Alongside in Douglas
Aaron Ridout: ” Half a day looking round Douglas was very nice, found Alexandros restaurant for lunch in excellent company with John, Pipa and Pedro. And a chocolate shop for souvenirs. Architecture and sculptures around the town were worth a closer look.”
Dun Laoghaire to Douglas
Up at 7, sausages in the oven and kettle on while the deck is prepped with Yankee 2 and Staysail. Cleared of the harbour and sails up, one reef in the main, staysail and Yankee 2, doing 9 knots plus and some if it occasionally in the right direction
Challenger 3 astern of us, just close enough to wonder why Coastguard Helicopter Echo Mike Sierra was playing near us. And the answer? I called them up after hearing them abort a hi-line exercise with a big ship and asked if they would like to play with us instead. After a direction finding exercise to find us, they closed on our stern.
The team soon found out why I had emphasised the noise while running through the High Line drill briefing – 6 tonnes or so of helicopter makes an impressive racket when 5 metres astern below mast height!! The helicopter held station with us for twenty minutes or getting used to the back winding off the sails, then called it a day, sadly too windy to lower the winchman down for a traininz\z\q2g exercise – never mind on the bright side we did get to keep our cherry Bakewells that were readied to pass to the helo crew – sort of an offering to the Rescue Gods, us being fresh out of virgins on board!
1200 now, and around 40 miles to Chicken Rock, reckon this lot will be less impressed than our last crew who got to see the polar bear at The Needles on our first leg.
ETA Douglas around 2000, any bets on how many crew will succumb? Still, if they’re happy when vomit clap your hands Beat the ETA with nearly an hour to spare, sails away and dinner not far off being ready!
Pippa: ”So happy to say the Irish Sea has exceeded my expectations; wild seas, strong winds, lots of sunshine (yes sunshine) and a crew of slightly eccentric characters. We’re slowly adding appropriate nicknames as we go………. The boats are just amazing and we don’t feel like a cork in a bottle, far from. With the steady and reassuring directions from our 3 leaders, we are all conquering the High Seas and I for 1 haven’t had this much exhilarating fun in a long time…… Only disappointed that we only have one more sail ahead of us, but plenty of laughs, smiling and healing over to come ”
Peter: ”What a day! Average heal of 30 degrees. Average 10 knots in 25 knot wind. Ray got us up to 12 Knots and even faster tomorrow when we head down wind forLiverpool. Can sailing get any better than this? It’s the best I’ve ever had for sure. We are all getting on well. What a laugh we’re having.”
Adam: ”Wow its been an amazing trip so far! My first experience of sailing and I am loving every minute. Yesterday I got a bit seasick however today I managed to stay well and enjoy riding the waves. I managed to cook a lunch with Ray of hot ham and cheese baguettes while the boat was rocking at angles of 45 degrees – great fun! Dinner was a lot easier where I finished of cooking the skippers pre-prepared chicken and turning it into a rather nice Sweet and sour stir-fry, loved by everyone, even if I do say so myself. The week has been exciting although with so much information to remember its hard to keep track of what line goes to which sail or the difference between a fender and a Tack haha. Seriously with the vast amount of experience on board and the array of personalities we have as a team it makes it all the more enjoyable. You never feel stupid for making a mistake or having to ask for the hundredth time… which is the mainsail line you want me to take in? well last sail tomorrow but I will take a lot home with me and one day hope to back again – maybe even helping others experience what I have done!”
