We were extremely sad to hear the news of the passing of the Hon Jacquetta Cator.

Jacquetta was integral to the formation and support of our charity during her 43 years with the JST, along with her husband and former Chairman Francis Cator.

Through the partnership between JST’s co-founders, Christopher Rudd and Dr Tony Hicklin, the JST was formed in 1978 thanks to the fundraising efforts and support from both Francis and Jacquetta. The build of the charity’s first pioneering flagship, the Lord Nelson, commenced in 1984 and the ship sailed on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Cherbourg on 17th October 1986, with financial backing and efforts from the Cator family.

In 1993, fundraising began for the build of a second ship, SV Tenacious, built of wood, with disabled people forming part of the build team, bringing ashore the JST ethos of integration.

The name Tenacious was conjured up by Jacquetta Cator – a title that would suit both her, the sheer determination of those onboard, regardless of ability, and one that would reflect the charity’s constant challenge to offer accessible sailing for all. Jacquetta and Francis sailed on the maiden voyage of Tenacious on 1st September 2000 from Southampton, 1,548 days after her keel was laid.

In her early working years Jacquetta worked as a journalist in West Hartlepool and county Durham eventually settling with her late husband Francis in Ranworth, Norfolk.

It was on the Norfolk Broads that the family’s passion for sailing was born.

In an interview with the WISEArchive, an oral history group in Norfolk in 2019 Jacquetta spoke of her connection to sailing.

“For Francis, sailing was the only thing that mattered. When he was a young lad his mother had polio and his father was away a lot through the war. I think he lived on the water.”

Several members of the JST have remembered Jacquetta fondly. Captain Simon Catterson recalls the time when Lord Nelson returned to Southampton from her round the world trip, joining Tenacious in the dock for a few celebrations.

“I was at the gangway with Jacquetta,” Simon says. “We tried to draw her over to Lord Nelson, but she politely declined, saying, “I’m staying here. Lord Nelson was Francis’ ship, this is mine, and I’m staying!”

Jacquetta’s tenacity, spirit and zest for life was something also remembered by Captain Darren Naggs.

“Jacquetta was a delightful person who was always full of fun,” Darren said.

“She meant so much to all the JST family and will be sadly missed. We will celebrate and remember her for her fantastic passion for life, and her unbounded enthusiasm for the JST and for all people involved. Everyone onboard Tenacious would like to send their heartfelt condolences to Jacquetta’s family and friends at this sad time.”

Jacquetta will leave behind a legacy of determination, which the JST will take forward in its ethos to make a difference to people’s lives.

As we continue to offer people of all abilities the opportunity to climb aboard Tenacious for an immersive sailing experience, Jacquetta will be remembered each time she sets sail.  The spirits of Francis and Jacquetta and what they gave to JST will never be forgotten.


Photo credit – Max Mudie at Tall Ship Stock