Challenge Wales is taking part in the Tall Ships Races Series, sailing around 1,200 miles and crewed by young people aged 16 – 25 years.
Before the Tall Ships Races started proper, we had a small group of young people join us for our Falmouth Mini Voyage which took us from Falmouth to Plymouth and back, and who then experienced the frivolities of the crew parade, took part in the inter-crew sports and had the opportunity to climb one of the traditional square riggers in port.
Leg 1 of the Tall Ships Races was to take Challenge Wales from Falmouth to Acoruna, across the Bay of Biscay and after we said goodbye to those who joined us on our mini voyage, we said Ahoy and gave a big Welsh Challenge Wales welcome to our new group of young people; individuals from different parts of the UK and overseas.
Storm Betty and lots of fog hampered the start of the race, although it gave the Challenge Wales team and other participants an extra day of training and getting used to living on a boat, but the race started a day later.
The race was a virtual start (now starting on 19th August), which meant Challenge Wales had a few hours to cross the start line. That first day was a bit bumpy thanks to the remnants of the storm but in the middle of the night the wind dropped, which although was welcomed by some of the crew didn’t help our speed in the race!
The Tall Ships Races is an amazing youth event bringing people together from all over the world, and it isn’t just about sailing, it is about the whole experience and being close to the natural world. After the first day was over, we asked those onboard what was the favourite things they’ve seen; seeing dolphins topped the list but was closely followed by “seeing the bioluminescence at night where the water would glow before the dolphins break the surface” while others were amazed at how bright the shooting stars were.
Our second night at sea, saw Challenge Wales becalmed at 0300hrs and got overtaken by another vessel in the race, but the wind made an appearance at 0800hrs this morning so we are second in Class C/D with quite a few of the boats still way behind us.
You can follow the progress of Challenge Wales and the Tall Ships fleet here.
Where is the Tall Ships Race heading to and can I still jump onboard?
Yes, you can still be part of this event and jump onboard! Challenge Wales is currently racing from Falmouth to Acoruna (Spain). The next leg starts Acoruna (26th August) and finishes in Lisbon (2nd September) and is a Cruise in Company which involves sailing with the fleet and visiting a couple more ports. The final race is Lisbon (2nd September) to Cadiz (9th September), a short race where the Tall Ships event will finish. Challenge Wales is sailing from Cadiz to Cardiff, via A Coruna for her homeward bound voyage (join Cadiz 9th September and arrive in Cardiff for 22nd September) and this return leg gives you access to the Tall Ships event and involves being part of the farewell Parade of Sail. There are a few berths available on each voyage. Voyages up until 9th September are for young people aged 16 – 25 years. The trip from Cadiz to Cardiff is for 18 – 75 year olds and is suited for those with some sailing experience and ideal for those working towards their Day Skipper, already have their Day Skipper are wanting to build their sailing skills and get some sea miles under their belt. To enquire email the Challenge Wales office. Check out the Tall Ships Races and Information Pack here. To make this voyage as accessible as possible bursaries may be available for any of the voyages if you are aged under 26 years.