We had our first ever lie in of the trip, waking up at quarter to eight – lucky us! We then began a thorough blitz clean of the deck and below; including the heads and in Philippa’s case, the bin, which has been slowly filling up over the course of these past few days. The reason behind our ‘blitzing’ was the promise of an inspecting visit from the Countess of Wessex (or for Tori who is on “first name basis” with her, ‘Soph’). However, it was all for naught, as Soph merely stopped by for a hand shake and a quick chat about Sam the puppet – before leaving the Canary Warf marina. Despite this, she was a lot more down-to-earth and lovely than most of us thought she would be, so no grudges were held. After this, we were then allowed out for lunch with parents and returned at 1800 with full stomachs, only to be greeted with more food for our dinner – our weight losing through sweating ropes on this voyage may have been cancelled out by our constant biscuit eating and huge meal portions! Now even fuller, it is time for a bit of relaxation and ‘Pitch Perfect’ watching before the parade tomorrow; and before we have our last night onboard Challenger 4.
Woke up at the civilised hour of eight, for a relaxed day of sailing (which mainly consisted of crew zing up the Thames). Leaving Ramsgate at nine we set off for Greenwich, the day just seemed to be full of putting up sails only five minutes later to take them down and put up another one. Half way through the day Becky and Philippa seemed to be a little aggrieved about having been tied up earlier on in the week, so the whole crew decided to turn on Lindsay (our first mate, who’s idea it had been in the first place to tie up the two anyway), and to practice out our bowlines on her…it didn’t work, her expertise on tying knots, seems to be equal in untying them. Soon enough we reached the Thames, and had to take all the sails down to motor up the Thames, under the QE2, past the Thames barrier and the O2, until we reached our final destination…The West India Docks. We were greeted into the docks by the whole of Tori’s family, before being ambushed by in the loch by some of the other crews in the regatta, (being pelted with water bombs). Once again we got very close the boat maybe, being moored next to them in the loch. After dinner we ventured off to find the showers, which consisted of being two showers for the whole harbour, and were located in a rowdy sports club (yes a sports club), after being told to ‘get in their lassies’, we found the two showers only one of which was hot the other was freezing, and both had very see through shower curtains. After our traumatic showering experience, we came back for a (rare) decent nights sleep.
Sarah & Philippa
After a great night sleep (2200-0700) with no watches we all felt ready for the day to come. Once the sail was up we were ready to continue our voyage. After preparing the Challenger it was time for breakfast; which included Lemon and Raisin pancakes and an unlimited selection of cereal. When breakfast was all consumed the entertainment began; this included Becky being held down and tied up using our new found skills of tieing Bowline knots (with one hand) which resulted in her legs being attached to a cleat and her head on the deck of the cockpit. The sun was shining all day which made morale much higher along with the banging tunes of ‘Now 88’ blaring through the speakers. However, we did all have Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’ in our heads all day and none of us want to ever hear it again… Helming became much easier as we were able to not rely on the slightly delayed compass but instead just follow the boys on Challenger 2. Later in the day, weather conditions changed…the wind caused the boat to keel right over causing the foot rail to be dunking in the water…this was a new experience for many of us and we were relieved when the boat became slightly more neutral. Tamsyn and Alice had a new experience also but this time in the galley…lets just say cooking Chicken Maryland at a 45 degree angle is very difficult, there was a lot of mess on the floor and all over the sides but lucky for us Port watch was on clear up duty…sorry guys. Whilst we were down below cooking, the rest of the crew were at the Bow getting soaked by crashing waves as they took the sails down, allowing us to motor into Ramsgate Marina…again apologies to Port watch who had to clear up from dinner before they could shower. We are just about to go to bed, for another good night sleep with no choppy waves and midnight cups of tea… Next stop Greenwich!
Tamsyn and Josie
(Update: Tabby was the second to throw up but this time in a bucket!)
Today we finally finished the race during the early hours in the morning, at precisely 0356! Despite the early start we all still managed to be on deck and celebrate as soon as we crossed the finish line. Biscuits and hot drinks soon followed this! However, although we were catching up to the boys on Challenger 2 they managed to pip us to the post finishing half an hour ahead of us. We finished 4th in our class and 27th overall. Many biscuits later we headed to Eastbourne Harbour where showers awaited us in the late afternoon after a lunch of Southern Fried Chicken Wraps. Once refreshed and smelling fragrant it was time to hit the town! Many of us visited “The Chippy” which was a welcomed break from couscous! Eastbourne also gave us the opportunity to charge our phones!
