A team of veterans affected by military operations are on a round-Britain sailing expedition and are due to arrive in the Isle of Lewis this week.
The Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge set sail from Falmouth harbour on Saturday, August 5th with seventeen crew members – many with little or no sailing experience – working together to circumnavigate Britain on board a 92-foot tall ship.
The 2000-mile expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a charity based at Falmouth that helps hundreds of military personnel suffering with physical injuries or mental trauma by providing sailing courses and family sailing trips.
The aim of the epic voyage is to help participants re-engage, reintegrate and gain new skills to help start new careers.
The crew are sailing in a clockwise direction to navigate Britain’s spectacular coastline visiting places such as Liverpool, Oban, Isle of Lewis, Newcastle and Ipswich.
The crew are expected to sail into Stornoway between Friday, August 25th and 28th.
Turn to Starboard was set up four years ago by former RAF leader and CEO, Shaun Pascoe who 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.
Shaun said: “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.
“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.
“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.
“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 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 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.
Stuart Croxford, Programme Manager at The Endeavour Fund commented: “I’m thrilled that we’re able to once again 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.
“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.”