Celebrating International Youth Day

Challenge Wales is always up for celebrating an event or a moment in time.

Celebrating the huge commitment our volunteers give and recognising this in Volunteers Week. Celebrating St David’s Day, the Patron Saint of Wales, celebrating with young people after every voyage. Celebrating Youth Work Week and making sure people know about the work that we do to help young people broaden their horizons and improve their employment prospects.

Representing Wales in the Tall Ships Races (Northern Spain)

Representing Wales in the Tall Ships Races (Northern Spain)

We celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee Pageant in 2012 in London, and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 by being part of the Commonwealth Games Flotilla up the Clyde. But, it wasn’t until recently we were aware of International Youth Day and Challenge Wales couldn’t get more international than where she was and what she was doing on that day.

So when is International Youth Day we hear you say? As we found out, International Youth Day is marked on 12th August every year.

As stated on the United Nations website; “On 17 December 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.”

So where was Challenge Wales on 12th August 2016, on International Youth Day? Challenge Wales was in A Coruna (Northern Spain) as part of the Tall Ships Races. The Tall Ships Races is one of the most spectacular youth events in Europe with, on this occasion, no fewer than 16 flag states represented. It gives the opportunity for young people all over the world to take part in sail training. On one vessel there were no fewer than 13 different nationalities. Tall Ships Racing is cross cultural and with at least 50% of trainees on each boat having to be aged under 26 years it is a fantastic opportunity for young people to experience something that is life-changing, share stories and make friends.

Young people from all over the world partying and spending time together at the Tall Ships Races amongst the backdrop of....Tall Ships

Young people from all over the world partying and spending time together in A Coruna at the Tall Ships Races amongst the backdrop of….Tall Ships

Challenge Wales was there representing Wales, and proudly flying the Welsh flag. We joined young people from all over the world in a parade around the streets of A Coruna, took part in inter-crew sports shore-side. Celebrating culture. Celebrating young people. Celebrating sail training. What better way to be a global citizen!

And, on that international note, when Challenge Wales departed A Coruna no fewer than 5 different languages were able to be spoken onboard!


 

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Volunteering on Wales’ Tall Ship – why people volunteer

We always get people contacting the Challenge Wales office, or meeting us when we are hosting an Open Boat event who are interested in volunteering. And, we are always looking for volunteers – as the charity grows and we do more work, we need more assistance to deliver our work and as a predominantly volunteer-run charity means we wouldn’t be where we are without volunteers.

So to start… what is the definition of volunteering? Volunteering is an activity that involves spending time, unpaid, helping and benefiting others.

On Challenge Wales volunteering means; helping to sail the Challenge Wales sail training vessel, it means helping young people to hoist the sails, it means showing young people how to cook a healthy meal onboard, it means exploring new islands and taking part in new adventures,  it means sharing your life experiences with someone else, it means seeing dolphins (sometimes), and getting wet (now and again). Of course, if you opt for a shore-side volunteering role then you usually stay dry and the dolphins you get to see are on our photos!

Learning the ropes

Learning the ropes

Volunteering on Challenge Wales isn’t for everyone, but if you are looking to help young people in an innovative way then this could be an opportunity for you.

But why do people volunteer, what can they get out of being part of the Challenge Wales volunteer team?

  • They make a difference to young people’s lives and want to give something back – volunteering can have a positive affect on young people during and beyond the voyage. Our volunteers pass their life experiences onto others
  • They gain confidence and can improve their teamwork and communication skills – sail training benefits young people in this way but can also benefit our volunteers in this way too
  • They meet new people – volunteers get to meet other volunteers and make new friends themselves, they become part of the Challenge Wales community
  • They have lots of fun doing something that is different and sometimes challenging – Volunteers get to sail to new places, take part in races, be a budding Captain Jack Sparrow through day sailing, residential voyages and non-stop trips that involve night-sailing
  • They learn new skills or improve their current skills – from maintenance to fundraising, from sailing to working and talking with new people
Challenge Wales volunteers help with maintenance

Challenge Wales volunteers help with maintenance

This summer Challenge Wales has been taking part in the Tall Ships Races – the largest youth event on the water, and a spectacular one at that, sailing from the South Coast of the UK to Antwerp (Belgium) to Lisbon (Portugal) to Cadiz (Southern Spain) to A Coruna (Northern Spain) before heading back to the South Coast for a Small Ships Race.

