Round the Island Race Success

A 5.00am wake up call, a 5.30am departure from the pontoon and a 6.30am race start didn’t dampen spirits on Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship today, and after just over 11 and  a half hours Challenge Wales crossed the finish line in the famous Round the Island Race.

In what is the largest yacht race, with over 1,200 boats taking part and with around 10,000 participants taking to the water it really is  a spectacle like no other whether you are onboard or in the crowds watching and, if you are not doing either of those then following the fleet on the website race tracker can be pretty addictive too.

An early start for Challenge Wales crew means seeing a lovely sunrise

Challenge Wales, as a Class 0 vessel, was in the first group to start and as the cannon went off (fired with the press of a button by Dame Ellen MacArthur) it was a moment of excitement for everyone. For some of those on Challenge Wales it was their first Round the Island Race, while others had raced multiple times. But that didn’t matter as the exhilaration, anticipation and excitement was just the same.  Every 10 minutes for well over an hour another class of vessels would be facing the start line. Challenge Wales was the last of the Challenge 72 yachts to cross the start line. That gave us a bad start and in light airs which would be reducing through the morning, a bad start wasn’t what was needed.

The Challenge Wales charity uses Round the Island Race as one of its adult fundraisers which helps raise awareness of the sail training charity and also helps bring in revenue into the organisation to support our youth development programme, providing life skills to young people. It’s also one of the only opportunities where you will get to see several Challenge 72 yachts racing together against each other. And a great teambuilding event for companies, colleagues, friends or someone on their own to join in with.



An hour and a half into the race and we were making good progress and swapping places with the other Challenge boats.

As we went past the Needles, the spinnaker came out and as a spectator it is quite spectacular too see hundreds and hundreds of boats, all shapes and sizes turning into a mass of colour.

Pic of Challenge Wales  by Paul Wyeth on Round the Island Race website

Although we seemed well ahead of the other Challenge Boats we knew with light airs and tide it could be anyone’s race.

Challenge Wales managed to make good use of the wind and having a competitive skipper and team onboard and sailed ahead of the other Challenge 72’s.

At 1515hrs it looked like we were well ahead of the other Challenge 72’s but that almost changed as we ended up with little wind

A couple of hours later the wind dropped and it wasn’t until a couple of hours after that the wind started to pick up and we were able to gain some speed again and get across the finish line.

We finished the race,  beating again the other Challenge 72’s and the Clipper fleet, a few minutes after 1800hrs. Our elapsed time was 11 hours 34 minutes and 36 seconds, 18th in class and 283rd overall (which we don’t think is too bad seeing that 1,204 vessels started!). Here’s to next year…maybe!?

 

 

 

 

Tall Ships Racing 2018

Nominate someone for a Tall Ships adventure

As Challenge Wales prepares its season, the sail training charity is on the hunt for 13 young people to take up one of its fully funded places in either the spectacular Tall Ships Races or the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta this year and is encouraging those aged 16 – 25 years to apply.

The award-winning charity already operates a bursary scheme to subsidise all UK residents to take part in its activities however, extra funding is enabling Challenge Wales to offer eight fully funded places, to those living in a CF postcode area across two of its nine day Tall Ships legs this summer which will sail from Denmark to Norway and race from Norway to the Netherlands onboard Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship. You can find out more by reading our Tall Ships Races Information pack.

A further five fully funded places are available on the charity’s smaller vessel Adventure Wales which will be participating in the Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta, a 10 day experience, racing from Liverpool to Dublin before returning to Cardiff. You can find our more by reading our Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta Information Pack.

Fully funded berths are going to be offered to those young people who are nominated and are truly deserving of a place onboard for an amazing life-changing adventure. Young people can nominate themselves or ask a teacher, parent/guardian, employer, relative or group leader to nominate them.

Successful applicants will be joining the rest of the crew and racing against other Tall Ships from the international Tall Ships fleet and will be representing Wales and the UK at these spectacular events, and no sailing experience is required to take part.

