproof overalls. We managed to get everyone their sizes without a quarrel. We all put them on for a short period of time as the rain went as soon as it came.
Tomorrow is our assessment day for our gold Dofe, and so, we treated today as a form of mock, throughout the day we were quizzed by Lindsey and Charlotte about the things in which we would potentially be asked tomorrow, including things like the luff and leach and the corners of the sails. We spent more time on the water in preparation so that we could comfortably perform a gybe without help and recognise when one is necessary. It was also helpful having the harsher conditions as we could become more familiar with steering the boat with waves. It became clear that it is much more difficult to guide the boat in a straight line and keep to the plan. As well as avoiding other boats and helicopter practices. Sandwiches were made while at sea and we eventually docked at around 4:30. We then made our final shopping trip collecting the necessities we needed for the rest of our expedition and spaghetti. Last but not least, my childhood was ruined by a certain crew member who informed me that Puff the Magic Dragon isn’t magic or in fact a dragon unless you take a puff. I am devastated.
We rolled out of bed this morning to break our fast with a bacon roll. The bacon was crisped to perfection and the rolls had a subtle crunch upon biting. Will wobbled the engine. We then chatted about potential situations which might prove dangerous to both our lives and the boat, these included: Fire, Holes and Pirates. We identified the cutlery as an effective defence mechanism. We followed the passage plan prepped the day before, following a course of buoys. We encountered a sticky situation when we ran into a race which we weren’t so keen on joining. This involved a couple of complex manoeuvres (by Annabel) who successfully steered the boat and its 10 crew members to safety. Harriet and Ned whipped up some tomato soup garnished with basil, coriander and a sprinkle of Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder. Lindsey called a pass. We then did a touch of reefing after a quick briefing. The wind suddenly decided to blow a hoolie but the cool-headed crew lept into action to drop the main sail. We then moored in Yarmouth Marina before hitting the village and immersing ourselves in the local culture, finding out the favourite swim spots of the area as well as an impressive local:tourist ratio. After an intense 90 minutes of eating away the time we settled back in the cabin for a briefing regarding the ‘Man overboard’ situation. The rest of the crew managed to maintain their composure. Finally we got the free t-shirts. This proved to be the biggest dilemma of the day and the crew called in their problem solving skills in order to decide who was rocking the large and who the medium. Over and out.
It was Tuesday morning and the crew woke in good spirits at a solid 8am. It wasn’t for another fifteen minutes that members of the team started to rise from their sleeping cabins, and from there many sounds of life could be heard all throughout White Wave. After we had all relieved ourselves and eaten breakfast, the chaps on the boat we ready to test out their dingy skills, (all a part of the competent crew) it took no time at all and we were ready to leave the harbour in before we even knew it. Beaulieu had treated us well and by ten we were turning in the quay and motoring out down the river. We carried on like that for another two hours, putting up the sails and cleaning the decks in the time it took us to make enough distance to carry on back easterly with full sails at the ready. When all four sails were open we were zooming along at a max speed of 8knotts, this lasted a mere fifteen minutes before we had to turn and the wind died in our arms. We were back to motors on our inbound trip into Southampton quay, and before turning around seven times as we took down the sails, we were ship shape and all tied up ready for a keen shopping trip to the skipper’s forming employment of Lidl. The day was complete before we knew it and dinner came swift enough leaving all in high spirits again for another day on White Water.
At the start of the day after an 8:00 AM wake up, we learnt how to clean the boat and cast ourselves away from the pontoon. Then we set off from East Cowes at around 10:45 after being taught about the different types of flares and what each of them are and how to use them. We set to embark a 4 hour voyage across The Solent to our final destination of Bucklers Hard Yacht Harbour. Today we took up and down three sales which are the main sail, the mizzen sail and the stay sail. We were also taught 5 knots which were the reef knot, clove hitch knot, bowline knot, sheet and double sheet knot. After our lunch of the steak and vegetable soup, we took turns in piloting the boat through our course. When we arrived we put the fenders out and secured ourselves to the pier of the harbour. We taught ourselves some survival techniques which included crabbing alongside the pier which we were very successful at. We finished of the day with a very nice BBQ cooked by the Gucci Gang and was then later cleaned up by the Starburst Crew.
We arrived at Portsmouth Harbour at 12.00. The sun was shining but the heat was broken by a cooling breeze. We left the harbour after a quick briefing using the motor engine as opposed to the sails. Today the crew have learnt how to tie an effective clove hitch knot for hanging the fenders and how to hoist and flake the stay. Some wildlife was spotted including a black-headed gull and some oyster catchers and admiring glances were thrown towards the old batteries and the caste on the Isle of Wight. Spirits have been high with poorly sung shanty songs to accompany the journey. This evening we moored at East Cowes Marina and there indulged in a warm shower before enjoying a delicious meal cooked as a group effort.