Friday, 28 August 2009

Friday 28th August

After a mammoth task of cleaning the boat, and a brunch of sausage butties, Duke of Edinburgh is over for us!!! The trip has indeed, Teammate Laura, ‘been a whirlwind of emotions’. 310 Nautical Miles, motoring for only 46 hours, sailing under extremely wild conditions ie wind speed 40kn – the highest the boat has ever been sailed in, reaching the most northerly and westerly points that Tenacity has ever reached and the first crew to do a 24 hour sail on Tenacity. We definitely beat last weeks ‘disabled group’ (their words not ours!) – so here are some of the things that we have learnt:

· Ropes are affected by gravity
· We can do an amazing basking shark impression
· Loud singing of school hymns is the best cure for sea sickness
· Locks are fun until the 10th one in a row
· Night sailing is an amazing experience
· Fenders make excellent space hoppers
· You can’t OD on travel sickness bands – but you can on Kwells
· Cleaning the cooker should be avoided at all costs (this is happening at this very moment)
· Tenacity was an amazing experience which we will never forget!
We would like to thank Teammate George for her wicked sense of humour and helping keep the team in high spirits at all times, Teammate Phil for his incredible cooking (less so for his jokes…) and the legend that is Captain Col for keeping us safe and not-so-dry for nine days! They have been amazing and have really made our trip!

Thanks for reading our Blog teammates, Teammate Beth, Teammate Amy, Teammate Jenny, Teammate Cat, Teammate Lou, Teammate Lizzie, Teammate Laura, Teammate Kate

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thursday 27th August

WHAT A DAY!!! It was 5.15 on Wednesday morning, and hurricane Bill had arrived! The gale force winds were howling and rain was pounding as the boat rocked in supposedly bomb-proof Loch Ryan. Captain Col posted a blog, which you all read before we did…soooo, you all knew what was going on before we even got up…ie, instead of leaving at 6am, we postponed our departure until Bill had died. A lie-in was greatly appreciated, and brunch was served at around 11.30. Deciding that we would need perking up during the next few days, we went to Tesco to buy some ingredients for 2 cakes! 8 girls in multicoloured wellies, trying to buy a packet of marshmallows, some milk and some chocolate digestives through the self-service check out, paying in 20ps, got some strange looks. The cakes were a great success, although teammate Lizzie insisted her cake wasn’t burning until teammate Kate, in disbelief, found the cake was burnt to a cinder in the oven…luckily, expert buttercream-maker Kate made some to cover up the burnt bits. By 4 o’clock BILL WAS DEAD, so we set sail for our 24 hour epic adventure (define adventure, said Captain Col). Port watch started on their 4 hour watch, whilst Starboard attempted to fall asleep in the very large swell that Bill had left behind. At around 7.30, the chilli expertly made by teammate Lizzie the day before was warmed up and the whole crew gathered for their evening meal on deck. This was a slightly tricky experience, and included teammate Laura throwing orange juice all over teammate George’s trousers, and the basking sharks being provided with a tasty supper. At 8pm, Port watch journeyed downstairs. They were told by Captain Col that they should remove their waterproofs and get into bed quickly to prevent sea sickness. This lead to the quickest removal of waterproofs ever seen on Tenacity, which was made especially difficult by teammate Kate’s 18 layers of clothes! The team also had to put up strange fabric shields on their beds to prevent rolling onto the floor in the middle of the night. Meanwhile up on deck, Starboard watch watched the sunset, and had a first experience of a night sail. Teammate George spotted some amazing phosphorescent plankton in the wake of the boat, which was absolutely mesmorising. At one point teammate Cat journeyed down to the toilet, only to fall asleep whilst putting her lifejacket back on, due to the excessive amounts of kwells she had consumed…then SOME IDIOT put her in charge of steering! Teammate George questioned, “why are we suddenly veering off to the right??!!” . At midnight, Starboard crew headed down for a well earned rest (for some people anyway!), whilst Port headed back up to deck for the accurately named “graveyard watch”…12am-4am. The first 2 hours were great, having also discovered the plankton, and seeing the perfect night sky with a full view of the milky way. They entertained themselves by playing Charades, which was difficult due to the lack of light, and teammate Phil’s attempts at “Encyclopedia Britannica”..which teammate Beth still claims she got half of. The second 2 hours were spent freezing (even by teammate Kate, who experienced being “dead and morbidly obese at the same time” thanks to her 18 layers) and much more quietly, as the crew ended up like Sardines on deck. At 4, Starboard crew got back up to see glorious shooting stars, and take the boat through the sunrise to 8 o’clock. Teammate Cat was as good company as last time!!! Teammates Amy, Lizzie and Laura spent time impersonating the Scottish coastguard, and various other accents including a scouser in McDonalds (Laura, Laura, do chicken mcnuggets and a mcflurry in your accent!) and our fave welsh physicist (eg, I’ve got an ideeea…it’s called SHUTUP)! The team tried to snooze a bit, but were relieved at 8am when they could go downstairs for a sleep. Port watch headed back up, and were thrilled to see a pod of dolphins (Starboard watch were very jealous). Everyone was relieved to reach Peel Island 2 hours before schedule, allowing a yummy breakfast of frosties and eggy bread. At 11.45, we left to reach Glasson. We spotted seals and Blackpool tower in the distance. The excitement of sailing petered out, as we travelled just 1.4 nautical miles in an hour in an attempt to get into Glasson at the correct time. A quick game of family fortunes proved hilarious, and we arrived, relieved and exicted at 5.45. (however, teammate Laura was distressed that the lock keeper had been preoccupied with attending to the giant green Irish cargo boat rather than preparing our lock). After a mammoth sail of 120 miles in 25 hours, we arrived!!!! We are now off for a well earned pub tea! 1 more blog tomorrow See you then teammates! xoxo

