First of all, a heartfelt thank you from everyone at the Jubilee Sailing Trust. 

Since launching the Covid Recovery Campaign (CRC) in April 2022, an absolutely amazing £953,195 has been either pledged or donated from individuals, groups and organisations. There have been some incredible challenges undertaken, talks and events held, unique handmade items created and  completely new ideas actioned. Thank you.  

Your support helped deliver 16 voyages and daysails during this time, taking 507 people of varying ages, abilities and backgrounds to sea. It also helped the JST through several large-scale internal changes, the most notable of which being: the major restructure in late July; the placing of one of the JST’s two subsidiary companies ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Limited’ (JSTL) into administration in August; and the development of a new Strategic Plan. 

Although these changes might not be so visible externally, their impact is huge. The delivery of the JST today is very different to when we launched the Campaign in April 2022. 

Although this Campaign has now closed, please feel free to continue submitting your questions to covidrecoverycampaign@jst.org.uk  We will try to address as many of them as possible.

  • We raised £953k, not £1.2M. What happens next?

    The end of the Campaign was timed to coincide with our current maintenance period. The last few weeks of fundraising have meant we have been able to cover the costs of the statutory inspections required, which are in addition to regular monthly operational costs, although the inspections may highlight further areas needing expenditure. We’ve also been able to order and deliver essential parts and supplies to the ship, which our fantastic Permanent Crew and team of c.35 volunteers currently onboard are progressing so that we can still re-start our voyage programme on the 19th October. 

    Not reaching the £1.2M target means we will not be able to progress the larger items of work that we know need attention and had factored into the £1.2M: for example replacing the davits which lift our boats on/off our deck house roof (estimated to cost c.£62k). As always, our amazing Crew and Operations department have been working tirelessly to find alternative solutions to this, and several other items, in case we did not reach the £1.2M. Some of these solutions are short term, and deferring work like this is far from ideal as it may be that future costs will be greater, but we believe we have managed to do so in a safe and compliant manner that means we can sail South as planned. 

    Importantly, of the £953k, £127k has not yet been received as the funds have been pledged – some of which is expected relatively soon, however some may not arrive before Tenacious departs. We have also recently been notified of a legacy bequest that, although as yet unspecified, has the potential to make a huge difference to JST’s future. These pledged funds have not improved our critical cash situation, but have given us the confidence to progress knowing that this future income can meet repayment plans that several of our suppliers have kindly agreed to.

  • Was the £1.2M target exaggerated?

    The £1.2M was calculated to cover the forecast costs for the JST ‘group’ (two companies, and the JST charity) from April – October 2022. 

    We started the Campaign with a shore-team of 15 however now employ 8 shore staff (4 full time and 4 part time) following the departure of several staff members, and then our July restructure. Combined, this represents a monthly reduction in expenditure of c.£35k (note: we plan to recruit a 9th member of the shore team to assist with fundraising in the near future. We are also supported by a consultant who works equally between the ship and shore team on our IT and electrical systems requirements, whose costs are not included here). 

    We were also factoring in c. £3k/month for our physical office costs (which was leased under JSTL) and c. £5.4k/month for insurance and associated costs for Lord Nelson until JSTL went into administration on the 26th August. 

    Although these changes affected the £1.2M target, unfortunately several large maintenance items were forecast to be completed in earlier maintenance periods but were then deferred as we did not have the funds to complete them at the time. This includes (but is not limited to) repairs or replacements of c.£62k for the davits, c.£40k for floor coverings and accommodation refurbishment, c.£24k for our air conditioning system, and c.£17k for our running rigging. Inflation has also meant that several of these costs have increased from their initial inclusion in the £1.2M. Some items have been partially completed/are currently underway, however others have been deferred thanks to the resourcefulness of our Crew and Operations teams finding alternative solutions. We will still need to incur this expenditure in 2023 (or earlier) however.

    The urgency of the Campaign and the need to continue receiving donations remained unchanged throughout as, unlike previously, we no longer have overdrafts or credit cards to meet the cash needs of ongoing expenditure required between donations accumulating.

