Tall ship Tenacious sails into London's capital for event to mark Hilary Lister's latest challenge 28/9/07

The Jubilee Sailing Trust’s 65m tall shipTenaciousmade her presence well and truly known in the City of London earlier this week when, moored up in the jungle of high-rise building in West India Dock at Canary Wharf, she became a more-than-welcome added attraction to the financial capital.

This ship, designed by Tony Castro is one of the JST’s two tall ships which have been purpose built to allow people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms. Launched in 2000 she is the largest wood tall ship to have been built in the UK for over 100 years. And like the JST’s other ship, theLord Nelson,Tenacioushas wide, flat decks which facilitate access for wheelchair users, and has lifts between decks for those with limited mobility. There’s even a speaking compass to enable blind and visually impaired crew to take the helm.

The reason for the ship’s presence in London this week was mark the occasion of Hilary Lister’s next challenge. Lister, who made history by becoming the first ever quadriplegic to sail solo across the English Channel in 2005, and then sailed solo around the Isle of Wight earlier this year, is about to embark on her next major voyage – sailing solo around Great Britain.

Lister’s latest mission is scheduled to take place early next year on an Artemis 20 and although she is already well ahead with preparations she said she couldn’t think of a better opportunity for a ‘get-together’. Instead of going down the usual road of publicising an event such as this, Lister – not one for doing things by halves – laid on this tall ship voyage up the River Thames earlier this week for family, friends and special guests including Andrew Pindar who sponsored the event.

A cold, windy day with northerly winds gusting over 20kts may not have been ideal conditions to manoeuvre the 65m ship out of the relatively small docklands basin but the crew made light work of it and after a special, guest rig-climbing opportunity the ship was locked-out and made its way up the Thames to Tower Bridge.

The idea was to have the bridge lifted to enable the ship to go further upstream, but the ever enthusiastic Lister decided to abort that idea and head off downstream towards the Thames Estuary to give all those onboard the most amazing opportunity to experience a tall ship under sail and a taste of what it’s like to embark one of the many JST voyages.

The Trust, which is a registered charity, runs voyages throughout the year including Atlantic crossings and Caribbean exploration trips. To find out more about the Trust, the cost of their heavily subsidised first-come-first served booking scheme, and corporate sailing events, go to the news section at jst.org.uk. 

Keep an eye on yachtingworld.com for progress on Hilary Lister’s round Great Britain dream.