It was a sombre morning today; the thought of us setting out for our last sail overwhelmed the room. Preparing the deck for the last time, the sky was clear and the sun shined down on us. With David and Henry serving as skipper and mate, respectively, the boat was prepared and set off from Cowes for a nice sail to Portsmouth.
After having our adrenaline rush expectations exceeded, we arrived alongside the pontoon in Gunwharf Quay, pulling in alongside another Challenger vessel, Challenger 2. After our final rounds of flaking sails, coiling ropes, and making off halyards, we prepared a late lunch and ate on-deck. With everyone exhausted and running out of steam, we ate fajitas together as a team, all 12 of us sat down for our “last supper”.
Now, we are having a good time as a team for our last night on this unbelievable and unforgettable experience that has affected us all in a life-fulfilling way.
By Challenger 3 Crew…
We woke up to the sound of gun fire. Pirates were boarding the ship! Everyone panicked, but since our skipper and crew were prepared for this potential occurrence, they knew what to do and brought us safely to the engine room where we hid. Tom Hanks fought them off and ended up getting them off the boat. Wait, what? Tom Hanks was on our boat? Oh, right, no. That’s the plot for the movie we went to see today called ‘Captain Phillips’.
However, in reality, our day began with us shockingly waking up after having survived the hurricane that passed our vessel last night. Today we had our third and last challenge to complete as groups; we had to complete a quiz on aspects of the boat and sailing. Furthermore, we had a nerve racking knot tying exam after an amazing lunch of pork chops and (not applesauce) mash. After the test we had a ‘happy hour’ (parents don’t be scared, it constituted of us cleaning the entire inside of the boat). We then proceeded to witness the prowess of the one and only Tom Hanks when we ventured into the small town next to our boat in Cowes. After a light dinner of soup we played games (Mafia and Time’s Up) until midnight. Now we are preparing for our last day with the Challenger 3. We are not looking forward to our return home and back to school and normal sleeping hours.
*Update on the murder game: 2 attempts were made on people’s lives. Emily tried to murder Lea in the Engine bay and Lea tried to kill Gary in the Sail Locker.
By: Sarah and Anastasia
One last message: We send you a big Birthday wish all the way from England, Bjoern and hope you have a wonderful day. Don’t worry, you’re daughter will be brought back to you in one piece soon!
Today the brave adventurers set out on a noble quest to… NOWHERE!
Yes, they began their day with breakfast of hard grains with the addition of milk and bread, spread with a strange brown substance. A mighty storm was brewing across the channel so they decided to put in safety measures against the oncoming tempest. They attached the boat to the pontoon with fourteen mooring lines. Whilst these were being put into place they listed all the items required for their survival that were upon the boat.
Throughout the day, perilous challenges were set before the two bold teams: they were known as… THE BEST AND MOST LABELLED DIAGRAM OF THE BOAT (dundundun) and the daunting task of LISTING ALL SAFETY EQUIPMENT ON BOARD (dundundun.) The list contained essentials such as TEA. Lesbi-gnomes made a valiant effort against the scurrilous team “what team” but could not prevail against the tides of deceit and pretension that came their way.
Lord Paul of Challenger 3, King of the Sarah, Chancellor of Tall Ships, Duke of Portsmouth, was assassinated by the treacherous toe rag, Gary of the North. The heroes spent their night relaxing for the day had been long and treacherous riddled with disappointment, disaster and pain. The heroes settled in bed listening to the symphony of mooring lines rubbing the side of the boat. Preparing themselves for the stormy night and awaiting the call for “ALL HANDS ON DECK.”
By: Tim, Ollie and Emily
Day 9 & 10 PART 1
Today we spent our entire day in Alderney – one of the Channel Islands – and decided to set sail at midnight in order to make our way back to Cowes. Rather than mooring on a pontoon like we’ve been doing for the past couple of days, we moored on a buoy. This meant that in order to go ashore we needed to inflate the dingy and then get 6 people in it and on shore. Luckily, we use the motor on the dingy instead of rowing (because clearly some of us proved to be utterly incompetent when it came to rowing).