  • What have the CRC donations been spent on?

    Since meeting the initial £500k target in May, your generous donations helped cover the regular, constant, expenditure required for JST to remain operational and keep Tenacious sailing. This includes berthing and services, communications, fuel, victuals (food), surveys, insurance, and crew, shore-team, and contractor wages, travel and expenses. Following our restructure, and excluding rolling maintenance or investment, this now amounts to an average of c.£150,000 a month.

    The Campaign ended during Tenacious’ last maintenance period before she is due to sail South for the winter. Maintenance periods mean that, in addition to the relatively inflexible operational costs referenced above, additional funds are needed to ensure Tenacious remains safe and seaworthy, and passes her regulatory surveys so that she is certified and can continue delivering our mission. For this maintenance period we predict c.£35,000 in statutory expenditure alone, which cannot be delayed any further.

    In addition to this there are other items requiring attention that, although they might not stop us sailing, may cause larger expenditure in the future if they are not addressed soon. Costs for these items range from £350 – £62,000, and vary hugely in complexity and the time they will take to complete.

    Donations received at the very end of the Campaign helped us plan which of these items to prioritise, and which needed to be deferred if possible.

  • Why are you increasing your voyage costs?

    As shared in our organisational update on the 29th July, an increase in our voyage prices is unavoidable as we are unable to maintain the highly subsidised prices that we have previously been able to offer (on average, this has been between 40% to 60% per voyage).  

    This is due to costs rising beyond the margin for inflation included in our forecast expenditure. In some cases, our costs have increased by 40%. Fundraising has also become increasingly competitive and unpredictable, and we currently only have one active fundraiser in post.

    We are committed to ensuring voyage crew of all ages, ability levels and backgrounds are still able to sail with us. Bursary funding remains a focus for our fundraising team, and we are also providing resources to help voyage crew to fundraise toward the new voyage prices, which represent c.80% of the true cost to the JST.

  • Why was there such short notice to launch this appeal if the situation is as bad as it is?

    Since the pandemic outbreak in March 2020 we have been investigating many avenues to bring a sustainable future to JST. We won a high profile pilot charter with the Royal Navy to give leadership training at sea to their recruits and officers, sought support from the Government’s covid recovery grants, and the furlough scheme. Unfortunately we were not successful with government recovery grants as our application was not supported by the bank. We have pursued lottery funding, grants from charitable trusts and foundations, and individuals who have had significant involvement in our past, as well as looking into new sources of funding. 

    Sadly some of our donors, including those giving five figure donations and above, lost their lives to the pandemic. Specialist charities like ours experienced a general reduction in giving during the pandemic, as people rightly chose to support the NHS and most recently to the people of Ukraine. The growing increase in the cost of living has also restricted many people’s ability to have extra money to give to charity.

    A key negative factor has been the impact of the pandemic on our ability to deliver public voyages. When we sail we receive revenues from selling subsidised berths, which stimulates fundraising.

    Our income from both voyage bookings and fundraising would normally sustain our day-to-day fixed operating costs and allow us to prepare for both identified or emergent investment needed onboard Tenacious. Both of these income streams have taken a huge loss, making our forecasting unpredictable. Unfortunately the wonderful support we have received over the past few years has not been enough to meet the challenges we have been presented with.

    With very little bank overdraft headroom to support our known and unknown commitments, and an inability to restructure our financial position against our asset base, cash flow reached a sudden critical point which led to the bank withdrawing its desire to further support JST.

    In those circumstances it was imperative that we sought financial and legal advice through our advisers. The trustees unanimously agreed to make every effort to avoid taking our two operating companies into administration. 

    JST onshore staff and full and part time crew were consulted, and agreed to commit to work unpaid to try and redeem the position. The window to do this had to be short to avoid worsening the overall position, and to take place whilst Tenacious was in a maintenance period and before she was due to recommence her voyage programme on April the 22nd.

  • What was the financial impact on voyage income due to the pandemic?

