French training flotilla visits Dartmouth

FS Guépard, one of the ships that will be open to public in Dartmouth

A flotilla of five French Navy training ships is set to arrive at UK’s Dartmouth harbour on January 20 while two of the ships will be open to public on Sunday, January 22.

During a weekend visit the French naval cadets onboard will have the chance to interact with their Royal Navy counterparts under training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC).

FS Lion and FS Guépard will berth in the town and will be open to visitors from 10am to noon and then again from 2pm to 5pm.

FS Panthère, FS Jaguar and FS Eglantine will berth at Sandquay. The ships are based in Brest and belong to the Naval Action Force.

They are used by the French Navy to teach practical navigation and manoeuvring to students at the Naval Academy and the Brest Naval Instruction Centre, mainly operating in coastal waters.

The ships have specific facilities on board dedicated to training, such as a lecture room and a second bridge, directly below the main one, which is used as an operations room and practical teaching room.

The equipment used by the students is the same as what they will find on warships as their careers develop.

During their visit the French naval cadets will be invited to take a look around BRNC, where they will meet the Royal Navy cadets under training and take-part in a sporting fixture and a debate.

The Royal Navy cadets will also have the chance to look around the French Navy vessels.

The ships’ visit to Dartmouth is part of the twinning agreement between the Ecole Navale, the French Navy equivalent of BRNC, and the Royal Naval College.

The twinning agreement was renewed by Rear Admiral Benoît Lugan, the commanding officer of Ecole Navale, and Captain Jol Woodard, the commanding officer of BRNC, during Rear Admiral Lugan’s visit to Dartmouth last November.

As another example of the close co-operation between the two colleges, eight Royal Navy Midshipmen, who are currently undertaking their specialist warfare training at BRNC, will sail with the French ships when they leave on Monday January 23.

The midshipmen will spend two days onboard the vessels conducting basic navigation training as well as taking part in man-over-board, fire and flood exercises, both day and night.

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