HMS Chiddingfold and Penzance have arrived in the Gulf after a 6,000-mile trip from the UK.

The Royal Navy say here that the two vessels, that are replacing HMS Blyth and Ledbury, were at sea for two-and-a-half months as they sailed through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Bab El Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz before arriving in Bahrain, home for the pair for the next three years.

“Chiddingfold’s journey from Portsmouth was immediately stormy as the Hunt-class minehunter encountered foul weather in the Bay of Biscay, facing five-metre waves and wind speeds of 50 knots. Her 50-strong Crew 3 from MCM2 were relieved to finally see the Rock of Gibraltar, first stop on the journey to the Gulf, and time to meet up with Sandown-class HMS Penzance, who had sailed from her home on the Clyde via Falmouth.


The pair continued through the Med, stopping off at Sicily, Crete and Cyprus. Covid restrictions meant many of the pair’s port visits were restricted to the jetty. Once in the eastern Med, Chiddingfold supported NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, which involves allied ships patrolling the Mediterranean.”

The Royal Navy say that Chiddingfold and Penzance will now be forward deployed in Bahrain for three years, operating under the new MCM dual-crew manning model. During her time there, she will be involved in multi-national exercises, mine hunting, maritime security and wider defence engagement.

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Five meter waves and 50 knot wind in a minesweeper, I remember my time on the Helmsdale even on a flat sea the damned thing would rock and roll. The only ship I ever got sea sick on and that was on a calm day.


I bet there was a fair few Green faces in 5 meter waves!


When HRH Charlie was skipper of a minesweeper he was well known for having a fragile stomach. A rotten posting for the afflicted. I understand that he was presented with a toilet seat, suitably inscribed, on hid departure!


The Scillonian did it for me, due to her very shallow draught. All decks had people at the rails. Normally I can be pretty robust, but the bit between Land’s End and St. Mary’s – yuk!


What’s the major differences between the Hunts and Sandowns?


Numerous. HUNT originally built as minesweeper they still have huge winches under the aft deck canopy for the old Combined influence sweep. Built using old school hand lay up grp they where built as Non Magnetic vessels so the equipment onboard was non magnetic and hence V expensive! When the sweeper role was binned and they where retasked as hunters they had a sonar upgrade (to the already fitted Hull mountedset) and have recently had upgrades to the main engines with the old obsolete engines removed and replaced with Cats. They are driven by 2 shafts and props. They carry… Read more »


And the Sandown class grp Hull layup used scrim which is a vacuum layup method. It means the grp resin permiates all of the cloth and gives a thinner grp Hull but equally as strong as the older thicker hand layup Hunt hulls. It also alleviates any chance of dry cloth and possible Hull weakness.

I also forgot that most main machinery is double rated for quietness.


Rafted not rated…. Damn these sausage finger!!!


impressive and generous answers from a ….phone




I’m afraid that sausage fingers are a product of hard work for the hands. Mine are like mini blimps after years of sonar cable repairs!