The exercise was designed to test crew, watch systems, navigation, reading the weather, radio protocols and myriad other things we had learnt in the lecture series, as well as from our allocated ORCV mentors.
It wasn't a race, there was no set course, we were supplied a list of approved navigation marks and approved legs to choose from then it was up to each boat to navigate their route. Points were allocated for such things as miles travelled, buoys rounded, correct radio skeds, and crossing the finish line as close to 10:00 Sunday as possible. An interesting exercise!
After the 13:00 Saturday start at Brighton, complete with following dolphins, boats went in all directions. Over the next 21 hours we would pass only about six of the 26 or so competitors. The Bay is a big place. The weather was both glorious and frustrating. Ranging from 18 knots of breeze to nothing! But the Saturday evening hoot up to Centre at 9+ knots was a standout. We learnt that we don't need to carry quite so much food, that sleeping onboard in short shifts is still tiring, and how to wire flat batteries in series to start a four-cylinder diesel! Don't ask.....
We finished at Hobsons Bay YC for the ORCV presentations and had a couple of well-earned drinks and BBQ lunch. We didn't win the Challenge, but we learnt a lot about both boat and crew. A terrific weekend.