Once we were on land we “dried” (not really) all of our clothes from yesterdays wash and went for a little stroll. This “little stroll” actually turned out to be a 4-hour hike all around the island. Even if it reminded us of our painful hiking past for International Award we all enjoyed the pristine sandy beaches and our lunch, which consisted of poorly made sandwiches, at the top of the island. Thanks to the arduous action of walking after being on a boat for 9 days all our muscles were awoken from the dead, which called for a stretching session.
Once back on the boat, Team “What Team” started preparing ‘Chilli con Carne’ for dinner. All of us were and are mentally and physically preparing for the midnight sail that lies ahead. After dinner we split our watches into 3-hour shifts and picked out our ‘Skipper’ and ‘Mate’ from each Team. The latter is due to the commencement of our assessed Gold Award. From Team “What Team” we have Sarah as our Skipper and Annie as the Mate (they don’t seem very excited about this); in Team “the Lesbe-Gnomes of the Sea” we have Isabella as the Skipper and Ollie as the Mate.
Currently we have the “Lesbe-Gnomes of the Sea” doing the washing up while our four leaders for the night do the passage plan across the Channel. They actually seem to be getting the hang of it *fingers crossed*. Later, we will all go have a small ‘siesta’ to get ready to pull almost an ‘all-nighter’.
Hopefully, we’ll make it there safely and without much feeling sick…
…To be continued
PART 2 Immediately…
That pukeing thing, yeah… didn’t hold out.
Poor Emily L, and Daniella’s bed.
After our little 2 hour ‘siesta’, we were all called up on deck so that we could commence our challenge across the dark seas. We set off with clear skies, allowing us to gaze at the countless number of stars that were going to guide us to our destination, along with numerous shooting stars were seen and wished upon.
It was, overall, a great night and for most, it was the best sailing that we have done to this point. We worked together like a well oiled machine, in unison with the boat. It was quite tricky to steer and to get the boat to move as smoothly and rapidly as possible. Barely able to see the rope in our hands at times, it was essential that we communicated clearly and worked together to achieve our goal.
It was good fun.
On a sadder note, as Challenger 3, ‘Sarah’, was surfing the Channel’s waves, we tragically lost three precious members of our crew, Tea Cup 1, 2, and 3. Very unfortunate…
To continue the completion of our day’s journey:
We successfully made it across the Channel to West Cowes once again, arriving approximately at 11:45. Besides a few challenges we fought against the raging sea, we smoothly made it to our destination and were very relieved to find ourselves ashore again after 24 hours. However, before we could relax the boat needed to be ‘put asleep’ and we needed to tackle the big mess down below which had been created by the flying objects during our rocky ride.
The rest of our day was spent washing up and more importantly taking refreshing showers which we desperately needed as we had last taken one Wednesday morning. We also went grocery shopping for our last meals on the boat and stuffed ourselves with glorious food.
And now the tale of our over-night journey has been told.
And now, for all of our comments on our first experience sailing in the night:
To be honest, I was pretty nervous going out on sea during the night, not knowing what exactly to expect and how to react to the new circumstances. Not sure of how affected I would be by the little sleep we were functioning on, the strange schedule we had to adjust to, and worst of all, if I were to get sea sick as I have been taking a daring move since our first day at sea and haven’t been taking my sea-sickness pills.
I only have good news to share though as I came out of the trip not having experienced a single moment of queasiness and have taken many good memories with me from these 12 hours of great adventure. Not only did I get to watch the stars (seeing 3 shooting stars on our way), but also enjoyed the time in which I made the hardest peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my life on a boat which swung madly from side to side and watch as the sun rose behind the clouds, tinting the sky with a beautiful shade of peach.
Overall, it was by far my favourite sail so far and one I definitely won’t forget for a long, long time.
The night sail was the epic-est sail ever.
With amazing shifts created at the beginning of this trip we did not have to go through the freezing night on deck. I was on the 3 to 6 am shift which may sound terrible but actually was quite interesting until I was in charge of sailing the boat. This was a huge responsibility to have in the middle of the night. As the sea was not at it’s a calmest state and we could not see what laid ahead of us this added twice the amount of concentration. Overall this was the best sailing trip that we have had so far but once we arrived at our destination I did enjoy being once again on land.
