Challenger 2, St John’s School, XF170703a

Monday 3 – Friday 7 July

Entry Seven

The day started when a Scotsman, a Welshman and an Irishman bellowed like a grumpy Shrek who woke up with a hangover. Two inspiring and intrepid crew members crawled half asleep to the local Boulangerie for the mighty task of feeding the starving crew with croissants and pains au chocolat… The crossing from Cherbourg started peacefully with a corporate hoist and a sunny sky, but soon vast waves came crashing over the decks and the crew clipped on, desperate to stay on-board and not fall in. This is all of course fictional, and we have never seen a calmer patch of water in our lives; it resembled the glassy eyed gaze of our ever watchful desperate Welshman. The shimmering sea surface was momentarily broken by a leaping dolphin. The sun glared down constantly on the unwitting crew who were unwittingly becoming more and more burnt…

Through our ever growing sunburn 3 pigeons circled down before crash landing into the sail (whom we named Percy, Patricia and Penelope), our resident vet (AKA WL Mike (AKA absolute legend)) swooped in to rescue our temporary guests and offer them water and sustenance. Their sad departure left the crew distraught, and only the prospect of chocolate and sweets could boost their morale. The day continued peacefully, and through the hum of the constant motor our personal Marco Pierre White (AKA WL Mike (AKA absolute legend)) prepared the gormet style dinner of sweet and sour chicken with noodles and prawn crackers with the remains of WL Mike’s (AKA absolute legend) birthday cake!

Our trip has been great and we will remember this for years to come.

Charlie and Claire (AKA best crew members)

Entry Six

This morning we all woke up at 3:30AM!!! We were not happy with the skipper at all! We prepared the boat and set off from St Helier Port in Jersey. Then starboard watch went back to bed and our watch (port-side) stayed up and spotted lobster pots for 3 hours. The highlight of our watch was that we saw dolphins. At 7:30AM we went to bed and slept whilst starboard took over up on deck. After a challenging start we sailed with the main sail up but needed the motor as there was not a lot of wind. We had toasties for lunch and arrived in Cherbourg at roughly 2:00PM. After putting the sails away we explored the town and got ice cream and did some shopping.
Our watch made pasta with Bolognese sauce which was really good. It is Mike’s birthday on Monday so we had cake which we had bought him yesterday in town.

During wash up a call of “the sink is blocked” bellowed from below only for Tery to find that starboard watch hadn’t removed the sink plug …..   A job swerved for Tery…

Overall it was an eventful day and we had lots of fun.

Izzy, Ellie and Pippa

Entry Five

Today was by far one of the best days, we started off the morning with a fairly relaxed time. The morning was very sunny which raised the spirit of the boat. We set off at around 10 to sail from Guernsey to Jersey which was an excellent sail with the hot weather, however not the fastest due to the light winds! We then arrived in Jersey and after tidying the boat up went straight to the beach and had a swim followed by ice-cream. Our dinner tonight was bangers and mash with peas and carrots which was amazing and now were off for an early night as we have a very early 3.30 am start to catch the tide.

Ella & Martha

Entry Four

We set off from Alderney to catch the racing tides through the nearby straits. The tides were strong but unfortunately the same could not be said about the winds. Nonetheless, we did attempt to sail for part of the voyage, and when we couldn’t we passed the time with staysail races, competing to haul the staysail in the fastest time. The voyage crew winner was Patrick with an impressive 14.8 seconds, though still far behind Rhys’ 12.07 seconds and Tery’s 12.09 seconds. Meanwhile, Cameron was at the Nav station plotting our course throughout the day, and helping to navigate through the ‘Little Russel’ passage to St Peter’s Port on Guernsey. Amongst all this, Percy the Pidgeon made an unexpected visit on the conning. The carrier pidgeon was tired so landed for a brief rest, before leaving us when we came into port. Having moored, we enjoyed the beaches and tidal pools of Guernsey, before a fulfilling dinner of pork chops and vegetables.

Cameron and Jack

Entry Three

Day 3 on the good ship Challenger 2, began with an early start to a beautiful view of a millpond ocean in the marina of Weymouth. Due the calm weather, we motored out passed the Bill of Portland.

After that we got the sails up and that’s where it got interesting…

We sailed on the enjoyable course of 160 degrees for a solid six hours before all hell broke loose: The wind picked up, the vessel began to tilt excitingly, and we changed course to 165 degrees! We then had to avoid lots of ships that were crossing our path before finally changing course one last time.

There was a chilled vibe on deck throughout the voyage, epitomised by the jolly anthems of DJ CJ.

Finally, ‘land ahoy!’ was called as we spotted the slug in the distance of the glass that was Alderney.

The day was completed with an ocean dip followed by showers and then a hearty, sumptuous curry, prepared by the wonderful Paddy & Millie. We are now off to play the After Eight chocolate game.

Patrick & Millie

Entry Two

We woke up to loud noises of Terry waking us up at 7:00am.

We stayed in Cowes last night and today we sailed with the Yankee 2, the stay sail and the main sail. We did our first tacking and then ate lunch. The wind was around 10 knots. The weather was good, cloudy at some points but mostly sunny. We practised a man overboard routine and got given jobs. When we arrived in Weymouth we flaked the sails and then went swimming on the beach. After a shower and a delicious meal of fish and chips we settled down for bed because we are getting up early tomorrow. Overall we had such a fun day.

Pippa, Ellie and Izzy

Entry One

Today we started the voyage with great enthusiasm until a couple of minutes after we un-tied we had engine trouble. After quickly solving the problem, we restarted the engine and got ourselves on the go again. We then had vast amounts of fun as we motored towards Cowes for the night.  Lastly we just consumed a fantastic meal of chicken fajitas to top off a brilliant day.  We are now going to indulge in a nice hot shower.

Martha & Ella

Day 1 on Challenger 2 started with a bang, quite literally with engine trouble as we left Portsmouth harbour. After the problem was solved, we started to motor towards Isle of White and Cowes Harbour. A few people got to learn the ropes and learn to helm the 72ft vessel. Everyone enjoyed the improving weather conditions with everyone donning their shades despite Rhys’ Panda eyes tan lines which he believed to be very stylish. We then docked and sat down to enjoy a gourmet meal of chicken Fajitas cooked by the fantastic starboard watch! We then settled down for the evening enjoying the cheesy tunes courtesy of Terry. Just to say we can’t wait to put a sail up tomorrow morning!

Pat & Charlie