British Army head for Hobart
After overcoming storms in the Bay of Biscay, flat calms and intense heat in the Doldrums, huge ocean swells in the South Atlantic and days of beating to windward across the Indian Ocean, Her Majesty’s Sail Training Craft Adventure has arrived in Perth at the end of Leg 4 of the British Army’s Mercury Challenge training expedition.
With 5 months and more than 13,000 nautical miles of her circumnavigation behind her, Adventure is currently sailing a qualifying passage from Perth to Sydney by the 14 servicemen and women who will shortly start preparing the yacht and themselves for the start of the 2006 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race.
There’s a saying in the Army that ‘if it isn’t raining it isn’t training’. As one member of the Project Team remarked recently, ‘If the expedition didn’t present a few challenges along the way, then we wouldn’t call it adventurous training!’ Although the yacht’s afterguard are all experienced blue water sailors, crossing some of the worlds’ toughest oceans has been a completely new experience for many crew members.
Although the majority of those taking part are full time soldiers, some of the crew are members of the Territorial Army and come from a broad range of backgrounds including teachers, accountants, computer programmers and physiotherapists. Several soldiers and officers taking part have only recently returned from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan – though a 4,000-mile sea passage hardly counts as rest and recuperation!
To find out more about Mercury Challenge and follow Adventure’s progress as she completes her circumnavigation then log onto the expedition website at www.mercurychallenge.mod.uk