Both able-bodied and disabled voyage crew will be sailing in to Halifax, Canada, this week in style – on the deck of an accessible tall ship.

The British tall ship, Lord Nelson, is currently sailing along the US coastline and will be arriving in Halifax on 30th July, to take part in the highly anticipated Busker Festival.

The Halifax International Busker Festival is the oldest and largest of its kind in Canada, and Lord Nelson will be alongside to join in on the celebrations (July 30th – Aug 4th). There will be an ‘open ship’ for visitors to come on board and see the unique facilities that make Lord Nelson fully accessible to all physical abilities.

The 55-metre tall ship, which is operated by the British charity – the Jubilee Sailing Trust, is one of only two fully accessible tall ships in the world and is sailed by disabled and able-bodied crew. Features such as braille signage, wheelchair lifts between decks and hearing loops, hand rails and a bowsprit wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, mean a large variety of physical disabilities can be accommodated on board.

Lord Nelson set sail from Recife in Brazil on 18th June and with a mix of nationalities currently on board including Spanish, Irish, Swedish, British and American voyage crew, there’s also Canadian Amy Derksen from Edmonton, who is sailing as Bosun’s Mate. “This voyage has been truly fantastic. I’ve never sailed in the southern hemisphere before, so to do a voyage starting in Brazil was truly incredible. I am even more excited about getting to sail into Halifax – bringing Lord Nelson into a Canadian port will be a wonderful experience! I’ve only sailed with a few Canadians in my three years of sailing with the JST, and I am looking forward to hopefully spreading some awareness of the Trust in Canada. It has been an incredible trip, and to get to end it off in a Canadian port is perfect.”

Captain Barbara Campbell says, “Halifax will be a fitting final port for our long voyage from Recife, Brazil. We have covered 4,300 nautical miles, almost 3,000 of them were under sail power alone. Our crew have had an amazing adventure, sailing the ship. Our port visits are very much looked forward to. Most of our crew have not visited Nova Scotia before and they are looking forward to exploring Lunenburg, Halifax and the surrounding area. We know we will receive a very warm welcome. Also on the 2 and 3 August, we will be open to the public from 1000 to 1200 and from 1400 to 1600. Several of our crew are staying to help with the Open Ship and they would be happy to share their experiences.”

Sailing fans will be impressed to learn that in February this year, Lord Nelson was the first mixed ability vessel to sail around the infamous Cape Horn, in southern Chile. Having embarked from her home port of Southampton in October 2012, on her first ever global circumnavigation – the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge – she has crossed the equator 6 times, travelled over 45,000 nautical miles and visited over 30 countries, all to promote the messages of inclusion and equality. Lord Nelson will be departing on her homecoming voyage from Halifax on the 14th August, arriving back home in Southampton, UK, after an epic 23 months away.

The ethos of the Jubilee Sailing Trust is to focus on what people are able to do, rather than what they can’t, and a buddy system on board pairs able-bodied and disabled crew during a voyage so they can provide each other with mutual support.

You can come and see Lord Nelson and her crew whilst she is in Halifax, and interviews can be arranged with the Captain and crewmembers. Please call the JST Head Office on +44 (0)23 8044 9108 for more information.