3 ROYAL WELSH deployed on LION STAR 7 to Cyprus in August 2012 and to accompany the tactical training, an extensive AT package was planned which included rock climbing, mountain biking, sea kayaking and dingy sailing. The jewel in the AT crown though was to be 5 days of offshore sailing on a charterted 40-foot Jeanneau, made possible with the kind and generous support of the Ulysses Trust.
The unit has a number of qualified skippers and the aim of SIGMAGIC DRAGON was to whet the sailing appetites of the junior soldiers in the hope that they could then progress onto Competent Crew courses in the future. Newly joined member of the TA, Fus Christian Harris skippered for this ex having flown in directly from assisting with the Olympic sailing programme in Weymouth, Fus Harris being a professional sailor in civilian life. With his steady hand at the helm, maximum was made of the time available and 2 crews were rotated aboard the Jeanneau during the 5 days. Conditions proved to be ideal; sunny and clear with fresh winds to fill the sails and make passages both day and night, a reality.
Most of those who had the opportunity to crew were complete novices to big boat sailing and duly lapped it up with relish. Passages were made around and between Akrotiri and Episkopi Bays with winds of up to 30 knots to test both skipper and crew. At other periods, the boat anchored up in calm waters allowing the crew to swim and snorkel in the peerless and clear blue waters, accompanied on occasion by the odd leatherback turtle. With temperatures in the high 20s, conditions were comfortable throughout. Hopefully though, this will not lull those who progress to Competent Crew courses as conditions off Gosport are never quite this warm!
All who took part in the sailing wholly enjoyed the experience and opportunity to try a new sport. Plans are now afoot to turn these fledgling sailors into Competent Crew. The thanks of the unit and all who took part go to The Ulysses Trust for generous and continuing support to 3 ROYAL WELSH AT activities.