BRITISH SOLDIER 2014 REPORTJoin the ASA Today

BRITISH SOLDIER – 2014 SEASON REPORT

On Saturday 15th November 2014, British Soldier was also awarded 4 prizes at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) Annual Dinner and Prize-giving.  Prizes included 2nd Overall out of an international fleet of 274 yachts, 2nd in Class 2, the Haylock Cup (for Best Service Yacht) and Best Production Yacht.  This is the highest placing a service yacht has ever finished in this series. They finished a slim 10 points behind the leaders in both categories; equal to the difference of a few places in one race.

After some RORC races early in the season, British Soldier headed up to Scotland for the Scottish Islands Peaks Race (SIPR) and Scottish Series. This was a bold and new programme for British Soldier, which saw considerable success, including winning the Inter Services trophy in the SIPR and 9th place in the Scottish Series.  The Royal Clyde Yacht Club were delighted to see British Soldier and her crew of young sailors, remarking that they had at “least halved the average age of the competition!”  Thereafter, the yacht was then delivered to Barmouth for the 3 Peaks Yacht Race where the team won a total of 7 trophies, including every sailing prize, 2nd overall and winners of the Tillman Trophy for the all rounder’s category, a category in which every member of crew had to sail and run at least one of the mountain legs.

Back in the RORC series, a 2nd in class in the 704 nm Round Ireland Race and 1st in class in the East Coast race raised the prospect of class silverware by mid-season.  But it was the 4 yearly epic 1800nm Round Britain and Ireland Race that was to be the highlight of the season.  It was a hard fought race, with much of it spent slogging upwind in heavy airs and seas, with over 40% of yachts failing to finish.   Even with 2 men down and with a crew with an average age of 25, British Soldier finished 7th overall and 2nd in class in a time of 11 days and 8 hours.

Overall, 96 personnel have sailed the yacht covering a distance of approximately 8000 miles.  Her crew has been made up of a great mix of Regulars, Reserves and a healthy balance between officers and soldiers.  And it’s not just been about racing, but in between races there have been tremendous opportunities for unit adventurous training as she was delivered from race to race.  As a result, 5 separate units, including 11 Sigs Regt, 1 RTR, APC, 12 Regt RA and 7 RHA were able to sail the yacht, in waters ranging from the Hebrides, Ireland to the East Coast.  On these legs it was possible to introduce 22 novice junior soldiers to sailing on this thoroughbred racing yacht.  Further, we continue to support our injured servicemen and women by providing the yacht free of charge for Toe in the Water’s participation in the annual Cowes Week regatta.

In summary, this has been a highly successful season in a mix of events including inshore, offshore and adventure racing.  There have been many and numerous skippers throughout the season ranging from Officer Cadet, to Corporal and to Major highlighting the real depth of sailing talent we have within the ASA.  However, if I were to single out two characters deserving of special praise, it would be Major William Naylor who, in his capacity as the Boat Captain has worked tirelessly to maintain the yacht (without a Bosun) to an excellent standard and second, Captain Phillip Caswell as the Army’s Offshore Team Captain.  Phil’s sailing expertise and fantastic leadership in tough and testing conditions is what Army racing and sailing is all about.

 

T A S HILL
Lt Col
Rear Commodore (Offshore Racing)
Army Sailing Association

Offshore Racing Manager

Tim Hill Racing Manager for British Soldier

Lt Col Tim Hill
Tel: 01923 955337
Email: racing@sailarmy.co.uk