UK veterans’ charity launches new sailing challenge

British veterans’ charity Turn to Starboard is trying to find 50 former servicemen to walk 2,000 miles from Land’s End to John o’Groats

A British veterans’ charity has launched a campaign to find a team of injured veterans for an ambitious 2,000-mile sailing expedition between Land’s End and John o’ Groats – and back.

Turn to Starboard offers a unique opportunity for 50 wounded or injured veterans to join the epic challenge of a one-way, two-way journey.

The Long Way Up will see a fleet of five yachts set sail from Land’s End on September 7, 2021.

Crew members will spend around three weeks at sea cruising the west coast of mainland Britain while learning to sail under the tutelage of professional instructors.

Turn to Starboard CEO and Founder Shaun Pascoe said the goal of the challenge was for injured veterans to “experience the therapeutic effects of sailing and the sea, meet people facing challenges similar to theirs, and gain valuable new skills.

“Crew members can choose to depart from Land’s End or John O’Groats for a 1,000 nautical mile voyage and enjoy breathtaking views of Britain’s rugged coastline. Each participant will have the chance to develop their navigation skills and skipper skills, learn about navigation, meteorology, safety and signalling.

“There is no doubt that each person will return as a competent sailor and have the opportunity to continue their training with the charity and present themselves for an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore assessment,” Pascoe explained.

“This valuable qualification enables the holder to work professionally in the yachting industry as a delivery skipper, on a superyacht or as a sailing instructor and is recognized worldwide as a certificate of competency.”

Pascoe said the trip would be a “challenge, as crew members will at times be tested with high winds, waves and varying weather conditions.” Yet they will be rewarded with spectacular scenery and the chance to visit some of the beautiful remote islands off the west coast of Scotland,” he added.

Skippers will break up the voyage with stopover anchorages and at marinas for rest days and to use shore facilities.

All places are made available free of charge and include three meals a day plus the loan of the waterproof kit and the lifejacket.

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No prior boating experience is required as all participants will receive expert instruction from professional instructors.

Spots are available for injured veterans, active or retired, whether they want to challenge themselves or just have fun on the water.

Launched in 2012, Turn to Starboard offers several strands of activities, including Royal Yachting Association (RYA) sailing lessons, family trips, tall ships and competitive racing.

A crew on one of the yachts owned by Turn to Starboard, the British veterans' charity

The British veterans’ charity Turn to Starboard offers free places. Credit: Turn Starboard

The British veterans’ charity has provided more than 3,000 sailing opportunities for injured veterans and their families.

Emphasis is placed on resettlement, reintegration and building a sense of worth and belonging for participants, as well as the opportunity to gain professional sailing qualifications to start new careers in the industry maritime.

The Long Way Up expedition follows two highly successful Round Britain challenges organized by the Falmouth-based charity in 2016 and 2017.

The epic voyages saw teams of injured veterans circumnavigating the British Isles aboard a traditional tall ship.

These two life-changing expeditions have helped many participants gain professional sailing skills and make positive progress in their lives.

For more information or to apply for a place on the Long Way Up Expedition, contact Helen on 01326 314262 or email

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