Leadership Through The Atlantic

From the MoD:

A crew of nervous but excited young soldiers have embarked on the adventure of a lifetime which will see their skills and nerve tested to the limit.

The soldiers, who have all recently finished their Army training, set off from Gosport on Friday 31 August 2007 aboard 'Discoverer', a 67ft (20m) yacht which will spend the next year sailing up and down the Atlantic.

The journey will see over 200 soldiers, the vast majority of whom are from the Army Recruiting and Training Division, get a chance to take part in the Leadership Through The Atlantic initiative by sailing on one of the 12 legs of Discoverer's voyage.

The Leadership Through The Atlantic initiative has been set up to develop young soldiers who have just come out of training and have already shown a big potential for leadership. The year-long sailing expedition will see them face the extremes of the Atlantic, from the Antarctic through the Tropics to the Arctic.

Major Richard Pattison is the man responsible for organising the expedition:

"We're sending them off on a yacht," Maj Pattison explained as he prepared to leave Gosport. "None of them have ever sailed before and we're sending them on a challenge and into an increasingly challenging environment. They come from all cap badges and will be bonding as a new team and a new crew to make this happen."

The first leg sees Discoverer heading for the Canaries. She will then cross the Atlantic to Salvador in Brazil, before heading down to the Falkland Islands, where she will be based for about four months and used to undertake a visit to the Antarctic, which continues a series of recent Army Antarctic expeditions, also headed up by Major Pattison.

The yacht will then head back to Brazil this time via Rio before heading up to Halifax in Canada and then into the Arctic, via Iceland and Greenland and then down to Norway and back home a year after leaving the UK.

The skipper of each leg will be an experienced sailor, along with five others who have sailed before. This is balanced with nine novices. There will also be some soldiers on board who are recovering from wounds and injuries sustained on operations. The voyage will offer them the chance to recover while in a challenging environment.

Major Pattison added:

"I believe that people that come back from this expedition will not just come back as better soldiers but as better people, after this rounding experience."

Good luck one and all!

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