HotRIBS - The online RIB Magazine
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  # 039
Exercise Rigid Lion
British Army powerboat team
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rigid lion rib

Mark Threadgold



In August this year Radio Distributor, Icom UK Ltd supported the British Army Powerboat Team in the execution of their event called Exercise Rigid Lion. This exercise involved a team of 13 young soldiers attempting to circumnavigate Britain in two 6.5m Humber Ocean Pro Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs).

The project, led by Major John Winskill involved the team navigating and driving some 2397 miles around the coast of mainland Great Britain in 10 days. Icom supplied IC-M503 marine VHF Transceiver and DS-100 DSC safety units to both boats. This ensured that the team’s RIBs were able to maintain communications with each other throughout the duration of the exercise.

The radio fits would also allow the boats to speak with HM Coastguard and the emergency services in order to provide a high level of safety should an emergency arise.

The aim of Exercise Rigid Lion was to raise the profile of Army careers to young people in the UK by demonstrating the diversity of opportunities available to them in today's modern army.

The exercise also supported St Dunstans, the Blind Ex-Servicemen's Charity, with a

world record attempt by Mark Threadgold to circumnavigate the Isle Of Wight. Mark, who is totally blind, drove the Humber Ocean Pro 6.5m Rigid Inflatable Boat around a single lap of the Isle of Wight - a total distance of 57.54 nautical miles, and in doing so, set the Speed Record for an IOW Circumnavigation in the Blind Unlimited Class.

Mark was in sole charge of the boat with Sapper Steve Board acting as a safety supervisor. The record was achieved in a superb time, with Mark taking 1 hour 50 minutes to circumnavigate the course. That same afternoon the boats were involved in leading the Tall Ships International Parade of Sail from Portsmouth harbour into the Solent.

The crews for Exercise Rigid Lion were drawn from different corps and cap badges across the Army.

They included infantrymen from the Royal Scots and the Royal Green Jackets, Sappers from the Royal Engineers , vehicle mechanics from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, logisticians from the Royal Logistic Corps, military policemen and women from the Royal Military Police and signallers from the Royal Corps of Signals.