Issued: Wednesday 7th October 2009

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


The 'Disco' crew enjoying some R&R in Cape Town prior to departure

The 'Disco' crew enjoying some R&R in Cape Town prior to departure

Everything is prepared for Thursday’s (8th October) start of Leg 4 of the Exercise TRANSGLOBE’s 13-stage adventurous training exercise for the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force from Cape Town to Perth.  The latest crew contingent has been kitted out with their Gill technical sailing clothing and Crewsaver kit and everyone is up to speed on how to use the Raymarine navigation equipment on board each yacht.

The three yachts representing the Navy (HMSTV Adventurer), Army (HMSTV Challenger) and RAF (HMSTV Discoverer) each has a crew of 14 comprising Skipper, Mate and the remaining crew is 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.

On this particular leg, Discoverer (RAF) has a crew with a wide range of sailing experience on board including retired Air Marshal Sir Graham Anthony ‘Dusty’ Miller KBE who is now a member of the Volunteer Reserves and who has already filed his first blog from Discoverer, or Disco for short, providing a useful insight into the preparation and a quick run down on the crew members. Here are some excerpts:

We have prepared ourselves and Disco as well as possible for the rigours of the leg which lays ahead and we will keep you up to date with our adventure as it unfolds.  First, I must introduce you to the crew – this will be superficial initially but as the characters emerge they will appear in full HD by the time we arrive in Perth.  Andy Fernie from the JSASTC (Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre) Staff is our skipper and is a man of huge tolerance and massive ocean sailing experience, especially the Southern Ocean. Neil Cottrell is the First Mate and conceived the idea of Transglobe.

Paddy Cathcart is from Aldergrove; Buzz Busby is seeking even colder water than that found around Kinloss; Mike Donnelly is from Leeming; Tim Gardiner from Lyneham only just managed to join us having arrived in the UK from two months in Kandahar on the morning we assembled at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport; Al Spence graduated from 4 FTS on the day before joining the exercise; Adam McNeely is from Coningsby; Sally McCarthy is from Lossiemouth; Paul Smith is from Coningsby but is shy about telling anyone that he is a Typhoon pilot; Owen Green is from Lossiemouth; Gemma Lamont is a University Air Squadron student from Glasgow and is studying Economics at Masters level; and Hayley Reeves is a scopie (A scopie is the unofficial name given to Aerospace systems operators (ASOp) and Fighter controllers (FC) in the Royal Air Force)
. from Boulmer.  That just leaves your typist for today, Dusty Miller and 2nd Mate, an old retired bloke enjoying his second childhood in the RAFVR(T).  Four of Disco’s crew are novices and I take my metaphorical hat off to them for showing the spirit of adventure needed to engage in this endeavour and make it successful.

“So, that is us, holding tight, buckled up and ready to tell tales of an adventure of a lifetime.

“Having assembled at Fort Blockhouse on Thursday 1 October we have travelled a long way South to join Disco in the lee of Table Mountain at the Royal Cape Yacht Club in Cape Town, and have already absorbed countless pearls of wisdom from the JSASTC Staff, the Skipper and the 1st Mate. We have filled up with fresh water and taken huge volumes of food aboard – that in itself is an art form if you consider how much food 14 active crew members will consume during the 35-ish day passage to Perth.  Stowing it in the order you might wish to use it is nothing short of a miracle, but we shall see how well we have done as this story unfolds.

“Finally, we are ready to rock and roll, and the weather ahead looks as though we will do plenty of rocking and rolling.  The Southern Ocean gives every appearance of having cornered the market in isobars, and all are very tightly crammed together.  Disco’s crew, on the other hand, have taken the opportunity to check out a few bars of another variety whilst awaiting the tide and weather and we are now impatient to get started.

The 13-leg Exercise TRANSGLOBE is a major Tri-Service Adventurous Sail Training Exercise open to all UK service personnel, Regular and Reserve. It is the largest-ever adventurous training exercise to be mounted for the services. 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:


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