The JST’s tall ship Lord Nelson has arrived in Rio de Janeiro and handed a London 2012 Paralympic Torch to a delegation of Brazilian Paralympians and dignitaries to convey the Paralympic spirit fostered during the London 2012 Games.

Paralympic medallists from the UK and Brazil visited Lord Nelson to celebrate the ship’s arrival with a mixed-physical ability crew who have sailed from Southampton, UK.

The ship is the first disability-accessible tall ship to sail around the world and the project is called the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge with global law firm Norton Rose as the title sponsor.

JST’s Vice-Patron Alexandra Rickham, who is a Paralympic sailing bronze medallist, flew from the UK to Rio to meet up with the ship and some Brazilian Paralympic medallists.

The British crew brought a torch that was used to carry the Paralympic Flame to London earlier this year and passed this to the Brazilian delegation upon arrival to symbolise the passing of the Paralympic spirit from the UK to Brazil in readiness for the 2016 Rio Games. To see some images of Brazilian Paralympians,aboard Lord Nelson, click here

Lord Nelson has arrived during the UKBrasil Season which is organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and stretches until March 2013. It showcases the best of British business, culture, science and innovation in Brazil by way of a series of dynamic and engaging projects and events. Upon arrival in Rio de Janeiro, Lord Nelson was greeted by several charities, including Urece Esporte e Cultura, Luta Pela Paz, Projeto Grael, which empower people with physical and sensory disabilities to participate in a range of activities and community schemes. The aim is that their visit to Lord Nelson will foster a sense of understanding and awareness of the inspirational spirit displayed by the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s incredible project, the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge. Since the ship’s arrival, a local social inclusion show has also been aboard for some filming.

“This pioneering crew has really embodied the ‘can do’ attitude which the Jubilee Sailing Trust promotes. It’s great that we’re being welcomed so warmly by Brazil and there was excitement on board when we heard that there would be a number of Paralympians there to wave us into port- we are really, really grateful for their support.” – Capt Barbara Campbell, Captain of Lord Nelson

Britain has a proud sporting and sea-faring heritage and the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge will highlight the ability of disabled people to achieve something truly amazing and create history as they become the first disabled crew to sail around the world. Crew member James Whale, who has cerebral palsy and has previously won two silver medals for swimming at the Cerebral Palsy World Games, has swapped his goggles for sails and has thoroughly enjoyed the first leg of this journey.

“The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge allows people with a disability to do things which they never thought possible – I’m now a sailing fanatic! The community on board is incredible; people with all sorts of disabilities combine with able-bodied crew members to sail the ship and the team spirit can create life-long friendships. These JST trips do give a real sense of achievement and I’d recommend it to everyone, disabled or not.” – James Whale, Voyage Crew Member

The JST is one of the few ‘disability charities’ to consider able-bodied people as equal beneficiaries. All voyage crew have their perceptions of disability challenged during a voyage, even those who believe they have an understanding of disability. Everyone is encouraged to focus on ability rather than disability; on what everyone can do rather than what they cannot.

No sailing experience is needed to join a voyage on the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge. The places, or ‘berths’, on any JST short voyage or ocean voyage can be paid for privately or alternatively can be partially or fully sponsored by a charity, a company, a foundation or a private donor. The opportunity to sail as a part of a mixed-ability crew can be a life-changing experience for disabled or able-bodied crew members, for those with vast sailing experience or those with none at all. There are still spaces available aboard Lord Nelson during the up-coming 10 day voyage in Brazilian waters and also the Atlantic crossing which will see the crew set sail from Rio de Janeiro and arrive Cape Town.

Global law firm Norton Rose showed its support for the Jubilee Sailing Trust by becoming title sponsor of this historic voyage. The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge will visit many cities in which Norton Rose has offices where the crew of Lord Nelson will receive hearty welcomes from Norton Rose’s partners and employees. Norton Rose has confirmed its intention to launch in Brazil in 2013, after it merges with the US based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski in June 2013.

“The London 2012 Paralympic Games were a step change for shifting people’s perception towards disability. We are delighted to be involved in a project that builds on that awareness and promotes integration. We have over 40 offices around the world – in many of the countries covered by the Challenge – and we will take full advantage of our geographical coverage to maintain awareness and build on the spirit of inclusion. Across the firm, we support disadvantaged and disabled communities, both financially and through our volunteering programmes. The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge will allow us to give a number of individuals, and their buddies, the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the crew of Lord Nelson.” – Peter Martyr, Global Chief Executive of Norton Rose