HMS EXPLORER is a P2000 Fast Inshore Patrol Vessel based in Hull marina for the dedicated sea training of the students that make up the Yorkshire Universities Royal Naval Unit (YURNU). On various weekends throughout the year including each Easter and summer the ship deploys for weeks at time with students onboard, alongside the five full time Royal Navy personnel that make up the ships company.
Between the 12th June and 29th July, a total of 42 students were deployed over five phases. This summer deployment was the climax of the unit’s calendar, putting the years training to use.
This year HMS EXPLORER, in company with HMS BITER and HMS TRUMPETER, headed for the Baltic. The first phase set forth from the UK across the North Sea for Kiel where they enjoyed the first part of Kiel week, the largest sailing event in the world, comprising of over 2000 ships, 5000 sailiors, 3 million visitors and plenty of German hospitality!
The second phase took over for the latter part of Kiel week before exploring the Swedish archipeligo. Navigation training formed a large part of the students’ itinerary, with the Scandinavian fjords proving to be an ideal place for this. The shore was almost always in sight providing a multitude of opportunities for taking both visual and radar fixes. The long fjords used to approach the harbours proved to be challenging pilotages with many legs; not just the two legs past the breakwater as found in the UK!
Phase three joined in Copenhagen, Denmark before heading north to Sweden and then Norway. Bad weather initially hampered their progress due to sea state with some sea days being altered to include more harbour training to avoid the worst of the weather.
These harbour days were put to good use to train the students in emergency procedures such as firefighting and abandon ship drills. During the Larvik (Norway) training day, the XO devised a challenging casualty evacuation drill which involved stretchering a dummy out of the ship, around a course and into a dingy.
Phase four took up the gauntlet in Oslo to bring HMS EXPLORER back to the UK; this included a brief stop in the German tax haven of Heligoland. The fifth and final phase saw the ship tasked with attending the Sunderland Air Show where the Ship acted as a Safety Vessel before returning HMS EXPLORER to her home port of Hull.
All those who took part thoroughly enjoyed their summer and the anticipation of another deployment in Easter will get them through the drudgery of university when they return to their studies in September.
Report by Officer Cadet Cameron Duffield
To learn more about the Yorkshire University Royal Naval Unit including how to enrol please click here.