1317 – ‘Windward Wyvern’ – UK, Solent

The last two weeks of June must have seemed like the perfect time of year for WO2 Andy Anderson of 155 Transport Regiment when he booked the sailing trip for his unit. The weather should be perfect – warm, sunny, just windy. Little did he know that June would be the wettest month on record for a long time with barely any sunshine and temperatures more suited to March.

Andy, an already accomplished skipper, took on the challenge of taking 10 members of the unit on a week each of sailing around the Solent. The crews who took to the seas had a memorable week and will go away having learnt a new set of skills and hopefully gained a thirst for adventure.

The training started on Monday morning with a briefing at the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre. The crew for the first week consisted of Pte Melissa Nicholls, Sgt Ian Noden, Cpl Jenny Shaw, LCpl Vax Vakatale, Pte Craig Baxter, and Pte Richard Hale. At 1400 hours all set off looking somewhat apprehensive about the prospect of a week crammed aboard “Dosinia” at the hands of Mr Anderson.

On a day without wind the crew got a chance to practice “bumping and grinding” a well known nautical term which refers to coming against a pontoon or quay. Another useful technique which the crew practiced was man over board drills. On both weeks “Bob” the trusty fender was used as the “man overboard” and performed his duties in a suitably unhelpful fashion allowing the crew to rescue him from the chilly waters of the Solent.

The weather soon deteriorated and left the crew in a torrential downpour! Despite the rain the crew were determined to make the most of their situation and quickly discovered the advantages of lively weather at sea – wind! They soon became competitive; fighting it out to see which helmsman could achieve the fastest boat speed. In the first week a speedy 7.8 knots was achieved which was closely chased in week two with 7.2 knots.

Week two brought a very different crew – just five to cram into the tiny Dosinia. Pte Melissa Nicholls remained on board to keep up the numbers and was joined by Pte Jo Davies – a weathered mate, Captain Ian Roberts – a seasoned sailor and novice sailor LCpl Danny Jose.

Some great winds saw Dosinia speeding up Southampton Water that afternoon, bringing her into Ocean Village but only after putting in a reef to check the 22 knot winds! Jo took charge of bringing the boat alongside and proved to the delight of the male crew members that women can’t park!

Leaving early allowed the crew to witness the incredible sights of the Round the Island Race. Perhaps next year the crew of 155 could enter…

All in all a great couple of weeks was had by all, well it must have been OK because Skipper is already planning the next one!

With thanks to:

Ulysses Trust

In partnership with:

Nuffield Trust