Former soldier prepares to set sail on epic voyage around Britain

Yanto Evans at the helm of the Spirit of Falmouth NNL-160516-130608001
Yanto Evans at the helm of the Spirit of Falmouth NNL-160516-130608001

A former soldier with just one week’s sailing experience is to make a bid to sail around the British Isles.

Yanto Evans, from Banbury will join a team of injured veterans as part of the Turn to Starboard Round Britain Challenge 2016. The 2,000-mile gruelling expedition will see a crew of 22 veterans, many with little or no sailing experience, set sail aboard a 92-foot replica Tall Ship from Falmouth Harbour in Cornwall on Wednesday, June 1.

The event is organised by Turn to Starboard, a charity based at Falmouth in Cornwall that helps veterans with physical or psychological injuries by taking them sailing. The eight-week journey is planned as a way to help participants gain new skills while highlighting the challenges veterans face.

Yanto, 53, left the army in 1994 after serving in Northern Ireland, The Falklands War, Oman and other regions around the world with The Parachute Regiment. He was also a member of the regimental freefall team and took part in hundreds of displays world-wide.

After serving in the police force, he went on to work for a private security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq and lost the lower part of his right leg after being injured in a live firing training incident.

Yanto said of his upcoming adventure: “I’m looking forward to the challenge as I’ve never done anything like this before and it’s set to be a great adventure.

“The voyage will allow me to focus on something new and it will be a chance to forget everything and achieve something different. If it also sets a benchmark for others and motivates someone else, that would be a bonus too.”

The adventurer has had just one week’s sailing experience with ‘Adventure Rehab’ in Devon. His inspiration to take part came after reading a book by a former paratrooper friend who, like Yanto, suffered an injury but went on to sail around the world on a yacht.

The crew is expected to experience physical exertion and sleep deprivation, while overcoming the psychological challenges of living and working in a turbulent natural environment.

Yanto said: “The voyage will require hard work, such as pulling all the rigging and manning the decks. In preparation, I’ve been trying to get fit and focusing on my upper body strength.”

Expedition skipper Shaun Pascoe said: “Yanto is a great example of how the planned expedition is already having a positive effect on participants. We’re excited to welcome him on board and benefiting from his positive attitude.”

To sponsor Yanto, visit