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wednesday 26th August

Quick update. We decided not to set off this morning at the planned 06.00 start. When we awoke the forecasts and the weather here in Stranraer, had worsened and the wind diretion had backed to a rather inconvienient SE direction. Wind speed and direction is forecasted to ease and veer to a more useful direction later but for now it is back to bed before planning where we might be able to head for when the weather sorts itself out.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tuesday 25th August

After the huge day yesterday, we were all relieved to get a lie-in until around 9.30 or 10. After waking up so late, we were slightly disappointed to realise that the weather wouldn’t allow us to do any sailing today, due to Hurricane Bill approaching nearby. The morning brought disappointment for teammate Phil, as he realised that the mackerel he caught yesterday had been stolen by a hungry seagull overnight. Despite his distress, he managed to rustle up a delicious brunch which included eggy bread (Capt Col was disgusted that most of the team wanted icing sugar on top) and bacon. Some of the team were relieved to get a relaxing day (teammates Catherine and Amy) but we soon realised that it wouldn’t be a day of playing Articulate, Perudo and baking cakes. Instead, we had to clean the boat from heads (!!!) to toe. Teammate Kate was a very able toilet-cleaner, although she got a little stressed about removing hair from the drains. The decks were sparkling clean, after a thorough scrub. A trip to Tesco restocked eggs and chocolate, and gave us some fresh magazine material including our favourite article, read enthusiastically by Amy, “25 year old mum:-My hubby pensioner gets more gorgeous with age!” and gave us a break from the cleaning. The team decided not to buy any more fresh milk due to the fact that the UHT milk from Tesco actually tasted like normal milk!! When we arrived back from the shopping trip, we looked down the hatch to see Colin stuck in an uncompromising position below the floor in the saloon (weird name for a lounge/bedroom/kitchen, we know), so we helped him by taking many pictures! A tea of fish and chips (although proving a bit temperamental to cook) was very well received, as was Phil’s interesting word derivation stories, which had teammates Beth and Catherine in stitches. Unfortunately we may not be able to complete a blog tomorrow, because we are hoping to sail for twenty four hours, which although a scary thought, will hopefully get us safely back into Glasson on Thursday afternoon, keep your eye on the tracker maps! See you then teammates!! xoxo

Monday, 24 August 2009

Monday 24th August

Today was extremely tiring but very satisfying to complete! We completed a total of around 85 miles, most of which we actually sailed! This morning began very early at 5:30 on deck for starboard watch, port were lucky and had a little lie in to 6 but made scrambled eggs for those on watch, however these were in fact mostly eaten by those who had cooked them! By the time port watch were above deck we were feeling quite chilly and decided to keep warm by numerous aerobics actions, including star jumps and the now famous ‘tree’ yoga position, surprisingly difficult on a rocking boat! Hide and seek was also entertaining if easy… We began sailing when the conditions were favourable, but were tacking for most of day due to the wind direction. One annoying, yet amusing, experience was the seeming continual reappearance of one particular large rocky outcrop in the middle of the sea, Ailsa Craig. We seemed to be travelling around this rock all day and for all we know could’ve sailed around it numerous times! One particular highlight was the appearance of a basking shark, which we sailed towards and were lucky enough for it to pass right by the boat, literally metres from us! It was huge and the outline of its mouth in the water prompted ‘ommmmm’ impressions for the rest of the day. After this brief break from our journey we continued South. It was at this point that morale began to drop due to the cold weather, spray from the waves and most probably lack of food. A hot chocolate provided by teammate George helped the situation with marshmallows it was very nice. Gradually teammates disappeared below deck to make dinner, an excellent curry, or simply due to the cold. Only teammates Louise, Laura and Jenny remained to help moor, in the dark, which completed our set off in the dark this morning! Well done team, in total 16 hours of sailing completed!!!! See you tomorrow xoxo

