For anyone new to Challenge Wales there are some things you see onboard which perhaps you weren’t expecting to see. This is usually related to some of the voyages we have undertaken or activities onboard. So what unexpected things might you come across on Challenge Wales;
1) Balls of Wool
No, we don’t do knitting as one of the activities onboard Challenge Wales but we use balls of wool to tie up the spinnaker sail (this is the large, often colourful, light weight sail that flies at the front of the boat). Once the spinnaker has been released and brought down to the deck, it gets fed below deck and young people and crew tie it up with little bits of wool. We use wool to enable us to control the sail when it is hoisted, a little gust of wind and the wool pieces break enabling the sail to inflate.
2) Welsh Monopoly
On some evenings we will play boardgames, a great way to get to know other crew members and have fun. And, we have Welsh Monopoly to hand – would you expect anything else? The Wales-Cymru edition of Monopoly has a fair bit of advertising on it; and maybe in the next edition Challenge Wales will get a mention as Wales’ Tall Ship – who knows. It gets us talking about Welsh culture and heritage in a slightly different way. Disappointing that the game pieces seem to be the standard iron, dog, hat etc that you would have in an English version of Monopoly. Could have been creative here and had a TARDIS (as Doctor Who is filmed in Wales), a pit head, a rugby ball and a castle at least!
3) An Angry Bird…that’s a duck
Our Angry Duck has been with us for a few years now, he landed with us in Ireland on one of our youth voyages and then sailed back to Milford Haven with us….he has stayed put ever since and pops up now and again onboard. Rest assured he isn’t as aggressive as he looks!
4) A mascot from Estonia
In 2012 Challenge Wales took part in its first Tall Ships Regatta. Having never done this sort of thing before we didn’t know what was to welcome us in Dublin (where the Regatta was due to start). Usually Challenge Wales is one of the biggest boats taking part in events, this time 12 Welsh young people and crew were welcomed by impressive wooden sail training vessels that towered over us, 250 foot long vessels compared to our mere 72. The hospitality of everyone involved in this event was fantastic. The Skipper of one of the Estonian sail training vessels gave us this little fella to wish us well in our sail training.
5) Is it a guitar?
We have a musical instrument onboard…and a small one at that. Although it may look like a guitar to some, if you look a little bit closer you can see the scale of the instrument…there is a pen alongside the bottom of it. Yep, you’ve guessed it…Challenge Wales has its own ukulele, and would you believe it we have had a few young people onboard who can actually play it!
Challenge Wales is taking part in Small Ships racing in Greenock, The Commonwealth [Games] Flotilla into Glasgow, Tall Ships Racing in Falmouth/London and Irish Sea voyages which are subsidised through the Challenge Wales Bursary Scheme, if eligible.