Lord Nelson is off on a groundbreaking two-year voyage teaming up able-bodied and disabled crew

To Southampton Docks in the drizzle where, on Friday, last-minute preparations were being made for a very ambitious circumnavigation.

This weekend the Lord Nelson, one of the Jubilee Sailing Trust‘s two tall ships, set sail for Rio on the first leg of a round the world voyage. This is the most far-flung and adventurous programme ever devised by the charity: the 55m ship will be away for on almost two years, and disabled and able-bodied crew will together cover 50,000 miles and stop at 30 different countries.


The photo above shows the charity’s vice patron, TV presenter and keen ocean sailor Peter Snow, introducing the crew for the first leg to Brazil.

The programme will include taking part in a tall ships race between Australia and New Zealand next year and sailing to the Antarctic peninsula under the watchful eyes of ice of her professional captain and ice pilot Skip Novak.

The voyage was launched by the charity’s chief executive, Alex Lochrane, who said: ”The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a unique charity. No-one else can enable disabled and able-bodied sailors to man a ship on totally equal terms.”

The ship, launched back in 1986, has special features and modications for people with a wide variety of disabilities, including those in wheelchairs. She has wheelchair lifts, joystick steering so that those with limited strength and movement can steer her, an induction loop and a speaking compass to help the visually impaired, as well as facilities to allow crew in wheelchairs to go aloft.

The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) is a fantastic organisation. The Lord Nelson and the charity’s other ship, Tenacious, are the only ocean-going tall ships in the world purpose-built to enable people of all abilities to crew.

The special thing about the JST is the camaraderie and understanding it engenders as able-bodied and disabled buddy up to help each other. It takes the special teamwork that you need to foster offshore and raises it to another level. I sailed briefly on Tenacious she was launched back in 2000 and it is, truly, a mind-broadening experience.

There are, incidentally, still paid places available to join the crew for a leg of the voyage. More details from www.jst.org.uk