While the world’s spotlight is about to fall on the inspirational athletes of the Paralympics, a group of disabled German youngsters are stretching their own boundaries by crewing the tall ship Tenacious from Emden to London as part of a special programme to inspire accessible sailing in Germany.
The Behinderten-Sportverband Nordrhein-Westfalen (BSNW), a regional member of the German Paralympic Committee, has organised the project in order to inspire inclusion in sport and more specifically to motivate sailing clubs to open up their facilities to disabled people. Tenacious’ young crew sailing into London will be made up of ten disabled and ten able-bodied to act as companions. On the ship they will learn about inclusion and team-work and after arrival, they will attend various events of the Paralympic Games. The project will be filmed and streamed on German television.
The tall ship Tenacious is operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) and is one of only two tall ships in the world, both operated by the JST, which were designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals. Special features on board the ships include wheelchair lifts between deck levels, a talking compass for the visually impaired and a professional crew trained in the techniques of enabling people of all physical and sensory abilities to join in such activities as setting sails, navigating, steering the ship and keeping night watches.
Dieter Keuther from BSNW says "Tenacious is unique! Our project 'Challenge’ promotes inclusion in sport and inclusive education. Tenacious and the concept of the Jubilee Sailing Trust are concrete examples for the realisation of Inclusion."
Tenacious will be moored in Wood Wharf (Canary Wharf) from 29 August to 2 September. On 30 August, the President of the German Paralympic Committee will visit the ship and its crew along with the German TV station that is covering the Paralympics. In the afternoon of 1 September, the vessel will be open to the public. Volunteers from the Jubilee Sailing Trust will be running tours of the ship.
The Canal & River Trust, the charity which owns the dock, is providing the mooring free of charge.
Gareth Stephens, Docklands harbour and waterspace manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: "Tenacious is a fantastic ship that offers a great opportunity to sailors of all physical abilities, and we are lucky to be able to welcome her into West India Dock all year round. We are delighted that this project to inspire accessible sailing and inclusion in sport has chosen this unique way to arrive in London, and we hope they enjoy their stay in West India Dock."