written by mate, Asha Tanna
June 15, 2018

Today was Challenge Day for our student crews! Our very own young prodigals were to take full control of their respective boats, as the staff on board each took a major step back and handed the responsibility over. Sailing is a big ask for anyone after only eight days on program, but staff were asking it of the students, and they were giddy and eager to accept the challenge.

Students were allowed to ask staff just three questions within the day if they needed to, but we suggested they brainstorm first in case they could work out the problems among themselves. They were expected to cook, clean, run and sail their vessel as a team. The only caveat being if staff felt unsafe, they could step in.

They’d be judged on time keeping; cleanliness, team work, safety and of course everything to do with sailing.

Our students are not early risers and there were some sullen faces as they struggled to get up and make the 7a.m. meeting on the staff boat, but each crew’s skipper, navigator and mate of the day arrived on time. Then, the rest of the crew woke up at 7:30a.m. The morning began well as they hit their deadlines firstly breakfast burrito prep, eat and then clean. Students love to feed the floor. How they miss their mouths and the plate is beyond me. It’s an obstacle course of scrambled eggs, beans, salsa sauce and grated cheese. Proper cleaning ensued to the passively-observing staff’s contentment.

Pre-departure checks go smoothly, as well as dropping the ball with a safe de-dedocking and sail. Students even managed an early arrival at Sandy Cay!

But mooring proved a tad difficult as the initial go fell through due to poor crew communication, but they recovered on a second try, ending in success. At 10:15 a.m., crews shuttled to shore late, but valuable lessons had been gained.

The rest of the sail had just a few hiccups, with our sails luffing as our cheerleading skipper got distracted watching a turtle swimming in the channel. After four hours of sailing enthusiasm, we lowered our sails, motoring through the channel easily. A lesson the night before about cardinal markers (yellow buoys with black arrows that indicate danger and which direction a vessel should take) helped alert the students and guide them accordingly.

We cruised into Marina Cay with little difficulty, arriving second in our fleet of four, the Alpha program boats included. Staff were dead impressed that after only a week, these young adventurers successfully knew what to do, even under a little bit of pressure.

On the menu for the evening was Jerk chicken, rice and fried plantain — a meal probably few of the students have eaten let alone prepared before, but they nailed it through and through!

Cleaning – the crews all definitely need to work on this, but for a group of teenagers they did us proud. They crashed into bed late but fell asleep soundly from a hard day’s work!

More photos coming today – we appreciate your patience!!!