    In March 2020 when Covid hit we had to bring Tenacious back to the UK instead of delivering her planned Mediterranean, Monaco, Cyprus and the Greek Islands programme, which had also included a high-profile series of fundraising events and opportunities. The cancellation of the 2020 programme meant a loss in c.£300k predicted voyage income alone, without factoring in potential income from the planned fundraising.

    Due to the constantly changing restrictions affecting the programme in 2021, the income lost was c.£400k. When we were finally able to sail, we did so at a reduced capacity (to allow for social distancing, and isolation if required), and our voyage costs increased by c.£3k a week due to increased sanitation protocols, regular testing and PPE for all crew and volunteers to ensure the safety onboard Tenacious. 

    The expected cash flow for the 2022/23 season will be less than advertised as we still hold deposits from voyages that were rescheduled or cancelled, and even some deposits dating back to 2019. Knowing that most voyage crew’s insurance policies would not cover the impact of the pandemic, we honoured these bookings and the majority have re-booked on to our upcoming voyages.

  • Are donations being ringfenced?

    The first £500k of donations to the £1.2M target were ringfenced, with the proviso that they would be refunded if the first target was not met.

    As we met the £500k target and started sailing again, further donations toward the total £1.2M target were not ring fenced as Tenacious was delivering her UK voyage programme, which is accompanied with continuous expenditure.

  • What will the immediate £500k and total £1.2M be spent on if you are successful?

    The first £500k allowed us to settle some of our key debt which would have stopped the JST from operating, paid unpaid wages, taxes, and an existing repayment plan with HMRC, covered known regulatory expenditure and ship costs (for example surveys and berthing fees), and offset some of our debt with our bank to ensure we could start meeting direct debits and other payments drawn from the account.

    It was also used to cover our regular monthly expenses, which include water, food, fuel, waste disposal and electricity for the ship, administration, loan repayments, and other bills. 

    The £1.2M total includedthe £500k, plus all the ongoing and previously listed known expenditure required to operate Tenacious and deliver our mission, to take us forward beyond the end of September 2022. It also included several key peices of qork and equipment required to keep the ship sailing. This had been calculated at £700k, making the total required £1.2M.

  • What changes will you make to ensure you will not be in this position again?

    It is crucially important to recognise the current exceptional challenges that exist nationally and internationally. The fact that JST survived the two years of the pandemic and the growing challenges of the high cost of living is a remarkable achievement.

    However, changes were evidently needed. We publicly announced a large-scale organisational restructure which significantly reduce our expenditure in July.

    Although we tried at to avoid this at all costs, when we made the difficult decision to place our subsidiary company ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Limited (JSTL)’ into administration in August. This meant our financial position has improved as our overall debt was greatly reduced, but, so was the value of our assets, as Lord Nelson was owned by JSTL. Tenacious is owned by ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Limited’, and was not affected by this change.

    Tenacious’ ongoing operational costs and the statutory requirements required at the end of her summer voyage programme remain unchanged, and so the need for the Covid Recovery Campaign continued.

    We are being supported by external advisers to review our business model without compromising our unique mission, and have created a new Strategic Plan that addresses our commercial and fundraising strategy. This will continue to be reviewed and adjusted as required. 

  • What has happened to Lord Nelson, could she have been sold to raise funds?

    Lord Nelson was berthed in Bristol following her decommissioning in late 2019, and then moved to Barry in 2022. We investigated options to use her as an alongside asset to our mission, but were not able to find any options that we would have been able to afford to deliver. At the start of 2020 there were several parties interested in buying her, with one looking very promising, however unfortunately the pandemic outbreak meant the prospective buyer was no longer able to commit to her purchase.

    Despite great efforts to sell her, we were unable to do so in a timeframe that would have appeased our creditors, the majority of whom were owed money from our subsidiary company, ‘Jubilee Sailing Trust Limited (JSTL)’, which owned Lord Nelson (but not Tenacious).

    Unfortunately one of these creditors threatened legal proceedings to reclaim their monies owed, and we were forced to put the subsidiary company into administration.

    Lord Nelson’s sale is now in the hands of the administrators, and the funds from her sale will be used to repay the JSTL creditors.

