July 6, 2016

Day 12 is Challenge day! The staff turned the boats over to the students, put on their Hawaiian shirts and acted like proper tourists. We were at Anegada and had to sail to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. The sail is a little less than four hours of mostly open water. The skippers of the day got together with the navigator and mate of the day to read charts and plot a course. Staff stood by in case there were any issues, but everything went silky smooth.

We dropped the mooring ball at Anegada exactly on time and headed out of the mooring field. There is a huge reef around Anegada and the channel is tight. Both boats navigated out beautifully. Sails went up almost immediately upon getting safely out of the channel. There were a few funny snafus while taking the sail, but it was set with a reef in it, the jib was unfurled and we were on our way! Our leadership team of skipper, mate and program director of the day really stepped up today. The boats stayed clean, we were five minutes early all day, and students looked to each other for help instead of staff.

Staff was, of course, available for assistance and in case any safety concerns came up. Mostly the staff just got to sit back and enjoy the beautiful sail. We put our trust into the students and they did not disappoint! This was one of the most successful Challenge days I’ve ever witnessed. Staff were very excited about how many crew members really stepped up and it was amazing to be able to really see campers’ confidence grow.

The maneuvers of the day concluded with a docking at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. The docking was tight, but it went so smoothly. Both boats docked with the student skipper of the day on the helm and both boats got on the dock seamlessly in only one try. After we docked, the boat had to pass cleaning inspection and then, they were given their phones to hop on the wifi, contact home and tell family and friends about the amazingly successful and empowering day to their family and friends.

Everyone also thoroughly enjoyed some glorious land showers and shop time before returning to boats for dinner. Since a few different Sail Caribbean programs were on docks together, the students wanted to go on other boats and mingle with different kids. Card games were set up, star gazing sessions commenced, and the soundtrack of the evening took on the form of happy chatting and hang out circles. Everyone was called back to boats for a 10:15 lights out. It was a long, happy, powerful day that ended with sleepy heads in beds.

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