Thank you Mavis Mackinnon, who is 70 years-young and from the Isle of Skye, for telling us about your time onboard Tenacious recently! 

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“I went on a voyage with JST on the tall ship Tenacious and it changed my whole outlook on life. It was the adventure of a lifetime. I’m 70 years old and never dreamt I would work on a tall ship as sailors of old. 

When I arrived on board I was introduced to my watch leader, Mike, who made me feel welcomed immediately. There are four watches that cover the 24 hour period. I was made to feel part of the team, sailing this magnificent ship, straight away. We were involved with every area of running the ship, the permanent crew at our sides. We hoisted and lowered the sails, we were on look out for anything that may be in our way like other vessels or fishing equipment, we helmed the ship, were on mess duty and scrubbed the decks, and more. 

It was amazing. I even climbed the rigging onto the platform and walked the yard. Wouldn’t have accomplished this without the permanent crew. The permanent crew help and guide us in all aspects of the running of the ship with care and kindness. Full of encouragement, smiles, laughter and patience. None of us will ever forget them.

What really overwhelmed me were the voyage crew who were disabled. They were wonderful and brought tears to my eyes. So very inspiring.

Bob, who was born with cerebral palsy hoisted the sails, was at the helm, he loved being on lookout for other vessels etc and letting us know if there were dolphins or whales for us to see. He also went up on the platform with his carers and the permanent crew. A wonderful man ready to do anything needed, so accomplished and confident.

Kate, beautiful Kate who is blind. She was exceptional. She went around the ship knowing it like the back of her hand. She did everything that we did, hoisting the sails, helming the ship with the help of a speaking compass. She too climbed the rigging with no fear and so quick. Just amazing. 

Helen, dear Helen, she has MS but that didn’t  stop her from running everything on the ship. She too, with the help of the permanent crew climbed the rigging.

Annie, she was in a wheelchair although not all the time. She was a watch leader and did all the work on board just as we did. She went up on the platform as well, with the permanent crew. A lovely, kind lady.

Gordon, 79 years young, He too worked on everything on board. He was, is, full of fun and entertained us some evenings with the tiniest mouth organ you ever saw. 

Watching everyone working together as a team really moved me. Affected me enough that I really want to share it. To let everyone know, whether disabled or non-disabled, lost confidence in life or fearful of being with people, this is where you need to be. Part of the team on Tenacious. She was built especially for this purpose to give new life and to find out just how able you really are.

I’ll never forget my voyage and the wonderful friends I made and so overwhelmed at how challenges were overcome. Thank you Tenacious and thank you to the magnificent permanent crew who led and guided us all the way.

I’ll always be so thankful I read a book, Erabus, that sent me looking for a ship to work on and I found Tenacious, and what a voyage of discovery.”