Swedish EXPLORER - the small fast Patrol Boat of the Royal Navy Yorkshire University Unit, but for this trip manned by the Royal Navy Birmingham University Unit has reached Swedish waters on the latest stage of her summer deployment around the Baltic. The similar EXPLOIT of the Birmingham University Unit is currently undergoing an engine change in Portsmouth. The EXPLORER conducted a ceremonial sail past of the Swedish island of Hanö, once a vital base for the Royal Navy in the wars against the French Emperor, though a 1,000 miles away from the UK and a small barren island, it holds an important place in Royal Navy and Swedish history. Hanö acted as staging post for two years for the Royal Navy’s campaign against Napoleon two centuries ago. Hanö, not a mile wide, a little over a mile long, and home to just a handful of people. At the height of the wars with Napoleon, the Baltic was vital to British trade, and between 1810 and 1812 Admiral James Saumarez established the base for a British Fleet on the small island of Hanö, blockading the ports of northern Germany – under French control – and continuing to strike at Napoleon’s forces wherever possible. Fifteen British sailors are buried in a small cemetery at the north end of the island, and 40 years ago a large wooden cross was erected by their 20th Century brethren in their memory.
The EXPLORER will move on to Lithuania and Latvian before completing a two month trip. The EXPLORER started the trip by flying the flag for the UK in Kiel during the city’s annual sailing regatta, The EXPLORER was the in company with sister ship EXPRESS and headed towards the Swedish Naval Base of Karlskrona, nearly 300 miles away and passed close to Hanö, en route and it is a time honoured tradition for the Royal Navy paid their respects The EXPRESS was left behind for a spot of maintenance. Apart from visiting Karlskrona, the ship will visit the Swedish ports of Kalmar and Oskarshamn on Sweden's south east coast before a visit to Gotland.