The charity is looking for young people who are wanting an adventure and are up for a challenge. Those taking part are actively running the boat, so it’s not just sailing but also cooking, cleaning and working in watches! There is lots of fun onboard too and there is a host of shore-side inter-crew activities organised as well at the end of the race.

How To Apply:

Young people can contact us themselves to apply but we are also encouraging teachers, colleagues, employees, group leaders, parents and friends to nominate others, aged 16 – 25, for this opportunity who might benefit. Perhaps someone has been working hard for exams or at work and needs a break, maybe someone has had a tough few months, it might be someone who hasn’t been able to have a holiday for a few years or someone who would enjoy an adventure, challenge and experiencing new cultures
To get an application form and for further details email the Challenge Wales office reservations@challengewales.org  or call 029 20 704 657.

Due to Easter holidays and some nominations not being eligible we have extended the deadline for applications to 10th May 2018 and applicants must be available to travel from 27th May – 5th June (for the Liverpool-Dublin-Cardiff voyage) or 20th – 28th July (for Denmark – Norway voyage) or 28th July – 5th August (for Norway to Netherlands voyage).


Read more information about both the Tall Ships Race 2018 and The Three Festivals Tall Ships Regatta with full details of what the events are like.

A CF postcode area is found in Wales and is a group of postcode districts around Aberdare, Bargoed, Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Dinas Powys, Ferndale, Hengoed, Llantwit Major, Maesteg, Merthyr Tydfil, Mountain Ash, Penarth, Pentre, Pontyclun, Pontypridd, Porth, Porthcawl, Rhoose, Sully, Tonypandy, Treharris, Treorchy.
Successful applicants will need to write a voyage report and blog about their time onboard the boat and be available for publicity as well as completing before and after voyage surveys. Challenge Wales works hard to secure funding for its activities and any person awarded funding is required to write a thank you to the funder. There is a £35 refundable deposit to reserve a berth, this is refunded after the voyage.

A £50 travel bursary is available for those taking part in the July/August Tall Ships voyages  that involve overseas ports. Participants need to make their own travel arrangements but Challenge Wales can provide guidance on this for those who want to make their own arrangements or direct you to a travel agent we are working with.

As with all our voyages, our booking terms and conditions apply.

Other bursary funding is available for Welsh residents  and UK residents for Tall Ships Racing if you are not eligible for the above and you should email Challenge Wales to see what funding is available!

Pub Quiz raises almost £200!

Move over Mastermind, University Challenge and Eggheads as this week it was the local Penarth pub quiz and a chance to raise money for Challenge Wales.

Teams of regular quizzers as well as volunteers from Challenge Wales came together at the Windsor Pub, Penarth, to test their  knowledge.

As the quizmaster read out the questions, it was heads down and pens to the ready. Faint whispers travelled around the bar & restaurant as we tried to recall our music knowledge from the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, guess the pictures round where we realised squinting at the pictures doesn’t really make any difference and put our general knowledge and geography to the test.

Many thanks to the companies and individuals who donated no fewer than 11 prizes for the fundraising raffle including:

The evening raised almost £200 for Challenge Wales and will contribute to the Challenge Wales bursary fund enabling young people to access our youth development opportunities. It’s a big thank you to everyone who took part!

In less than 10 months, the Windsor Pub has raised a whopping £4520 for local charities and whichever charity you are supporting it is certainly a really welcoming, social evening.


The Windsor Pub, Penarth hosts a community quiz the last Tuesday of the month raising funds for local charities. You can book directly with the pub or turn up on the evening.

A look back at 2016

Well, 2016 has certainly been a memorable year for Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and before 2017 knocks on our porthole, we wanted to take a quick look back at the year. If you have missed some of our blog posts this year then we’ve linked some of them into the below too!

January and February
The beginning of the year is the time for training our volunteers and taking time out of sailing to undertake maintenance as part of our Planned Maintenance Programme. It’s often a cold, but fun and busy time of the year.

March
Challenge Wales  was a finalist in the South Wales Business Growth Awards in the Innovation category and although didn’t win was awarded Highly Commended. The same week Challenge Wales was awarded its largest grant to date to develop its accredited learning ‘Voyages of Discovery’ Programme – a 3 year programme of activities for disadvantaged young people.