Tall Ships Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

Tall Ships Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

And, Challenge Wales volunteers have been part of this spectacular activity, and they give up a minimum of a few days a year to sail with us and be volunteers. Many join us on our residential voyages which are on average 5 days. So if you can donate some of your time to Challenge Wales for at least one of our crew training days, up to one day shore-side and one of our voyages, and are aged 18 – 70 then get in touch.

It’s simple to become a volunteer. Just submit your volunteer form, then book yourself onto one of our adult voyages (minimum duration 1 day) which is used as an assessment voyage, if successful we follow up on references and undertake an enhanced DBS (background check). The last step is to join us for a Volunteer Induction session and then book yourself on to a crew training day.

Aged under 18? Then our Youth Panel could be for you – check it out here.

Will you be jumping onboard for your own personal volunteering adventure?


Challenge Wales is now starting its 2017 volunteer crew recruitment programme, so now is the perfect time to join the Challenge Wales team enabling potential volunteers to undertake their qualifying voyage and crew training prior to the 2017 sail training season starting.  For further details on volunteering contact the Challenge Wales office on 029 20 70 4657 or by email or check out the volunteering section on the website.

The next voyages which count as a qualifying voyage include:
* Sailing by the Stars voyage 25th – 27th August (Gosport  – Cardiff)
* Challenge Experience Day – 4th September (Penarth – Penarth)
* Challenge Experience Day – 17th September (Penarth – Penarth)

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A very warm welcome into Southern Spain for Challenge Wales

At 38 degrees it was a very warm welcome for Sail Training Vessel and Wales’ Tall Ship, Challenge Wales into Cadiz (Southern Spain) on 28th July 2016.

Young people from Caerphilly had joined us in Lisbon (Portugal) for the start of Race 2 of the Tall Ships Races 2016 organised by Sail Training International.

First off with any Tall Ships event, is the Parade of Sail. The spectacular departure of the Tall Ships, crews cheering and waving to those left on land. And those left on land, cheering, waving and clapping to those heading off on their adventures.

Click on the image above to see the footage of the Tall Ships departing Lisbon 2016 . It will open up in a new window and should start automatically in a few seconds

Click on the image above to see the footage of the Tall Ships departing Lisbon 2016. It will open up in a new window and should start automatically after a few seconds.

After the boats had paraded, it was time to go into race-mode. All boats are wanting to get their own race off to a great start and it was a mass of colour on the Tall Ships Races Boat Tracker (Yellow Brick) as all boats headed to the start line.

All boats taking part in the Tall Ships Races 2016 heading to the start line (the red dot) for the Lisbon - Cadiz race

All boats taking part in the Tall Ships Races 2016 heading to the start line (the red dot) for the Lisbon – Cadiz race

This race was quite a short race, it still included a couple of nights at sea and non-stop racing. Working in shifts, 3 hours on and 3 hours off, making sure everyone was well-fed, making sure everyone was having fun, working together to trim the sails and taking it in turns to helm the boat (remember, Challenge Wales doesn’t have auto-pilot), there was always something that needed doing.

Unlike the first race from Antwerp to Lisbon where the time to cross the start line spanned over a 24 hour period, this time everyone was crossing the line close together and with the varying wind strengths, which at some times meant that we slowed right down, the Tall Ships fleet remained closer together than in the previous race.

Racing to Cadiz. Challenge Wales is the orange boat highlighted with a white line around it.

Racing to Cadiz. Challenge Wales is the orange boat highlighted with a white line around it.

