The adventure continues but the weather does not play ball54 views | September 15th, 2022
Read the latest missive from Challanger 1 as they have to change their destination –
As the sun rose over the white cliffs of Yorkshire to reveal a crisp, clear blue sky, a well-rested and hungry set of sailors awoke to fill the galley. With a wide selection of cereal on offer, we set about crunching away in anticipation of the latest weather forecasts, and how we would make out way up to the Fjords. All huddled together around the big table, for the first time since we had entered our 3 watch system following dinner on our maiden evening, our crunches gave way to pin drop silence. With the weather maps filling the backdrop covered in a vast array of seemingly unrelenting purple patches of stormy gusts stationed between us and our route to Norway, the news felt inevitable.
After much agonising deliberation, the skipper had come to a decision – we did not have the weather window we needed to make it up to Norway and back in time. Whilst the weight of the news and the ruminations around what to do instead provided no barrier to second helpings of cereal, the ensuing crunches did little to hold back the initial tide of disappointment that filled the air. The alternatives would most certainly provide all of us with a top notch sailing experience, but we all knew it would be hard to match the epic voyage that we had embarked on a handful of days ago. Alas, as with any voyage on the high seas, itineraries are made at the behest of the conditions and safety always comes first!
Freshly brewed cups of tea and coffee in hand, we emerged on to the basking deck, only to find that by no feat shy of a miracle, we had managed to anchor our 72ft vessel smack in the middle of 4 lobster crates, without snagging on any of their lines in the dead of night. Buoyed by our apparent shift in fortune, we awaited our brand new set of customs documents before setting sail to Dieppe – our adventure would continue back in the Channel!
Sailing down a busy North Sea
Making our way in and amongst the myriad of windfarms that dotted around this part of the North Sea, we set about continuing to hone our off-shore sailing toolkit – on today’s list, Spinnaker deployment drills, involving making your way up an overhanging pole up to the tip, dangling there for a while taking in the stunning views of the seas and the Humber coastline, and abseiling back down to the boat again. We all gave it a go, and cheered on by our fellow sailors, made it to the top, thoroughly enjoying ourselves in the process.
With the adrenaline gushing through our veins, we set about devouring dinner – Spag Bol – and resuming our watch system, with the first of us witnessing a light show sunset over one windfarm, as the moon began to rise over another. It was setting up to be another idyllic, moonlight voyage at sea.
As we approach midnight, the moonlit contrails guiding us, keeping a safe distance from the shallow sandbanks off the Norfolk Coast, this group of keen adventurers looks forward to our days ahead with eager anticipation. We don’t know what the elements will throw at us, but we will be sure to take it in our stride.
Challenger 1, out.
By Ali and the White Watch team
Posted by: First Class Sailing