A FEARLESS RAF serviceman has set out on a daring 1,500 mile sailing trip up the Eastern Seaboard of the USA from Miami to New York.

Neil Robinson, 28, of Old Town, has described himself as “very lucky” at having been selected to represent the RAF in training mission Exercise Transglobe.

Neil, who only began sailing last year, is an RAF Logistics Mover based at Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, and after meeting his crew in Portsmouth for the first time on Saturday he made the nine hour flight to Miami the following day.

Neil said: “The aim is to sail into New York harbour at the end of June and moor in New Jersey, within close proximity to the Statue of Liberty. I have been to New York three times before but I am looking forward to sailing the 1,500 miles to then be rewarded by the sight of sailing past the Statue of Liberty at the end.”

The trip, which is funded by the RAF Sports Lottery, is expected to last around three weeks with stops along the way at such famous sites as Cape Canaveral, Charleston and Little Creek.

“It is going to be challenging, but very rewarding. I have never done anything like this before,” said Neil. “I am used to being on dry land or in the air with the RAF. It is going to be outside of my comfort zone. I have the motion sickness tablets packed.”

He will be sailing with a team of 11 others on an RAF/Royal Navy 72ft Challenger Yacht and has been selected as the boat’s media rep, keeping everyone back home updated on the crew’s progress via social media.

Neil said: “I am here to challenge and push myself to the extreme. To combine the RAF, with my new found hobby, sailing, alongside one of my favourite countries, the United States, is going to be awesome and a dream come true.”

Exercise Transglobe is part of a training mission for members of the armed forces designed to develop their professional skills.

It began last July and consists of 13 different stages, with Neil’s team taking over at the 11th stage.

A total of 392 servicemen and women are involved altogether.

Neil said: “It is going to be a very interesting journey for me. While we are sailing up the Atlantic towards New York, a lot of things will be happening back home, such as Armed Forces Day and the EU Referendum. We plan to mark these events in the States ourselves, either on dry land or from the boat.

“It’s going to be wet, uncomfortable and cramped but these are conditions we are trained to deal with in the RAF so I am hoping to just get on with it and have a good experience at the end of it. I love NY, the military and sailing so to combine these three things excite me.”

Neil’s progress can be tracked on the Yellow Brick Races App or via the website: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/transglobe