Trumpeter takes time for reflection and maintenance

After nearly 6,000 nautical miles, 43 port visits and countless students, Officers and affiliates taken to sea, it’s time for some maintenance in order to sustain operations for the next 12 months.

It’s been a very busy year for Trumpeter, emerging from refit in late February before a change of Command and then into Easter deployment.

Commencing from Den Helder she worked her way south along the Netherlands coast line conducting Maritime Security as well as training embarked URNU students.

From there we continued south towards Belgium, where port visits included Antwerp, Zeebrugge and Ostend. 

A night passage across the channel ensured Trumpeter arrived in time for Chatham’s Festival of Steam – conducting ship’s open to visitors, the crew and students hosted over 1000 visitors on board in just 2 days; not too bad considering her size of just over 20 metres!

From Chatham it was again south, but this time within UK waters –visits to both Poole and Weymouth were made before the grand finale – SQUADEX; 14 Ships of the 1st Patrol Boat Squadron, rendezvousing in the Solent over a two day period to conduct manoeuvres and ship handling in close proximity to each other!

Easter deployment complete, the crew rested and back at sea; it was time to head north, this time to Newcastle for a period of Operational Sea Training.

Under the watchful eye of FOST staff the crew were put through their drills, from man overboard drills, to engine room fires and floods, the crew certainly had their work cut out!

Assurance gained, the tick in the box ensured Trumpeter was safe to operate at sea, and as such deploy for summer.

A short stint on the East coast to start things off, the ship visited the little known town of Burnham on Crouch.

From there she visited Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth before another trip across the channel to Ostend. This gave the students the chance to navigate the ship in the busiest shipping channel in the world – one which they certainly relished. From Ostend in was once again into UK waters, this time the destination was Portsmouth.

Embarking up to 12 junior warfare officers each day, Trumpeter conducted a week of navigation training within the Solent.

Fortunately the weather allowed a circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight giving the junior officers the opportunity to experience the island from different perspectives.

Tasking complete and a successful training period conducted, there was no time to waste in heading south west for her next tasking.

This time the destination was Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth – the home of training for the next generation of leaders within our service.  The CO in particular noted the significance of his return, “There is no greater privilege than bringing your own steamer into Dartmouth.”

With a new set of cadets to mentor, basic maritime sea week became the focus.

Embarking 10 students each day, the training focussed around applying leadership in the maritime environment and getting the cadets to think on their feet.

From Dartmouth to Falmouth Trumpter met up with HMS Puncher. The time in Falmouth was certainly no rest though, the Ship conducted families and friends at sea.

Operating alongside HMS Puncher, both ships  arrived at HMS President on the Thames to assist in the Wrens 100 celebrations. As part of proceedings the crew took part in many excursions up and down the river, providing many visitors with an experience and perspective of the Capital that they will never forget.

Both the crew and students enjoyed hosting dinner parties, captivated by the sunset over of London Bridge.

Arriving in Scarborough as the main attractions of the dockside festival; taking up position outboard of Puncher both ships welcomed in excess of 1000 visitors over two days.

During the stay great affiliations were forged with local organisations and the Scarborough lifeboat service. Such a high profile occasion afforded the students the opportunity to organise, manage and deliver a comprehensive ships open to visitors event.

They did not disappoint, relishing the challenge, the visit was a great success for all involved.  The departure was magnificently concluded with a fly past of a WW2 Lancaster bomber.    

After a short stopover in Newcastle, she made her way to Edinburgh, taking up a prestigious position forward of the de- commissioned Royal Yacht. This was not only a great honour, it was an opportunity for students and crew alike to visit, understand and better appreciate the importance and romance of such a  iconic piece of naval history.

Embarking on our final voyage home, sailing past the Royal Yacht it would be impossible to imagine a more appropriate finale to conclude our deployment.

Shortly after returning from post deployment leave Trumpeter played an integral part in the high profile DSEI weapons technology event in London.  Offering limited spaces to visitor’s from all around the world to join the captain on the bridge, during the impressive and all action packed water borne fast boat and semi-submersible weapons demonstration.

Needless to say, every ticket was filled with extra shows and trips arranged to meet the high demand for the Trumpeter experience.

Shortly after London, the ship arrived in Portsmouth, shifting focus and quickly preparing to embark the latest group of potential P2000 captains for their practical training sea week.

A fully loaded period which is designed to push both the ship and the potential captains to the limit, included man over board emergency’s, navigational tests, fires, floods, ship handling, berthing and much more!

The week was a resounding success with all of the potential captains performing tremendously well, leaving Trumpeter brimming with confidence and expectation prior to taking up their own command appointments. We wish them the very best of luck!

Once back in Ipswich, there was little respite as preparations for the imminent Annual Slip and Repair Period (refit) began in earnest.

After extensive planning much of the ships ancillary equipment and non-essential items were removed before making the journey north, to South Shields prior to being lifted from the water to begin maintenance.