Watch as the veterans return to Falmouth after finishing their Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge
After eight weeks and 2,000 nautical miles, 17 military veterans are celebrating after finishing the Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge.
The crew left Falmouth on board the tall ship, Spirit of Falmouth, on 5 August 2017 to circumnavigation the British Isles clockwise.
Since then, the veterans have visited 15 ports in the 92-foot long ship – and endured heavy weather condition, including gusts of up to 40-knots, and broken gear.
They crossed the finish line at Port Pendennis on Sunday (1 October).
One of the crew, 54-year-old former soldier, Chris Greenwood, said: “The toughest part was the force 10 gales around the Isle of Man and up in Scotland. They ripped the sails so hard we had to stop for a couple of days to get them repaired”.
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Expedition leader and former Royal Marine, Dan Fielding, said the voyage was “extremely tough”.
“Not only has the crew faced their own challenges after service life, they have faced incredible challenges throughout this journey,” he said.
“From appalling weather conditions to damaged sails and broken steering gear, the team has shown resilience in every situation. The team should all be justly proud of themselves, whether completing shorter sections or circumnavigating the entire British Isles,” continued Fielding.
“It was an extremely tough expedition and the crew sailed particularly hard, which has resulted in turning the group of novices who set out eight weeks ago into highly skilled individuals,” added the former Royal Marine, who also had a special question to ask one of the spectators who gathered to watch the crew cross the finish line.
Fielding arranged for letters to be taped on crew members backs which asked his girlfriend, Nicola Sherwood, to marry him.
The 35-year-old dropped to his knees in the customary manner – much to the delight of spectators. Nicola screamed with delight before saying “yes,” accompanied by much cheering and clapping from gathered family and friends.
The expedition was organised by Turn to Starboard, a Falmouth-based charity that helps military personnel suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma by providing sailing courses.
The aim of the expedition was to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills to help start new careers.
Lead supporters of the initiative are The Endeavour Fund, fuelled by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s passion for supporting the recovery of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
The fund’s programme manager, Stuart Croxford, said the crew had been on “an incredible journey”.
“The challenges they have faced have not only been physical – battling huge waves and difficult weather conditions – but also psychological but I know they will have all worked as a team to support each other,” he said.
“I hope this epic challenge will have inspired many more wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women to rediscover their fighting spirit and self-belief. I’d like to thank Turn to Starboard for their support and congratulate all crew members on their incredible achievements,” added Croxford.
A crew of injured veterans on a round-Britain sailing expedition have now reached the halfway mark in a gruelling 2,000-mile sailing expedition around the British Isles.
Seventeen crew members – many with little or no sailing experience – set sail from Falmouth in Cornwall on 5 August on the Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge 2017.
The team are circumnavigating the British Isles in a clockwise direction on board the tall ship, Spirit of Falmouth.
The aim is to help participants gain new skills and highlight the challenges veterans can face after leaving the military.
After experiencing heavy storms, damaged sails and 40 knot winds, the 92-foot tall ship reached the half-way point at Stromness in the Orkney Isles on 31 August.
Expedition leader and former Royal Marine, Dan Fielding said: “We are absolutely delighted that all of the team safely reached Stromness at Orkney. The team has overcome huge waves and stormy weather to reach the island and our success means that we are now halfway to achieving our ultimate goal.”
“After a few hours of rest, we will be looking forward to our next leg to Newcastle for a series of shoreside engagements over a four-day period,” he added.
Some of the team, which is comprised of military veterans suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma, will gain new skills during the eight-week journey to help start new careers in the marine industry.
Others have set themselves a personal challenge as they battle with their own issues after service life.
The epic expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a Cornish charity that helps military personnel affected by military operations by providing sailing courses. It is supported by The Endeavour Fund.
The milestone by the Turn to Starboard crew comes as a new book has been released about the first Round Britain Challenge last year.
Written by Steven Price Brown, ‘Riddle of the Waves’ features the stories of the original crew, which included former Grenadier Guard Price Brown.
Each chapter describes a leg of the journey as well as insight into the life of one of the crew members and the impact the circumnavigation of Britain has made to their lives.
This tale has plenty of dramatic and uplifting stories including getting caught in a lighting storm in the Irish Sea, being towed by the Falmouth RNLI lifeboat and just making it under the Skye Bridge in Scotland.
It is published by Bloomsbury and is priced at £16.99
A team of veterans affected by military operations have swapped home comforts for two months of nautical endurance as they attempt to sail 2,000 nautical miles around the British Isles.
