EXERCISE TRANSGLOBE NEWS UPDATE # 5 : SETTING OFF FOR CAPE TOWN TODAY

Issued: 2 September 2009

The fleet out training together on the Solent earlier this year

The fleet out training together on the Solent earlier this year

Leg 3: Rio de Janeiro – Cape Town 3,270nm

HMSTV Discoverer is crewed solely by personnel from the UK’s largest air & ground transport base
at RAF Brize Norton

For Leg 3 of Exercise TRANSGLOBE, the RAF yacht HMSTV Discoverer is skippered by Ms. Becky Walford, a Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) Staff Skipper for the Exercise, the largest joint services adventurous training initiative ever undertaken. Becky’s crew comprises no less than 13 air and ground crew personnel from the UK’s largest transport fleet in the country, RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

They include Andy Smith, born and bred in Preston, Lancashire, who serves with 216 Squadron at Brize Norton and has spent 34 years in the RAF. His recent deployments have included Operations Telic and Herrick.  Telic is the British Operations in Iraq and Herrick is the equivalent in Afghanistan.  Andy, who is married with two children and lives near Witney, Oxon, has his Day Skipper and Yachtmaster theory qualification but he still needs and wants to gain his full Yachtmaster ticket.

The Boss in on board HMSTV Adventure

Meanwhile on board HMSTV Adventure (Navy), the crew will be under the charge of skipper Nick Trundle who also happens to be the man in charge of the JSASTC based in Gosport, UK. The JSASTC’s mission is to develop the personal qualities essential to members of the British Armed Forces through adventurous sail training in the Service environment. The combined total annual throughput of Service men and women for courses and expeditions is approximately 4500, and Exercise TRANSGLOBE will cater for training around 550 of them.

Amongst Nick’s crew is Lieutenant Commander Keith Howorth, aged 47, who hails from Plymouth and has served in the Navy for 29 years. He is based at NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.

Ian ‘Barra’ Barrowclough CPOAEA(M), 48, is also crewing on the Navy boat. Barra has served 31 years in the Royal Navy and is based in Gosport, Hampshire with the Fleet Forward Support Mobile Aircraft Support Unit (MASU). He saw action in the 2nd Gulf War and has been awarded what he refers to as a ‘plethora’ of campaign medals. He served his apprenticeship at HMS Daedalus.

Plenty of intelligence and sailing skills on board HMSTV Challenger

HMSTV Challenger (Army) is skippered on this leg by Jon Greatorex, a staff skipper with JSASTC. Apart from Jon and one other crew member, Christopher Boote, all remaining crew members are serving with the Army Intelligence Corps and we are therefore unable to provide further details.  Officer Cadet Chris Boote, aged 21 and from Southampton, has spent the last two years with the Oxford University Officer Training Corps.  Although he has plenty of sailing experience already under his belt racing in the Solent and with the JOG (Junior Offshore Group), he’s keen to skipper longer and more challenging passages and one day to compete in some top level racing.

The three 67ft-steel hulled yachts and their new recruits are departing Rio de Janeiro today on the 3,270nm Leg 3 to Cape Town and are expected to arrive around 26th September. The West to East crossing of the South Atlantic from 23ºS at Rio to 34ºS at Cape Town is nominally above the infamous Roaring Forties weather of the Southern Ocean but the crews can expect to encounter the northern edges of the vast Lows that march East-wards across this vast ocean bringing winds of 40+ knots.

Sailing close to Tristan de Cunha

The track of this crossing brings them close to islands of Tristan de Cunha described as the “remotest inhabited archipelago in the world”. Only the main island is inhabited by 271 people administered by the British Dependency of St Helena, 1,300 nm to the North.  The island is 1,700nm from Rio and 1,500nm from Cape Town so is very nearly the half way point on this Leg.  Unfortunately, however, there won’t be time for the crews to stop and visit this tiny outpost in the South Atlantic.

The 13-leg Exercise TRANSGLOBE is
a major Tri-Service Adventurous Sail Training Exercise open to all UK service personnel, Regular and Reserve. The guys and girls who have signed up for TRANSGLOBE will experience the extremes of ocean crossings from the heat of the Tropics to the extreme cold of the Southern Ocean. TRANSGLOBE will test their physical and mental stamina whilst building confidence in themselves and their fellow crew members.

Tracking and position reports as well as more details about Exercise TRANSGLOBE are on the official website at:
http://www.exercisetransglobe.com.

– ends –

Notes to Editors:

  • The crew blogs are being uploaded to the official website but the crews are very restricted in the bandwidth and air time they can use, limited to two data bursts per week.  That means that you will see 4 blogs appear, followed three days later by another 3 and so on during the passage.  It also means that crews cannot send photographs via the Iridium system, but they will be captured and posted on the website after they reach their next stopover. Please note that all the images from Leg 2 have not yet reached the UK as they’re on a memory stick which is returning with the Project Office representative shortly at which time some will be posted on the official website.
  • 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 4 will see the fleet sail from Cape Town to Perth on one of the longest stretches undertaken so far on this Exercise, 5000 nautical miles all the way to Perth, Australia. The yachts will depart from Cape Town in early October and should reach Perth in mid-November.

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