Three yachts, representing the three branches of the British military, will compete in the Rolex Sydney Hobart race this year as part of a round world sailing challenge.
Exercise TRANSGLOBE is a major expedition that is open to members of all three armed forces personnel (regular and reserve) and it will run from July 2009 to July 2010. It is an ocean crossing, Adventurous Sail Training circumnavigation in 13 stages using three identical Challenge 67 foot (20.4m) steel hulled yachts owned by the MOD and operated out of the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre at Gosport, Hampshire.
Each yacht has been assigned to one of the services for the duration of the exercise and the crews will be changed at each destination. Over 550 personnel will participate through the course of the year. Selected crews will represent their respective service in both the 2009 Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the 2010 Antigua Race Week, pitting themselves against each other and the cream of the world's professional race teams.
The yachts are currently underway on their first leg. In what could be slightly embarassing for the senior service, Navy was in third position behind the RAF and Army as the boats sailed south off the coast of North Africa. Their positions can be followed on the yacht tracker at www.exercisetransglobe.com/maps/adventure.html.