Under blue skies, the crew of 17 veterans – many with little or no sailing experience – waved a noisy goodbye to crowds of well-wishers at Falmouth harbour in Cornwall on Saturday afternoon (5 August).
The crew will spend eight weeks at sea circumnavigating Britain aboard a 92-foot tall ship, Spirit of Falmouth.
The journey will see them sail along the coast of Wales and Scotland before heading down Britain’s East coast and a final leg back to Falmouth.
During the voyage, the crew will spend time learning to navigate Britain’s coastal waters along with everyday tasks such as scrubbing the decks, cooking in the galley and managing the huge sails by climbing the various masts and rigging.
The expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a Falmouth-based sailing charity that helps hundreds of military personnel suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma by providing sailing courses in a supportive environment.
The expedition will be led by Turn to Starboard Sailing instructor and former Royal Marine, Dan Fielding.
After being medically discharged from the Royal Navy, Fielding signed up for the charity’s ‘Zero to Hero’ programme and has gone on qualify as an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor.
Speaking as the Spirit Falmouth prepared to depart, he said: “It’s great to see the sun shining on us today as we set off on this epic adventure. The aim of the Round Britain Challenge is to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills while raising awareness of some of the challenges veterans can face after service life.”
“Some of the crew will be gaining valuable sailing miles as part of their training for Yachtmaster qualifications, whereas others have set themselves a personal challenge as they battle with their own issues after service life,” he continued.
“Many of the participants are seeking solace in the companionship of others who have experienced similar situations, which allows them to feel valued in a supportive environment. Wish us luck!” added Fielding.
The lead supporter of the Round Britain Challenge is The Endeavour Fund, which offers funding for sporting and adventure challenges and helps emerging initiatives with advice, hands-on support and mentoring.
The fund aims to help servicemen and women find opportunities to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges.
Turn to Starboard is inviting the public to help them raise funds towards the cost of the expedition.
There is less than three weeks to go until a team of veterans begin the 2,000 mile Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge.
All of those taking part have been affected by military operations.
The eight-week voyage, which is also supported by The Royal Marines Charity, will set sail from Falmouth in a clockwise direction and navigate Britain’s spectacular coastline visiting places such as Liverpool, Tobermory, Isle of Skye, Newcastle and Ipswich.
Many of the crew member have little or no sailing experience and will have to work together to circumnavigate Britain on board the 92-foot tall ship, Spirit of Falmouth.
It is hoped the voyage, which begins on 5 August, will help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills to help start new careers.
The team will live, sleep and work on board the tall ship donated to the charity by The Prince’s Trust.
At 92 feet, and weighing in at 88 tonnes, the vessel is as long as seven cars and weighs the equivalent of a blue whale.
The epic expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a charity based at Falmouth in Cornwall which helps hundreds of military personnel suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma by providing sailing courses and family sailing trips in a supportive environment.
The charity was set up four years ago by former RAF leader and CEO, Shaun Pascoe.
Pascoe was the leader of a helicopter medical emergency response team in the RAF, yet after finding it difficult to adjust to normal life outside of the forces he embarked on a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Yachtmaster course and within two weeks of sailing he felt in a better place.
He now invests his time in helping others to feel the same and skippered the vessel on a similar expedition last year.
“Following the success of last year’s Round Britain Challenge, we are excited that The Endeavour Fund has agreed to support a second expedition to sail a group of veterans affected by military operations around the British Isles,” explained Pascoe.
“Once again the aim of the challenge is to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills while raising awareness of the challenges veterans can face after leaving service life,” he stated.
Pascoe said that since completing last year’s challenge, 15 crew members have gone on to achieve Yachtmaster status or are close to gaining the coveted qualification.
“Our follow up research also found that the experience had a positive impact on participants lives and many are now engaged in another form of activity or employed,” added Pascoe.
“Preparations are in full swing for this year’s expedition and we hope it will help those taking part to regain the sense of value and belonging they were once so proud of.”
The lead supporter of the initiative is The Endeavour Fund, which offers funding for sporting and adventure challenges and helps emerging initiatives with advice, hands-on support and mentoring.
The fund plays an important role in ensuring that more servicemen and women have the opportunity to rediscover their self-belief and fighting spirit through physical challenges.
The programme manager at the fund, Stuart Croxford said it was proud to support “this incredible challenge”.
“Turn to Starboard does a fantastic job in supporting wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women on their journey to recovery and helping them rediscover their fighting spirit,” he said.
“This Round Britain Challenge will not only be a once-in-a-lifetime experience but it will give all participants the chance to gain new skills and qualifications which will help them long after they return,” added Croxford.