The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) is a charity funded to take disabled and able-bodied people aged 16 right up to 80 or even 90 years old out to sea for sailing experiences.
This is a short article on my personal experiences on the two ships, the Lord Nelson and Tenacious.
My first trip was a five-day trip for my 21st birthday which I was really excited about. I always remember my first trip; it was from Poole to Southampton for five days on Tenacious. We could not sail until the second day because of bad weather. At first, I was itching to get out sailing but then, when we were actually going out to sea, I realized there was a very good and valid reason why the captain stayed in port. Then I felt the nerves!
In October 2012, I set off with 39 other crew members on the Lord Nelson for a trip around the world. JST’s ships are the only tall ships in the word adapted for disabled use and it was decided to take a ship around the world to show other countries what you ‘can do’ rather than what you ‘can’t do’ even with a disability.
The first leg was to Rio de Janeiro. We stopped in Las Palmas and then sailed on down the Atlantic, across the equator and to Brazil. Crossing the equator is fun because you get gunged. People who have not crossed the line before are known as ‘Pollywogs’ and you are ‘punished’ for small crimes. I had spilt some water over the charts. You are found guilty by Lord Neptune and ordered to take the plunge! You are then designated a ‘Shellback’ and you can enjoy watching other Pollywogs waiting their turn.
I spent Christmas in Rio on a very hot beach before I left the ship and flew home. The ship then sailed to Cape Town – Durban-Cochi and on to Singapore where I rejoined it. I then sailed across the equator again, sailing to Bali, Cocos Islands and eventually Fremantle in Australia. Although this trip was not as long as the Rio trip, this time we had force ten gales and, at times, I thought we could have capsized. It was so rough we could not go to Christmas Island as planned and I was so glad to get to Freemantle. A special thank you to everyone at St Peter’s, Maer who prayed for my safe voyage – it was great to know people were thinking of me.The ship then went on around Australia to Sydney, where it took part in the tall ship race to Auckland. Then it crossed the Southern Ocean, taking a trip down to Antarctica before sailing up through Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil where it is at the moment.
I will rejoin in Recife in a few weeks’ time and then sail up the coast past the mouth of the Amazon, Venezuela through the Caribbean, Eastern USA to Canada where I have two weeks with my aunt and uncle before sailing back over the Atlantic via Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland and bringing the ship back home to Southampton for a big welcome home party.
Overall, the JST experiences have been fantastic for me; meeting people and seeing places and especially experiencing the round the world voyages. I have met some amazing people, including many injured servicemen as Help for Heroes has also been nominating people for these voyages, giving these men a chance to experience adventure at sea.
When I return from this adventure at the end of September, I would like to be able to share my experiences with others. I am preparing a number of talks and presentations suitable for groups and organisations. It might not be your greatest desire to sail the high seas, but you may know someone who may be inspired to enjoy the adventure. So, if you know of any group or organisation who would like me to come and give a talk, please let me know.
My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org or ring my mum, Elena, on 01782 68031.