After a great night sleep (2200-0700) with no watches we all felt ready for the day to come. Once the sail was up we were ready to continue our voyage. After preparing the Challenger it was time for breakfast; which included Lemon and Raisin pancakes and an unlimited selection of cereal. When breakfast was all consumed the entertainment began; this included Becky being held down and tied up using our new found skills of tieing Bowline knots and looking out for jellyfish. We our currently on route to Ramsgate where more showers await our arrival!
Sarah and Hope
After a slow start to the race, we slowly but surely headed towards the finish line, the Isle of White, with the idea of showers urging us along. We all took upon our watches with as much enthusiasm as our leaders provided us with (e.g. Playing “I went to the shop and bought…” for almost an hour with Charlie, as well as eye spy, with a limited amount to see). Starboard watch had the first night watch, whilst Port took over at 2300-0300, a real shock to our body clocks, but the experience of seeing many shooting stars seemed to distract us from our own tiredness. No one seemed to complain about the 6 hour shifts during the day, as it offered plenty of time to sleep. Starboard Watch whilst on duty even had dolphins swimming beside the boat, something they wanted to share with Port side, but due to the fear that waking them up induced, only Sarah managed to make it up. We even had our first vomit of the trip, tactically made by Hope into a baking tray after dinner, which turns out doesn’t float. Sea sickness has been an issue today due to the change in conditions. However, most have been able to face this, apart from Tabby, who hasn’t moved for half an hour as of writing. We’ve had a lot of good news today, mostly about catching up with the boys on Challenger 2. Although at the moment they are pulling ahead, we remain determined. Hopefully everyone will manage to stay awake over the next few days!
Tori and Becky
Fully rested and woken up bright and early, by some overly cheerful leaders, we set off at 0900 to begin the parade of sail. Our spirits were high and were only slightly dampened by the news that the race actually started at 1645, however, the endless waving and picture-taking from other boats kept us cheerful and alert – ready to pose at any second. A fellow ship (from Amsterdam) also kept us “pumping” with their loud music and extremely high pressured water guns. Fuelled by Heinz tomato soup we hoisted the main sail – requiring every single able bodied woman’s strength and focus. We then learnt the tacking procedure and made our way to the starting area; having listened to the countdown of every other category’s start and getting ourselves extremely excited. We were a little disappointed that there was no cannon to begin our race, however, we were met by shouts from the cruise ship of ‘hurry up Challenger 4’ – as if we had control over the elements; of which wind was slightly lacking. The next few hours were spent making cups of tea and tidying up loose ropes to pass the slow moving time – mainly to do with our slow moving boat. Our watches have begun every 4 hours which will be a major shock to our internal body clocks, but fingers crossed for higher winds and more rest tomorrow…
Charlotte and Alice
We arrived at Challenger 4 at 1000, after being overwhelmed by the number of people lining the streets of Falmouth waiting to get a glimpse of all the different vessels, we were welcomed aboard by Sue (our Skipper), Lindsey (1st Mate), Charlie and Hilary. The 10 of us and Dr Evans (Biology teacher from our school aka Jenny) made our way into the rather cosy bunk (hammock) area and quickly grabbed the bunks we wanted. Josie drew the short straw and ended up on the bottom which she’s not too happy about. We were shown around the challenger and were given a full safety brief (which wasn’t very brief at all!)…including how to use a pump toilet, which is actually a challenge in itself. We then had Runner Races (which luckily involved no running, just upper body strength, which a member of the group lacked…Tabby), using a Winch and a lot of rope. After mastering this skill we took on the boys from our school, who are aboard Challenger 2, ending with us being victorious and maintaining possession of our dear Parrot mascot (named Nelson). Our first meal onboard was incredible and puts our school kitchens to shame. We look forward nervously to our first night onboard which will hopefully be full of sleep…
Philippa, Charlotte, Alice, Josie and Tamsyn