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Few people would have expected that a 5-week expedition to sail the coast of Brazil and the Caribbean Sea could have been fraught with peril and fear. Few people would have expected that Leg 9 of Ex TRANSGLOBE would be a traumatic voyage through hell. But mother nature does not care for what people expect, least of all the crew of the yacht Discoverer.

Nine soldiers and officers of the RLC set sail from Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 20 April. Only three made it home safely without sunburn. Maj M Collinson, Maj G Collier, Capts A and A Petherbridge, 2Lt D Hounsome, Cpl P Ambrose, Cpl D Gibbs, Cpl D McManus and Pte J Jakusz, took part in this eventful expedition as part of a tri-service circumnavigation of the globe.

“At first it seemed easy,” Maj Collier recalls. “We just bought things in Uruguay ‘ souvenirs and such ‘ as well as having some huge South American steaks. But things took a turn for the worse; we set sail. Cruising north from Punters the waves made some of us feel queasy and Scrabble became all but impossible.”

The route taken by Discoverer ran along the entire length of the Brazilian coastline, where the weather is notoriously fickle. Storms brought gales of up to 50 knots and the sounds of distant samba; “it was a terrifying experience,” tells Capt Alex Petherbridge, “through driving hail and waves as high as SVs we struggled to hold on, let alone control the boat. We owe our safety to 2Lt Hounsome, the 2nd Mate; who kept his cool and calmly led us through our duties until the storm passed.”

Life on board was no picnic. “The fresh salad was gone within the first week,” says Cpl D Gibbs, “and the coco-pops were finished shortly afterward. If it wasn’t for the plentiful stocks of ham, cheese and nutella we would surely have starved.” Though surrounded by killer whales, dolphins and sea turtles Pte J Jakusz was only able to catch tuna to supplement the rations. Maj M Collinson served up a delightful tuna stir-fry to placate the hungry sailors, but it only went so far. “2Lt Hounsome came to the rescue once again. He whipped up the most delicious garlic-pecorino foccacia and some little sourdough bread rolls without batting an eyelid.”

The crossing of the equator was a momentous occasion. The crew gave offerings to Neptune ‘ bits of ham, soapy biscuits and a Croc ‘ and were anointed as ‘shellbacks’ with a ceremonial bucket of flour and pea soup.

Other than a brief stop in Salvador to stock up on margarine and caiparinias, the sailing went uninterrupted and the crew learned to love the open ocean. “When we landed in Grenada it was all a bit disappointing,” admits Cpl P Ambrose. “We had become so accustomed to the waves and the salt-spray and the monotony that we just didn’t know how to handle the party capital of the Lesser Antilles. We would spend our days on the beach wistfully watching the sun set over the sea, or on tables in nightclubs trying to simulate life aboard. We even swam in a tropical rainforest waterfall to remind us of the crash of the waves, but it was no use. We simply had to get out there again.”

Discoverer’s course took in Union Island for a fresh conch dinner, the Tobago Cays for a swim with wild turtles and Bequia for lobster pizza. With heavy hearts the crew had to make do with sunbathing instead of sailing and fresh seafood instead of ham and cheese. The final destination for Leg 9 was the honeymoon island of St Lucia. “We wanted to have a cultural visit,” says Cpl D McManus, “so we went to a local open-air festival. A kind-of party with loads of music and cocktails. The homemade rum drinks made the evening whizz by.”

After 4300 nautical miles of sailing and as many kilos of ham and cheese consumed, the entire crew of Discoverer are safe and tanned and dry. Would they undertake such a voyage again? “Perhaps,” says Capt A Petherbridge, “definitely the Caribbean bit.”


The Royal Logistic Corps

Over the weekend, 154 Scottish Regiment RLC hosted Exercise MUDMASTER, the annual off-road driver training challenge that tests drivers’ skills and precision behind the wheel of different vehicles. The event, which took place in Dunfermline, Stirling and Linlithgow in Scotland, aims to develop the safe driving skills of the Corps’ soldiers with conditions that are designed to test their capabilities to the fullest. More than 100 teams entered, with both regular, reserve and civilian personnel taking part in challenges including navigation, observation, discipline and safety; all essential skills needed for deploying on future operations. #BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less
Over the last two weeks, seven members of the 17 Port and Maritime Regiment RLC, Marchwood Regimental Dive Team successfully organised the ‘deep phase’ of Exercise SUBMERGED CRUSADER 21 in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. In total, 20 divers took part in numerous training serials including: live decompression up to depths of 42m, ultrathermic cutting, hydraulic tools, search and recovery and a seabed survey in the murky depths of Loch Alsh, Loch Akin and Loch Na Beiste. The team were ably supported by the dive tender MV Moorhen and a Navy Chamber crew from the Defence Diving School who conducted lessons on safely recovering a diver to a recompression chamber.#BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less
RLC personnel from BATUK have been helping to make donations of food and books to Hope and Homes Recreation Centre, a local orphanage home to 56 children in Kenya. Hope and Homes first became a registered recreation centre in 2011 by Suzanne Wangiru. Suzanne created the centre in order to rehabilitate street children, as well as orphans and young girls that have been rescued form early marriages. Cpl Shannon Stevens who is currently on detachment from 13AASR, commented on her experience visiting this fundamental centre: “When we entered the Centre, we were taken by surprise as there were more children than we had imagined there would be. We helped to distribute food, drawing books and reading books and the children were ecstatic. It was a surreal experience at Hope and Homes, full of differing emotions, but it was definitely a great opportunity for the members of CSS 2nd Line to engage with the community creating a better working relationship with BATUK.”Major R Crane MBE RLC, SO2 CSS BATUK commented: “Witnessing the delight on the kids’ faces when they received the books and clothes that had been donated by friends and families across UK was very humbling. There are so many children in need and every little helps.” #BritishArmyLogistics #WeSustain #WeAreTheRLC ... See MoreSee Less