The Copa del Rey is a far cry from rowing across the North Pacific, but for Royal Marine Commando Dominic Mee this week's regatta in Palma is a vital part of his training for his next adventure - the first ever solo circumnavigation of the globe via the two Polar regions. Since joining the Marines in 1988, in between active service from Iraq to Belfast, he has excelled as a yachtsman, representing Great Britain at the very highest levels and embarked on a number of land-based expeditions, mainly in South America and the Arctic Circle and now he is training and preparing for the ultimate adventure called The Quest. Mee is scheduled to set sail from Exmouth next year on board a specially built yacht Execalibur and head south for the Antarctic - he hopes to complete the trip in 400 days. But while the yacht is being especially built, Mee says that they are not trying to push the boundaries of yacht design, “the actual voyage itself is a huge challenge for any sort of boat.” “It's going to take about 400 days. “I've got to go south first, but I've also got to get up north at the right time to get through the ice fields - so I've got to make it up to the North Pole, the Northwest Passage by July to make that weather window,” Mee explained in Palma this week. But why would someone want to embark on such a gruelling voyage. “Well, we rowed the North Pacific last year, me and a fellow Marine who I joined up with, Tim Welford, and that was a bit of a training exercise for this one. “It was incredibly challenging but at the same time we saw some incredible sights and scenery - it was great. “But unfortunately the end of the trip did not go to plan. We rowed from Japan to San Francisco and after four and a half months of rowing and 800 miles from the coast of America, we got cut in half by a fishing vessel, a big trawler. We only had 20 days to go. “The trawler picked us up, transfered us to a container ship and that took us to L.A.” “But it was an important voyage, a lot of it was about food, the right equipment, the durability of equipment so it was a great success in that respect,” Mee said. Living conditions on 28 foot Execalibur will not be as harsh as on the rowing boat. “It's going to be fairly sparse, but at the end of the day it's going to be my home for a year, so I'm going to make the boat as comfortable as possible. “A lot of people who go on expeditions say that they had to rough it, you don't, you make the best you can of it and especially as I'm going to be alone for a year, so we're going to make it as comfy as possible.” Alone is the optimum word here, Mee will not have a support vessel following him. “I wouldn't do anything supported, everything's got to be unsupported...” he says. “This is a hard core adventure and a world first, which is why I agreed to step in and row the North Pacific - I always try and do world firsts.” “The North Pacific row was the brainchild of Tim Welford, I stepped in and took care of all the sponsorship and navigation after Tim's initial partner pulled out,” Mee said. The Commando has been working on The Quest for six years, nearly half of his 15 years in the Marines. But when he sets sail for the South Pole, he will set sail, from civvy street - he leaves the Marines, after four tours in Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, the Balkans in November. But it was the Marines that taught Mee to sail and backed him when he was picked up to take part in the top level international regattas and work championships. In between active duty, he has trekked across the Sahara, searched for temples in South America “all, pretty low key, but I like to do some land based things and I'm passionate about South America,” he says. While the Copa del Rey is no great adventure for Mee, he's competed here once before, it is providing Mee with valuable training with regards to racing in light winds.

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