Saints and winners as St Albans embraces RN fitness drive on patrol in the Gulf

Remember Superstars? Giants from across the sporting world going head-to-head in a string of physical challenges from the 100-metre dash to weightlifting, cycling and canoeing.

Well, this is the HMS St Albans version – and a spot of skipping on the frigate’s flight deck.

Coming up to the half-way through a nine-month tour of duty, the Portsmouth-based warship has embraced the RN-wide Navyfit initiative to keep the 200 men and women aboard at the peak of fitness.

Despite a punishing operational schedule supporting carrier operations and conducting counter-terrorism patrols, plus increasing temperatures (‘only’ high 20s Celsius – it’ll be at least ten degrees when the deployment ends), personnel have signed up to a string of activities at sea and ashore.

On patrol the ship’s company have arranged games of bucketball, dodgeball, brighter cricket, a Superstars contest, plus swimming sessions in the Indian Ocean.

The varied options of Navyfit that are available ensure the ship’s company are physically and mentally sustainable for operations

Warrant Officer ‘Billy’ May, Executive Warrant Officer HMS St Albans

And when alongside the frigate’s rugby, football, netball, hockey and cricket teams have all taken on local or ex-pat sides – with considerable success.

The Saints’ golf team has hit the fairways at every stop and tee’d off from some of the nicest pitches the Middle East has to offer. 

And adventurous training opportunities have been seized aplenty: mountain biking, stand-up paddling, and dinghy sailing whilst others took part in a ‘grass roots’ ultra-marathon.

“In what’s been a very busy, diverse and high operational tempo in the first half of St Alban’s deployment, the ship’s company have epitomised the ‘Time For Sport not Time Off for Sport’ approach to physical development,” said Executive Warrant Officer WO ‘Billy’ May.

“The varied options of Navyfit that are available ensure the ship’s company are physically and mentally sustainable for operations.”