“It was fantastic that during her build so many people had a hand in making Tenacious what she is today. Since then I’ve enjoyed meeting diverse groups of people on board, with everyone, disabled or not, gaining so much from their experience.”
Peter Cairns was involved in the build of Tenacious, has been a Watch Leader for many years and sailed extensively with the JST, including on her shakedown voyage in August 2000.
“I was part of the volunteer Shorewatch team who helped build Tenacious back in the late nineties. Working with people of all abilities, we completed the basic jobs, to allow the skilled workers to do the technical jobs. It is fantastic that so many people had a hand in making her what she is today.
I remember the shakedown voyage aboard Tenacious. We left Southampton for Cherbourg with only one working head (toilet) on board and a plumber trying to install all the rest.
It was a unique voyage in so many ways. All the voyage crew were Watch Leaders – it was the most experienced crew I’ve sailed with and am likely to ever sail with. We only had one wheelchair user on board.
It’s true to say we all struggled with the voyage, particularly getting used to the ropes! The wind wasn’t strong – maximum force 6 but there was nowhere near enough ballast, so the ship was rolling all over the place and water was coming across the decks. More ballast (an extra 14 tonnes if I recall correctly) was added after the voyage.
I have spent most of the time sailing with the JST as a Watch Leader. I am very hands on and like getting involved, ensuring my watch gets involved in everything they can on board the ship. It is a pleasure to watch people do something completely different to their normal life. And I enjoy meeting such a diverse group of people, with everyone, disabled or not, gaining so much from their experience on board.
There have been so many memorable moments on board: helming through Tower Bridge, sailing from Southampton to the Canaries 96% under sail, anchoring in remote spectacular locations and meeting so many people on board.
Naturally, some of those people stand out. A young man, with cerebral palsy, for example who came on board with his sister. He was living in a care home and was extremely withdrawn. After five days we could not, nor did we want to, keep him quiet! I’ll also always remember the young woman learning to coil rope with her feet on the foredeck with exceptional skill”.