Issued: Tuesday 29th September 2009

Media Enquiries: Peta Stuart-Hunt
T: 01590 679621 or M: 07711 477707


Leg 4: Cape Town – Perth 5,000nm

The fleet shortly heads off on one of the longest stretches to Perth

The fleet shortly heads off on one of the longest stretches to Perth

A 21-year old RAF Officer Cadet student, Gemma Lamont, who hails from Scotland, has done ‘a bit of dinghy sailing and some yachting’ during her service with the RAF, but nothing remotely significant compared to her latest sailing challenge on Exercise TRANSGLOBE.  Gemma has signed up as crew on board the RAF yacht, HMSTV Discoverer, to sail one of the longest legs during TRANSGLOBE, from Cape Town to Perth, a distance of 5,000nm, scheduled to depart Cape Town on 5th October.

Gemma (or ‘Wee Gemz’ as she is also known) needn’t worry though. She is in excellent and very experienced hands as one of her fellow crew members is retired Air Marshal Sir Graham Anthony ‘Dusty’ Miller KBE who is now a member of the Volunteer Reserves. Another is Sqn Ldr Neil Cottrell, the TRANSGLOBE Project Officer and the mastermind behind this extraordinary adventure training exercise as well as being Discoverer’s 1st Mate on this leg.  Dusty Miller, who lives with his family in Cheltenham, has already sailed over 5,000nm and completed 16 service expeditions during the course of his 41 years service in the RAF.

Meanwhile, over on the Navy boat, HMSTV Adventure, Lt Vivienne Masson (aged 27) will be hoping that her three yacht delivery trips across the Med will stand her in good stead for the long passage ahead. Viv was educated in Cheltenham followed by three years at TS Legion with Cheltenham Sea Cadets and five years at HMS Vivid (Plymouth Royal Naval Reserves). She is based at HMS Heron, Yeovilton.  Adventure’s skipper is a member of the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) staff and the majority of the crew are Royal Marines from 45 Commando who have recently returned from Operations in Afghanistan.

The crew for the Army yacht HMSTV Challenger are all from the Royal Logistic Corps and were lucky enough to be selected from a large number of Corps applications.  JSASTC staff skipper Mike Symes is in command and this is his 2nd Leg of TRANSGLOBE having been the RN yacht’s skipper on Leg 1.  He will be ably supported by Captain Austin Prendiville as the 1st Mate.  Austin is a qualified Yacht Master Offshore and an accomplished sailor working to achieve his YM Ocean qualification on this passage.

Tackling the Roaring Forties…twice!
The three sets of crew board their respective yachts at Cape Town’s Royal Cape Yacht Club for a period of training and boat preparation prior to the start day on 5th October, skippers and weather permitting.  Cape Town is 33º 57’ South of the Equator, very nearly at the bottom limit of the Southern Horse Latitudes. The Great Circle route to Perth will take them down as far as 50º South, involving a double crossing of the notorious Roaring Forties where the Southern Ocean Lows dominate the weather patterns.  Combined with the sea swell that circumnavigates the higher Southern latitudes, and uninterrupted by major land masses, they can expect a mix of challenging and exhilarating conditions.

Their route starts with a departure from the shelter of Table Bay, South of Robben Island and round to the start gate which is a line due South of the Cape of Good Hope.  Heading South East approximately 80 miles , they will pass offshore of the most Southerly point of Africa, Cape Agulhas at 39º 49‘ 57’’, which is also recognised as the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean and two great ocean currents mix with capricious eddies and variable salinity.

Perth will be nearly 5,000nm away and the passage will take 30 to 35 days to complete.  The crews will have stocked up with over 5 weeks of provisions that will fill every nook and cranny below decks.

Kerguelen Island is half way point
The halfway point is marked by the rugged outcrop of rock that rises to nearly 6,000ft known as Kerguelen (or Desolation) Island, part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.  Situated at 49º 15‘ South, 069º 35‘ East, the island stands as a waypoint for the most Southerly point of the route as a limit of no further than 50º South has been imposed for this passage.  After Kerguelen, the crews will turn Northwards towards Perth and the welcoming hospitality of the Freemantle Sailing Club in mid November.

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 are experiencing the extremes of ocean crossings from the heat of the Tropics to the extreme cold of the Southern Ocean. TRANSGLOBE is certainly testing both physical and mental stamina whilst building confidence in their own capabilities as well as those of their fellow crew members.

Tracking and position reports as well as more details about Exercise TRANSGLOBE are on the official website at:

– 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.
  • Following on from this stage is Leg 5 –  the Perth-Sydney stretch of this 13-leg adventure training exercise. The fleet sails from Perth to Sydney on a comparatively short 2,200nm hop for the crews.


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