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21 August 2017

Royal Navy CCF Section Floating Summer Camp

This year the Royal Navy section of our school CCF held their own afloat training camp in the middle of the summer holidays. Lt Cdr Mark Smith and Lt Laurence Mason, together with seven cadets, spent a week aboard two CCF-owned former police launches, Blue and Black Swan.

Having travelled down to Portsmouth by school minibus, the boats were loaded with provisions, and the various safety briefings and rope work practice were completed. The first night was spent alongside HMS Bristol, which dwarfed the 49' motor cruisers.

The following day, after a practice coming alongside against a friendly pontoon (with no other boats nearby), the team departed Portsmouth to head for Lymington where they would spend their first night away from base. En route they took the opportunity to perform a man overboard drill so that, in the unlikely event of it being needed, the whole crew knew exactly what to do. Later in the week everyone would get their chance to execute the drill whilst being on the helm.

After Lymington (which was voted to have the best shower blocks of all the marinas visited) they headed out of The Solent and on to Weymouth.

With the effects of wind over tide, the ride was not as smooth as the previous day with some crew members deciding that sitting out on the rear deck and enjoying the view was the best place to be.

Leaving Weymouth, the next morning saw the group make their way back along the coast, calling in at Lulworth Cove for lunch before spending the night in Poole. The following day was rather damp, but the joys of a large wheelhouse meant that everyone remained dry. On their journey across to Cowes everyone had their chance to practise man overboard drill and to try to stem a buoy. After the night in Cowes the weather improved considerably for the return to Portsmouth and a refuelling of the boats. The final evening was once more spent alongside HMS Bristol eating fish and chips and giving the boats a thorough clean.

Lt Laurence, who organised the trip, commented that:

“It was great to give the cadets the opportunity to have an extended period of time on the water. They were able to put into practice – in a moving boat – the theoretical navigation that is taught during the winter.

Additionally, all the cadets obtained the RYA Helmsman qualification, which is the first step on the motor cruising ladder.

I am delighted to report that they all enjoyed the trip and want to repeat it again next summer. I must thank the skippers, organised by CCF RN HQ, without whom the trip would not have been possible and who helped to make it such an enjoyable experience.

Finally my thanks to S/Lt Lotti Cargen, for providing the female cover for the trip, keeping everyone in order.”

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