Tue 22 – sun 27 August
We awoke this morning in Weymouth harbour well rested and energised. After breakfast we set to work carrying out jobs which involved taking the sail cover off getting the lines ready and lots more these tasks were set by our new watch rotor. We set sail with a newly cleaned and ship shape boat only to mess it all up with some more tacking practice, head sail changes and some unexpected man over board drills. After all this hard work we stopped for a well-deserved break in the scenic Worbarrow bay. During this break we all enjoyed activities such as swimming and diving while Mr Pooley took photos of us doing creative dives and jumps off the boat with intervals of sunbathing and trips to the beach, this was all followed up by a hearty lunch of chicken wraps.
We reluctantly left the bay after lunch feeling well rested and fed. After leaving we attempted the challenging task of using the spinnaker pole to run down wind with the Yankee sail. Led by Abbie we took down the spinnaker pole and then the Yankee sail, a task that seemed confusing at first but now well versed seemed simple.
After dropping the sails the task of flaking them and putting them back in the sail locker was ably lead by Peter. This resulted in much laughter from the crew as (thanks to a few interjections from Hector) he managed to keep us all in high spirits and laughing throughout, although this did result in lapses of concentration by the crew and a meaningful safety briefing from the staff about the difference between work and play
All in all it was a very good day fun and enjoyably
Simon & Ryan
After an uneasy night, with many members of the crew nervously awaiting the release of their GCSE results, we got ready for some onshore activities. We learnt how to winch out the dinghy using the halyards and after a gruelling 15 minutes managed to pump it up and go for a short row around the marina, with Rhys hopelessly trying to start the engine and keep the teenagers in high spirits before 10 o’clock in the morning.
In conjunction with this, preparations were made to do a mast climb. Adam proved to be the most daring going all the way to the top as the first climber. Over the next hour the whole crew climbed the mast, including myself who as the last climber had to do some repairs to an electrical wire below the first spreader.
Having a quick peanut butter, cheese, ham, pickle, mayonnaise, and essentially anything on table sandwich we left the marina. Once out of the harbour we did a double head sail hoist along with the main sail shortly after. This was then followed by some tacking and gybing within the bay followed by an introduction to a ‘racing headsail change’ providing a physically exhausting challenge and a chance to earn ice cream if we could better our time the second time we didn’t manage it. Following our exploits with one and two Yankee we proceeded to do a man overboard exercise.
‘Bob’, a collection of a fender and several mooring lines served as our MOB, with Ryan becoming the rescue swimmer hanging over the side on a spinnaker halyard. There was much competition for this role as the prospect of hanging three feet above the water apparently appeals to most fifteen to sixteen year old boys and thus there was a ‘rock, paper, scissors’ competition for the role which Ryan eventually won.
After the MOB drill we recovered the dan buoy and horse-shoe ring and entered Weymouth harbour where (once the boat was moored safely) the ‘game of phones’ began as the crew madly rushed for Wi-Fi to discover what their friends and enemies had scored in the dreaded GCSE’s.
Following this the whole crew was provided with chip money with which to buy dinner at the local chippie. This became a challenge in itself as none of the boys could understand quite how the payment system worked and many of them moved onto the serving hatch lacking extra items (such as drinks) that they had ordered.
All in all it was a good day and the crew finished once again very tired but in very high spirits, and were as usual thankful to the staff for laying on such a fun and informative cruise.
Abbie & Peter
We awoke after breaking in our new cots, to hear of Adams adventures through the ship, during the night to find the wrong water tap and splutter out a mouth full of salty water, and then fall asleep on his rather cute Thomas the Tank engine pillow. We awoke in good spirits, excited for the day ahead some having slept better than others.
When waiting for the ferry to leave, so we could carry on our journey this morning, our resident lecturer Peter Russel gave an interesting talk on knots! After talking through man over board yesterday we were shown and demonstrated how the variety of safety kit on board is used, hoping to never actually need this knowledge. We then set sail through some rough conditions for Portland. The journey was eventful with learning to tack and to reef the main sail. We all worked well as a team and learned more about the boat. A few of us helmed, which was hard at times, through the large waves and strong winds which made it very nerve racking. The boat tipped a lot and so it was precarious to move around the boat, especially when using the toilet. Some of the crew ended up feeling under the weather, including Abbie. When lunch was finally served after a baguette fire down below, we tucked in to our minestrone and well-cooked baguettes. We arrived into Portland in the evening ready for dinner and a rest. It was the best of the times.
Crew members Simon and Patrick
After uneventful journey in the spotless and cleanly branded minibus, we arrived in Portsmouth with live commentary from Peter on everything Naval and boat related (that started when we saw the first signs for Portsmouth). It was incredible to be in a city so affected by the Royal Navy in so many positive ways and HMS Queen Elizabeth looked powerful and imposing. It was fabulous to see such a State of the art Vessel for the Senior Service.
Personally having never sailed anything other than a Laser Pico and a Shrimper, the Challenger 2 seemed a daunting prospect. There was no time for thought as we were briefed and instructed on everything from life jackets to a vivid talk on flushing the toilets.
Although at 72ft long Challenger seemed huge, once our gear was stored it became apparent that with 15 of us it would be a very cosy 5 nights indeed. We set sail from Portsmouth under motor and once clear of the harbour began learning or for Peter answering every question asked by anyone.
Winches, ropes, fenders and raising sails were all taught and by the time we approached Yarmouth, my watch was sent bellow to begin meal prep. Chopping on a coffin shaped table at sea was a new and enjoyable experience and by the time we had waited for the ferry and attempted (The second being time successful) to moor, the chicken curry was well under away and by 8.30, the 15 of us were seriously re-energized. A trip to Yarmouth’s shower block and a perilous ladder climb back onto the boat completed the evening.
With much anticipation for our journey to Portland,
Crew Member Adam