It wouldn’t be until a couple of days later at the Tall Ships Award ceremony that we would be advised of our official placing, the Tracker had placed us at 13th in Class, but the final results announced placed us into the top 10 and we fell into a well-deserved 8th place in Class.

Cadiz welcomed the Tall Ships Races and Challenge Wales with colour and enthusiasm. The warm seas of Cadiz meant the opportunity for jumping off the boat and cooling off with a swim for many. It also meant yet another crew parade of shouting and cheering….and we must admit if there was a competition for the loudest and noisiest crew, I am sure the Challenge Wales team would have won!

Crews getting ready to parade in Cadiz. Challenge Wales and the Welsh flag is in there somewhere! (pic courtesy of Sail Training International).

Crews getting ready to parade in Cadiz. Challenge Wales and the Welsh flag is in there somewhere! (pic courtesy of Sail Training International).

So what is the Tall Ships Races actually teaching those onboard – is it actually teaching them anything as it just seems to be too much fun?!! Well the answer is it’s teaching those onboard (both our volunteer crew and the young people we welcome) several key things:

  • Resilience – being able to bounce back and adapt well to different and challenging situations, seasickness can effect people, new surroundings which place people out of their comfort zone can be a challenge. Sail training helps people become more resilient.
  • An understanding of diversity and culture – Vessels, and crews from all over the world are taking part in this event. Our host ports are sharing their culture and history with us and we’re sharing a piece of Wales with them. The young people are sharing their cultures, in fact one vessel taking part had no fewer than 18 different nationalities onboard! Read more about Cadiz being a meeting place of cultures and traditions from Sail Training International. There is no better way to be teaching Global Citizenship than being part of this event!
  • Time -keeping – Watches are run on Challenge Wales, so when your watch is about to finish you are relying on the person replacing you to be up and raring to go. Meals are planned at particular times to ensure everyone is fed on all watches while ensuring there are plenty of people on deck at all times.
  • Teamwork  and sharing the same goals – Challenge Wales and those onboard are working to one goal, to successfully cross the finish line in the Tall Ships Races in the quickest time possible. This means trimming and changing sails quickly, it means helming in the right direction (and trying to avoid submarines as we often say), making sure everyone is fuelled, making sure the food is prepared, meals planned, dishes washed up, it’s about looking after each other and supporting each other through the sail training challenges that arise. It’s a great feeling when it all comes together.

Moreover, sail training on Challenge Wales is giving young people and crew the opportunity to broaden their horizons, see new places in the world and make new friends. It’s improving their social skills and experiences, increasing self-confidence and self-esteem and focus on a common end-goal.

So what’s stopping you trying this?


Tall Ships racing is just one of the sail training opportunities on Challenge Wales, Wales’ Tall Ship. Other events include Small Ships Racing, and residential voyages which take in new ports in the UK, amazing sea-life such as dolphins and seals and even visiting an island. While bursary funding supports many young people jumping onboard, Challenge Wales is now looking for more support from companies wishing to support young people who are wanting to develop their skills through sail training and improve their prospects to enable Challenge Wales to reach more young people. For further details on Challenge Wales visit www.challengewales.org Some voyages are for adults aged 18 – 75 while others are for young people aged 16 – 25. Day voyages are suited for those aged 12+. Bursary funding is only available for young people.

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Wanted – A landlubber (Youth Development Officer) looking for adventure with a charity

Now in its 7th year of operation, Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship is now recruiting for a part time Youth Development Officer. This role is funded by the Big Lottery Fund for 3 years and is shore- based. Are you a landlubber with a sprinkle of Captain Jack Sparrow tendencies? Are you working in the education sector and have an inner-adventurer wanting to get out? Are you wanting to work for a fun, charity that is literally providing life-changing voyages to young people? Do you want to jump aboard and help us develop our innovative sail training programme to enable us to reach out to more young people? Then read on…..