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Sunday 23rd August

After waking up halfway down the Crinan Canal, we had to manoeuver away from the jetty, which proved difficult, owing to the boat that was moored right next to us! However, we overcame this challenge despite the rain, and continued down the canal. We are now all expert lock-openers-especially teammates Beth, Laura and Lizzie’s hand jiving when opening them, so getting our boat through 5 or 6 locks proved simple, if slightly wet and hard work. The rain provided an opportunity to make full use of Colin’s very cool waterproof camera! Snacks of jelly “children” and choc chip cookies kept up morale. After getting through the canal, we stopped for lunch whilst deciding on our afternoon plan (the night before we had ambitiously planned to do 8 hours of sailing after lunch!!). Soup warmed us all up, thank God we finally listened to teammate Kate, who has been wanting soup for days! We decided to continue, despite the strong gale force (number 8, increasing 9 at times :)) winds and rain-George was very excited!. We all a very positive mental attitude, and refused to let the rough seas get the better of us! To keep spirits up, and to stop the seasickness, we sang very very loudly and poorly! Songs included a full rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, it was almost as if Freddy Mercury was in the boat with us, Mamma Mia (but just the chorus, as pointed out by Captain Col), and a selection of school hymns! Due to the strong waves which kept coming over the front of the boat, some of us got very wet, as we weren’t quick enough to grab a seat right underneath the hood ie teammatesJenny, Kate, Amy and Beth, whilst others, ie Lizzie, stayed bone dry! Teammate Jenny had a minor fruit pastille explosion when opening the bag…they turned very salty quickly so we set them free in the sea. George discovered fenders can be used as space hoppers! Thanks to the rough seas, and the fact that Colin had about a ton of salt in his eyes after trying to steer, we stopped at East Loch Tarbot at about 5. This gave us plenty of time for Laura and Kate to make a delicious pasta bake, aided by Phil (who, we found out today, won Ready Steady Cook many years ago!!) and to have a very welcome shower. Much to our excitement, we played George’s cup game (she learnt this at a Jewish American Summer Camp!) which proved hilarious, if a little tricky! We are about to plan our route for tomorrow, so see you then teammates! xoxo

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Saturday 22nd August

To make a change from yesterday’s frantic antics when we woke up, today was much more relaxed, as we were still asleep at nine (when we were supposed to be eating breakfast). It was a lovely breezy and sunny day, quite unusual for Scotland! The Tenacity gently motored down Dorus Mhor whilst teammate Beth steered and teammates Lizzie, Laura and Louise had a Connect Four competition on the deck (winner as yet undecided). Having to keep a careful eye on the depth brought an end to this wonderful competition! We then turned into the loch just before the Crinan Canal, where we saw Dolly the Dolphin, her friend, Harold the Heron and Doug the dragonfly (named imaginatively by teammates Lizzie and Louise). Meanwhile, teammate Phil was cooking leftover chicken thighs which made a surprisingly yummy coronation chicken (not for teammate Kate). Much to the team’s excitement, it was soon time to experience out first lock which was surprisingly easy to negotiate considering the lock keepers did it for us and we didn’t have to do anything. We were unpleasantly surprised to discover how difficult the locks were to operate when we had to do it ourselves (when trying to throw the ropes to the people waiting at the top of the locks, we learnt that ropes are affected by gravity and that wet ropes are just a bit gross). The locks were getting increasingly harder to operate (as teammate Lizzie discovered when she fell over when trying to push one open. Teammate Beth laughed.), and we were starting to get tired. But the sun coming out meant the teammates could, for the first time in the trip, shed their waterproofs (trousers AND jackets!) and sail wearing normal clothing, meaning that we finally didn’t feel hideously overdressed compared to the people in the boat next to us who were in shorts . Teammate George impressed the team with her headstand on a moving boat, possibly inspired by teammate Lizzie’s attempts at gymnastics (which failed miserably by the way). One of the funniest moments of the day came as Tenacity approached a bridge and someone had to sound a horn to let someone know to open the bridge. Teammate Beth sounded a sports horn which was so surprisingly loud that she was nearly knocked over. After several more locks, we finally moored up next to our new friends in the boat which had sailed alongside us all the way. Teammates Beth and Lizzie made a (in the words of team mate Catherine)a scrumptious Shepherds (sorry Cottage) Pie. Shockingly, it didn’t rain all day, apart from a few minutes when were we already moored! Hopefully the team will have time to play Articulate before bed! See you tomorrow shipmates! xoxo