April
Trialled a SEA and TELL programme – enabling those under 12 years old to come onboard. Although there is no sailing involved, the young people get to meet the Skipper, try winching, learn about the boat, see where everyone sleeps and to try out the bunks themselves and ask the Skipper & volunteers lots and lots of questions.

April saw the first of many residential youth voyages. One of our residential voyages over Easter had long lasting implications for one trainee who used it to turn his life around and break the cycle of unemployment he was in.

In April, we were also shouting at the television encouraging our London Marathon Fundraiser Runner to make it to the finish line. Well done for the amazing effort & commitment!

May
Challenge Wales continued with crew training and undertook the first of two ‘Sailing by the Stars’ voyage. Non-stop sailing which also involved seeing the International Space Station! (Yes, we did wave to you Tim Peak!). 2016 was Visit Wales’ ‘Year of Adventure‘ with the aim of putting Wales on the adventure map and we certainly provided some great Welsh adventures this year onboard.

Sailing by the stars

Sailing by the stars

June
Challenge Wales’ sail training season began and we were excited to be one of the Tall Ships as part of the Seafair Haven Festival in West Wales. Lots of local young people had the opportunity to jump onboard. West Wales is also a great place for dolphin watching!

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales

July
Challenge Wales took part in its fundraiser Round the Island Race. A race against over 1,500 other boats of all shapes and sizes. It’s a day that adults can jump aboard Challenge Wales and experience big boat racing, while helping to support the charity. Challenge Wales beat the other Challenge 72’s (boats like us!) and then Challenge Wales headed to Antwerp to take part in the Tall Ships Races – one of the largest cultural youth events in Europe! We picked up a trophy along the way and an environment award – Yay! While the boat was working with young people in sunnier climes, our shoreside team spent a few days talking to visitors at the slightly rainier Bridgend County Show...meeting young people, adults and potential volunteers!

Taking Wales to Belgium, Spain and Portugal for Tall Ships Racing

Taking Wales to Belgium, Spain and Portugal for Tall Ships Racing

August
Over the summer we sailed almost 4,000 miles from Antwerp to Lisbon, crossing the Bay of Biscay, Lisbon to Cadiz (Southern Spain) and re, Cadiz to A Coruna (Northern Spain)…and all with young people onboard who met other young people from all over the world at the Tall Ships Events we were taking part in. A first was having a whale breach alongside the boat! We also celebrated International Youth Day on 12th August amongst young people from all over the world in A Coruna as part of the Tall Ships Races. We then headed back to the UK to take part in Small Ships Racing with other sail training vessels from the UK. August was also the month that our Youth Development Officer started – a role funded by the Big Lottery, and the month we welcomed hundreds of people onboard at the Cardiff Harbour Festival when we returned back to our home port after our summer adventure.

September
Many young people jumped aboard Challenge Wales throughout 2016 to take part in their Gold Residential DofE (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme) and as an Approved Activity Provider for the DofE, we were excited to say ‘Ahoy’ to one of the Trustees of the DofE charity, His Royal Highness Prince Edward. We took him for a sail and he was shown the ropes by some of the young people we have had aboard this year.

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

HRH Prince Edward onboard Challenge Wales, before departing for the rest of his Royal visit in Cardiff

November
A Sixtieth Anniversary celebration of the DofE was held at Westminster Abbey in the presence of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex as well as celebrities, such as Philip Schofield, Charlie Boorman, Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Comedian John Culshaw, DofE volunteers and award holders of the DofE. A trustee of Challenge Wales, who is also a DofE Gold Award holder, was invited to attend and it was great we could be part of this very special event…and get a mention in the special Diamond Anniversary celebration booklet!

December
As the year comes to an end we get the phone call to say we are finalists in the South Wales Business Growth Awards in not just one but TWO categories, Innovation and People Development. Being a finalist is a great achievement but we will need to wait a few months until we find out whether we have won.