Challenge Wales is a sail training charity and Wales’ Tall Ship and is seeking to a appoint a part time Youth Development Officer. Based shore-side in Penarth (near Cardiff Bay) this new role is key in the growth of the charity.
Salary – £13,000 (20 hours a week)
Term – a 3 year contract (subject to funding availability after 3 years)
Closing Date – 8 August 2016

Full job spec with details on how to apply:


Elusen hyfforddiant hwylio a Llong Uchel Cymru yw Her Cymru ac mae’n awyddus i benodi Swyddog Datblygu Pobl Ifanc rhan amser. Wedi’i lleoli ym Mhenarth (ger Bae Caerdydd), mae’r rôl newydd hon yn allweddol i dwf yr elusen.

Cyflog – £13,000 (20 awr yr wythnos)
Mae hwn yn gontract cychwynnol o dair blynedd a ariennir gan y Gronfa Loteri Fawr
Dyddiad cau: 8 Awst 2016.

Gwnewch gais am ein swydd Swyddog Datblygu Pobl Ifanc:

bi-logo-pink-large-jpg

 

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The Tall Ships Races begins – Fair winds to all

During the summer, Challenge Wales usually heads further afield – quite often our voyages start from West Wales, where dolphins swim alongside us, the water is bluer than the Bristol Channel brown and our residential sail training voyages can take in Southern or Northern Ireland, the Scottish Isles or the South West Coast of England.

This year is a little bit different as we head to Antwerp (Belgium) for the Tall Ships Races, before racing down to Lisbon (Portugal), Cadiz (Spain), A Caruna (Spain) and back home to the UK. It’s our longest summer trip yet and one we have been planning for and looking forward to for some time.

It’s an exciting time for all, the Tall Ships Races is one of the most spectacular events; from shore side crew activities, crew parades and festivities around the streets, awards and meting people from different cultures – all with a story to tell.

Tall Ships Crew Parade - can you spot the 3 Welsh flags and the red dragon's head? (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

Tall Ships Crew Parade – can you spot the 3 Welsh flags and the red dragon’s head? (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

Crew festivities from the parade melted into an awards ceremony. Lots of cheering and support from crew, trainees and the locals. Unexpectedly, which was a lovely surprise!, Challenge Wales was awarded the Environmental Award and Blue Flag status – a great achievement for us and recognition of our efforts to play a part in protecting the seas we sail in. It was also a great opportunity for two of our trainees to experience the limelight and go on stage in front of thousands of people and pick up the award with the Skipper. Lots of smiles all round.

On stage at the Tall Ships Awards (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

On stage at the Tall Ships Awards (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

From the Awards Ceremony, the evening rolled into the crew party – an opportunity for everyone to let their hair down and relax before the start of the Tall Ships Race.  A fun evening was had by all and all topped off by a spectacular firework display that brought colour to the sky and illuminated the masts and unfurled sails of the Tall Ships.

Fireworks and Tall Ships

The following day it was time for the Parade of Sail – an amazing opportunity to see some of the most spectacular tall ships in the world and it certainly drew thousands locals and tourists to the dock to cheer the boats off.

Tall Ships departing Antwerp for the Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Tall Ships International)

Tall Ships departing Antwerp for the Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Tall Ships International)

From Antwerp the vessels headed down River and into heavy weather, that first evening most vessels darted into nearby ports to get a few hours rest from the choppy seas. Challenge Wales motor sailed into Dover and got a few hours rest before later that evening heading off, at 10pm, when the wind dropped and the tide was in our favour, to Gosport.

Our passage from Dover to Gosport

Our passage from Dover to Gosport

From Gosport, Challenge Wales headed towards Torbay – this would be the start of the Tall Ships Race. Many of the larger Tall Ships had continued sailing through the night to get to the start line with many crossing it shortly after 10.00am on 13th July 2016.  Although Challenge Wales crossed the start line at 5.00pm, that day, this was still within the starting window and that starting window would remain open until 8.00pm the following day. Today has been a party day onboard Challenge Wales as we celebrate one of our trainees getting a year older! What a fantastic way to spend a birthday – starting an adventure with new found friends!

