TRANSGLOBE – ARMY: “Ok baby, give us all you’ve got”. BANG!!! 0200hrs

The Army crew is safe and morale is high aboard Challenger

Here are the Challenger blogs and shout-outs from Tuesday 27th Oct back through to the storm horrors of Friday 23rd Oct.

An intense low pressure meteorological ‘bomb’ had hit us, as the Southern Ocean demonstrated what she is really all about.  The crew pulled together immediately to control the situation and thereafter to repair the considerable amount of damage which had occurred.


The Transglobe fleet is getting the full-on Southern Ocean experience



Blimey! The Army’s really had it rough and tough on this stormy Leg 4 of Exercise TRANSGLOBE. The crews on all three TRANSGLOBE yachts are revealing their fantastic teamwork, courage and humour despite these horrific sailing conditions they’re facing as they make their weary way to Perth across the Southern Ocean. Unfortunately there is a problem with the internet on board the RN yacht, ADVENTURE so we haven’t had anything through from them recently.

Remember to read the Shout-outs at the end of this posting; always  revealing and always touchingly personal messages to those back home.

Challenger (ARMY) blogs:

TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER – White Watch woke the crew to a delightful bowl of porridge – voted as the best consistency of the voyage so far; not having to slice or chew porridge before swallowing made a very rare treat – hopefully their secret recipe will be shared around until we get to Oz.  Not satisfied with the best porridge, watch-leader Dave also baked up the best plump, crusty bread that we’ve had so far. The skipper’s reaction to fried spam sandwiches earlier in the week was to break into the emergency rations, which has released some eagerly awaited variety: tuna in mayo with sweet corn, which complemented Dave’s bread superbly.  Good scoff means good morale and Challenger’s crew are happy today.

MONDAY 26 OCTOBER – After their running repairs to the storm staysail, Hayley  and Austin decided they could also fix the Yankee 3 that blew-out a few days ago.  A 14 ft ‘luff to leach’ tear kept the pair busy for 18 hours with constant patching and stitching, stopping only to eat. Amazingly they both had some skin left on their fingers and thumbs by the end of the job.  We’re waiting in anticipation for the wind to abate enough so that we can change from storm to Yankee 3 to see whether the repair holds out.

SUNDAY 25 OCTOBER – The day started with glorious sunshine which gave people a chance to dry their laundry on deck.  Although the choice of palatable rations is dwindling by the day, Red Watch treated us to an interesting Southern Ocean delicacy of fried spam sandwiches.  The fact that they were all eaten was either because they were tasty, or that we were all very hungry, either way, the distinctive taste of spam repeated throughout the day.

Following the high winds of the last two days Blue Watch were put through their paces and changed a complete sail plan before starting mother watch.  The three man team of Nathan, Colin and Matt shook out reefs, replaced headsails and staysails to give a bit more speed to the boat. Their bangers and mash creation is one of the culinary highlights to date, with head chef Colin’s Special Sauce tantalising the taste buds in a nice but slightly peculiar way.  After a quiet night at sea the crew is now rested and ready for the next batch of high winds expected on Monday evening.

SATURDAY 24 OCTOBER – Having some of the crew nursing their aches and pains from the storm, Shaun has had to move to Red Watch as watch leader for a few days whilst Steve G is nursing an injured elbow, Shaun sympathetically suggests that he should ‘Man-Up’.

We completed our last on-deck shift before mother watch with some rather large seas and it was great to get a bit of surfing in. We were still limited to using only bare poles, as the sails were still being repaired by Hayley and Austin.

Jay has become Red Watch camera man, as the storm claimed Shaun’s camera and took it to the bottom of the Southern Ocean for Nemo and friends to play with. Ski is providing the watch with movie entertainment and is eating his way through all the biscuits at the fastest rate, but Austin is giving him a run for his money, coming a close second place.

Once all the sails were repaired Red and White Watches had the job of putting the main sail back on the mast. Shaun had to go up the mast to replace the runners with Jay yelling, “Keep smiling for the camera” as he swung like a pendulum from one side of the boat to the next.  Steve (Gripper) Parsons was glued back onto the helm, happy as Larry.

“Ok baby, give us all you’ve got”.  BANG!!! 0002hrs, with 69 knots the mainsail preventer completely shredded

FRIDAY 23 OCTOBER – Early in the evening with bad weather imminent and winds forecasted to be between 30-40knts, the skipper ordered a conservative sail plan of 3 reefs and the storm staysail, as we were waiting for the weather to hit.

0001hrs, with 15 knots of wind we were happily heading eastward to Oz when Steve G disturbingly teased the ocean by saying, “Ok baby, give us all you’ve got”.  BANG!!! 0200hrs, with 69 knots the mainsail preventer completely shredded causing the boat spin around and make rapid progress back towards Cape Town. Things deteriorated rapidly thereafter with wind speeds further increasing; Steve G measured a monster hurricane force 86 knot gust at one point. The heavily reefed mainsail quickly gave up the ghost and blew-out from the mast track and completely severed its halyard, then being dragged along behind us in a savage mix of spray, wind and waves.