Didn’t do much this morning or last night, I can’t really remember which is which. Tiredness consumed my every waking moment and all seemed to blend into one cold, damp, bleary dream. My only comfort in the hands of others and their company… Only joking! It was all right.
Last night/this morning was relatively relaxed until Gary called all hands on deck in the early morning, only to receive a reaction from living zombies. The majority of the time, the watch teams were just trying to stay awake and not slip into a dream of a far off fantasy land. But, overall, crossing the channel at night was really interesting and a totally different experience from day sailing.
Night-sailing was fairly epic and was quite chilled until Gary yelled “ALL HANDS ON DECK” and 10 teenagers stumbled around in an extremely confused and bewildered state. It was also scary knowing that you were surrounded by several massive ships carrying tonnes of cargo. Whilst not on watch we were coiled up in our sleeping bags for a precious 3 hours listening to what sounded like world war 3 occurring outside. Unfortunately 3 mugs were lost amidst the chaos and the kitchen was covered in a layer of spilled salt. We sailed from midnight until 11:30 the following morning. It was an amazing experience and we were rewarded by an extremely chilled day involving naps, showers, ice-cream and most importantly –chocolate covered pretzels.
The waves raise the boat high into the air only to bring it back down a few seconds later splashing everyone in the cockpit with cold water. At least it wakes you up. It’s impossible to tell where the horizon is and the moon and stars seem to be move around the sky. The only source of light on deck is the moon and the red hue coming from the numerous dials giving us the valuable information we need. For me and the other guys on board there’s only one way to describe what we felt about sailing at night… complete and total bliss and excitement.
It was as though we were on a great expedition sailing the Atlantic and every time we’d go downstairs, the red night-vision light in every room would make you feel as though you were on a battleship doing a covert mission. Though it wasn’t easy to sleep and tiredness would seep in every time we took a little rest, the boat kept us busy and kept the adrenaline rushes running. I found that helming at night was incredibly relaxing since it requires you to be 100% focused and decided that would be the position I would want to take if I were to become a sailor. Time to batten down the hatches for the storm on the way; see you soon.
We awoke at five o’clock this morn,
Much to our disgust,
And witnessed the passionate fiery dawn, (pronounced ‘dorn’)
Then for breakfast we did lust.
We had set the sails and rigged the mast,
Far before we ate,
Murder ensued quick and fast,
As Hen’ and Corbin took the bait.
Tim stood noble, strong and proud,
Stationed on the bow,
Isabella was in the clouds,
And she’s even sleeping now.
We slept all piled up in a heap,
So that Emily couldn’t breathe,
From all around the tea did seep,
The weather we couldn’t believe.
Valiant we sailed into Braye,
As Anastasia flew,
We wrapped up all the work for the day,
Then on dinner we did chew.
By Emily and Tim
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANIELLA, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!!
Hump day started with a fresh shower (for the girls) and our traditional bowl of cereal and toast with excessive amounts of Nutella. Even if this was traditional the rest of the day was extra-ordinary.
Just for your info, we had to stay in Weymouth due to bad weather outside in open sea. The waves out at sea were so rough/big, that the ferry turned back and stopped sailing for the day.
First, we toured a large sailing ship – which sort of looked like a pirate ship. It had 12 SAILS O.O!! It certainly overshadowed our dear Challenger 3, Sarah which only has 3 sails. Nevertheless we still love our small little cozy floating house that floats. On that note, we cannot English.
Then after lunch, we had a second tour, but this time we toured a RNLI lifeboat. While a lifeboat sounds really simple and plain, it actually wasn’t, because this one could roll through 360 ° and could go out in any type of weather. It was a really interesting tour.
Since we actually have to accomplish our International Award and our Competent Crew Certificate, we had to prove that we could row a certain length in a dinghy. So we inflated the dinghy on board and set about rowing backwards and forwards across the harbour with gusto. While some of us were efficient, some *cough*the boys*cough* were rather uncoordinated but still managed to row and make it back to the pontoon.
