Day 1 – Joined the boat
Voyage crew joined the boat and introduced to each other and the skipper+mate and given a general safety brief. Then we were shown around the boat and given information on how everything works. Now knowing where stuff was, we prepped the boat for sailing by laying out the sails onto the deck. In the evening, we got used to the living area and bunks. Had an early night in preparation for our early start the following morning.
Day 2 – Left Hartlepool
We set out early in order to have high tide when leaving Hartlepool. Learnt about putting up the sails, put them up, but there wasn’t really enough wind to power the boat forwards, so the idea of motor sailing was introduced to everyone. The crew was split into watches and a watch system was started at lunchtime. This 3 hours on, 3 hours off continued into the night, with care being taken to avoid the numerous oil and gas rigs in the North Sea.
Day 3 – Arrived in Scheveningen
We continued to motor sail all morning and by early afternoon we were approaching Scheveningen. After finding our berth, we went for a explore where we discovered a very nice beach cafe called Boonoonoonoos, which had amazing tables with fires in the middle of them.
Day 4 – Stayed in Scheveningen
Had a day in Holland! Whilst the skipper and mate stayed with the boat doing some vital heads maintenance, the crew went to explore the local town, where we ended up buying things for lunch and having a (slightly sandy) picnic on the beach. After sampling some of what the numerous ice-cream shops had to offer, we returned to the boat to cook dinner.
Day 5 – Left Scheveningen and headed towards Britain
We motored down the coast over glassy seas due to a distinct lack of wind. As we motored down the Dutch and Belgian coastline we put up the trapeze and some of us had a go at climbing it. Once night fell, the wind started to pick up and by midnight as we were approaching Calais we were sort of sailing!
Day 6 – Arrived in Portsmouth
Crossing the Dover Straits in the early hours of the morning was interesting as the only thing we could see of all of the other boats in the Channel was the 3 navigation lights. Sailing against the tide, in the rain and against 2.5metre waves, we continued all the way along the south coast, until Portsmouth appeared out of the cloud. The last boat in the challenger fleet to arrive, we were quickly alongside. Everyone was dying for a shower, so the deck was sorted out in double quick time and once refreshed the crew headed for a meal in a restaurant.
Day 7 – Day Sailing in the Solent
Woke early and motored over to Cowes to refuel. Weather was really warm and sunny. Then we left Cowes and put up sails and proceeded to sail out into the Solent. Over the course of the morning we practiced jibing, tacking and man over board procedure, with a fender acting as a casualty. Heading back into Portsmouth, we tidied and cleaned the boat for the final time. This was interrupted by an ‘interesting’ coming along side attempt by one of the other skippers.
Day 8 – Left the boat