Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre sets sail under a new flag

In this, its 50th year the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC)  transferred its command from the Royal Navy to the British Army. As the Army is by far the biggest customer for JSASTC it was clear that the logical step would be for the Army to run the centre ensuring it will still be able to send young men and women from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force sailing around the world on its global expeditions.

Today in a ceremony on the historical Haslar Creek in Gosport, command of the Sail training centre was officially handed over to the British Army where it will now be operated as a branch of the Army Adventurous Training Group.

“Our remit is to deliver to the joint military community, We have a brilliant set up here, lots of friends in the community and that’s set to continue and we’ll go on to deliver better and more adventurous sail training.” Tim Wood, Officer in Charge of the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre

JSASTC has operated from its site in Gosport, since 1972 and remains one of the largest providers of sail training in the world. It handles some 4000 students each year and boasts a fleet of 32 various classes of yachts which can be in any of the world’s seas and oceans on transcontinental passages and expeditions.

Offshore Sailing is already a staple part of the Army Adventurous Training Group’s portfolio and now they will have a dedicated Centre in the UK from which to conduct this training; training that sees personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force take part in adventurous sailing exercises around the world including in the Atlantic, Canary Islands, Arctic Circle, Scottish west coast, and Baltic Sea, amongst other exciting locations.

Colonel Neil Wilson, Commander of the Army  Adventurous Training Group speaking of the handover said: “This has been fantastic news as today we take over the Joint Service Adventurous Sail Training Centre because the Army has the capacity and the where with all to run this centre and keep it going for Defence. We will still be able to provide adventurous sail training for our service personnel. The Army’s Adventurous Training Group is set up to run these sort of centres, it has the expertise, passion and enthusiasm to take this on.”    

“The Army’s Adventurous Training Group is set up to run these sort of centres, it has the expertise, passion and enthusiasm to take this on.” Colonel Neil Wilson - Commander Army Adventurous Training Group

The armed services invest heavily in adventurous training and view it as an essential ingredient in the development of the women and men in their ranks. The ability to be able to put someone in a situation far beyond their comfort zone and include an element of danger really does test a person’s resolve and resilience. Mix in the opportunity to bond as a team and prove yourself worthy of that inclusion and you have a highly effective recipe to produce character and confidence in those who we ask to defend our country. In the inky black of a moonless night on the high seas in a force 8 or 9 gale can indeed go a long way in moulding that confident character.

Tim Wood is the manager of the centre and has seen it through the transition between the two services “It means for us that we are able to continue to deliver off shore sail training to the service community. There have been risks over the years and so the transfer to the Army means continuity. We are in a great location, probably the best along the South Coast, right next to the entrance to the Solent; we have fantastic boats and all he staff are recruited locally. Moving ahead into the future means we are keeping this all alive. Our remit is to deliver to the joint military community, We have a brilliant set up here, lots of friends in the community and that’s set to continue and we’ll go on to deliver better and more adventurous sail training.”