Challenge Wales about to cross the start line of the Tall Ships Races 2016

Challenge Wales about to cross the start line of the Tall Ships Races 2016. A screen grab taken from the Yellow Brick tracking system. Challenge Wales is highlighted with a white line around it just underneath Torquay.

As all the boats make their way to the start line, we wish everyone fair winds and a safe passage. And, for any budding Captain Jack Sparrows out there, there is still the opportunity to jump onboard some of these spectacular Tall Ships this summer!


The Tall Ships Races are organised by Sail Training International and the 2016 race that Challenge Wales is taking part in  can be tracked here. Tall Ships Races is one of the largest young people’s events taking place and one of the largest spectator events in Europe bringing people from all over the world and all walks of life together. Sail training helps build young people’s resilienc and self-confidence as well as improve teamwork and communication skills. There are still 4 berths left on Challenge Wales for a 15 day voyage from Cadiz to A Coruna (30th July – 13th August) and bursaries are available for UK residents to cover between 50% – 90% of the costs (depending on eligibility). Berths with full bursary are from £135. If you are living in Europe and wish to join us then you can book your berth via Windseeker

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Over 1,500 boats and a fundraiser like no other – it’s Round the Island Race

At 0730hrs last Saturday, Challenge Wales was slipping the lines at West Cowes, Isle of Wight. In fact quite a few other boats were doing the same thing. There was the chit chatter of voices, there was the jangle of halyards against masts, there was a buzz and excitement brewing…

Today was the day when novices and experienced sailors take part in one of the largest participation events – after the London Marathon and the Great North Run and Great South Run (we believe) – to race around the Isle of Wight.

Over 1,500 boats were registered for the event including Challenge Wales. We enjoy taking part in Round the Island Race as it is the only adult race that we do and is one of our fundraisers. Guests who were sailing onboard were paying to take part and by doing so they were contributing to our bursary fund and helping young people. Our bursary supports those who can’t pay the full amount to jump aboard Challenge Wales and helps them to have the same opportunity as anyone else. Who would have thought that giving to a charity could give you so much fun on the water!

0830hrs was our start time for the race and as always there was a battle to cross the line. Skipper Andy was pleased we had a good start! It would take over an hour and a half though for all the other boats to cross the start line and get into the race.

Hundreds of sails on the horizon

Hundreds of sails on the horizon

Throughout the 50 mile race we had a variety of conditions – mainly choppy waters and gusts of 35 knots, which resulted in no fewer than 311 boats retiring from the race and even one small boat sinking (don’t worry, the RNLI were on hand and everyone was safely rescued).

The team on Challenge Wales, most of whom had only met for the first time onboard the day before, had their jobs to do on the boat – from trimming the sails, to waving to the film crew in the helicopter to cooking breakfast to navigating! They had had a day of training the day before the race so by now knew the routines on board and putting what they had learnt hours earlier into practice.

Different crew on the winches and the mainsheet. The Skipper is tucked down by the wheel

Different crew on the winches and the mainsheet. The Skipper is tucked down by the wheel

Once the race is over there is still that exhilaration and excitement as crews head ashore and share their Round the Island Race tales. As we headed back into Cowes, and the mainsail came down there was a loud shout of “Challenge Wales !!” as a couple of volunteers were shore-side and gave us a welcoming and congratulatory well-earned cheer and wave.

Challenge Wales picture sailing round the Needles, Isle of Wight

Challenge Wales racing past the Needles (pic courtesy of Jim Haviland)

One of our volunteers was tweeting and following the race from ashore so if you want to catch up on any of the race then visit www.twitter.com/challengewales  search for #RTIR or visit the Round the Island Race website.

