Navy Sailors Conduct Rare Tall Ship Training

It is the first time in decades Royal Navy sailors have learned the art of seafaring on a traditional tall ship.

Royal Navy sailors are learning the art of seafaring on a traditional tall ship, for the first time in decades.

During four months, junior sailors are crewing TS Tenacious, giving them an insight into the days of sail.

The vessel is running in and out of Portsmouth, with Royal Navy sailors performing tasks and duties Lord Nelson would recognise, including heaving and hauling lines, setting the sails, watchkeeping and steering.

For the sailors, time on board Tenacious is either a stepping stone to promotion or, for those undergoing training, their first time of living and working on a ship.

As well as the teamwork required to sail the ship, sailors take part in a series of planning and practical leadership tasks – under the supervision of the regular crew of Tenacious.

And in the evenings, sailors are encouraged to socialise, in traditional fashion, with the week culminating in an evening with home-spun sea shanties.

Sub Lieutenant Rory McMillan, from Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, said the training "brought home how challenging life would have been in the age of sail".

TS Tenacious is usually used by business and civilian groups, but hasn't taken anyone to sea since the first COVID-19 lockdown (Picture: Royal Navy).

"It's a great environment to develop leadership, as strong teamwork is needed for almost all activity on board," he said.

The use of the Jubilee Sailing Trust's Tenacious is helping to fill the gap left by the closure of the Navy's command and leadership school in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, due to the pandemic.

Commander Adrian Coulthard, from the Navy's training organisation, said the use of the Jubilee Sailing Trust vessel has allowed the Navy to continue providing "top-quality core leadership and team training in a maritime context".

"It has also meant we have been able to maintain our training pipeline throughflow while providing our trainees with early and very valuable experience – from maintaining watches to living and working in the challenging maritime domain," he said.

TS Tenacious is normally used by business and civilian groups for leadership training and bonding but hasn't taken anyone to sea since the first COVID-19 lockdown last year.

Patrick Fleming, Chief Executive of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, said his organisation was delighted to be working with the Royal Navy.

"We've seen first-hand how training aboard the Tenacious has an enormous impact [on] our trainees, building confidence and resilience – as well as an important, specialist skill set for a future in the Royal Navy."

Cover image: Sailors and ship's company haul in a line on TS Tenacious (Picture: Royal Navy).