7 things to experience on Challenge Wales

With summer lurking on the horizon, in fact for some students it may have already started, there is also the question of what to do? If you are aged 16 – 25 years our residential voyages could be what sets you apart from others. Sail training (that’s what we do) looks good on a CV, helps build confidence – perhaps without you even realising it, gives you an opportunity to make new friends and experience something that you have probably thought wasn’t possible.  So what can you expect this summer on Challenge Wales;

No 1: Dolphins
Whatever age you are, the thought of waking up and have a pod of dolphins swimming right next to you is jaw-dropping at the best of times. ‘Magical’, ‘amazing’, ‘OMG’ are just some of the words used onboard. We know the places where there is a likelihood of them appearing.

Dolphin watching off West Wales on Challenge Wales

Dolphin watching off West Wales on Challenge Wales

No 2: Meeting different people
OK, you are joining Challenge Wales for the first time on your own. Don’t worry, everyone was in this position at some time…even the crew. Working closely together on team activities and with up to 18 people onboard, working in two small groups, you will find it easy to make friends and you have to work together to get the boat sailing.  With people from all over Wales and further afield onboard you will learn a lot from their experiences and backgrounds.

Thumbs up for Challenge Wales

Thumbs up for Challenge Wales

No 3: Singing and Magic
We are not necessarily thinking sea shanty’s here, though of course they are welcomed but we pride ourselves in having our own song. Composed by a local Cardiff band (Special Collection), the Challenge Wales song is available to buy (just search for Challenge Wales on Amazon or iTunes) as part of our fundraising activity, but it is often played onboard…particularly when we are around other boats and going in and out of port. We also have a volunteer crew person who is a magician, so watch out for him appearing…or disapearing while onboard. If you know any magic tricks to add to our repertoire then let us know!

No 4: Home cooked (or rather boat cooked) fantastic food
Keeping  up to 18 people fuelled is important, on our residential voyages you’re preparing breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, snacks and food through the night if on a night sail. We don’t have a chef onboard – the chef is you, but don’t worry Challenge Wales crew will help everyone with the menu planning, food prep and cooking and guide you. From casseroles to curry’s, from cooked breakfasts to fruity snacks, from lemon drizzle cake to freshly baked bread. Still feeling hungry? don’t worry there’s usually seconds to go round!

No 5: Night sailing
Something that is difficult to explain unless you have been there, sailing with the moon and stars for company. Leave the light polluted land behind and experience a different type of sailing. Working in watches, one team will be up on deck sailing while one team will be sleeping. During night sailing we have everyone clipped onto the boat with safety lines. On one clear night voyage last year we think we glanced the International Space Station flying over – NASA if you could check this one for us and let us know that would be great!

Sailing into the sunset as we set off on a night voyage

Sailing into the suset as we set off on a night voyage

No 6: The Buzz and Camaraderie
Sailing onboard Challenge Wales is exciting at the best of times, learning new skills, building confidence and of course seeing those dolphins (see No.1) BUT when we are taking part in events such as youth races (for those aged 16 – 25) or adult fundraising races we really raise our game and everyone gets enthused. On all our voyages we’re one team; Challenge Wales, and we work hard together. The Tall Ships Regatta in 2014 is one of those events where the buzz and camaraderie is off the scale; crew parades, crowds cheering us (yes that could be you), festival atmosphere, racing and events…and is something for any 16 – 25 year old to take part in. There are other opportunities too; The Small Ships Race in Scotland which leads us into the Commonwealth Games Flotilla, and sailing to see the Clipper round-the-world race. If you fancy getting involved in one of these events then get in touch. We also find our 5 day residential voyages  are also just as exciting and get emotional after the buzz and excitement at the beginning, the fun during the voyage and no one wanting to leave at the end. You will quite often find you will stay in touch with those you have sailed with and you can also stay in touch via our Facebook page and Twitter.

Working together and the buzz of taking part in a team event

Working together and the buzz of taking part in a team event

No 7: Learning new skills to help you, and look good on your CV
Sail training is what we do. To you, you might think we do sailing but it is actually a bit more than that. Universities and employers want to see who you are and your experience in particular situations and what sail training on Challenge Wales provides is what they want to see.  Teamwork situations, developing and using communication skills, planning and decision making, being comfortable working with different people, handling new situations and more importantly it will improve your self-esteem and your self-confidence to do things. Sail training with us can lead you to come back and volunteer with us, like so many do, and another tick on the CV or application form.

Yep, you can experience this on Challenge Wales. So what’s stopping you today, doing something that will help you in your future tomorrow?

Challenge Wales bursary scheme supports all Welsh residents aged 12 – 25 to subsidise their voyage from 50 – 100% depending on available funds and eligibility. Some funding may be available on particular voyages for those living anywhere in the UK. Please contact the Challenge Wales office for details. There are still some subsidised places available on some of our residential voyages through the summer. 

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