Friday, 21 August 2009

Friday 21st August

After a night of the quickest and most stressful showers the group has ever had, plus teammates Lizzie and Louise’s very successful fishing (2 fish were caught!), we were told we had to be ready to sail away at 7.30…AM! As Port watch made their way onto deck ready to leave Tobermory, the starboard crew made a quite hectic breakfast, which involved attempting to make toast using a temperamental grill (Laura perfected the technique after a few slices).Just after setting off, there was massive excitement as we spotted Roman Abramovich’s yacht (called le grande bleu-very funny when said in a Russian accent), which had a helicopter, yacht and a speed boat attached. As we all gathered on deck, we experienced our first rough seas. Teammate Lizzie won the prize for the first person to be physically sea sick, but soon got over this by bouncing around on the back of the boat as it hit the biggest waves with teammates George and Louise!!! After deciding the seas were too rough to continue sailing in this direction (there were gale force 8 winds!), we turned around and headed back down the Sound of Mull. It was here where we spotted 2 basking sharks, Barry and Barry’s friend, much to the group’s amusement, and many recreations of the Jaws soundtrack. As a few of the group were feeling nauseous, lunch was a quick sandwich before getting back on deck for some fresh air…although George did manage to spill half a glass of orange juice all over herself, Lizzie and the pringles after a particularly big wave! Starboard crew took over for a couple of hours, which proved to be a great time, with teammate Laura proving a bit of a pro at steering and sunny skies. Meanwhile, the Port crew made a cake, which was a great morale booster, despite being a teeny bit burnt. Roman Abramovich’s yacht reappeared, but much closer this time…the crew waved very enthusiastically but we don’t think Roman was as happy to see us. Some crew members feeling less queasy began chopping numerous vegetables for tea, including 9 red onions, which caused tears all round, to the tune of Chris Martin singing “when the tears come streaming down your face” in Coldplay’s Fix You! 12 hours after we set off, we arrived at our marina, all exhausted. See you tomorrow teammates! xoxo

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Thursday 20th August

Five minutes after breakfast was supposed to have ended, team mates Kate and Laura, who were supposed to be preparing it, woke up! Half asleep teammate Kate attempted to boil the kettle without the base and waited for the toaster to heat up before putting in the toast. Slightly later than intended the group donned their red waterproofs and lifejackets ready to set sail. AS results in dribs and drabs created, as team mate Laura would say, “a whirlwind of emotions”. Tenacity set sail about an hour later which created much excitement amongst the group as this was the furthest we had ever been. However we soon realised the sails weren’t out. We sailed down the Sound of Mull whilst team mate Phil attempted to fish what we thought was a shark only to find it was a lot of seaweed. Team mate Beth’s brownies were a must have for raising team morale as we continued to analyse the UMS marking system that our parents had failed to comprehend. Throughout the day the group were shocked to learn the extent to which the boat would actually tilt which lead to some interesting dice games downstairs. The players of said game were quick to blame Teammate Amy and Lizzie’s steering. We arrived at our destination of Tobermory (the setting of the children’s tv programme Balamory) much to the team mates’ excitement. A trip of the town (very small group of multi-coloured houses) ensued. Much to team mate Jennifer’s disappointment the Mull museum was shut. After searching the town (very small group of multi-coloured houses), we returned back to the toilets, resigned to the fact that we would have to pay 20p for a toilet. We returned to Tenacity, and attempted to make friends with the owners of the large, steel boat moored next door; teammate George asked where they had come from, they replied as walking away, “from America but we built the boat in New Zealand.” Teammate George’s response was a “We’re from Bolton” as they had reached the end of the jetty, much to the amusement of the rest of the team… Teammates Louise and Lizzie cooked some delicious stir fry which Captain Col kindly finished off from the pan. The teammates are now off to attempt to get as many people through a 7 minute shower costing £2, as is physically possible… should be fun See you tomorrow teammates  xoxo
PS. Even though it was Balamory, there was no pink castle, which greatly upset Teammate Beth. What a scam, BBC!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wednesday 19th August 2009

After six and a half hours of what felt like the worst bus journey ever (it wasn’t but windy roads make Lizzie feel pretty bad, and we all know what she’s like when she’s grumpy…), we finally arrived in Oban. With our budget of £400, but hoping to spend much less, we ran through the town to try and find the nearest Tesco. After deciding that splitting into two teams would be the best approach, we ran off madly screaming and laughing to buy 9 days worth of food. It was pretty stressful, especially when we realised that we’d probably miss the ferry that would take us to Tenacity, but we eventually bought 4 pretty full trolleys, spending just under £400. We then made a very embarrassing trek through the centre of Oban with our four trolleys, getting many strange looks from the Scottish public who probably thought we were for some reason trying to steal, amongst other things, 17 loaves of bread. After dumping our shopping bags under a tower, we once again split into 2 teams, one of which returned the trolleys to the Tesco car park. The other was sent to buy bags of chips! After some friendly help from our new Scottish friends waiting at the ferry stop, we managed to get all our bags on the ferry and began our journey to the marina. Once we arrived and had finally managed to get all the shopping onto Tenacity, we packed everything away and began to cook some fajitas, which were yummy!

