Darren & Michael on board Adventure 1EXERCISE TRANSGLOBE NEWS UPDATE # 2
With thanks to Miguel and Jules from http://www.lanzaroteinformation.com/ for their on-the-spot reporting from Puerto Calero

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

Issued: 22nd July 2009

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

The three 67ft steel-hulled yachts taking part in Exercise TRANSGLOBE, the tri-services adventurous training expedition that set off from Portsmouth on 11 July, have all docked safely in Puerto Calero, Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands.

The yachts ADVENTURE (Royal Navy), CHALLENGER (Army) and DISCOVERER (Royal Air Force), each carrying 14 crew on board, have encountered some tough weather conditions along their route which took them across the Bay of Biscay.

First Leg Line Honours went to the Royal Navy boat, Adventure, that tied up to the dock on Monday evening 20th July. The jubilant skipper Michael Symes said:

Following crossing the line with honours I would to take this opportunity to thank the Navy crew of Adventure for their total professionalism from the moment we crossed the start line and finishing in Lanzarote. Each crew member proved under some testing conditions crossing Biscay, and constantly changing tail winds from Finisterre to Lanzarote, that they were grasping the patience and stamina required for blue water sailing. Their ability to learn quickly all the different sail plans I required to keep the boat ahead was a joy. Thank you for being a great crew.”

The Royal Air Force yacht Discoverer arrived early morning on Tuesday 21st July, and their trip was marred by a steering breakage during the passage through Biscay – during a force 8 storm. They managed to make some temporary repairs, and The Skipper, ‘Canary Bob’ who has been visiting Lanzarote for years, was working hard on the steering assembly almost as soon as they had docked. The RAF team seems to have suffered the most from sea sickness, having several crew members out of action for a day or two in Biscay. They were unceremoniously nicknamed “Deck Gremlins”.  Tornado pilot Ollie Moncrieff and four female crew members Anna, Charn, Emma and Leanne when asked to sum up their experience, all said it was hard work, but an amazing experience.

The Army boat, Challenger, was the last to arrive at Puerto Calero late afternoon on Tuesday 21st July after several technical problems that contributed to their 3rd place finish. Once again the Bay of Biscay was their undoing. The mainsail cars were damaged by a gust of wind, so they had to rig a temporary repair.  To add to the problems, they also lost communications which meant the crew were unable to upload blogs, photos or contact their families. They had to wait a few days for calmer weather, and were then able to repair the main and refit it to the mast – no mean task on a fast-moving yacht. The yacht then enjoyed a decent run with the wind behind them, goose winging (sails out either side) to get maximum speed, at which point their next disaster struck when a rope became wrapped around the propeller! This necessitated one brave crewman going over the side with a pair of goggles and slowly unwrapping the rope – all in a heavy swell.

The local website http://www.lanzaroteinformation.com has covered the yachts’ arrival with great on-the-spot reporting, running excerpts from crew blogs etc, and author Miguel commenting:

The team spirit is excellent on board all the vessels, and there’s a friendly rivalry between the teams. All ranks are represented, from Colonels and Squadron Leaders, to senior NCOs, Privates and Cadets. However, rank had been put aside for the trip, egos packed away, and everyone was just getting on with doing their best and enjoying the experience. That camaraderie and team work is what makes British Forces amongst the world’s best, and it was a pleasure to meet a fine bunch of folks who are representing their colleagues so well.

The crews are on the island until Saturday 1st August when their replacements arrive to take on Leg 2 and 3,600nm to Rio de Janeiro that starts on 5th August. Meanwhile the crews will enjoy some well deserved R&R in the sunshine and a few short sailing trips to keep their hand in.

Track the yachts’ progress at: http://www.exercisetransglobe.com


Notes to Editors:

Please note: A low res image is attached, courtesy of Exercise TRANSGLOBE – bandwidth from the yachts is very restricted – no funding is available to buy more bandwidth and hence there are no high res images available until the memory stick is physically back in the UK w/c 3 August when high res images should be supplied to the event website for downloading.

Darren & Michael  image caption:
Skipper of Adventure, Michael Symes and Surgeon Lieutenant Darren Minshall.

  • 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 3600nm and sets off on 5th August.


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