Show me the way to Manzanillo – Naval officer Jack joins Spanish tall ship

Topic: Operational activityInternational partnership Storyline: People

Midshipman Jack Coleman enjoyed the experience of a lifetime when he joined the Spanish Navy’s tall ship on a training cruise in the Americas.

Named after the first man to circumnavigate the earth, navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the magnificent four-master is the third largest tall ship in the world and has trained Spanish sailors since the late 1920s, covering more than two million miles in the process.

Today it is home to third-year Spanish Navy Officer Cadets whose teamwork, seamanship, leadership, and defence diplomacy skills are all tested while aboard the 370ft vessel.

Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth has enjoyed an exchange programme with the Spanish Armada since 1996.

The officer selected for the exchange on the sailing ship is expected to participate in some ship evolutions, teach English language classes and generally act as ambassadors for the RN/UK/BRNC while on board.

This year that honour fell to Jack, who joined not just junior officers/midshipmen from the Spanish Navy, but those of Peru, Colombia, Thailand and the Americas.

He boarded the Elcano in Fortaleza (Brazil), then Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), New Orleans, crossing over into the Pacific via the Panama Canal and Manzanillo (Mexico), and San Diego.

“Being awarded the opportunity to work alongside the Spanish Navy and our allies on Elcano’s 96th training cruise has been a real privilege,” said Jack.

“I’ve had the chance to witness Spanish officer training at its finest under testing and difficult environments. It has been a pleasure to assist the cadets in building their English proficiency whilst constructing friendships and relationships which will endure far into our careers.”

And if he enjoyed the experience, the Spanish cadets also benefitted from the Brit’s presence aboard.

“Working alongside a foreign Naval Officer for a couple of months onboard Elcano has helped us a lot to be able to both learn about different methods used on foreign ships, and to show the unique aspects of our own while building a relationship that will surely last through the years, has made this a great experience,” said Guardiasmarina De La Puenta

Fellow Guardiasmarine Garcia-Amorene ESP added: “The time spent with foreign Naval Officer is an opportunity to settle close professional relations as we were involved in most exercises and formations onboard together.

“It has been a reason for strengthening our cohesion and cooperation during arduous events such as manoeuvring the sails from the bridge during rapid rain showers and storms onboard. The relationship that has been built will endure until future exercises in any sea.”


Being awarded the opportunity to work alongside the Spanish Navy and our allies on Elcano’s 96th training cruise has been a real privilege.

Midshipman Jack Coleman