Track the Journey to Glasson Here

Wednesday 19th August

Normal early start followed by intensive cleaning got the boat looking spick and span for the next crew. We are sad to finish our voyage but are all looking forward to getting home to showers, beds and home comforts. We wish the next crew good look and hope they enjoy it as much as we have.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Tuesday 18th August

We set off on the final stretch of our expedition after having eaten a hearty fry up served by Starboard. Port were on first watch and Akanksha and Lucy were responsible for releasing the bow and stern lines from the jetty whilst Zuleikha and Akshaya protected the boat from scratches and bumps with their extreme fender skills. The visibility was “poor” which meant that Port had to keep their eyes peeled for any potential obstacles or oncoming vessels. The tide under us was very strong, reaching six knots, which meant that the boat was changing direction quickly, especially as we were squeezing through a narrow passage between two islands. Akanksha found it difficult to keep the boat on course as a result so our skipper, Mary, had to take over until we were out of the treacherous waters. Later on Akshaya gave the Port watch a scare whilst steering (“in the right direction”, she claims!) as the rest of the team noticed a yacht rapidly approaching Tenacity head on which caused many to “shiver in their timbers”. We found a quaint little anchorage called Puilladobhrain on the Island of Seil which was situated near the bridge over the Atlantic. We anchored here at lunch time and much to the bemusement of many of the crew, and the excitement of Kate, we met some of her family friends on another yacht. We had an unusually relaxed lunch of magnificent jacket potatoes which were accompanied by a wide range of fillings from smoked cheese to hamburger relish. Port then had a well earned nap whilst Starboard took their turn at the helm. However, whilst docking, Starboard were forced to call in emergency troops in the form of Port watch who were unceremoniously woken from their sweet dreams in order to lend a bit of muscle to help bring the boat alongside in the strong wind that had kicked up this afternoon. However, with the whole team in place the journey ended smoothly! We then had a mammoth cleaning session where the team discovered numerous hairballs, spider webs, piles of sand and ominous green fungi which had been living on the boat alongside us during the trip. Upon the suggestion of Tim, the ever willing Zuleikha agreed to scrub the decks with her bare fingertips. Once the boat was spick and span on the outside Starboard began to prepare tea whilst port went for a well needed wash in the Oban showers. Yet again a hard day’s work was finished with an even harder game of Articulate.
20 Nautical Miles

Monday, 17 August 2009

Monday 17th August

Bright, early and eager we said a fond farewell to Dougal, the harbour master in Ballycastle, and set off on our first days sail after a long and impatient wait. Port set us off with yummy bacon baps whilst Starboard motored out of the marina, leaving Ballycastle, the town that we had called home for the past few days behind. After a couple hours powering our way through tidal currents the waters cleared and the wind was eventually favourable for Port to get the sails out, much to their delight. Using our new found sailing skills and knowledge acquired whilst marooned in Ballycastle, the sails were rapidly unfurled to make the most of the perfect wind direction. We sailed on for three hours through the on and off showers, occasionally spotting a dolphin or two. Mary even spied a very large dolphin, later realizing to her excitement that it was a whale! (or at least so she says!). An hour later though, we were all forced to eat our words when another whale stuck out its fin to salute Tenacity before swimming away. To pass the time, the ever-entertaining Ian taught us a new hand gesture that vaguely resembled the Superman logo. We took great pleasure in repeating this throughout the day, being the mature sailors that we are. A while after getting out the sails, it was decided that traveling at 3 knots would not cut it if we wanted to reach Craobh, an island just off the coast of Scotland, before midnight. Starboard were on hand to reel in the sails. After battling further tidal currents Starboard’s expertise, along with a few words of wisdom from the ever wise Mary, ensured a safe and secure arrival into the marina in Craobh. On arrival we were greeted by our own welcome party of local youths, from Craobh, in a rather small dinghy, who had the cheek to heckle us in our fetching sailing gear. Luckily we were secure in the knowledge that we looked hot hot hot. Something that made us laugh until we received a radio call that an unlucky boat had damaged his stern by hitting a poor unsuspecting basking shark. Luckily we found out that the basking shark came off better in the collision, receiving only a headache. We are not sure of the condition of the boat. Port cooked a delicious tea whilst the instructors eagerly found out what species of whale they spotted, and before tea we were all informed that they had spotted two short fin Pilot Whales which Ian has christened Fishy and Sid. Port cooked a rousing dinner of fish fingers, chips, peas and sweetcorn which was greatly received by the hungry crew. Port had even taken the time to individually craft every member of the crew a thoughtfully carved potato piece in the shape of something very dear to them. The shapes ranged from a knife and fork for the ever hungry Ian to a pair of Y-fronts for Helen Moore (Starboard). With full bellies and a heavy head we hit the sack for a good night’s sleep before the last leg of our journey to our final destination, Oban.
65 Nautical Miles

