The sailing vessel 'Spirit of Falmouth' has been alongside in Stornoway over the weekend, the crew were awaiting break in the weather before continuing their circumnavigation of Britain. 'Spirit of Falmouth', operated by the charity Turn to Starboard, set off from Falmouth in Cornwall on 5th August to sail around Britain in a clockwise direction, the gaff-rigged schooner has become home to a crew of 17 veterans and led by two former Royal Marines who have retrained as Yachtmasters.
The crew gave a warm friendly welcome aboard and a tour of the beautiful old ship and fairly basic but pratical crew quarters and galley. The group had clearly become a close team with everyone having their role but also working together and looking out for each other, this was put to the test on the voyage to Oban where the weather suddenly deteriorated and high winds caused several sails to rip, everyone had to be on deck and clipped to help get the vessel under control. The sail to Stornoway was less dramatic and has given a chance to get everything ship shape before they set off for Orkney.
The expedition aims to help participants gain new skills while raising awareness of the challenges some veterans face after leaving the military. To sail around Britain is a challenge for anyone which these guys and girl have taken head on, some of the group had suffered major injuries or traumas while serving in the forces yet this has not stopped them, if anything they seemed even more determined.
Turn to Starboard was founded by RAF Squadron Leader (Rtd) Shaun Pascoe, the charity uses Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sailing courses to support Armed Forces personnel who have been affected by military operations. They also provide sailing trips to enable Service families who have been affected by operations to spend some time together on a skippered yacht, plus volunteer opportunities with a wide variety of roles.
To run this expedition costs over £5000, all covered of which is covered by the charity, if you would like to find out more about Turn to Starboard visit http://www.turntostarboard.co.uk/