ALTON RESIDENT SEEKS DISABLED PERSON LOOKING FOR A NEW DIRECTION IN LIFE
A voyage with the Jubilee Sailing Trust will give one local person the holiday of a lifetime that could also be a genuinely life-changing experience!
Alton, 15th August 2012. Twenty-six years ago the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) built Lord Nelson, the first ever square-rigged tall ship designed to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals. Since 1978 the JST has taken 37,000 people to sea, 14,000 of whom had physical or sensory disabilities and over 5,000 of whom were wheelchair users. Along with their able-bodied counterparts they sailed the high seas, proving to themselves and to others that, given the right facilities, they can overcome challenges and learn skills that most people never experience. Sailing on Lord Nelson or her sister ship Tenacious allows every crew member, whatever their level of physical ability, to return from a voyage saying "I’ve done something that most people will never do!" and proving to themselves and others that disability is not a condition to be frightened of.
In October this year Lord Nelson will set off from Southampton to sail around the World, becoming the first accessible tall ship ever to achieve this feat. She will sail 50,000 miles, cross the Equator four times and visit 30 countries on seven continents. This epic voyage will be broken up into 10 legs and the whole voyage will last 21 months. The entire trip will be crewed by a mixed crew of able-bodied and disabled people, with 19 of each joining the small crew of professional seafarers on each leg. As on all JST voyages, every crew member with a physical disability will have a 'buddy’ who is around at all times to offer him or her help, support and encouragement throughout the whole passage.
Local sailor joining the trip
David Horton of Upper Farringdon near Alton will be joining Lord Nelson on the 4rd leg of her round-the-world trip, leaving late April 2013 for 28 days and sailing from Kochi in India to Singapore, stopping over in Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia on the way. David has been sailing all his life and has travelled regularly with the JST over the past 12 years, often serving as a Watch Leader.
"Over the years," he says, "I’ve had the opportunity to witness first-hand how for many people with disabilities or living with chronic conditions, learning to crew these amazing ships has been a genuinely life-changing experience, at the end of which they go home with a totally new outlook on life, equipped to face the trials and tribulations of their disability with renewed hope."
Among those David met on a recent trip were five young Coldstream Guard soldiers (all under 25 years old) who had all suffered severe bomb injuries in Afghanistan. "They had been flown back home and passed through Hedley Court and were now facing the prospect of life with new prosthetic limbs," he explains, "Their courage in starting their new life was the admiration of all on board and they left the ship at the end of the holiday ready to once again face the world."
Life on board
Lord Nelson has purpose-built facilities including wheelchair lifts between deck levels, a hearing loop, a speaking compass and hydraulic power-assisted steering. There is a fully-equipped sick bay and a full-time medical nurse in attendance, as well as a doctor.
David explains, "Lord Nelson has three massive masts and the most amazing set of sails that powers her along across the oceans. The voyage crew is split into Watches of 10 people, each with a qualified Watch Leader, and each Watch sails the boat for four hours out of every 12. Whilst on Watch everyone takes turns at everything - helming the ship, keeping look-out, helping with the navigation, sail handling, cleaning and helping in the galley. This happens throughout the night as well in the day but people get used to the routine pretty quickly," he says, adding, "The best bit is when you come off Watch and catch up on your sleep or enjoy the sunshine and marvel at the power of the sails as you sail silently along."
Needed: one travelling companion!
In addition to booking his own passage on the Kochi-Singapore leg, David has also launched an Appeal to fund a berth on this trip for someone who has a physical or sensory disability and he is looking for a suitable candidate from the local area to join him on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. In keeping with the JST’s ethos, David will act as 'buddy’ to the successful applicant during the voyage and he will also travel with him or her from the UK to Kochi in India where they will join Lord Nelson in late April 2013 and back from Singapore a month later.
The search is now on to find David’s travelling companion! Anyone who is interested in joining him on this adventure – or who would like to nominate a friend or family member to do so – should contact David care of the Alton Herald newspaper or by e-mail on email@example.com by 31 August 2012, explaining in no more than 250 words why they think they or their nominee should be selected.
Notes: Applicants must be 18 or over and have a physical or sensory disability.
Wheelchair users are actively encouraged to apply, but please note that wheelchairs should not exceed a maximum 66.5cm width and must be manual as the ship cannot accommodate electric wheelchairs.