At the beginning of June 2017 Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship epic journey started as she left Cardiff in windy conditions, she is now set to return to Cardiff on Friday 25th August.
So before she returns lets look at a few top line figures about what happened this summer….
- Challenge Wales sailed almost 4,100 miles
- Challenge Wales represented Wales and the UK in one of the largest youth and cultural events in Europe
- She was away from Cardiff for almost 80 days
- Challenge Wales visited 14 countries – including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland
- Wind conditions blew in from a very frustrating 0 knots to an exhilarating 42 knots
- 35 different ports were visited
- Challenge Wales welcomed 10 different nationalities onboard
- She motored through 3 canals (in Scotland, Germany and Holland)
- The entire journey had different young people onboard for each leg on voyages that ranged from 8 to 14 days
- Challenge Wales’ amazing volunteers donated over 9,200 hours of their time to mentor the young people and help the young people sail the boat
- Young people were onboard for every day of our journey
- Most of the young people onboard had never sailed before
- The entire crew ended up in prison for one night….OK, it was for a party and the prison was a ‘tourist attraction’.
The reason why Challenge Wales was away was that she was taking part in the 2017 Tall Ships Races series in the Baltic. An event that is based around young people….so what are the stats around this event you wonder;
- No fewer than 105 vessels took part in the 2017 Tall Ships Races series
- These vessels represented 20 countries
- Collectively these vessels had over 7,000 crew which each vessel being crewed by young people under the age of 26 years (in fact the rules are of Tall Ships Racing 50% of the crew has to be 15 – 25 years)
- The largest Tall Ship measured over 122 metres
- On one vessel there were over 200 crew (trainees and professional crew), that definitely beats our full compliment of 18!
- End to end the vessels stretched almost 2 miles
- Well over 2.5 million people visited the Tall Ships event making it Europe’s largest free family festival. Worth noting each port hosted the event for 4/5 days.
The Tall Ships Races 2017 Director, Mike Bowles said “The Tall Ships Races provide a unique opportunity for young people to go to sea to learn about themselves and others while developing skills that will stay with for life – it’s a proven life-changing experience. Young people taking part in these races become wonderful ambassadors for their home countries at the same time as learning about other cultures from different nationalities taking part. It was a great pleasure to see the Welsh sail training vessel Challenge Wales representing Wales. Challenge Wales is not only helping to raise awareness of Wales on an international scale but the Challenge Wales charity are to be congratulated for their continued commitment to the young people of Wales whose lives they are so positively influencing.”
Emily (aged 17) from Llantwit Major said “I absolutely loved being on Challenge Wales. Working with a group of strangers, who then became good friends, in an extraordinary environment to meet our goals was fun and a great team-building experience”.
“I learnt that it’s ok to leave the comfort of your family and try something new” said Tyrone (aged 17) from Cardiff.
In the Tall Ships Races 2017 Challenge Wales finished 5th in Class and 18th overall which was an amazing achievement for all those onboard.
Challenge Wales is due to return to Penarth around 6.00pm on Friday 25th August. She will be sailing up from Lundy Island against the tide, past Penarth seafront and the Pier before heading through Cardiff Barrage. She should be heading into Penarth Marina briefly before heading across Cardiff Bay and into the Cardiff Harbour Festival for the Bank Holiday Weekend.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in our summer of adventure!