A few of the crew below heard the skipper’s shout, above the screaming and whistling of the wind, “The main’s going — oh f*** — I need that main in now”.  This was rapidly followed by four eager men on deck arriving to do battle with the sea and attempt to control the main sail which was now dangerously flogging.

Eventually, inch-by-inch, the mainsail was wrapped around the boom and tied up as best as possible, and we continued onward using only the storm staysail.  Unfortunately, this too didn’t last long as it tore along several of its seams and ended up looking like something from the Black Pearl.  With the storm staysail stowed, we were now running with only bare poles as Dave Mason took the helm and gallantly headed Challenger north with a following sea and wind.

An intense low pressure meteorological ‘bomb’ had hit us, as the Southern Ocean demonstrated what she is really all about.  The crew pulled together immediately to control the situation and thereafter to repair the considerable amount of damage which had occurred.

As the sun rose with Shaun on the helm in excess of a ten meter swell, the full extent of the damage became apparent, although Challenger had done us proud and stood up to the conditions well. However, now more hard work began as Hayley and Austin used the sewing kit to make numerous repair patches on the sails long into the night, damaged ropes were replaced with spares, almost everything was hung out to dry, and the crew took some much needed rest.

It was not all doom and gloom though as several funny things happened during all the excitement.  Anthony G (Ski) was tipped out of bed when the wind hit the boat.  Colin slept solidly through the whole event and was briefed about it in the morning.  In his excitement to get on deck, Shaun B wore only his favourite maroon ‘airborne’ tee-shirt under his waterproofs, and whilst virtually swimming in the southern ocean, helping to fish-out the mainsail, he had the gall to complain that he was cold. Hayley flew off the chart table seat, landing stuck in a bucket inside the wet locker on the other side of the boat.

With further repairs soon to be completed morale is still very high on Challenger as we head further towards Oz.


Nathan Evans: Happy Birthday to James Steiger.  Tess – I hope you are having a nice half term, I love you and miss you lotsxxx

Matthew Arnold: im wet all my stuffs wet the boats all wet and im loving it

Hayley: Nursing all my bumps and bruises, but they are slowly going away. Had the longest day ever yesterday trying to fix the yankee. Fingers crossed she stays up. Still having a ball and can’t wait to speak to my kid brothers. Also can’t wait to get tree trunked in OZ woop woop xxxx

Davy Kelly:  Livin the Challenger dream at the moment, can’t wait to get to to Oz for Chunky Monkey ice cream and a bag of jelly babies. Sorry Simone but apparently my waterproof and shock proof camera is not crush proof ooops. Miss you loads and hope you don’t get too tired going to Brighton, give Ollie a big hug for me xxxx

Steve Galvin: Since my last update King Neptune has finally given us some wind worth mention. The afore mentioned came in the form of a Force 12 storm at 2 am, going from 25 Knots of wind to 65 Knots in seconds and rising eventually to 84 Knots. A massive adrenalin rush for everyone with I’m sure a certain amount of fear as well, especially when both the Storm sail and Mainsail were both torn. We all however survived some with more bruises than others, but alive and well enough to tell the tale many times I’m sure. Regards and Love to all! XXX “ Live Slow, Sail Fast”

Shaun Broom: Hope you are well, I’m hungry, the ocean has claimed my camera, bruised from going up the mast twice to fix main sail but over all living the dream.  Hi ya babe, missing you loads. Missed the last shout, been very busy. Southern Ocean giving us a good beating, been having a good laugh, but had a few low days where was very tired. Looking forward to OZ and a good drink, Should be there in 10 days or less. Speak to ya soon love and miss ya loads xxx

Antony Finnigan:Hi Shell hope you are ok and still missing me as much as i am missing you,i hope the Kids are being good for you give them a kiss for me.Its been fun on here with  force 12 winds hitting us so its been different.Over half way now counting the days until we arrive at ozzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  so i can eat some nice food.Iwill write when i can so take care love to you and everyone else ant.Hello to 234 .

Colin Harrower: Hello MB, How the devil are you? I hope you had a good week off and feel refreshed..wont be long till Im back and my adventure will be over, boohooo really enjoyed the whole experience so looking forward to getting to Oz. Mum, I hope Craig has now got back from Afghanistan safely and that you are all well. Call you when I get to Oz. Love & Miss you loads xox

Antoni Gabanski: Hay mum and whoever else is reading this. We had a hell a few days since Friday night. We were hit by hurricane force winds which are 63+ knots winds, and it maxed out at 84 knots. Sails were blown and a lot of work to retrieve the main sail. It’s looking like we are going to be arriving in Perth Freemantle within 10 days. Still loving it, and its slowly coming to an end this expedition. Until next time xxx

Mike Symes: Hi darling as you can see from the blog the southern ocean has been keeping me busy. My usual practice of skippering from my bunk has not been so possible on this trip. Not talking to you is driving me mad, expect a long call from Perth. Hope all is well at home and am counting the days for our arrival in Perth. Send my love on to Toby. Love as always XXXX


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