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Naval explorers off to the Antarctic

Naval explorers off to the Antarctic
13 January 2016
A team of Naval adventurers are embarking on the journey of a lifetime that will test their grit, determination and leadership as they follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Departing today, 11 Service participants from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will undertake a six week expedition to the Antarctic and South Georgia – a century after Shackleton’s extraordinary recovery from the Weddell Sea.

The aim of Exercise Antarctic Endurance (AE16) is to inspire a new generation of sailors and marines to seek adventure but will also provide the Navy and Ministry of Defence with research into team dynamics and leadership.

Heading up the team is Royal Navy Commander Tim Winter, from Norwich, a highly experienced sailor with a passion for adventure.

This expedition is going to be a unique experience of the Antarctic environment, an unparalleled physical and mental challenge

Major Tony Lancashire RM

It will be his role to ensure the safety of the team working alongside several mountaineers, adventurers and cold weather experts.

The 48-year-old father of two said: “As the expedition leader, I’m ultimately responsible for ensuring everyone completes the expedition successfully and that we deliver some meaningful research results. 

“My personal goal is to experience sailing in Antarctic waters, step foot in Antarctica and South Georgia and visit some of the battle fields in the Falklands. 

“As with any expedition, I want to come away with some good friendships and have already made a start on this and also discovered that mountaineering is quite awe-inspiring.”

The journey will begin and end in the Falklands having travelled through the Weddell Sea, landed on the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, and Elephant Island, before sending a team overland from King Haakon Bay to Stromness, in South Georgia – the same route travelled by Shackleton and his companions 100 years ago.

Along with research into team dynamics and leadership; data will also be collected on climate, environment and hydrography on behalf of British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge and Plymouth Universities and the UK Hydrographic Office.

Helping lead the team is Royal Marines Officer, Major Tony Lancashire, from Winchester.

The 42-year-old, who is a keen mountaineer and explorer, has climbed and sailed in the Arctic and also sailed through Canada’s Northwest Passage in a 17ft boat.

He said: “This expedition is going to be a unique experience of the Antarctic environment, an unparalleled physical and mental challenge, and an incredible adventure in the company of a very special team.”

The 11 Service participants are made up of qualified and experienced sailors and mountaineers, with six of them in the first five years of their careers.

On the team is Royal Navy engineer Sub Lieutenant Emily Kutarski, who works onboard a Type 45 destroyer and is the only female on the team.

The 29-year-old, who was born in Hong Kong to a military family, joined Royal Navy two years ago with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

She added: “By taking part in this expedition I will have achieved a long held ambition of visiting Antarctica, and walking in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton.

“During the expedition I’m looking forward to building on the new skills I’ve learned during the training and selection process and hope that my actions will inspire other girls to get out exploring.”

The team are due to sail from Port Stanley, in the Falklands, on January 20.

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