Adventurer of Hornet – the 72-foot Challenger class yacht belonging to the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) has now completed her first leg of the 15,000 nautical mile expedition to South Georgia deep in the Southern Atlantic.
Crewed by a mixture of rookie sailors and those with many a voyage in their sea locker and with qualifications to show, Adventurer set off from UK waters out through the Solent passing the famous Isle of Wight Needles to cross the Channel.
This is, of course, the opening stage of the Royal Engineers’ adventurous sail training and mountaineering expedition ‘Atlantic Quest’.
The expedition will see the yacht complete six legs: The one it has just completed from UK to Lanzarote then out across the Atlantic to South America.
The third leg takes her down the eastern seaboard of South America to the Falkland Islands.
Leg four is the push down to South Georgia where she will put ashore a team of specialist climbers who will scale several of this most remote island’s mountain.
Legs five and six see her make the return passage back up from Port Stanley to the Caribbean where the Royal Engineers hand her back to the JSATC for her next voyage.
When we sailed into the harbour at A Coruňa and we had dolphins following us in which was a really good sight to see" Corporal Kris Sellers
Corporal Kris Sellers, onboard for the first leg gave an insight into how it went; “We set out from Lymington and the Solent was not nice to us at all.
"Getting out of the Solent was not easy as there was a racing event going on; when we finally got out into the English Channel it was really rough which had a massive effect on all crew members though sea sickness.
"It lasted about 24 hours but once we got out of the Channel it was pretty much plain sailing. We went across the Bay of Biscay with no problems as the weather was kind to us.”
Their first port of call was A Coruňa on the Spanish coast.
“When we came into the harbour at A Coruňa and we had dolphins following us in which was a really good sight to see.”
After a stopover in the Spanish port Adventurer set sail for Madeira hugging the Spanish and Portuguese coastlines to avoid the shipping lanes.
During this passage a force eight storm was predicted which would’ve been quite intense, so the Skipper re-routed to skirt around it.
Kris Sellers, “It did work and we did manage to escape the worst although we did hit the tail end of it so we did have some rough seas and strong winds; there was a bit of seasickness onboard, but most people by now had got their sea legs.”
Coming into the Canary Islands the views were pretty spectacular " Corporal Kris Sellers
As they progressed towards Madeira, the further south they sailed the warmer it got.
After a short break on the island it was on to the leg’s final destination, Lanzarote.
As Kris pointed out, “It was a super quick crossing out to the Canaries; it took just over 40 hours due to the wind being in the right direction and the tide helping us along.
"We caught sight of more wildlife along the way, dolphins and a few glimpses of whales which was absolutely amazing to see. Coming into the Canary Islands the views were pretty spectacular.”
With the UK to Lanzarote phase complete the crew handed over Adventurer of Hornet to the second leg’s crew to prepare her for the challenge of the transatlantic crossing to the coast of South America.