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Since its inception in 1978 the Jubilee Sailing Trust has strived to enable people of all physical abilities to sail. In the early 1990’s it was becoming clear that the mission was becoming increasingly popular. The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s ship Lord Nelson, commissioned and specifically designed for the trust, was unable to continue to supply the growing demand.

With this in mind Lindsey Neve, then director of the JST made it her aim to fundraise for the build of a new ship. A new committee was set up comprising six members of whom five were volunteers.

Tenacious at seaIn July 1995, the National Lottery awarded the trust 65% of the estimated cost of such a large project. Initial funding secured, the project got fully underway.

After extensive research and negotiations, the new ship committee chose Merlin Quay, a site that included an old office block. The site was renamed Jubilee Yard.

Now funding was in place, Tony Castro’s design JST/02 which took over 2½ years to fully complete (and at one point involved 25 people working from four offices to complete all the drawings), could get underway.

On the 6th of June 1996 HRH The Duke of York hammered golden rivets into Siberian Larchwood during the “keel laying ceremony” and work could officially begin.

tenacious bellThe timber frames used to construct the hull were first cut in Aug 1996, whilst work began on the old office block the JST acquired. The building was to be transformed into accommodation for volunteers who would stay for “Shorewatch” holidays and offices for the JST. During their stay volunteers of all physical abilities enjoyed helping the shipwrights in the construction of the ship.

Constructed upside down, the wooden hull was finally turned the right way up on the 23rd October 1998 in an extravagant ceremony with The Duke of York. The turning process involved fitting large circular turning clamps to the hull and took just over one hour.

With the hull the correct way up, fitting out the interior of the vessel could begin. Prefabricated sections were put in place, including the fixed bunks designed to be wider on the bottom bunk to enable wheelchair users easier access.

On Thursday the 3rd of February 2000 Tenacious was ready to leave the yard, and to a great many people it was an emotional day. Crowds gathered to get a glimpse of Tenacious as she saw daylight for the first time. Transporters drove the ship towards the barge which was to send Tenacious into her natural element. The following day tug boats took Tenacious to Vosper Thornycroft to have the masts and yards fitted.

On the 6th of April 2000 Tenacious was officially named in a ceremony attended by HRH The Duke of York.

Tenacious sailed on her maiden voyage 1,548 days after her keel was laid, on 1st September 2000 from Southampton to Southampton calling at Sark, St Helier and Weymouth. She has been delivering freedom, fun and adventure for everyone ever since.


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