A team of HMAS Cairns sailors, more accustomed to crocodiles than cardigans have surprised many with their performance at this year’s Navy Alpine Snowsport Championships held in the Perisher Valley, New South Wales.
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Chloe Huiskes proved the best beginner in the team of six sailors from Australian Defence Vessel Cape Inscription and was selected take part in a snowboarding development program.
Commanding Officer Cape Inscription, Lieutenant Commander Iain McCall, said he was proud of the team’s performance and that the secret to their success had been a healthy dose of humour, team spirit and self-belief.
“With no previous exposure to the event and a wide range of experience from beginner through to intermediate it was always going to be a challenging week,” Lieutenant Commander McCall said.
“Daily activities consisted of snowboard and ski lessons to get us up to speed, team bonding activities and challenges both on and off the slopes.”
The senior member of the team Chief Petty Officer Marine Technician Lyndon Quirke said the championships had improved the team’s mental and physical health and fostered team spirit.
“They brought not only our tight-knit group of sailors a little closer together but all of those who participated throughout the Navy,” Chief Petty Officer Quirke said.
The annual championships serve as a selection trial for the Navy Team, which goes on to compete in the Australian Defence Force Alpine Snowsports event.
Cape Inscription is one of two Cape-class patrol boats recently introduced into service with the Royal Australian Navy.
Combined with the Armidale class boats, the crews provide a border protection capability that defends Australia’s maritime security interests as part of Operation RESOLUTE.
Patrol boats contribute to the interdiction of illegal maritime arrivals; monitoring and compliance of fishing activities; and the interdiction of prohibited imports and exports.
Cape Inscription is manned by two crews - Port and Starboard - with one crew embarked and one disembarked for training and respite at any given time.