Lord Nelson, the tall ship owned by UK charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, and crewed by disabled and able-bodied sailors, has arrived in Williamstown, Vic, to take part in the Melbourne International Tall Ships Festival 2013. More than 15 Victorians are among the 50-strong crew.
The unique 55-metre square rigger sailed through the Rip this morning to make her way up through Port Phillip Bay and is now at anchor off Williamstown. Tomorrow morning she will come alongside at Seaworks to take centre stage at the festival and the ship will be open to the public on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Captain Barbara Campbell, said, “In Adelaide the ship was inundated with visitors, a complete contrast to the quiet of being at sea. Once we had cleared Kangaroo Island we set all sail and have been under sail for most of the passage to Port Phillip. We looked a stunning sight with all our square sails set; it’s a shame that the general public cannot see the ship under full sail at sea.”
Captain Campbell added, “All the crew, many who are first time sailors, look forward to our arrival in Williamstown where we feel sure we will receive another warm welcome.”
While Australians have sailed on board Lord Nelson on previous voyages, this is the first time they have been able to do so in home waters, as the ship makes her way from Fremantle via Adelaide, Melbourne and Hobart to Sydney on her inaugural visit to Australia.
The opportunity has been snapped up and only a handful of berths are now available on the voyage from Sydney to Auckland next month, however there are a few more places available on the New Zealand legs of the journey.
The ship was built to accommodate a wide range of physical disabilities and features include wheelchair lifts between decks, a speaking compass, braille signage, hearing loops and a bowsprit that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, so everyone can have their ‘King of the World’ moment. Disabled and able bodied crew work together in a ‘buddy’ system, supporting each other as they sail the ship across the world’s oceans.
Next month Lord Nelson will take part in the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review in Sydney. The invitation to the RAN centenary celebrations was the catalyst for Lord Nelson’s two-year circumnavigation, the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge, which aims to promote inclusion and equality in each of the 30 ports of call on the 50,000-mile voyage.