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This story is from Mike from Wales, Watchleader and Bosun’s Mate, who has sailed on both Tenacious and Lord Nelson…

“Throughout my life I have had many experiences, discoveries and journeys which have been truly exceptional. Many of these have stemmed from being a part of the Jubilee Sailing Trust for the past 15 years. It has been an absolute privilege. The very ethos of the Jubilee Sailing Trust changes the lives of all who sail on her ships, Lord Nelson and Tenacious, for the better.
Mike Sailmaker 1

I am one of those whose life, just by sailing as a volunteer on the two ships, has changed in a positive way.

Years ago, I had never heard of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, but a chance meeting of one of her members promoting the ships at the Earl’s Court Boat Show many years ago, ended up by me signing up as voyage crew for a week in the Canaries on Lord Nelson. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the week soon went by and I was well and truly inspired by the tenacity and courage of the entire crew. After this initial trip I received a phone call from the office asking if I would be interested in a trip from the Canaries to Southampton as a Bosun’s Mate.

In my life I have served in the Royal Navy, worked as a Fireman and spent a few good years as a football scout. I have spent a lot of time with people that have inspired me with their bravery, determination and passion through these roles. Even though I have met a host of people from all aspects of life, nothing compares it with the variety of people you meet as a volunteer with the JST. Every voyage is so totally different in so many ways, so many different characters each with their own unique stories.

Over the years I have seen so many people whose lives have changed dramatically because of sailing with the Jubilee Sailing Trust. Everyone is treated as an equal no matter their disability. Some voyage crew on joining the ships for the first time feel a bit timid and lack confidence but on leaving have had an experience which has no equal anywhere else in the world. I have seen the way that the Jubilee Sailing Trust has given people confidence and a deeper sense of pride and I find it difficult to put into words how much witnessing this has touched me.

So what is my role as a volunteer? I am a Bosun’s Mate which includes rigging, repairing the sails, chipping, painting, varnishing, cleaning and whatever else comes along to help the permanent crew. Along with all the other volunteers on the ships Lord Nelson and Tenacious we help to keep the boat ‘ship shape’. We all volunteer for a variety of reason, but mainly because we all believe in the ethos of the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

Mike Sailmaker 3
Personally, it gives me an opportunity to be involved with an organisation which is unique in the world of sailing by helping to change the lives of the many who save sailed with us, not only those with a physical disability but also those who are able bodied.

It has given me the chance to spend time away from looking at the four square walls of my home.

It has enabled me to meet and make new friends which I might otherwise not have done, had it not been for that chance meeting so long ago at the Earl’s Court Boat Show.

It has changed my perception of those not as fortunate as me and changed my life.

So whatever path life has chosen for you, the Jubilee Sailing Trust has a role for you.

Mike Sailmaker 2

Photos ©Andy Scaysbrook

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