Aaron Ridout: ”Another fantasic days sailing. Alas the pseudonym is sticking, but only one autograph has been requested so far, and lots of questions about that oaf Jezzer! The rest of the crew are gaining their own reputations, some with pictures to prove it. The days sailing was another first for me, sailing most of the way on a reach at 30degrees, I’ve never had two legs the wrong length before! Again the staff were excellent and really got every one to expand their knowledge, involvement and have fun. Lunch & Dinner were absolutely on the mark, 10/10. The visit by the Irish Garda rescue helicopter for a training exercise was an added bonus, many thanks to John for organising it and providing us with a very clear picture of what to do and expect, and the forethought to have some cakes ready to be ‘rescued’ as a thank you to the garda, but alas they went home empty handed because the wind was too strong for just an exercise. Between us we have probably hundreds of stills and several minutes of video. So we’ll need a good photo share facility to share each others pictures. Tying up inDouglaswas a struggle at low tide on the commercial side of the port, all solid concrete and industrial sized bollards to more up to. Challenger 1 then had to raft up along side, so they had the easier job of it. Even though we obviously had to make do with the landing we were given, the staff had us all prepared for almost anything, which really filled us all with confidence at their leadership abilities, giving clear instructions in uncertain circumstances. It’s a long walk to the yacht club for showers and bar facilities, but worth the walk round the pretty harbour area. Once again thanks to all the staff and crew for such a wonderful day.”
Alongside in Dun Laoghaire
A couple of hours of cleaning the boat and selves then most of the crew ventured ashore. None resisted the Guinness, though we all managed to resist the Leprachaun musem – unlike at least one of the crew of Challenger 1!
Can recommend the Clarendon Bar for food, had great steak there, but not for its ambience – much better craic in theTempleBar area. Everybody back on board before midnight in readiness for the next days adventures.
Milford Haven to Dun Laoghaire
Lots of breeze during the night, but eased slightly by the time we locked out at half seven, with Yankee 3 and Staysail prepped on deck ready to go. Main up with two reefs in before clearing the Sound and then headsails up to beat our way out between the islands, before bearing away.
Flew up the St George’s Channel into the Irish Sea with boat speeds of 11 to 12 knots. Temporarily lost 3 or 4 crew due to sea sickness, with most making a guest appearance for lunch. 3rd Reef in for a while absolutely flying along – just like the spray.
Winds eased as we neared the Irish Coast with us shaking out 3rd Reef. Challenger 3 steering herself for 20 minutes or so under Yankee 3, Staysail and 2 Reefs – doing 10.5 to 12 knots and mostly in the right direction.
Level with Wicklow Head at 2000 and the wind easing a little just as we start smelling the Guinness. Shook out all Reefs to keep up the boat speed. All crew have made at least a partial recovery now, with most refuelling on fresh filled pasta and garlic bread. Twenty miles or so to run and speed over the ground of over 10 knots
Aaron Ridout: Wow! I have never been on one tack for sooo long, the difference from being a dingy sailor, these Challengers are fantastic! Challenger 3 tunefully hums along at over 10 knots with a lovely clear high-C note, it’s a joyful & playful note that rises and falls with the wind and sea.
The spray over the deck was also great fun because you could feel the raw power through your seat. At the Helm the view along such a long sleek vessel was wonderful. Steering such an awesome ship took hard concentration, but once you got the rhythm it became a great way to overcome any queasiness.
To experience a Force 7 on a vessel that can handle it was a real privilege. Seeing the waves above head height was awe inspiring. The crew, old hands and new, are a great bunch to be sharing a grand day out from Wales to Ireland – thanks be.
Peter Barnes: I second everything Aaron has said. There were a few waves over the deck – surprisingly few considering I took the helm for a while and have never been out in more than a 5 before – and that was in Stavros (another story). So, 14 knots tops, 12 hours on the go with wet dinghy sailing boots and salt spray everywhere.
A few moments off to go below and see where we were. Good food coming up the hatch (and going over the side) at regular intervals….. What makes this special are the people, all helpful, kind and open, the Irish sea to stretch us all and the Challengers. What a great combo. Fun!
Swansea to Milford Haven
An early lock out for us, swiftly followed by bacon butties once the main was up. Light winds at the start saw us using the “iron topsail” for a while. Gentle tacking practice as we crossed Camarthen Bay, then change to Yankee 3 before gybing into Milford Haven sound.
Plenty of time to get the boat put to bed before locking in to the marina – but what did the crew think of their first day with us…….? John – The Mate
No comment so far after the Skipper and Mate went in search of the Reverend James – not that they were worried about the next days forecast at all!