By the time Challenge Wales had finished just under 40 boats had crossed the finish line and 144 had retired. Challenge Wales finished the race in 7 hours 11 minutes and 28 seconds and was just over 3 minutes slower than when she took part in 2015! Like the other times we had raced other Challenge 72 boats, we once again beat them all  (and not bad seeing that we were weighed down with food and fuel for the rest of the summer!).

Visit Wales are using the hashtag #FindYourEpic to showcase fantastic Welsh adventures, with the weather conditions we had and the exhilaration it brought we can certainly say that those onboard #FoundTheirEpic on Challenge Wales!

Challenge Wales crossing the finish line in Round the Island Race 2016

Challenge Wales crossing the finish line after an epic day in Round the Island Race (pic courtesy of Patrick Eden)

It was a fantastic effort, so well done Challenge Wales team, and what’s even more fantastic is the day on the water generated over £3,000 for Challenge Wales – a huge amount of money we are very thankful for.


Challenge Wales takes part in Round the Island Race each year to raise awareness of the charity and its activities. Adults take part in the event onboard Challenge Wales to help raise funds and may have no experience of sailing. Next year’s race is on Saturday 1st July 2017.


 

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Bon Voyage Challenge Wales | Hello the start of a summer adventure

It’s that time of the year when Challenge Wales is ready to start her summer adventures, and this year we are heading further afield to the Tall Ships Races in Belgium, Spain and Portugal and Small Ships racing on the South Coast.

With over 60 days of consecutive activities in the calendar, starting from today, it has been a busy time for volunteers as they help clean and prepare the boat. 60 days of activities, up to 18 people on board the boat each day…that means a lot of food. We’ll be stocking up periodically on our voyage but most of our un-perishable items were stored onboard yesterday. It took 6 volunteers over 4 hours to shop and store the boat up – yikes!

Heading off for our summer voyages is always an exciting time. We meet some lovely people onboard and in new ports, we share our stories with fellow sail training vessels, we enjoy the camaraderie and sharing experiences. The Tall Ships is a special experience as we meet young people from all over the world embarking on the same journey… both on the water and in life.

Challenge Wales in the Bristol Channel, shortly after departing Penarth (pic courtesy of Penarth Daily News)

Challenge Wales in the Bristol Channel, shortly after departing Penarth (pic courtesy of Penarth Daily News)

Today we left our home port in South Wales and started our summer Tall Ships adventure. As Challenge Wales progresses, we will be sharing her journey so if you are not joining us on a voyage, you can still get to feel you are part of our journey too.

Tall Ships Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)

Tall Ships Parade of Sail (pic courtesy of Sail Training International)


Challenge Wales has already visited Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool, Falmouth and London as part of her Tall Ships journey in the past. This summer we are visiting Antwerp, Lisbon, Cadiz and A Coruna and there is still an opportunity for those aged 17 – 25 to jump onboard. Read more here for further details.
Tall Ships Races are organised by Sail Training International 

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Are you a Diamond Challenger?

The DofE (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award) is often associated with young people , and yes, we have many young people taking part in their DofE Gold Residential jumping onboard Challenge Wales. But this year is different as the scheme has been widened to celebrate the DofE Diamond Anniversary.

The DofE is asking people to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime DofE inspired Diamond Challenge whether as a team or on your own, now is your chance to take the challenge and challenge yourself personally, go on an adventure or learn a new skill. 

The Diamond Challenge is perfect for those who might have done their DofE many years ago but also to those who haven’t been involved with the scheme before and are over 24 years (so not eligible to take part in the standard DofE). A minimum of £60 needs to be fundraised for the DofE when you sign up.

Broaden your horizons: Have an adventure, learn a new skill, or take a personal challenge

Broaden your horizons: Have an adventure, learn a new skill, or take a personal challenge

Those looking to do the Diamond Challenge might be wanting to tick something off their bucket list, do something family orientated or find something to do where no experience is necessary and can be done with one or more people.

