Lord Nelson, a unique tall ship, sailed by disabled and able bodied crew on a ground breaking voyage around the world, set sail from Durban for Kochi, India, on Sunday after a six-day visit to Kwa-Zulu Natal. The 55-metre square rigger is taking part in the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge, a 50,000-mile journey designed to promote equality and inclusion in every port of call.

Lord Nelson slipped her lines from Durban’s O Shed promptly at 1400 local time (1200 GMT) to a rousing send-off from supporters on the quayside. The tall ship made her way out down the channel to the mouth of the busy commercial port into the Indian Ocean in 10 knots of south easterly wind surrounded by a flotilla of yachts from the Point Yacht Club and Royal Natal Yacht Club.

Captain Barbara Campbell, 55, who lives in Scotland, is in charge of Lord Nelson for the Indian Ocean leg. She said that the upcoming voyage would be “challenging” and that the crew could expect variable conditions.

“It’s not going to be as easy to find the wind as it was on our first transatlantic passage. We had very strong winds sailing down to Rio [from the UK] but I think this is going to be very different. It’s going to be challenging and we are going to have to head south to find favourable winds,” Captain Campbell said in a pre-departure media conference.

One of the crew setting sail on Sunday was 26-year-old Nicholas Serra from Johannesburg. Nicholas was knocked down by a school bus on his way home from school when he was ten years old, which left him in a coma for 40 days and with long-term cognitive difficulties.

On Saturday Nicholas took some of his international crew mates to the rugby where his team, the Stormers lost to the Sharks at Durban’s Kings Park Stadium “It was quite funny because some of the guys needed me to explain the rules but we had an excellent time.”

As part of his pre-voyage training in Durban, Nick went aloft up up one of Lord Nelson’s masts. “We went climbing and my heart was skipping a beat but it was an excellent view from up there and afterwards I felt like I could do anything. I went to the front of the ship and threw my arms out like on Titantic,” said Nicholas, who has never sailed before.

The voyage is organised by UK charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, and is supported by international legal practice Norton Rose, which has five of its 42 offices in Africa, including Durban and Cape Town. Lord Nelson has been designed and built to allow disabled and able-bodied crew to sail alongside each other as equals.

Andrew Robinson, Head of Transport for Norton Rose in South Africa, said: “I am amazed at what the Jubilee Sailing Trust and Norton Rose have accomplished in this initiative, by affording people of all abilities the opportunity to sail the world, side by side, for a common cause and challenging perceptions about disability. As shipping lawyers, we are passionate about any form of sailing vessel. To be associated with one of the few tall ships left that still actively takes on the big seas and wide oceans, and one that has been specially built to be sailed by a crew of people with mixed physical abilities, is a tremendous privilege.”

During the South African stopovers, Norton Rose has developed its links with disability charity QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), invited a number of disability groups to visit Lord Nelson and hosted a number of functions to promote their support of the round the world voyage under the banner of “All Abilities. All Aboard”.

One of the crew members on board for the 4,600-mile voyage to Kochi is Durbanite, Thokozani Mthoko Deajay Latha “DJ”, a graduate of the Durban-based Sail Africa youth development programme. DJ is sailing as part of the 39-strong crew along with Wandisile “Wadi” Xayimpi, who will represent Cape Town charity, Izivunguvungu.

DJ’s mum, 47-year-old Dudu Latha stepped aboard the Bengithi yacht for the first time in her life to wave off her son on Sunday. “When he told me he was going to sail to India a month ago I thought he was joking but when he came home with the visa I was crying tears of joy.” Nobody in our family has ever had the chance to do anything like this before.”

The mother of six, from a township outside Durban, said that she hoped the experience would help her son realise his ambition of securing funding to go to medical school. “He wants to become a doctor and as today shows that miracles do happen.”

The Jubilee Sailing Trust has invited the two young South African sailors to take part in a leg of the circumnavigation in order to support the development work of Sail Africa and Izivunguvungu, both of which use sailing to help youngsters develop their confidence and self-esteem to broaden their horizons.

“I am so excited – I think it is going to be the experience of my life. Everybody on board is like a big family, everybody helps each other and they have made me feel really welcome,” DJ told a visiting group of disabled pupils from Durban’s Open Air School on Saturday, as he made his final preparations before setting sail across the Indian Ocean.

Six Grade 12 pupils from Durban’s Open Air School in Glenwood visited the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson on Saturday (2 March) to get a taste of life aboard the 55-metre tall ship, which was designed and built to allow disabled and able bodied crew to sail alongside each other as equals.

Noel Moodley, principal of the Open Air School, which has 283 students between the ages of 3 and 22, said that the visit had been inspiring for the pupils, who have a range of disabilities.

“The message of All Abilities, All Aboard is something that is very close to our hearts at the Open Air School, as our motto is ‘I can and I will’.

“This ethos is a way of life for our learners and for them to realise that this is also a reality on Lord Nelson makes them aware that dreams do come true.

“As they prepare to leave school they can take with them that message that their dreams can be made into reality. They came here today not only to see Lord Nelson but also to experience the All Abilities, All Aboard ethos, and they certainly did that,” he said.