  • How much of the funds raised by the CRC was paid into the company that later went into administration (JSTL)?

    Tenacious’ operating costs were prioritised throughout the Campaign as we hoped to find a purchaser for Lord Nelson, meaning funds from her sale would address a large proportion of our debt repayment. After paying our ship and shore teams (who were at the time paid by JSTL), c.£32k was paid to JSTL creditors after we reached the initial £500k target. This figure included insurance and associated costs to keep her berthed safely during this period.

  • What is your shore team size and structure?

    ***Response updated August 2022 to reflect organisational changes and a reduction in shore-based personnel.***

    The JST’s shore team has reduced from 30, pre-2019 appeal, to a total of 4 part time and 4 full time members, one of whom is on maternity leave. Of these, our Executive Team now consists of our Operations Director, Head of Commercial Income, and Head of Fundraising. Both our ship and shore teams are supported by our Electrical Technical Officer when needed, who is also listed on our ‘meet the on shore team‘ page.   

    In 2021 we moved away from fixed offices in London and Southampton. We now run as a virtual organisation, utilising cloud-based storage, collaborative online-working tools, and a digital phone service (our registered address in Southampton is a secure handling facility that means we can still safely receive donations or parcels by post). 

    All our Trustees, including our Chair, are volunteers and are not paid. Our salary information and any expenses claimed by Trustees are published in our Annual Reports, registered with the Charity Commission, and can be publicly viewed online here, although these will reflect the previous orgianisational structure until we submit accounts for this period. No one at the JST receives bonuses and commission. 

  • Why have you closed the campaign’s main fundraising platform (Enthuse) and switched to a different one?

    Due to the short notice of the appeal launch, we needed to use existing platforms already set up so that our supporters could make donations quickly and securely. Enthuse is a popular online  platform that enables fundraising for different campaigns, meaning we could clearly distinguish all donations made to the covid recovery campaign vs previous/existing fundraising support. We also needed to use a platform that would be able to refund donors on our behalf should we be unsuccessful. 

    Now we have been able to continue operating (as per our update on 19/4/2022), we have closed the Enthuse campaign page and switched to a donation form on our website.

    The new form is secure submission and is handled by Stripe for card payments. It means that we will receive 100% of your support, with only standard card handling fees applied. We have previously used website forms like this when fundraising for our ‘Pulling Together’ appeal and other online campaigns. The form also integrates into our main databases, reducing the time spent processing your kind donations.

  • What did you do with the funds raised in your 2019 ‘Emergency Appeal’, and why did you decommission Lord Nelson even though you were successful in raising your £1.2M target?

    The amazing £1.2M raised in one week in July 2019 ensured that the JST survived, and was able to continue operating and delivering our mission. The funds allowed us to do this, to honour our voyage programme and bookings on both ships for the rest of that year, as well as to make repayments to our trade creditors (debts owed). We consulted with our financial advisors and underwent a significant restructure. To halve the significant operating costs of two ships we decommissioned STS Lord Nelson, the first tall ship in the world built so that disabled and non-disabled people could sail together. The difficult decision to move down to a single ship came following extensive discussion about options for reducing the financial risks in our model and against latest forecasts for the current and following financial year.

    Whilst both ships held loyal followings as shown by feedback from our voyage crew and supporters, we chose to decommission Lord Nelson rather than Tenacious for several reasons, including: Tenacious’ larger capacity for beneficiaries (voyage crew); her more modern accommodation, layout and equipment; upcoming large-scale regulatory works for both ships requiring new machinery (e.g. engines and generators) which would have brought various operating costs to a similar level to Lord Nelson’s, had she remained in commission, and; Tenacious’ higher asset value (£3.5M, versus Lord Nelson’s £1.2M). 

    It is without doubt that the decisions made following the 2019 appeal placed JST in a much stronger financial position to weather the completely unpredictable events to come in 2020 through to 2022, as well as the major undertaking of our c.£650k regulatory five year Tenacious special survey in 2021.

JST

JST