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UK Joint Services Sail-Training Craft Head for Dublin Visit

12th September 2013
UK Joint Services Sail-Training Craft Head for Dublin Visit

#AdventureSailing- HMSTC Arctic Express and Discoverer are a pair of UK adventure expedition sail-training craft (STC) for members of the armed forces who are to visit Dublin Port over the weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The vessels are operated by the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) which is a sail training establishment situated in Gosport opposite the Royal Navy's premier naval base in Portsmouth.

The mission statement of the JSASTC is "to develop the personal qualities essential to members of the Armed Forces through adventurous sail training in the Service environment".

The purpose of JSASTC is to develop the character and leadership qualities essential to members of the Armed Forces through offshore sailing in the Service environment.

The objectives achieved by providing Sail Training Craft (STC), skippers, instructors, engineering and logistic support and sail training courses is to train personnel of the three armed services so that they are able to support and ultimately lead, adventurous sail training expeditions in service yachts, both in UK and abroad.

An example of an overseas adventure expedition was the deployment of the HMSTC Discover that saw the 22 metre (67ft) sail training craft make passage from Halifax Canada via Greenland crossing the Atlantic to Iceland and Greenland.

From Greenland the vessel sailed to Norway via Jan Mayan. From Tromso she sailed to Bergen via the Lofoten Islands before finally sailing to her homeport of Gosport via Denmark and The Netherlands.

Published in Naval Visits
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Naval Visits focuses on forthcoming courtesy visits by foreign navies from our nearest neighbours, to navies from European Union and perhaps even those navies from far-flung distant shores.

In covering these Naval Visits, the range of nationality arising from these vessels can also be broad in terms of the variety of ships docking in our ports.

The list of naval ship types is long and they perform many tasks. These naval ships can include coastal patrol vessels, mine-sweepers, mine-hunters, frigates, destroyers, amphibious dock-landing vessels, helicopter-carriers, submarine support ships and the rarer sighting of submarines.

When Naval Visits are made, it is those that are open to the public to come on board, provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate up close and personal, what these look like and what they can do and a chance to discuss with the crew.

It can make even more interesting for visitors when a flotilla arrives, particularly comprising an international fleet, adding to the sense of curiosity and adding a greater mix to the type of vessels boarded.

All of this makes Naval Visits a fascinating and intriguing insight into the role of navies from abroad, as they spend time in our ports, mostly for a weekend-long call, having completed exercises at sea.

These naval exercises can involve joint co-operation between other naval fleets off Ireland, in the approaches of the Atlantic, and way offshore of the coasts of western European countries.

In certain circumstances, Naval Visits involve vessels which are making repositioning voyages over long distances between continents, having completed a tour of duty in zones of conflict.

Joint naval fleet exercises bring an increased integration of navies within Europe and beyond. These exercises improve greater co-operation at EU level but also internationally, not just on a political front, but these exercises enable shared training skills in carrying out naval skills and also knowledge.

Naval Visits are also reciprocal, in that the Irish Naval Service, has over the decades, visited major gatherings overseas, while also carrying out specific operations on many fronts.

Ireland can, therefore, be represented through these ships that also act as floating ambassadorial platforms, supporting our national interests.

These interests are not exclusively political in terms of foreign policy, through humanitarian commitments, but are also to assist existing trade and tourism links and also develop further.

Equally important is our relationship with the Irish diaspora, and to share this sense of identity with the rest of the World.

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