A blog from Patrick, our CEO.

Following the very difficult decision the JST made earlier this week to bring Tenacious back to UK waters and cancel the early part of our Mediterranean programme, I want to pass on my sincere thanks for the overwhelming response of support and encouragement we have received from you all. Your love and affection for the JST and all we do really does make a huge difference.

The ongoing and ever increasing impact of the Covid-19 virus is making this the most challenging of times for humanity. We are all struggling to adapt to these extraordinary circumstances.

In bringing Tenacious home, the Trustees and I simply had to put the health and welfare of our staff and crew first. My onshore team are now all working remotely and will continue to do so until further notice.

That said, they and I remain constantly available and totally focused to ensuring that the JST comes through this to  enable us to continue doing the tremendous work that you all support.

For myself as the new CEO this has already been a roller coaster journey since taking over on January 1. The amazing support we received last year through the emergency appeal gave us breathing space to get through into 2020. We are are now working harder than ever to garner support for our mission.

One of the most curious parallels with the work of JST that the current crisis has brought about is how we all respond to enforced isolation. From the very beginning the JST has fought to enable people who have felt isolated or challenged in their lives to be welcomed into an inclusive world at sea.

Over the 41 years we have been going that has created, not just new voyages for existing and new friends but a real live and dynamic community of devoted volunteers who fundraise and champion us and also connect through community meetings and social media.

In the short time I have been in post I have witnessed, at first hand how that continues to grow on a day to day basis. As we are all being forced into smaller physical worlds do please reach out to the JST network and keep in touch. It is truly a time for togetherness.

The current virus crisis will bring funding challenges to us all. The majority of charities like the JST are small businesses that rely on the generosity and support of its donors, volunteers, supporters and friends. Without you all we do not exist.

I want to assure you that we have the drive and determination to get the JST through this.

Prior to the virus outbreak, I had started to imagine what we might do to celebrate Tenacious’ 20th birthday this coming September. As you will be aware she will be heading for her special survey in the late summer. That gives us the opportunity to look very closely at giving her the facelift that she deserves.

Obviously that requires not only hard cash but gifts in kind from relevant companies who can assist us in bringing her up to date by gifting practical things, ranging from the latest marine mapping technology to new marine white goods and of course, the professional skills to make physical improvements to the fabric and furnishing onboard.

During my recent visit to Tenacious, I started the process of building a wish list of the improvements that we would like to make. That is in its early stages but I will share it with you all when it is ready.

What I would say today is, if there is something you can do to support the JST, please consider it – because we know many of you want to offer support in so many ways. In the meantime, I would like you all to play a part in this by giving us your thoughts on all these issues by emailing marketing@jst.org.uk.

Those of you who have sailed on Tenacious will have your own ideas but I would ask everyone who has had anything to do with the JST to contribute thoughts and ideas on how we can improve all that we do to deliver our mission for many years to come.

In the next few weeks we will launch our 2021 UK voyage programme. That will give us the perfect opportunity to connect with our grass root supporters and celebrate all that you have brought to us.

In closing I want to share with you just a few of the amazing things we achieved on our recent voyages.

Since Christmas, we’ve welcomed five sets of voyage crew on board Tenacious and I’ve heard some incredible stories.

For example, Jamie, who has cerebral palsy and was able to swim in the Caribbean Sea in one of our specially adapted chairs:

Our brave five Help For Heroes veterans who are currently on board our transatlantic voyage from Antigua and are learning new skills.

Our incredible partnership with VMWare which took place in February, the fourth year of our brilliant collaboration.

Then there was the heart touching day we brought a group of disabled and socially isolated children and young adults from St Barts on board Tenacious. That amazing day resulted from a chance conversation with a guest at a dinner hosted by our great donor and supporter Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the Gustavia Yacht Club, It underlines the real gift friendships, kindness and understanding can bring.

In closing, my thanks again for all that you give and all that you bring in support, friendship and togetherness.

The JST community has never been so important – you are all such a great credit to what we do.

I look forward to receiving your thoughts and feedback.

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If you have any thoughts you’d like to send us, please email marketing@jst.org.uk