Southampton based charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, is marking 35 years of life-changing voyages in their mission to promote the integration of people of all physical abilities through the challenge and adventure of sailing tall ships on the open sea.
A year since she left her home port on a ground breaking 50,000-mile global voyage, the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s accessible tall ship, Lord Nelson, which is crewed by disabled and able-bodied people, has sailed half way around the world, carrying the Trust’s message of equality and inclusion.
The 55-metre square rigger set off from UK waters last year on the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge, the catalyst for which was an invitation from the Royal Australian Navy to take part in the RAN International Fleet Review in Sydney Harbour, attended by HRH Prince Harry.
The voyage will see Lord Nelson become the first accessible tall ship to complete a circumnavigation of the world, rounding both the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.
Lord Nelson and her crew are currently in New Zealand, where berths for a series of in-country voyages are being snapped up by people of all abilities, keen to take advantage of the ship’s first visit there.
Lord Nelson and the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s second ship, Tenacious, are the only two vessels of their kind in the world, designed and built to be accessible to people with a wide variety of physical disabilities. Bespoke features include wheelchair lifts between decks, hearing loops, an audio compass, which allows blind crew to take the helm and a bowsprit wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
The ethos of both ships is to focus on what people are able to do, rather than what they can’t, and a buddy system pairs able bodied and disabled crew during a voyage so they can provide each other with mutual support.
Jubilee Sailing Trust’s CEO, Alex Lochrane, says 2013 has been a memorable year for both vessels.
‘We are certainly marking JST’s 35th anniversary in a way we will remember for a long time to come. Lord Nelson’s participation in the RAN International Fleet Review was a real highlight. The reaction to the ship in every one of the ports of call in the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge has been phenomenal. Berths sold out in Australia, where nothing like this exists. It proves there is a real need for the kind of adventure sailing we provide.”
He continues, “Tenacious has had an equally exciting summer, albeit closer to home, taking part in the Rouen Armada, with the unique opportunity to sail down the River Seine, and competing in the Baltic Sea Tall Ships Races in Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Poland before returning to the UK and visits to Edinburgh and the Channel Islands.”
While Lord Nelson prepares to embark on the homeward section of her voyage around the world, heading for Cape Horn, Antarctica and Argentina before heading up the east coast of North America to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Tenacious continues to ply European waters, having just set off from Southampton for the more temperate waters of the Mediterranean.
A busy winter programme for the 65-metre square rigged ship will take in Lisbon, Palma, Barcelona, Genoa, Malta, Monaco and Gibraltar and berths are available for those looking to escape a British winter. Prices for the two ten-day voyages from Palma, Mallorca in November have been reduced to £671 each, while the berth fee for the 12-day voyage from Lisbon to Palma, starting on 6 November, has been halved to £497.
More than 37,000 people have sailed with the Jubilee Sailing Trust in the last 35 years, among them more than 5,000 wheelchair users.
No sailing experience is required as the permanent crew and volunteer watch leaders, all of whom have sailed many times on board JST’s ships, give all the necessary training and encouragement. The minimum age is 16 but there is no upper age limit.