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Sunday 16th August

Unfortunately today the weather was still too bad to sail so we were marooned at Ballycastle for another day. With so much time on our hands we decided to make bread again in various shapes ranging from sheep to fish to cars. After working up an appetite making bread Port decided to make some cookies with Mary. Meanwhile the two Helens (Starboard) were chilling on deck awaiting the return of Melissa and Kate (Starboard) who were on the dinghy checking out local scenery in Ballycastle. After the return of the Helens to a boat smelling of freshly baked cookies Port took the dinghy out whilst Starboard were resigned to scrubbing the scum of the side of the boat. After having a lot of fun splashing each other with freezing cold sea water we were told by Ian that other boats in fact flushed their waste into the marina. Upon this discovery we all insisted on going straight to the showers. After an exhausting afternoon of baking, cleaning and pootling around in the dinghy we had a late afternoon siesta before Starboard cooked a spicy surprise in the shape of a chicken curry with naan bread. After dinner the instructors, to our surprise and delight, told us that the weather looked good enough to sail in the next day. In the evening we spoke to a gentleman that had crossed the North Channel today, he looked very tired and reported that conditions had been tough. Our decision to wait for another day now seems wise. We turned in early having earned a good night sleep before an early start to an exciting day of sailing.

Storm bound beach fun.

Saturday 15th August

We had a disappointing start to the day when we realised that yet again the sea was too rough to set sail. Shortly after breakfast we all went up on deck and practiced using winches and sheets to unfurl the Jib sail. We paid careful attention to the safety issues to avoid injury when we finally do set sail to Oban. Whilst doing so, one of the port team members managed to get their hoodie toggle caught in the winch, although humorous to begin with we soon realised the potential dangers that such carelessness could lead to. Fortunately Tim came to the rescue with a ready knife.
Whilst starboard prepared jacket potatoes, port took the opportunity to give the boat a thorough clean, which included the heads and galley. We refilled our rapidly diminishing water supply. After a quick break each watch reinforced their knowledge of the different knots required in sailing. We all practiced our figure of eights, bowlines, round turn two half hitches knots, coiling ropes and most importantly securing ropes on a variety of cleats. All of these are crucial when docking.
After an educational morning the eight of us decided to explore the surrounding town. We started of visiting the beach and then made our way to a locally sourced ice cream and coffee shop. This was well received by all. On returning back to the boat, five of us noticed the park and unleashed our inner child! After two days of restricted movement the open space was a welcome change.
Starboard served up a fiery bolognaise and once again we ended the night with board games and sing- a- longs to some classic tunes.

Friday 14th August

Soon after waking up we realised it wouldn’t be possible to continue our voyage due to the rough water across the North Channel. We were informed that our exposed position here at Balleycastle meant that gale force 8 in the Atlantic resulted in heavy seas here in the channel making it unsafe to head towards our destination. As we were stranded for the day we took the opportunity to bake some bread. We distributed the dough and each of us shaped our own roll to accompany the potato and leek soup Mary had been making. The shapes certainly turned out to be interesting ranging from Akanksha’s plait, Melissa’s Hedgehog and Lucy and Zuleikha’s Rastafarians!
After a filling lunch we decided to work on our navigation skills. In pairs we learnt how to plot points and locate positions on a sea chart using points of latitude and longitude to the nearest minute aswell as calculating distances in nautical miles. It was important to acknowledge how useful this would be in an emergency situation. We were also shown how to determine our own location if we had the compass bearing of two or more navigational sites. After successfully demonstrating our newly acquired skills on the chart, Port were delighted to realise they would know be able to navigate themselves to New York!
After quick showers, we all sat down and assessed our current food situation. Geared with a carefully planned shopping list we head out into town in search of the nearest grocery store. To our dismay it had started to rain and hence seven of us had to make the walk back to the boat with shopping bags dripping wet. It was ironic that we found ourselves drenched without even setting sail into the raging sea, If only we had worn our trusted waterproofs! Helen chose to stay behind and prepare her speciality dish - bratkatoffeln (German fried potatoes).
We ended this comparatively relaxed day with a big game of bananagrams.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Thursday 13th August

