Former soldier prepares for epic sailing voyage
A former soldier with just one weeks sailing experience is set 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 2000-mile grueling expedition will see a crew of 35 veterans – many with little or no sailing experience – set sail aboard a 92-foot replica Tall Ship from Falmouth in Cornwall.
Yanto, 53, left the army in 1994 after serving in Northern Ireland, The Falklands War, The Oman and other theatres of the world with The Parachute Regiment. He was also a member of the regimental freefall team and took part in hundreds of displays around the world.
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. He said:
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, who has a grown up daughter and 12-year-old son, has had just one weeks sailing experience with 'Adventure Rehab' in Devon. He was inspired to apply to take part in the expedition after reading a book by a former paratrooper friend, who had lost a leg and went on to sail around the world. He said:
A few years ago I read a book written by a close friend from the Red Devils, Paul Burns, who was injured at Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland. He went on to sail around the world in a yacht race despite being disabled. I always thought that sounded like a real challenge, so when the opportunity to sail around Britain came up, I just had to take it. Who knows where it might lead next.
The epic voyage has been organised by Turn to Starboard, a sailing charity based at Falmouth in Cornwall who help veterans with physical or psychological injuries by taking them sailing. The 8-week journey is planned as a way to help participants gain new skills while highlighting the challenges veterans face.
Departing from Falmouth Harbour on June 1, the crew will circumnavigate Britain anti-clockwise, stopping at key ports along the route.
The crew are expected to experience physical exertion and sleep deprivation, while overcoming the psychological challenges of living and working in a turbulent natural environment.
The voyage will require hard work, such as pulling all the rigging and manning the decks,
said Yanto...
In preparation, I've been trying to get fit and focusing on my upper body strength.
Turn to Starboard founder and 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.
 
Yanto attended the Royal Masonic School for Boys at Bushey 1973-75 and when the schools closure was announced he was then sent to Bloxham School through the RMTGB. He joined the Old Bloxhamist Lodge in 1992 and he is the SW in Calthorpe Lodge. He is also a member of the Cherwell Royal Arch Chapter and several other orders.