Tall ship open day at Orwell Quay on Saturday
PUBLISHED: 15:51 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:51 11 October 2019
A 72ft Challenger sail training ship has arrived back in Ipswich for the first time since she was "fitted out" here in 2008.
The Chay Blyth Round-The-World Challenger sailing yacht arrived in Ipswich on Wednesday for a crew change over before sailing off towards its home port of Portsmouth, with another crew of young trainees on board.
On Saturday October 12, from 1pm to 4pm, it will be open to the public who can find out more, at Orwell Quay.
Skipper Gary Rutherford,27, said: "I really enjoy it. Every day different,
"It was a bit breezy, a bit lively out on the North Sea on the way here.
"We had Westerlies, force 6 to 7 most of the way down.
"We we doing speeds of 8 to 10 knots."
It was great for the 12 trainees, he said. "They have really had an experience. Most of them haven't been to sea before.
"It has been challenging, They have had to work hard and stand watches in the night too,"
His own first experience under sail was as a 16-year-old schoolboy from Sunderland, and it changed his life.
"Seven years ago I was working in a factory in Newcastle and I made the decision to get my master's qualification and work my way up,"
This is the first time this ship has been back in Ipswich since it was fitted out in 2008, in the wet dock.
Allan Patrick was in charge of the Ipswich fit out of the four sister Challenger yachts.
He said: "The best I can remember I started to make the lockers and other interiors in Haymill's workshop at the Port of Felixstowe in November 2007.
"I had volunteers from the port and the Tall Ships Youth Trust to help me, Trimley Welding Services and another Port of Felixstowe-based contractor helped with metalwork and supplied transport.
"In January 2008 the first Challenger arrived at Ipswich Haven Marina who allowed us to fit the boats out and gave TSYT special rates and a lot of help,
"Frank Huggins electrical contractor from the Port of Felixstowe checked out the electrics on board each Challenger as they arrived, it was a mammoth effort by all involved.
"The last Challenger (CL4) left Ipswich at Easter 2008 in a blizzard."
Skipper Rutherford said the plan was to set sail from Ipswich on Sunday evening, with a new crew on board, heading for Portsmouth.