On board Discoverer
Media enquiries to Press Officer, Peta Stuart-Hunt
T: 01590 679621 or  M: 07711 477707

Issued: 17th July 2009

Leg 1: Portsmouth/Southsea – Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Distance: 1620nm

After two years in the planning and a truly memorable start day full of hugs and tears, heartfelt words, blessings, family and some celebrity fun and hundreds of photo opportunities, Exercise TRANSGLOBE, the tri-services adventurous training expedition, taking in 13 stopovers around the world over the next 12 months, finally set off from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth almost a week ago.

Since then the three identical 67ft steel hulled yachts named ADVENTURE (Royal Navy), CHALLENGER (Army) and DISCOVERER (Royal Air Force), each carrying 14 crew on board, have encountered some pretty tough weather conditions as they headed into and across the Bay of Biscay en route to Lanzarote, Canary Islands.

We have just had a report in from DISCOVERER explaining the reason why the track of this yacht on the official website ( shows them going south across the Bay of Biscay to the North coast of Spain.  On Day 4 the wheel steering mechanism stopped working and they had to fit the emergency tiller.  The weather was particularly rough (normal for the Bay) so the skipper took them to a sheltered area where they could repair the steering.  As soon as they had that done they were off again and are currently sailing off the coast of Portugal lying second to the Navy Yacht ADVENTURE with the Army yacht CHALLENGER some 70 km behind them.

Cadet Flight Sgt Emma Sweetman, 18 years old and based at 413 Aldershot Sqn, is amongst those crewing on board DISCOVERER. Emma has been a member of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight wing of the Air Cadets for three years and she has been contributing to the crews’ daily blog entries so far received:

Day 1: Sat 11 July 2009

Crew arrived on board at 0630 to make the final preparations to depart.  We motored across to Portsmouth Gunwarf Quays at 0730.

Families arrived at 0900 for the departure brunch at Tiger Tiger.  Peder was hauled up the mast for a final safety inspection of the mast! Families were shown around the yachts and finally there was a dedication ceremony before we all said our farewells.

The Yachts slipped from Gunwarf at 1200 for the procession departure out of Portsmouth Harbour prior to the start at Southsea at 1300.

Beating upwind out of the Solent wind started to pick up towards the evening up to 33Kts, leading to an eventful night; a number of the crew were violently ill throughout the night!  This was a shame as the supper was gourmet Spaghetti Bolognese – the fish had a good meal at least. . . . .

Day 2: Sun 12 July 2009

The wind eased toward dawn, and the sun finally came out at 0930. Many of the sleeping crew were awoken by the sound of Steve’s retching; to the tune of the the mating call of the North Atlantic Walrus!!  Consequently breakfast was porridge; most of the crew kept that one down!
The motor came on to allow us to form up on the other 2 boats and escape the channel before the tide turned. Supper was bangers ‘n’ mash; Gordon Ramsay would have been proud!

Day 3: Mon 13 July 2009

A mixed overnight watch saw showers in between stunning moonlit seas.  The coast of Brittany was just about visible on the horizon.  Sunrise was again a stunning sight before the winds picked up and the sea grew choppier. Breakfast was a splendid scrambled egg, beans and bacon on toast; the vast majority dealt with that one!!
This seemed to be the best day yet; good winds (up to 30Kts) and reasonable seas with the sun well and truly on parade.  To escort us to the Bay of Biscay a pod of Dolphins gave a cracking display and we were visited by a low-flying Beech King-Air, probably Customs or Fishery Patrol, before we put out more canvas and cranked up the pace.
Heading Southbound into the Bay of Biscay most of the day to outrun an area of low pressure before heading Westbound to get back on course.

Day 4: Tues 14 July 2009

One word to describe day 4 ‘WET!’ Throughout the day the yacht was reaching some interesting angles. Dolphins were yet again spotted alongside the yacht. Around 0800hrs we experienced slight difficulties as the steering failed at the hands of Mike (aka Stretchy).
This leading to the Skipper (aka Canary Bob) saving the day, hoorah! Points to note of the day do not and I repeat do not sit on the leeward side as it will result in you becoming very WET! Evening meal was a concoction of chicken and potatoes of which many referred to as an inferno of peppered goodness ..yum!

Day 5: Wed 15 July 2009

Everyone seems to have found their sea legs today, and the crew was looking much better (even Steve). Early morning saw some good winds which pushed us onto our destination as a steady pace; but as the day progressed the winds died – on the up side however the sun came out so the crew managed to dry out some of their kit, that had received a soaking earlier on in the week. Weather forecasts are looking like rain so we made the most of things today, and are battening down the hatches for tomorrow.

Track the yachts’ progress at:


Notes to Editors:

  • The aim of TRANSGLOBE is to provide members of all three British Armed Forces with the opportunity to develop their personal qualities and team skills in a challenging environment that will test their physical and mental stamina, their courage and help them develop self confidence and powers of leadership.  Every other leg is being used as an adventurous training exercise whilst the emphasis on the other legs will be to encourage a spirit of Corinthian competition between the Services.

  • It is 11 years since the last tri-services Transglobe sailing event took place and the boats used then were Nicholson 55s.  Offshore sailing is arguably the most demanding environment in which anyone can test their mental and physical toughness by getting the best out of their boat to arrive safely at their destination.

  • Each yacht has a crew of 14 comprising; Skipper, Mate and with the remaining crew divided into either two or three “watches”, each of which has an experienced ‘Watch Leader’.  Each Skipper must hold a Yacht Master Ocean qualification, be fully trained in dealing with medical emergencies (MFAS/MCAS) and formally authorised by OIC JSASTC.  The Mate must be at least a Yacht Master Offshore and also hold the MFAS/MCAS qualification. Watch Leaders must be a minimum of RYA Day Skipper qualified.  Of the remaining nine crew (using a 3 Watch system) there is a wide range of capability on board ranging from complete novices to RYA Competent Crew and higher.

    • Leg 2 from Lanzarote to Rio de Janeiro is a longer haul at 3600nm and sets off on 5th August.


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