Joint Forces sailing circumnavigation exercise begins

Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth (Saturday) 11 July
TV Presenter and TRANSGLOBE Ambassador Nick Knowles signalled the start of the largest-ever joint services Adventurous Training Exercise on Saturday 11th July.

Photo: Christopher Brown/MoD

VIP guests including the Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey, KCB, CBE, patrons and celebrity supporters joined friends and families of the ‘first leggers’ taking part in the UK’s largest-ever Adventurous Training Exercise, TRANSGLOBE, to wave goodbye as the three boats set off for the Canary Islands in the first of 13 stages of this seafaring expedition.

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

In total, 546 personnel of all ages, gender and ranks will take part, sailing aboard the three identical 67ft steel hulled yachts named ADVENTURE (Royal Navy), CHALLENGER (Army) and DISCOVERER (Royal Air Force) as they progress around the world over the course of the next 12 months.

Prior to slipping their moorings at Gunwharf Quays and mustering off the start line at Southsea Castle, the yachts and crews received a blessing during a short service on the quayside from Chaplain Bernard Clarke (Chaplain, Portsmouth Naval Base).

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. 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.

Qualified crew
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.

As the yachts jostled for position on the start line, TV presenter Nick Knowles was positioned up on the Southsea Castle Keep ready to fire the starting cannon at 13:00 hours. Built in 1544, Southsea Castle was part of a series of fortifications constructed by Henry VIII around England’s coasts to protect the country from invaders. Barely was the work completed when Henry VIII’s flagship, the Mary Rose, tragically sank in front of the Castle.

Knowles, whose father served in the armed forces, said the group would be “ambassadors” for Britain.

“They will be great representatives for us abroad, as well as being a reminder of the amazing job that our young men and women are doing for us around the world today,” he said.

Follow their progress at:

Leg 2 from Lanzarote to Rio de Janeiro is a longer haul at 3600nm and sets off on 5th August.

The TRANSGLOBE Start Day celebrations were held in association with Gunwharf Quays, and Portsmouth City Council.