Due to the VERY SPECIAL occasion, we decided that we should all take a celebratory plunge, in the ocean, in October, with a very strong breeze, with only half of us having appropriate swim gear. Only half of us actually went in the water while others cowered and just enjoyed the spectacle of people running “Baywatch” style and freezing their butts off (almost literally). Those who went in the water, however, realized it was a very refreshing dip.
This was followed by a frustrating laundry session as well as pancake cooking and a surprising birthday cake. Now we have two bin bags full of soaking wet clothes as well as 2 kg gained from pancakes and waffles. Tomorrow we have an early start, as we are going to sail across the Channel to Alderney, so it is early to bed tonight.
NOTE (Game summary): 3 new kills.
Tim sneakily managed to get Colette in the boy’s room with a loaf of bread. As a result of this interchange she died. To his surprise, however, she also had to kill him, which meant he committed suicide. Two kills in less than 30 secs.
Later on, Isabella was brutally murdered with a bin bag in the wet locker (where wet clothes are stored) by Lea.
This sums up the kills to a total of 5 casualties, a third of the entire crew.
By Lea and Daniella (a.k.a the birthday girl)
0800: Children woke up and went to showers.
0830: Breakfast of cereal and toast
0845: Daniella is the first to be murdered (with a pen in the ‘saloon’, it was pretty messy).
0900: Set up the sails and got the boat ready for departure.
1000: Started making lunch while listening to ukulele music.
1145: Departed from Poole to Weymouth.
1300: Sarah is the second to be brutally killed with a winch handle in the cockpit.
1400: Lunch (for those of the crew that were not feeling green) on rough seas.
1600: Attempt to take Emily’s life by Henry. Henry was unsuccessful as Emily is not easily fooled.
1730: The boat arrived into Weymouth without incident.
1800: All hell broke loose as many people wanted to rebel against the (amazing) music that had been playing for the past week.
2100: Suspects went for a quick stroll on the laser-lit beach where multiple people’s feet got wet.
2203: Two brave souls commenced the task of writing the daily confidential records.
*(side note as requested from Ms. Murphy, the ‘murders’ were part of a ‘game’ that the crew is playing where they have to ‘kill’ each other in certain places on the boat with mundane objects.)
By Tim and Anastasia
Rain and strong wind. What a lovely combination.
They seem to be the most suitable words to describe day 5 and the reason for why we had to stay another day in glorious Poole. Docked next to a Tesco’s supermarket and a mall, it looked like we’d be able to endure the day. It made up for the tiring and exciting day we had had yesterday. For a part of the day, we were taught various nautical things, such as rules of the road and boat etiquette. Then some of the crew went shopping for supplies whilst the rest of us relaxed in the salon (aka heaven).
To prevent boredom from settling in after all the shopping was put away, Paul, the Skipper, challenged us to a tacky souvenir competition. Each team was given two pounds and had to find the tackiest knick-knack they could find. We set of on our arduous adventure into the streets of Poole. An hour later, the last team came down the entrance hatch of the ship with two plastic carrier bags. Each group sat themselves down at the kitchen table and one by one, presented what treasures they had been able to find. Although the £0.99 neck cushion and a collection of foam pirate hats were good attempts, the Dolphin Poo coated in chocolate was the obvious winner.
The evening was very much like the day. We had a relaxed dinner of spag bol, followed by a hilarious movie. We went to bed feeling well rested and fell asleep thinking as to what was to come the following day as we set off for Weymouth on open sea.
By: Ollie. S and Lea.GD
We should start off by saying that this account shall be unbiased as it is written by one member from each team.
The day started off rather uneventful and mundane as the conditions were not playing in our favour and we were subsequently stranded in the “riveting” town of Warsash. We were unable to set sail until after lunch at 1:30 by which time we had mastered the art of knot-tying. Whilst in the Solent, sheltered by the Isle of Wight the voyage was relaxed and laid-back.
However as the day progressed and we entered the channel, passing Fort Albert we soon got a taste of true British sailing. The wind lashed at our backs like a nine-tail whip whilst the waves crashed against the hull like cannons in The Great War.