With ‘Challenge’ in our name and having helped many young DofE participants take part in this recognised scheme, we are keen to welcome any Diamond Challengers onboard. Wanting to take the personal Challenge then you can race a round-the-world yacht in one of the world’s most iconic races against over 1,000 other boats. Yes, race in Round the Island Race on Challenge Wales and tick it off your bucket list.
Wanting to take part on an adventure? Then sail Challenge Wales from Spain to the UK, across the Bay of Biscay in one of her most exciting adventures yet! As no sailing experience is necessary to take part these make the perfect Diamond Challenges.

What’s your Diamond Challenge going to be?


Visit; dofediamondchallenge.org for more details of the Diamond Challenge.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a charity that has been helping young people since 1956, who can get involved at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels taking part in activities that Challenge them and help improve their lifeskills.

Challenge Wales has a couple of voyages this summer which are suitable for those doing the DofE Diamond Challenge, for those looking to do a personal challenge, an adventure challenge or learn a new skill. To find out more contact Challenge Wales on 029 20 704 657, check out the sailing voyages on www.challengewales.org  or email the Challenge Wales team.

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It’s Festival Time…. Pirates, Tall Ships, Parade of Sail and Challenge Wales

It’s that time of the year when our summer season is about to start. Summer doesn’t just mean sun (although we do hope we get some), it means welcoming young people onboard who are taking part in our sail training programme – learning new things, meeting new people, having fun…and all on the water. It means saying hello to lots of different volunteers who join us for various voyages. It means welcoming parents onboard who often want to see where their son or daughter will be spending some of their summer holiday. It also means our voyages go a little bit further afield beyond the top end of the Bristol Channel!

This year we are excited to be a feature of the Seafair Haven 2016 – the Festival of the Milford Haven Waterway. A biennial maritime festival in West Wales which brings vessels of all shapes and sizes together for a few days of action packed fun and experiences both on and off the water.

Not only is Challenge Wales a feature boat, and visiting Tall Ship and Sail Training Vessel, but is also able to give  young Welsh residents, and in particular those in Pembrokeshire and Milford Haven, the opportunity to jump aboard Challenge Wales for a voyage. Even better, is that places on all our voyages for young people are heavily subsidised,due to the welcome support of local organisations and trusts, meaning that there isn’t a better opportunity for getting onboard. Thank you to all those who are helping to make this happen.

We’ll be setting sail from Cardiff on 11th June and returning the weekend later, giving many people the opportunity to experience an overnight voyage.

Challenge Wales captured sailing past Nells Point Lookout Station (Barry Island) from their webcam at 12.20pm on 11th June 2016

Challenge Wales captured sailing past Nells Point Lookout Station (Barry Island) from their webcam at 12.20pm on 11th June 2016 as she heads towards Milford Haven

 

If you are wanting to do your Gold DofE residential – then you can also take part in the two day voyage down to Milford from Cardiff, and stay with us for a further 3 days- you will have shore time as well as time onboard at sea. You will become part of the crew and get involved in all aspects of running the boat.

If you are just looking at doing a one day voyage around Skomer then you can do that too. We’ll be keeping an eye out for dolphins and seals, who often get inquisitive as we sail past, and we’ve some youth voyages and adult voyages to choose from, plus you don’t need any sailing experience to take part.

The last time Challenge Wales visited the Seafair Festival was several years ago, and then it was a flying visit due to our tight schedule so Wales’ Tall Ship is glad to be back

If sailing Wales’ largest sailing yacht is on your bucket list then what is stopping you?