After a good rest, Port watch set the team up with an immense fry up before leaving Bangor at 9am. Shortly after leaving our berth we noticed gannets circling and diving, hence took the opportunity to slow the engine and get out our fishing lines. Luckily on her first go Kate (Starboard) managed to catch three mackerels. We also spotted the tall ship ‘Tenacious’ heading for the Belfast tall ships regatta. Meanwhile port watch was down below having a party of their own making brownies which kept the team going! Whilst on watch from Belfast Lough we had the opportunity to improve our navigation and chart skills by identifying lighthouses. In addition, we improved our skills by steering without a fixed compass heading. By doing this we unleashed our inner Jack Sparrows! Today along with completing the hourly log we learnt how to plot points on the chart which meant we could accurately calculate our position in the sea. We took the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and had a picnic on deck. In the afternoon we had to ensure that we reached the Rathlin Sound within a two hour time window to guarantee that the tide was not against us. When nearing the marina we sighted the scenic Benmore Head also known as Fair Head and used binoculars to identify two climbers on the rock face. Upon arrival at Ballycastle Marina we came alongside the jetty which was a tight squeeze for the Tenacity. Luckily this was a doddle due to Mary’s expertise at the wheel and Port’s handy rope work, despite Zuleikha’s attempts to sabotage the plan by revving the engine to full power rather than just turning it off. We then received a friendly welcome from our Irish harbor master nicknamed Dougal by Lucy and Akshaya. The whole team took the opportunity to revel in the sunshine and took a stroll whilst eating some pricey ice creams. Three brave team members then embraced the challenge of gutting Kate’s catch of the day, which was soon to be served as an appetizer. Port then began dinner and continued to do so for a further two hours. Nevertheless the meal was a success when finally served up and the team wolfed down the fantastic variety of potatoes. After an eventful day we wound down with some fruitcake and a sing along to Maroon 5.
46 Nautical Miles

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Wednesday 12th August

After a bright and early start at 3:30am we apprehensively started the day with a welcome batch of bacon butties. It was certainly a difficult task trying to drag ourselves out of bed at such an early hour, it was still dark outside and we were in store for a far longer day than yesterday as we had to sail 79 miles to Bangor Marina, Northern Ireland, which is 29 miles further than the previous day. As it was not yet light we had to watch carefully for other ships and lights on the horizon. The sea was much calmer, however we still could not get the sails out due to the direction of the wind. However it was colder and we had to make sure we were suitably dressed with many, many layers of clothing. The early start was planned to make the most of the tides. We knew that we would encounter three tides, and an early start would ensure that two would help push us in the right direction. We also found out how useful watches are. When not on watch (and thank goodness that the sea was calmer today) we could go below deck and have power naps. However, when awoken by a slap from someone (Kate), some of us didn’t go up on deck in a very good mood! We made good time across the Irish Sea and arrived well ahead of schedule. Many new skills were learnt, such as filling in the log book and recap on mooring up in the marina (made easier by Mary’s excellent parking skills – something some us could relate to as drivers,“I can barely park a car let alone a boat”- Helen). However more practice is required we think until we become slick sailors. The extra time meant that we could give the ship (and ourselves!) a good old scrub. Tasks were split between the group, two people to take the rubbish we had accumulated, one to hoover (which Helen took particular pleasure in!), one to fill up the water tank, one to wash the tea towels, two to clean the kitchen and one to do the best job in the world: cleaning the toilet. The Northern Ireland facilities were warmly received, one keen sailor (Helen) saying “they are the best showers I have ever encountered in my life, there are seats and everything!” Desperate for a shower, we all scrambled up the jetty, in search of running water. However once there, we found it strange to adjust to dry land, with many members of the crew stating that they thought that the room was swaying just like the boat. We had clearly become acclimatised to life on board. After our vitally important shower, the day finished on a good note with Mary’s hearty Chilli Con Carne and some “improvised” garlic bread. But tensions between members of the crew began to show on board, after all, it is a 10 day expedition with 8 girls and the end of a very long day (don’t forget we had been up since 3.30am and it was now gone 9pm!) Disputes were soon solved as we talked through our problems and after all, we are best friends and sometimes we do argue, but they get resolved quite quickly. It turns out that the real reason we were arguing wasn’t because we were angry or annoyed at each other, rather that we missed our home comforts and families and also because of the tiredness . Another job remained before we could get into our bunks; a shopping list. After seeing how much we had eaten in three days we realised that we needed more food to last the remainder of the expedition. Remember the endless amount of biscuits at the beginning of the week? Turns out that biscuits are a very good snack on deck, and with each watch eating one pack each every couple of hours, surprisingly we were running out of biscuits. We have also discovered that some foods are more ergonomically designed for life on board a ship, rolls rather than bread slices for example. After a long hard look at the food shortage situation and composing a list of other necessary items required (dry shampoo was a major component seeing as we didn’t know when our next shower would be), we made our way to bed and a good nights sleep. Today was a long day, according to our instructors the longest two days were now behind us. The journey from England to Ireland is a very long one only broken up by the Isle of Man (in the past two days, we’ve sailed 129 miles), so at least we can sleep knowing that we probably won’t have to get up this early again! Fingers crossed!
79Nautical Miles