Many suffered the wrath of the Kraken as two (not sugar-coating it) were discovered vomiting and multiple people huddled for warmth like penguins in the Antarctic.
We arrived into Poole at 8pm and finished the day with a filling plate of bangers (sausages), mash, carrots and topped with gravy.
By Isabella and Anastasia
Are you ready for a tale of mind-blowing epicness?
Day 3 on the “Challenger 3 Sarah” and we’ve run out of food. Just kidding, the team “What Team?” just made an amazing curry meal which was not only vegetarian friendly, but gluten and diary!
So we started our day on the Isle Of Wight and made our way to the fuel station after eating a hardy breakfast of eggs, cereal and nutella (also made by team “What Team?”). After taking an hour at the fuel shop, where we tanked up with enough petrol to power up the boat for a month (or a car for three years), we set sail at 11:30.
England’s famous weather kicked in and we found ourselves drenched (however, not cold thanks to our magical and extremely attractive British sailing clothes) which resulted in us (a.k.a Tim) making a kettle of tea throughout the entire day. For lunch, a simple meal of pasta and tomato sauce was whipped up in the messiest way possible by of course the team “Lesbe-gnomes of the Sea” (This recount may be biased as members of the team “What Team?” are writing this, we must remember that the sea Gods were very upset today and made it more challenging to steer and therefore our boat was practically lying on her side).
After lunch we relaxed in the sun, drinking tea, reading books and listening to the Red Hot Chilli-Peppers, which sounds like the perfect Saturday afternoon (which it was!) however, when the sun is shinning in England it’s always coated with clouds and the books were thrusted upon us by our English teachers.
We made it into port with high spirits at 15:45 and finished putting our trusty vessel to bed in a jiffy. We then had half an hour or so of instruction from the crew to help us get ready for our D of E goal. At 19:00 we ate dinner (again, prepared by the amazing group “What Team?”) and this is being written at approximately 19:46, listening to Rolling Stones while the “Lesbe-gnomes of the Sea” make an attempt to clean up the kitchen.
By Anastasia and Sarah (members of team “What Team?”)
Well today’s the day we finally set sail, we spent a good deal of the morning setting up sails and learning how to rig the boat. No one so far has become seasick despite the relatively windy conditions although our skipper ensures us that there is more to come! We were engulfed in nautical information from the ropes, how to tie them and navigating the ship to engine checks and fire safety. We got a lecture on the historical land marks around the area, mainly to do with the British Navy, such as the location where the “people with no names” are trained. Shhh… It’s a secret!
We ate soup for lunch then set about sailing in the Solent; tacking and gybing our way to Cowes, Isle of Wight. We were thrown from port to starboard, and spent a large chunk of the day at a 45 degree angle. Everyone is tired but still in good spirits and is excited for more. There was a lot of work to do when we came into shore, undoing what we had set up that morning. Our ship has increased its musical capabilities with more and more people learning the iconic Ukulele…
By Henry, Tim and David
We flew in from Geneva today and were welcomed by the traditional beautiful British weather. Nevertheless we were too excited to notice. Finally the moment arrived, at 11:30, when we viewed the glory that is the SARAH a.k.a Challenger 3, a.k.a our cozy home for the next two weeks. After an overwhelming briefing about the security on board, we geared up for the rough weather ahead. Thick, protective coats and suits were being dealt around like tea to the British on the Queen’s birthday. Following the intense suit up session, we split up into our two watch groups: the team “Spirit Gnome” and the team “What Team”. While “Spirit Gnome” winched the mate up the mast, the “What Team” prepared dinner. The latter was fired up…literally. The spice from the chicken fajitas overcame everyone’s potential seasickness.
Since it was our first night in England, our Skipper, Paul, took us on a tour around Portsmouth Harbour. And now here we are cramped around a computer in our PJs writing a blog.
PS: We are currently writing on 4 hours of sleep. That’s what we get for booking such an early flight
PPS: #loveyoumom #loveyoumum
By Emily & Daniella