TERRITORIAL CHALLENGE SELECTION WEEKEND NUMBER TWO
After a hearty breakfast on the Saturday morning a group of us all trooped down to the JSASTC classrooms where we discovered who of us were competent (experienced) crew members. Alarmingly, the majority of us appeared to be incompetents (some in more ways than others), or in other words naive novices who had little idea about what we were getting ourselves into. Any hopes of the forthcoming expedition being a fun cruise were every quickly dispelled by Richard explaining that the high risk expedition would be very cold, very wet, very windy and that we would be far from any mobile phone connections and far from any hospital, indeed far from anyone other than those 13 other crew members on board with whom we would be in very close proximity. We realised later just how close to each other we would be.
Although our floating home for two weeks, the yacht - a Challenge 67 - seemed large from the outside, it became apparent that on closer inspection there really was little room for anyone or anything: 3 bunks to 4 cabins each of dimensions 1m x 3m x 2m, toilet, shower, bathroom all in a space of 1m x 1.5m, very narrow passages and certainly no room to swing a cat.
After being subjected to a video showing on board medical attention administered to a crew member, in this case the stitching of an instructor's keen sliced open on a cleat on a previous expedition we were divided into two groups and shown around the Challenge 67. To the untrained eye the deck or topside of the yacht was littered with various ropes which we later learned had names such as sail tie, main sheet and halyard and weren't just coloured for aesthetic purposes.
We also learned a whole new vocabulary of sailing terms such as heads (toilets), tack (front of the sail), clew (back of the sail), reefs (folds in the sails), fore stay, baby stay (support wires) and may favourite, cringle. We then got put the fore sail up, took it down, put the main sail up , took it down and learned a few knots.
The following windy morning we took out two smaller yachts and tried our hand at gybing (turning the yacht) and the main event which involved Windy, one of our instructors donning a dry suit to cut a rope which had got caught under the rudder whilst the rest of us heeled the yacht onto one side.
We all realised there was a lot to know and learn and practise and looked forward to the next training weekend.