Tuesday 11th August

Mary our skipper offers sailing advice.

Tuesday 11th August
One word sums up today – WET! We sailed form Piel Island to Douglas, Isle of Man, a distance of 50 miles. Waves constantly bombarded the boat, causing salt water to spray into our faces, temporarily blinding and drenching us. Fortunately, most of us had our waterproofs on and thus we avoided being completely soaked. Those of us who had forgotten to wear their waterproof trousers soon learned our lesson. We remained on deck when not on watch as again, it proved too rough to go down below. Two of our team members risked being whisked away by the mighty waves whilst trying to tackle some boat maintenance at the bow (thank god for safety lines which meant we were securely fastened to the boat at all times). Some of us thought the waves were great fun, however some of us weren’t so keen! However salt had seemed to form all over our faces, hands and hair making them feel a bit slimy and disgusting. We were in desperate need of a shower, but due to limited water supply, we couldn’t. Yet another sticky night! Clothes had also gotten wet, but we found it very hard to find any space onboard to hang them to dry, so we were greeted by unpleasantly damp waterproofs in the morning. A hard day’s sailing was followed by a dinner of fa-heeee-tas!! ¡Phenomenal! This was slightly messy and cramped, but delicious. We are definitely adjusting to the limited space on board but still finding it difficult to do everyday activities. The rest of the evening was spent prepping for lunch and dinner the following day, as we planned to sail on an epic journey to Ireland. The whole crew joined in with grating cheese, getting tuna out of the tin and making tuna mayonnaise and slicing up corned beef. It has become more obvious to us now, that organisation is crucially important to make life on board run smoothly, especially as we were planning to set sail at 4am following morning! Little things like putting out our clothes ready for the next certainly make things easier and quicker, even knowing where you’ve put your hat and gloves certainly helps when you have to dash below deck to try and stop your head and hands freezing. Especially in waters like today, the less time spent day below deck the better!
50 Nautical miles

Monday 10th August

One of the team practising tying a bowline.
After unpacking our belongings and extensive food supplies we were ready to set sail at 12pm. However there was some concern from the instructors, about the food situation. Despite the fact that we had filled two shopping trolleys at the supermarket, it seemed that there was a lack of certain foods, mainly fruit (but there were enough biscuits to last a month!) After restocking a little, we set sail. Unfortunately due to the direction of the wind we had to motor from Glasson Dock to Piel Island which was a distance of 20 miles. Along the way we each got an opportunity to have a go at steering in the open seas. Watches were taken in turns depending on where each person was sleeping, so there are 2 groups, port and starboard. Helen M, Helen S, Melissa and Kate are on starboard and Zuleikha, Lucy, Akanksha and Akshaya are on port. Watches last 2 hours and when not on watch we sat at the back of the boat in our waterproofs as the seas were too rough to go below deck (plus some of us weren’t feeling all too great anyway!)We also recapped our knotting skills which we will find very useful on our expedition. The highlight of our day was when Mary, our skipper, pointed out two dolphins and seals. Zuleikha particularly enjoyed sailing past wind turbines in the sea : “they looked like they were doing a Mexican wave.” After a good day on deck, there was a surprise waiting for us in the kitchen, one of our bags of flour had escaped and exploded all over the kitchen. After a quick clean up starboard cooked a delicious stir fry with quorn and noodles. We had anchored just off of Piel Island and with full bellies there was time for a quick game of bananagrams before we bunked up for the night ready for a 7am start. This was the first time that we had slept out on the water, which was a strange experience. Getting used to the boat swaying and rocking when ships went past took some getting used to!
20 Nautical miles

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Track the journey to Oban here

The map below should track our journey to Oban, or use the link to the left.

Dont panic if there is a map of America above! the map will locate itself properly once we are on board.