On Friday, young people from across Kent came together at Gillingham Pier to start their sailing adventure for the weekend.
The Cambria Barge team loaded the barge and we all climbed aboard ready to set sail down the River Medway. After safety briefings, exploring the boat, and waiting for the tide to come in, we were finally ready to get going!
And we're off!.... The young people had control of everything from raising the sail, raising the anchor, working the sails and anchoring down. Our voyage was in full swing. At 9pm we arrived just down the river near to Stangate Creek.
Everyone settled to refuel - a big meal was in order after the hard work that had been done! We played board games, spent time talking about how well we had done whilst listening to small waves push against the side of the barge before heading off to bed for the evening with our fingers crossed for more sunshine the next day.
“I've loved everything about the trip so far; it's a completely exhilarating experience.” David
Saturday morning was greeted with the smell of bacon being cooked for breakfast! What a way to energise ourselves for the day... Today there was the chance to climb the rigging and other parts of the barge and we learnt how to tie different types of knots and what they were used for. For some this was easy but those who took a little longer to figure it out were helped by the team and together they got there in the end.
Then came the chance to head out on a power boat to explore further upstream! We learnt how to use a power boat but also had the chance to get oars out and row back to the barge. We then had a knot race competition - racing from one end of the barge to the other on a make-shift space hopper before having to show knot making skills - who won?? Everyone.. the two teams came to a draw!
Everyone was given the option to either sail the large barge a little further that evening or to go back out in the power boats around the nearby island. What choice did we go for? The power boats of course! So off we went speeding them around and rowing back again - apart from one team who got stuck in the mud! But all was good as the barge team freed them!
“I really enjoyed going out in the rowing boat, singing with everyone and even getting stuck in the mud!” Julie
“I couldn't believe we got the chance to drive the speedboats on the river - I loved that!” Ellese
Everyone enjoyed the adrenaline rush of power boats and as the sun was setting we chatted about our fun day, relived the new memories we had just made and played some games before heading to bed.
“I've loved being on the barge and experiencing what it is like to sail - I've never done it before” Ronnie
Sunday was time to head home.. we woke early for an egg and bacon breakfast and got ready to sail back to Gillingham... however there was a slight problem - the wind was supposed to only be 8 knots and it was more like 38 knots!! Everyone got their waterproofs on and braced themselves for the wild sail home! Everyone got stuck in to raise the sails, get the anchor in and prepare for the way home. The barge was throwing itself from side to side but safely we arrived back at Gillingham Pier!
We cleared the deck from the mess that had been made and sat down for our final lunch together before saying our goodbyes. The experience was certainly one to be remembered!
"We all had to help sail, pull ropes and take part as a team... It was the best trip ever and I loved the team too!” Star