written by Bravo/Charlie mate, Megan Lundequam
July 30, 2017

This morning, our skipper and mate of the day were up before the rest of the crew in order to meet with our program director, Jen, to get the schedule and any other notes for the day all because today was Challenge Day! This means that the students take complete control of the boat, the schedule, sailing, meal preparation and any other things that might need to happen in the day. All this is done with little to no help from the staff other than as helpful crew members that simply do as their told. The student crews were allowed three questions throughout the day. Everything else was up to the students which is why the skipper and mate started their morning with Jen so they could be sure they had all the information they needed to get through the day.

We woke up off the coast of Anegada, so the crew’s first challenge was dropping the mooring ball and navigating out of the shallow channel leading out from the island. Everyone did amazing and with excellent communication from the bow team to the helm and vice versa, we made it out into open ocean with ease. Underway, things followed suit and the team raised, set and lowered sails perfectly, always managing to get the entire crew involved in all maneuvers. They used the knowledge they have gained over the past two weeks to set beautifully trimmed sails.

We coasted back down to the islands and secured ourselves on a ball at Marina Cay with enough time to have some lunch before the divers had to pack up their things and head out for an afternoon dive. The rest of the crew spent the afternoon relaxing on the boat and snorkeling on Diamond Reef.

By the time the divers returned, it was time to shower and start dinner prep. After dinner, we were shuttling to shore for a bit of a social, a chance to have phones to call home, and a de-brief of Challenge Day. The students ordered a drink or two and had half an hour of screen time before we all sat down for boat meetings to talk about the day. While there will always be things to improve upon, all captains, mates, and students agreed that our crews had come quite a long way since day one. Not having the option to rely on staff showed the students that they actually knew far more than they thought they did and that by combining the strengths of each member of the crew, they could problem solve and adapt to whatever challenges were presented to them. It was an incredible day for both the staff and students to see all the hard work they had been putting forth pay off in such an organic way.

Once we finished our de-brief it was back to boats and time to head off to bed. Everyone was exhausted and immediately fell asleep, proud of the day that was ending and excited for the ones yet to come.