“When people step on board Tenacious and become part of the team needed to sail the ship, disabilities and disadvantages don’t play a part…it’s all about what we can do together”
Tracey Watson has sailed with the JST for 30+ years – as Voyage Crew, Watch Leader and Cook’s Assistant. She’s also part of the Jersey JST branch where she helps fundraise and raise the profile of the charity in her local area.
“Over 30 years ago, when I was 16, the Jersey Deaf Society asked me if I’d go on a voyage with the JST to ‘help test the facilities’ – and I’ve not looked back since. I’ve lost count of the number of voyages I’ve been on, having sailed with the JST for 30+ years!
I have been on board Tenacious in various capacities – voyage crew, watch leader and normally Cook’s Assistant. I undertake training courses for the new Cook’s Assistants and have hosted events on board – from open ships to fundraising events with drinks and canapés, to dinners on board too.
I’m also on the local JST branch in Jersey, where we focus on raising the profile of JST and help fundraise to provide as many opportunities as possible for local people to sail on board.
I have sailed to many places across the globe with Tenacious – from Jersey and local waters, to spending almost six months sailing from Costa Rica to Melbourne (and all the wonderful South Pacific islands – Bora Bora, Tahiti, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa…shall I go on?), to the notorious Southern Ocean, sailing Auckland to Falklands, where anything that could break, did! Apart from the spirit of course.
What do I get out of it? Each voyage and time on board is different! It’s amazing seeing a diverse group of people of all ages from all walks of life come together to help sail the ship whatever their ability. I love seeing the transformation in people. From coming on board not knowing what to expect and being a bit unsure, to then taking the helm confidently to take us in or out of port; watching the smiles and sense of achievement as people successfully climb the rigging; to being fully a part of the huge teamwork involved in manoeuvering Tenacious.
I’ve learnt from JST there is no such thing as “can’t” – if you really want to do something there is a way. JST has certainly changed my life – I doubt I would have progressed to do a Round the World Yacht Race!
I have so many memories from the many voyages I have undertaken. And whilst the places I’ve been to are fantastic, it is always the people that make the voyage.
Why is Tenacious such a special ship? She has already played a part in so many people’s lives and I believe it is crucial that Tenacious continues to do so for the next 20 years and more.
Anyone can take part in a voyage, and as I’ve mentioned, people come from all walks of life and Tenacious is accessible for all abilities and ages. When people step on board and become part of the team needed to sail the ship, disabilities and disadvantages are not important and don’t play a part…it’s all about what we can do together”.