Mon 19 – Fri 23 March
Good evening from Challenger 2!
Today, we struggled to wake up. On the other hand, Oliver decided to scream mid-sleep, ‘Get off! Don’t touch me!’. We got up at 7:30 – which is early for a group of 10 teenage boys. We dragged ourselves out of our confined rooms for 5. As Josh was the first person to wake up, he had first dibs of the cereal – he had 9 Weetabix; Owen had his say on the situation (no milk left) which is never going to end well (He’ll never not get his own way). At this very point, Owen is still arguing after 11 hours!
Afterwards, we headed to the showers on land. With all of us having showers at the same time, the fire alarms went off and we went into a panic. We then wandered around Portsmouth City Centre where we had a successful snowball fight, considering there wasn’t much snow. We got refreshments from various shops: Costa, Burger King, Tesco, to name but a few. We came back to the Pontoon,where our vessel was waiting for our maiden voyage to Cowes, Isle of Wight. Before we left, we had to clear the snow and ice off the deck, then had even more food in the boat, including sandwiches, crisps and plenty of biscuits. All 16 of us (students, teachers and boat staff) were on deck and getting the boat prepared to leave. This involved numerous jobs that each of us took part in at one point. Half of us learnt how to do a Clove Hitch and the others practiced clipping our safety harnesses to the metal wire that runs around the perimeter of the boat. We learnt how to work the winches that ensure nothing hits any of us and knocks us overboard.
We moored at Cowes at 16:00 where James, Toby, Ryan, Josh & Jed volunteered to help moor the boat onto the pontoon. It took a lot of effort but we got there eventually, after a lot of muscle strain (even from Toby). Then we went through the boring health and safety precautions and spent our spare time admiring the picturesque view.
We were split into 2 Watches, groups, who will do different chores throughout the week. For example, today Starboard Watch (Toby, Oliver, James, Ethan, Ryan, Mr Laverick and Watch Leader Ray) had to cook chicken fajitas for all 16 sailors. This included chopping peppers, mushrooms, onions and of course chicken. According to everyone, it tasted lovely. The remaining sailors (Port Watch) were on cleaning duties.
Right now, we are playing Monopoly around the table, in which Ryan claims to be winning.
Written by James & Toby
Good evening from Challenger 2!
In the big Belmont boat, we are all exhausted and sick of Josh’s 3 helping meals. He is however improving (to 2 servings). This was the first day we spent fully sailing in open water without the aid of a motor, the day in the Solent was long and difficult with many people left to assume that Nathan was dying. This was however rectified with some biscuits. We have begun a game of real life Cluedo so far James has killed Ryan and could handle the guilt so he well…never mind, Josh also killed Toby. After a marathon game of Monopoly where Josh was made bankrupt after giving Owen a birthday present of 10 pounds.
We started the day with a Breakfast Cooked by the port watch (Josh, Nathan, Jed, Owen, Mohammad) which was scrambled Eggs and Bagels all the Starboard watch commended Josh’s cooking and spectacular stirring skills (this only made his ego enlarge tenfold) for an amazing start to a difficult day. We left Cowes at 10:35 preparing the ship was surprisingly easy and stress free until we needed to put up the sails! This was a nightmare for all the new crew with lots of trial and error before we eventually put up the first of the three sails all of which evolved fight winches, wind and ropes (Snakes).
During lunch preparations we all were gifted with the chance of piloting our vessel/home for the week. The seas became very choppy and rough whilst the cabin crew struggled to prepare lunch and coffees, thanks to Ryan’s ‘Tokyo Drift’ style of sailing. Lunch nearly ended up on the walls and Owen once again complained about the portion control. Lunch went down a storm with no major incidences and we were once again at the helm before we knew it, having a MOB (man-over-board) drill.
Half of us tied knots while the other half continued to guide the ship home until it was time to pack away the sails…… we were rewarded with a golden sunset and shortly afterwards, fish and chips.
Surprisingly, Owen didn’t complain this time (as much).
Jed and Josh-+
Today marked our third day sailing around the south coast of England. We rose up like new born lambs, ready and raring to go. We woke up in Poole to a nice warm, sunny day and set for the showers. The showers were busier than usual and there were only 4 showers (that’s including the father and son shower, perfect for Toby and Owen). After everyone was showered, some of us decided to put shorts on and we headed for the arcades during our spare time. We were meant to be exploring Poole but we wasted loads of 2p coins instead. After, some of us got some ice-creams from the Banana Wharf (salted caramel was the best!).
Prepped with our ice-creams and toys from the 2p machines, we came back to the boat for possibly the best experience of the whole trip so far. One at a time, we were harnessed up and attached to a rope that could allegedly hold 2 double-decker buses (so there was no chance of us falling!). This experience was to climb the 95ft mast in the centre of the ship. However, this was not for the liking of Oliver and Nathan so they sat out. Everyone got to the top apart from Jed and Mohammed who thought that a quarter of the way was good enough for them. At the top, the view was absolutely amazing, as Josh found out after facing his hardest fear: heights!
Before setting off for our next destination, we had the most important part of any boat trip: Tea and biscuits. After our refreshments, we embarked for Weymouth. We were given even more responsibility today as the Watch Leaders were told not to help us and ‘put their hands in their pockets’. Jed and Josh were put in charge of the whole situation of putting sails up. We were tacking- which is where we travel in a zig zag direction. The wind forced the boat to tilt to 30° (one side of the deck was in the water), making it very hard to do anything, especially use the heads! People’s belongings were being tossed all over the place making the accommodation rooms even messier than they were before. James, Toby, Mohammad and Ethan came off worse than the rest, not even being able to sit up without heaving. After an hour or so from Poole, the waves died down and we all felt much healthier. We all worked together to pull the sails down, with sweating being the hardest job on deck (It’s using your weight to hoist sails with a lot of technique being required).
Eventually, after the sails were down, we parked in pontoon C1 and Ryan and Mr Laverick made all of us a hot chocolate or cup of tea which went down well with all crew members. Sunset had passed and we started packing away the sails which was hard with the watch leaders’ instructions. Finally, after a hard day’s work, we came down for some Thai green curry nicknamed SAS (Steve and Stuart) which most people indulged in. Port watch were put on cleaning duties while Starboard watch had to take the flag down and write the blog. The time is now 20:57 and challenger 2 is quiet for once- everyone is worn out from the hard day’s work. Hopefully, we have a good night sleep as we are in full control tomorrow and we will be anchoring out at sea tomorrow night; and doing some ‘night navigation’.
Written by Ryan, Ethan, Toby and James.