Details of the Challenge Wales voyage options. A variety of ages are welcome on specific voyages from 13 – 75!!:

Sunday 12th June – Arriving into the Seafair Haven Festival, Milford Haven Marina (late afternoon -ish)
Mon 13th June – A relaxed day voyage sailing with some of the other Tall Ships visiting for the festival  (starting and finishing in Milford Haven). £5 per person if eligible for bursary / £95 full price for adults. Suited for those aged 16 – 75
Tue 14th June – A day sail onboard Challenge Wales exploring the Haven and sailing around Skomer. £5 per person if eligible for bursary / £95 full price for adults. Suited for those aged 16 – 75
Weds 15th June – Join us for our final sailing day from Milford Haven Marina. £5 per person if eligible for bursary. Suited for those aged 13 – 25.
Thu 16th & Fri 17th June – We’ll be shore-side so come and give us a wave.
Sat 18th – Sun 19th June – A two day delivery voyage as we say goodbye to Milford Haven and depart for Cardiff – £15 per person. suited for those aged 18 – 25 years (3 berths left)

A Challenge Wales bursary is available for all Welsh young people on all the voyages if aged between 13 – 25.
To book a place or to enquiry call 029 20 704 657 and leave a message or email us to start your Tall Ship Adventure! If you are a young person, why don’t you bring your sleeping bag and stay onboard for consecutive nights (minimum age 16 – maximum age 25).

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Sailing by the Stars – A unique perspective of the Welsh Coast

Sometimes sailing can create magical moments and a couple of weekends ago, there were certainly a few on Challenge Wales.

A full boat of people with various sailing experience, Challenge Wales set sail from Penarth for its ‘Sailing by the Stars’ voyage – a non-stop two day voyage in the Bristol Channel.

The idea was to give novice and experienced sailors additional experience, and training, in night sailing, learning about being competent onboard at night time, while meeting new people and sharing experiences.

With charts on the table, the Skipper discussed the planned route – he had been watching the weather forecast feverishly over the earlier days- and the  passage plan was to head out of Cardiff, down the Bristol Channel towards Pembrokeshire, then head back sailing behind Lundy Island and back up to Penarth.

Passage taken by Challenge Wales as she departed Cardiff and sailed non-stop

Passage taken by Challenge Wales as she departed Cardiff and sailed non-stop

As night fell, the boat split into watches with one watch tasked with cooking an evening meal and there were compliments to the team about how good the pasta was! – one of the  staple foods onboard Challenge Wales.

Being on the water and seeing the clear sky at night enabled some of those onboard to catch a fleeting glimpse of the International Space Station for a couple of minutes as it orbited past. We did know we were likely to see it, during a particular time window, so we were extra vigilant to catch it. We were now sailing by the stars (thank goodness there was no cloud!), and what a starry sky it was once the light pollution of the towns were left behind.

For most it was the first time seeing a spectacular Moonset, the moon disolved slowly into the sea as the gradual appearance of a breaking dawn in the sky took over.

The sun on the horizon as Challenge Wales sails

The sun on the horizon as Challenge Wales sails

As Challenge Wales headed back to Cardiff, there was a short-lived frustration as the wind dropped and the engine had to go on but it wasn’t long until the wind picked up and the thrill began as the spinnaker was deployed. From no wind to 24 knots of wind created excitement on deck enabling Challenge Wales to storm up the Bristol Channel and back home.

Exploring the Welsh Coast on Challenge Wales

Exploring the Welsh Coast on Challenge Wales on our 2 day adventure voyage

Ongoing feedback during the voyage, and an informal short ‘on-deck seminar’ on Engine Room Fires, enabled everyone to get something out of the two days.

Listening to a short safety awareness talk

Some of those onboard listening to a short safety awareness talk – a fantastic outdoor classroom

It’s not very often that Challenge Wales offers non-stop sailing voyages but the positive reaction and experience means there will certainly be more planned into our 2017 calendar.

“A great weekend, it has left me eager to get back onboard Challenge Wales soon!” Bob

“Excellent trip, great prep for longer voyages.” Colin

“It provided an ideal opportunity for me to gain an idea of the disciplines and routine of a watch system during night-time hours.” Howard


The next Sailing by the Stars voyage on Challenge Wales is 4th – 5th June. Suitable for all experiences, and for adults only. If you are also interested in becoming a Challenge Wales crew volunteer this voyage can act as your qualifying trip. Find out more at www.challengewales.org 

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