Behind the scenes volunteering

There’s more to volunteering with Welsh charity Challenge Wales than meets the eye!

The Welsh charity Challenge Wales is managed and run by a network of volunteers. These volunteers help out not just sailing the boat but with maintenance, marketing, fundraising ideas, undertaking guided boat tours, networking and helping in the young persons sail training programme.

However, as a young persons sailing trip draws near it is when all hands to the deck are required (literally) and this is an area where Challenge Wales is looking to draw in more volunteers to help spread the load.

A big boat sailing trip needs crew that are fuelled. Sailing with 18 people on board in total, eating 4 meals a day plus snacks takes a lot of planning. And that is why Challenge Wales is looking for ‘Stock Checkers’ and ‘Shoppers’.

With large storage areas and cubby holes dotted throughout the vessel, the job of ‘Stock Checker’ is that of an important one. Bags of sugar or huge tins of baked beans (which serve 14), endless pieces of pasta and variety of sauces are all stored out of sight and before shopping commences a full stock check is undertaken. This usually takes just an hour with a couple of volunteers being able to manage the job quite quickly. However, this job is required to be done every few trips and after every sailing trip that is longer than a couple of nights. This makes it an almost ongoing process!

 Then, armed with a shopping list…longer than your arm, a volunteer will head out to a trade supermarket with menus listed and with quite a clinical attitude in what is bought and what is left on the shelf.

It is a balancing act to ensure that menus are planned to ensure everyone has plenty of food while remembering to keep wastage down to a bare minimum.

Victualing, as we call it in the sailing world, is almost an art but 2 hours later and with a mega trolley brimming with tins and long life food stuffs the food will be taken onboard. Quite often the timing of a pre-sail food shop will tie in with the boat coming back from a previous sailing trip. Grabbing a few volunteers and a few trolleys to unload the car is the easy part. Getting it safely stowed away is the more time-consuming part but with a handful of volunteers a human chain  is organised to help take the food from the pontoon up onto the deck, down the companion way (the steps leading down from the deck), through the boat and into the galley.

Volunteers then work together as a team unpacking and storing all the food ready for the forthcoming sailing trip.

The stock-checkers and shoppers are sometimes the forgotten volunteers as clients and crew will arrive at Challenge Wales and not know how much work and time has been spent in provisioning the boat. But it is a very important job and if anyone wants to have a go then just let us know.

On that note, if anyone can find the missing tub of margarine…could you let us know!

You can follow what Challenge Wales is up to through twitter: (you don’t need an account)

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One Response to Behind the scenes volunteering

  1. Hugh says:

    The last time I saw the Margarine it was in the Aft floor locker on the Starboard side in front of the bread.

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