When we look back on the year we can’t believe or volunteers donated almost 14,000 hours of their time – amazing! We celebrated this achievement with a volunteer event in December in….Santa’s post office! Where else could you host a festive celebration event!

With 2017 on the horizon we’re looking forward to new stories, welcoming new volunteers as well as familiar faces back to the Challenge Wales fold, helping more young people achieve more, offering accredited voyages for the first time and raising awareness of sail training and its benefits throughout Wales and beyond.

We still need more support to do what we would like to do and fund those who need a bit of extra help to jump aboard, but we wouldn’t be where we are today with the support from businesses, funders, young people, group leaders, volunteers, donors and trustees.

Happy New Year and we hope you will continue to follow our journey in 2017!


To learn more about Challenge Wales’ youth work, adventure voyages, Tall Ships programme, bursary scheme, volunteering opportunities or how you can support Wales’ Tall Ship visit www.challengewales.org

There’s still time to celebrate Wales’ 2016 Year of Adventure

In 2016, Wales has certainly positioned itself as the UK’s top adventure destination.

For Visit Wales and the Welsh Government, 2016 was the ‘Year of Adventure’ bringing together people, venues & hospitality, Welsh destinations, Welsh activity providers and Ambassadors to put Wales on the adventure map.

Adventure is about discovering new and exciting places, having an unusual experience, being bold and just going for it. For some it is about pushing your limits and getting outside the comfort zone, for others it could be swapping GPS and mobile phone for a map, compass and walking boots or just visiting a new place for the first time and exploring at your own pace whatever your age or ability. And, the Year of Adventure is there to enable people to ‘#FindYourEpic’

Person on Challenge Wales getting ready to release the spinnaker

Getting ready to release the Spinnaker onboard Challenge Wales

Whether it is a zip wire, white water, wildlife & coast, mountain biking, castle, nostalgia  or festival that tickles your adventurous taste buds, Wales certainly has it.

With Wales having an impressive coastline, watersports should feature quite high up on an adventurers list. Rivers to explore by canoe or paddle board, wildlife to photograph, islands to visit, high speed boat rides to thrill and of course sailing.

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales

With Wales having its own Tall Ship, Small Ship, Sail Training Vessel and round-the-world racing yacht that is there for those aged 12 – 75 to jump on – and yes, we are talking about one boat that ticks all those boxes – there has been no end of adventure in 2016 for those who have jumped onboard Challenge Wales. Some have been personal adventures, others have been memorable wildlife and cultural adventures.

Picture of Challenge Wales, wales' Tall Ship off Penarth Pier, near Cardiff

Adventurous activity near Cardiff

What’s more, Challenge Wales has not just been attracting people to Wales but has been flying the Welsh flag promoting Wales at the numerous events she has been part of this year on the South Coast of England, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Wales itself.

But there is still time to #FindYourEpic and have a last adventure in 2016 as Wales’ Tall Ship adventures out into the Bristol Channel one last time in 2016 for a sailing voyage on Tuesday 27th December 2016. This voyage is suitable for those aged 16 – 75 and lasts just one day but is ideal to find your inner adventurer, try something new, do something different and experience one of the many Welsh adventures Wales holds – whether on your own, or with friends. And, with no sailing experience necessary to take part it is an adventure for all abilities. Challenge Wales is looking for 10 adventurers to jump aboard – could it be you?!

Challenge Wales sailing in the Bristol Channel

Have your own adventure on Challenge Wales

 


 

Voyages on Challenge Wales are suited for particular age groups but the last voyage of 2016 on Bank Holiday Tuesday 27th December is suited for those aged 16 – 75 years. The voyage is suited for those with no experience who are wanting to try something new to those with significant sailing experience who are wanting to experience an ex-round the world racing yacht. The cost is £99 per person which includes; a day on the water, training, waterproof trousers and jackets, life jackets, refreshments throughout the day, curry meal, fun, excitement and adventure! www.challengewales.org All profits go to the Challenge Wales charity which works with young people to improve their employment prospects through a sail training programme.