Another highlight for the visitors from the Open Air School was the opportunity to hold the Paralympic Torch from London 2012, which is being carried around the world on board Lord Nelson.

Other groups to visit Lord Nelson on Saturday 2 March included staff and guests of title sponsor Norton Rose, the Port Natal Branch of the World Ship Society, and the KZN Orthopaedic Manipulative Physiotherapy Group.

The ship embarked on her 23-month voyage from Southampton in the UK on Sunday 21 October, riding the wave of success enjoyed by the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 9 December, before setting sail again for a second transatlantic crossing, this time to Cape Town, and a first-ever visit to South Africa, arriving on 2 February.

Norton Rose, which has offices in Durban And Cape Town, is supporting this unique global voyage under their banner of “All abilities. All aboard.” The international legal practice supports the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s values of diversity, inclusion and integration.

Berths are still available to sail on board Lord Nelson during the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge. No experience is required and a wide range of physical disabilities can be accommodated. Among the bespoke features of the ship are hearing loops, wheelchair lifts, integrated Braille instructions and speaking compasses. For more information visit www.jst.org.uk or email info@jst.org.uk.

Lord Nelson is scheduled to arrive in Kochi, India on 12 April 2013.


Notes to editors

Image: Sail Africa sailor DJ’s mum Dudu waves him off as he sets sail from Durban on board Lord Nelson. Credit: Shaun Holland

For media information contact:

Anna Wardley, media & public relations, Jubilee Sailing Trust

UK cell phone (until 27 February): +44 (0)7793 417754

SA mobile number (in Durban from 28 Feb – 3 March): +27 (0)74 6866045

Email: anna.wardley@seagrasscommunications.com

Candice Collins, communications specialist, Norton Rose South Africa

(incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc)

Tel: +27 (0)11 685 8630

Email: Candice.Collins@nortonrose.com

The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge

During her inaugural 23-month circumnavigation of the world, the 55-metre square rigger, Lord Nelson, will log four Equator crossings and visit 30 countries on seven continents. More than 1,000 people will have the opportunity to sail on the vessel during this 50,000-mile voyage. It is the first time that an accessible square-rigged sailing ship has undertaken such a journey crewed by disabled sailors alongside their able-bodied peers.


The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge route: Southampton (UK), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Cape Town (South Africa), Durban (South Africa), Kochi (India), Singapore, Fremantle (Australia), Melbourne (Australia), Hobart (Australia), Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Wellington (New Zealand), Nelson (New Zealand), Auckland (New Zealand), Ushuaia (Argentina), Antarctica, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Recife (Brazil), Halifax (Canada), Southampton (UK).

Lord Nelson

The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s tall ship, Lord Nelson, was designed to enable physically disabled people, including wheelchair users, to sail alongside their non-disabled peers as equals. Lord Nelson was built in the UK and first set sail in 1986. Since then she has been changing the lives of everybody who sails on her.

Jubilee Sailing Trust

The Jubilee Sailing Trust was founded in 1978 and was the brainchild of Christopher Rudd, a teacher and sailor who wanted to give his disabled pupils the same opportunities as able-bodied children. Starting with two non-adapted vessels, the charity grew and Lord Nelson, a custom built ship which can be sailed by a crew of 40, was commissioned. Since her maiden voyage in 1986, more than 10,000 people with a physical disability, including almost 4,000 wheelchair users, have sailed aboard Lord Nelson.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust also owns and operates a second tall ship, Tenacious. She is currently operating voyages in Europe.


Norton Rose

Norton Rose is a leading international legal practice offering a full business law service to many of the world’s pre-eminent financial institutions and corporations from offices in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Central Asia. Knowing how their clients’ businesses work and understanding what drives their industries is fundamental to Norton Rose.

Norton Rose lawyers share industry knowledge and sector expertise across borders, enabling them to support their clients anywhere in the world. They are strong in financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and pharmaceuticals and life sciences.

Norton Rose has more than 2,900 lawyers operating from offices in Abu Dhabi, Almaty, Amsterdam, Athens, Bahrain, Bangkok, Beijing, Bogotá, Brisbane, Brussels, Calgary, Canberra, Cape Town, Caracas, Casablanca, Dar es Salaam, Dubai, Durban, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, London, Melbourne, Milan, Montréal, Moscow, Munich, Ottawa, Paris, Perth, Piraeus, Prague, Québec, Rome, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Warsaw; and its associate office in Jakarta.

From 1 June, 2013 Norton Rose will join forces with leading U.S. law firm Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. to create Norton Rose Fulbright. They will also have offices in Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Pittsburgh-Southpointe, Riyadh, San Antonio, St Louis and Washington, D.C. With 3,800 lawyers, Norton Rose Fulbright will be one of the largest global legal practices, with significant depth of expertise in the world’s leading business and financial centres.

Norton Rose is the business name for the international legal practice that comprises Norton Rose LLP, Norton Rose Australia, Norton Rose Canada LLP and Norton Rose South Africa (incorporated as Deneys Reitz Inc) and their respective affiliates. www.nortonrose.com