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Military veterans set sail on charity expedition

Military veterans set sail on charity expedition


30 Sep, 2021

A team of military veterans have set sail on an ambitious sailing trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats, thanks to Cornish sailing charity Turn to Starboard

The 25-strong crew is made up of Armed Forces veterans who have been affected by their military service or have struggled with isolation during the pandemic. Most of the participants have little or no sailing experience and will be taught by professional instructors during the 1,000-nautical-mile voyage. 

The expedition has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a Falmouth-based charity that uses sail training to help veterans with physical and mental injuries. The aim is for participants to experience the known therapeutic effects of sailing and the sea, boost self-esteem, develop lifelong skills and connect with others facing challenges similar to their own.

A fleet of four yachts took to the water on 12 September at Falmouth in Cornwall. The amateur crew will now travel up the west coast of Britain for the next three weeks, with stopovers at ports along the route. 

All crew members have all gone through four days of training and familiarisation sessions at Falmouth, where they learned the basics of sailing to help crew the yachts. The team members will need to work together during the gruelling passage, with rough seas and strong winds expected at times. They will learn to live in close quarters and learn all of aspects of sailing, from setting the sails and taking the helm, to navigation and weather observations.

One participant is Lee Rudi Wood from Colne, Lancashire, who was medically discharged from the Army in 1996 with a leg injury. Speaking before he set sail, Lee, 53, said: ‘Being tucked away for so long during the pandemic really took its toll on my mental health so I thought this would be a great way to focus on something new and build my confidence back up. I am just so excited and can’t wait to get going. I really miss the camaraderie and am looking forward to meeting others in a similar situation to my own.’

The fleet is expected to cross the finish line at John O’Groats in early October. There they will swap places with a new team of veterans, who will depart for the return voyage. 

Each yacht is fitted with a GPS location device so the shore support team, family members and supporters can track their progress. Click here to access it

Click here to find out more about the expedition or to make a donation, or call 01326 314262.

Further information

Find out more about the work of Turn to Starboard and the opportunities it offers here. You can follow TTS on Twitter and find it on Facebook too!


About Turn to Starboard

Turn to Starboard is a Cobseo registered charity (Registered Charity number 1148549) that uses RYA sailing courses to support Armed Forces personnel who have been affected by military operations. We support those who are serving or retired, and their families, helping them to gain perspective on past events and focus on a successful future. 

Beneficiaries gain tangible experiences, expert training and career-building opportunities, including the chance to gain internationally recognised marine qualifications.

Registered Charity number 1148549

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