Building Lord Nelson

In 1984 work began on Lord Nelson and two years later in October 1986 Lord Nelson made her maiden voyage. Since then Lord Nelson has taken over 24 000 people on a voyage, of these10 000 werephysically disabled and nearly 5 000 were wheelchair users.

The JST grew from strength to strength, and soon it was clear that demand for voyages was rapidly growing and a new ship would further enhance the JST's mission.

Time for Tenacious

Launched in February 2000, Tenacious is the largest wooden tall ship of her kind in the world. Since then Tenacious has takennearly 12 000 people sailing of these 3 000 were physically disabled and1 000 were wheelchair users.

Are you looking for an adventure? Booking a tall ship sailing holiday with the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) will build your sailing knowledge and confidence. They own the only two tall ships in the world designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals.

Tall ship sailing holidays provideseveryonethe thrill and adventure of life at sea and youcanbe involved in almost every activity on board.

Back to the beginning

The JST is a charitable organisation in the United Kingdom (UK) that owns and operates two square-rigged three-masted vessels, the STS Lord Nelson and the SV Tenacious.

Based in Southampton, it is a sail training charity registered with the Charity Commission. Founded in 1978 with money from the Queen's silver jubilee fund by Christopher Rudd, a keen sailor, its aims are: "To integrate both able bodied and disabled persons through Tall Ship sailing."

The STS Lord Nelson and SV Tenacious are pioneering in the world of tall ships. They are the only two vessels that have been designed and purpose built to allow people of all physical abilities to sail side by side on equal terms. They boast eight wheelchair cabins with the remaining accommodation being provided by either fixed single bunks on Tenacious and traditional pipe cots on Lord Nelson.

Each year the JST takes around 2 000 adults to sea, both able-bodied and physically disabled. Each ship can sail with up to 40 voyage crew, half of whom may be physically disabled and are guided through each task on board by ten permanent crew members. The ships sail around the UK, Western Europe, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.

There is no recommended length of voyage for wheelchair users - though it is best to sign up for a shorter one first before committing to a longer one. There are some passages not suited for wheelchair users because of the potential of rough seas but having said that JST is allowing up to two wheelchair users on every leg of Sail the World.

Special features on board include:

Signs in Braille.

Lifts between decks for those with limited mobility.

Vibrator pads fitted to the bunks to alert people with a hearing impairment in the event of an emergency.

Power assisted and 'joystick' steering to enable those with limited strength, or movement to easily helm the ship.

An induction loop in the mess room to assist those with hearing impairments during briefing sessions.

Wide aisles below decks and low level fittings.

Guidance tracks and other pointers on deck to help visually impaired crew stay central.

Speaking compass with digital screen to enable visually impaired crew to steer the ship.

"Unwin" fixing points throughout to secure wheelchairs in rough weather.

Bathroom facilities include "Closomat" toilets (called "Heads" on the ship), shower seats and adjustable basins with lever arm taps.

Portable powered hoists with various configurations suitable for most transfer needs.

Adjustable height mess tables.

Specially designed and adjusted tools so everyone can take part (we even alter the scrubbing brushes so everyone can take part in Happy Hour!)

Take the helm, set the sails and keep watch, all regardless of your physical ability and previous sailing knowledge.

Rolling Inspiration's travel columnist, Mandy Latimore, sets sail from Cape Town and she will tell us more about her adventure in the next issue of the magazine.

James Pilgrim has interviewed two wheelchair users on board to share their experiences with our readers.

Would you consider sailing a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for people with physical disabilities?

Abi Bubb: Being on a voyage is one of those great experiences that could be described as "once in a lifetime"- with the added bonus of being able to do it again and again! I have now been on four voyages and every one of them has been very different.

Hannah Hutchings: Sailing with the JST classes as a "once in a lifetime" experience. Even if you are fortunate enough to sail more than once, each voyage offers a unique experience: seeing different places, sailing in various weather conditions, and of course, meeting different people to share the experience with.

How comfortable and confident do you feel onboard with the JST?

Abi Bubb: The ethos onboard and all the volunteer and permanent crew members is simply amazing. Their passion and ability to integrate crews of all abilities is fantastic. I have complete confidence in them keeping everyone safe and happy.

Hannah Hutchings: Sailing with the JST has made me a more confident person. Whilst on board you always feel that you are in good hands and part of a team. I believe that in this unique environment you are pushed (in a positive sense) to achieve far more than you would in your day-to-day life and this, in turn, allows you to carry with you a sense of achievement and newfound confidence, even after you have left the ship.

What are the limitations for those with physical disabilities?

Abi Bubb: I think the JST have done an outstanding job of making sailing as accessible as possible. I have been on other tall ships of similar size and I would struggle to manage on these ships. There are a few limitations but they are there for safety reasons. Assisting with mooring (you have to be able to more very quickly), climbing the mast (though it is entirely possible, it needs assistance of several crew members to help, so cannot be done when lots is happening onboard) and in some very rough conditions it is occasionally unsafe for them to be on deck.

Hannah Hutchings: The only limitations are those that you put in place yourself. Most of the time it feels - much more than in ordinary life - that anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Granted, there are some limitations, but they are not sought out and the knowledge that the JST has, ensures that everyone has a chance to achieve their personal goals.

How has sailing made you feel?

Abi Bubb: I absolutely love sailing and really enjoy the adventure and challenge of it. It makes me feel excited, happy, adventurous, free, and part of a team.

Hannah Hutchings : Sailing is a very liberating experience, away from your daily routine and in an environment where everyone has a positive attitude that encourages opportunity and achievement. I think that sailing with the JST allows you to believe in yourself more and in those around you too.

Have you experienced rough seas?

Abi Bubb: I personally love rough seas, it adds to the drama and fun! I have been in sailing rough seas a couple of times. There has been a few occasions where we've gone into port, or anchored somewhere sheltered to hide from the storms. My memories of the roughest seas were when we were in the channel in a storm. Lord Nelson was heeling (tilted) at about 30 degrees, and rocking on top of that! We went out to hand a sail and got absolutely soaked by waves crashing over the bowsprit and running down the deck and all the spray. It was very exhilarating!

Hannah Hutchings: Fortunately, I have not encountered too many really rough seas

Even when the seas are just a little more lively than normal, there is an element of excitement when it becomes an effort to simply remain standing still, or walk in a straight line, or even to not fall out of your bed! It amazes me how quickly the weather can change at sea. When the fog comes down it is even more surreal.

What about the plain sailing? Tell us about the perfect day at sea.

Abi Bubb: My best times onboard is climbing the mast and going out on the yardarm. Seeing wildlife-dolphins, porpoises, whales and sharks is also amazing. Its lovely to be sailing calmly along, but I also love a bit of rough weather. I also love seeing other people enjoying the experience, learning new things and seeing changes in the way they view their disability. The crew, the fun environment and the teamwork are huge contributing factors in your ideal voyage.

Hannah Hutchings: There isn't anything that can compare to being out at sea, with nothing around you but the sky and the sea. It is even better if there is a bit of sunshine and perhaps the odd dolphin, or whale! Being out on the bowsprit with the water beneath you is equally special and the sense of achievement you get from climbing aloft is hard to be beaten too. Watching the sunset, or the sunrise at sea is unforgettable.