HMS Duncan on Her First Series of Sea Trials Off the Scottish Coast

HMS Duncan on Her First Series of Sea Trials Off the Scottish Coast

Sailors on HMS Duncan are enduring daily physical pain and exertion to maintain the new destroyer’s position as the fittest ship in the entire Fleet. It’s not just the Type 45 warship which is being put through her paces on her first series of sea trials off the Scottish coast.

Admittedly ‘best’ will probably be challenged by her five sisters as it’s a tad subjective…

But they’ll be hard pushed (literally) to surpass D37 when it comes to physical stamina and achievement: she’s officially the fittest ship in the Fleet.

Duncan’s currently undergoing her first spell of sea trials off the Scottish coast, but it’s not just the 8,500-tonne state-of-the-art warship being put through her paces.

Just one day after departing BAE’s yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde, where the air defence ship was fitted out, her leading physical training instructor was running the first circuit training sessions both on the expansive flight deck and in the more sheltered environment of Duncan’s rather large hangar.

“I’m really proud for Duncan to lead the Fleet table with 98 per cent of us in-date for our RN fitness test. These circuits, the first on board, will be really tough to keep us at the standard I expect,” said LPT Curtis Fleming.

“However, I cannot believe that the navigator has just beaten me at ping-pong despite him being on-watch all night and me in my bunk!”

Duncan currently has around 70 Royal Navy personnel assigned to her, with the remainder of the ship’s company drawn from the civilian world.

She’s completed her propulsion trials and is about to engage her guns for the first time – everything from the main 4.5in Kryten on the forecastle down to machine-guns – on the ranges of the Outer Hebrides.

The trials will also see her test her sensors and systems for the first time, before she returns to Scotstoun for further fitting out.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Cdr Phil Game, weapons engineer officer and the senior RN sailor aboard.

“I was the first person to join her. I saw her when she was just a shell and now here we are at sea, being thrown around a bit!”

A second set of trials will be conducted later this autumn, then a final stint at the BAE works over the winter, before the destroyer sails to Portsmouth around Easter 2013.

Once the Type 45 returns alongside, the fitness challenges go on for the Duncan team: PO ‘Wiggy’ Bennett has just completed the Iron Man challenge and is looking for his next test; CPO Jack McKinstray and PO Dougie Lunt are preparing for the Loch Ness marathon at the end of the month; CPO Emma Powell the Great South Run in Portsmouth and Wtr Megan Ryan the Great Scottish Run.

A ten-strong team including WO2 Robbie Robson, CPO George McCormick, PO Lunt, Wtr Ryan, PO ‘Hammy’ Hammond, PO George Young and LET ‘Paxo’ Paxton has also entered the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ – an endurance event featuring lots of mud, water, climbing and some 70 obstacles to overcome.

As well as keeping Duncan’s men and women fighting fit they’ll also boost the coffers of several worthy causes: the ship’s charity, the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice; the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity; and Macmillan Nurses.

Naval Today Staff, September 17, 2012; Image: RN