Page 16 - MBS 2022/23
P. 16

WO2 (QMSI) G Laycock RAPTC
 After 18-months, and a failed attempt due to fighting in the West Bank, a crew of 6 departed Limassol, Cyprus, in late May en route to Herzliya, Israel, on a novel and unique AT sailing expedition.
The Crew consisted of 3 instructors (Lt Gen James Bashall, Col Neil Wilson and Mr James Hollands) and 3 RAPTC novices (Maj Reg Pierce, WO2 Graham Laycock and Sgt Kyle Joubert) who would use the AT exercise to complete their Competent Crew qualification. Conditions on the first day were extremely tough. Waves reaching 6 meters and a wind that rushed through the yacht brought a number of doubting thoughts to me as the expedition leader. Within 5 minutes of departing Limassol Marina I started to feel pretty ill and inside 10 minutes I lost my breakfast over the side of the yacht. This commenced the 30-hours of vomiting from all three novices. A small comfort was that all three of us were unwell with sea sickness.
With the high seas and a small 38-foot yacht, the crew were thrown around below deck when trying to administrate themselves. Bumps, bruises, falls and crashing waves soaked the crew time and time again. Working through the night in teams of 2, one instructor and one novice. Each team had a watch of two hours followed by two hours rest and two hours radio watch. Now - with the full crew feeling tired and suffering from seasickness - it was a struggle to get ready, put on the wet clothes again and make your way to your next stag.
The Israeli Navy became very interested in our vessel as we got a little close to one of their gas platforms. A platform that didn’t show up on the mapping charts or radar. With some diplomatic superpowers from
Maj (MAA) Reg Pierce trying to smile with rough seas ahead
RAPTC Crew before setting sail
Lieutenant General Bashall and patience that would rival the padre, the Colonel Commandant managed to appease the Navy.
The following day saw a new sun and the crew could admire their new bruises from the night before. At 1000hrs, just on the horizon, we could see land. A mere 3-hours later we found ourselves detained by the Israeli Customs as they searched our yacht and asked the purpose of our visit. Once satisfied with our visit and with the Embassy’s emails, we were free to get ourselves harboured and get our clothes and bodies washed.
After all the administration, we all sat for dinner in the Herzliya Marina and reflected on the first 48 -hours of the expedition and what military values crossover from it. To our surprise, many of the Core Values (and more) kept coming up in our conversations.
Resilience: Although the full crew felt unwell during the voyage, all members still made it to their duties and continued with tasks. With the instructors claiming that
WO2 Lemon’s headstone
it isn’t uncommon for those seasick crew members to hide away and not participate. The crew also continued to administrate themselves as best they could. Not climbing into their beds in wet clothes, ensuring they drank fluids and had small amounts of food, even though it would only be vomited in a matter of moments.
Courage: Through moral courage and physical courage the crew kept going. Not wanting to let each other down or allow someone else to do a task when they know it needed doing. Through strong self-discipline and loyalty, each member played an integral part.
Communication: Whether it was struggling through talking to the Israeli
    Members of the RAPTC at WO2 Lemon’s headstone

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