Britain's accessible tall ship Lord Nelson has departed Sydney Harbour bound for Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of a highly successful inaugural visit to Australia.
Lord Nelson and Sydney Harbour Bridge
The 55-metre square rigged vessel, owned by UK charity, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, is crewed by disabled and able bodied people alike, thanks to simple but effective features in the design of the ship, including a speaking compass, braille signage, hearing loops, wheelchair lifts between decks and a bowsprit wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair so every crew member can have their ‘King of the World’ moment.
Lord Nelson is now en route to Auckland having led the fleet across the start line today for the Tall Ships Race from Sydney to New Zealand’s City of Sails.
She proved a huge hit with Australian visitors during port visits to Fremantle, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney, where she represented UK tall ships at last weekend’s Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review attended by HRH Prince Harry.
This will be the first visit to New Zealand for the ship and Lord Nelson is due to arrive in Auckland on 25 October, and will be open to the public on 26 and 27 October while she is berthed with the rest of the international tall ships fleet at Queens and Princes Wharves.
Berths sold out for all the Australian voyages and now Kiwis have a unique opportunity to sail on board Lord Nelson as she undertakes voyages from Auckland to Wellington, via the stunning Coromandel Peninsula and Cook Strait; from the nation’s capital to the South Island and the picturesque port of Nelson; from there back to Auckland via the Marlborough Sounds and a final voyage around the North Island before setting sail on 15 December bound for South America.
Lord Nelson is currently mid-way through a two-year 50,000-mile global voyage, the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge, which will see the vessel become the first accessible tall ship to complete a circumnavigation via the three Great Capes: the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and the infamous Cape Horn. During the worldwide voyage, the ship and her crew aim to promote the messages of equality and inclusion in more than 30 ports of call.
Jubilee Sailing Trust’s CEO, Alex Lochrane, said, 'Lord Nelson’s visit to Australia has been a huge success in terms of introducing tall ship sailing to a new audience. This whole voyage came about because of the invitation from the Royal Australian Navy to join its centenary celebrations in Sydney Harbour this weekend, so to them we extend our thanks for inviting us to be part of such a fantastic spectacle.
'The visit to Australia would not have been possible without a great deal of support from organisations within the country so we also thank our many new friends for their time and energy, including our principal supporter, Norton Rose Fulbright, and those who have supported the charity in such a way as to enable others, both disabled and able bodied, to sail on board Lord Nelson. For many it has been a life-changing and life-affirming opportunity.'
Norton Rose Fulbright, which has five offices in Australia, is supporting this unique global voyage under their banner of 'All abilities. All aboard.' The global legal practice supports the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s values of diversity, inclusion and integration.
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia Managing Partner, Wayne Spanner, said, 'To celebrate Lord Nelson’s arrival in Sydney we invited partners, clients and their families to join us for a Family Day at the Maritime Museum in Sydney’s Darling Harbour. It was heartening to see more than 280 people turn out for what was a spectacular spring day by the water. This was a great opportunity for our networks to hear anecdotes from the crew, explore Lord Nelson and share in the adventure of the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge.'
One New Zealander is among the more than 500 people from 25 countries, approximately half of whom are physically disabled and include 54 wheelchair users, who have already taken part in the journey which set off from Southampton, UK, in October 2012, riding the wave of the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The ship is due to arrive back in the UK in September 2014.
Berths are available for both able bodied and physically disabled people for the voyages in New Zealand. A ‘buddy’ system on board pairs able bodied and disabled crew to offer mutual help and support during the passage. The lower age limit is 16 and there is no upper age limit.
No sailing experience is necessary as the permanent crew will give all the training and guidance needed to get the most out of the voyage, whether that is showing a crew member how to climb the rigging, steer the ship or haul on a rope to help set the sails. The ethos on board is to focus on what each person is capable of, rather than what they can’t do.
As well as Lord Nelson, Jubilee Sailing Trust operates a second adapted tall ship, Tenacious, and more than 37,000 people have sailed with the organisation since it was founded in 1978, 14,000 of whom are physically disabled, including 5,000 wheelchair users.
Lord Nelson’s New Zealand voyages (dates for crew joining and leaving the ship)
27 October – 5 November: Auckland to Wellington
8 November – 17 November: Wellington to Nelson
18 November – 27 November: Nelson to Auckland
28 November – 6 December: Auckland to Auckland
STS Lord Nelson Facts and Figures
Length: 55 metres
Beam: 9 metres
Deck to fore masthead: 31 metres
Sail area: 1,024m2
Number of sails: 18
Fresh water capacity: 22 tonnes
Launched: 15 October 1985
Max speed under sail: 10 knots
Crew: 50 comprising: 8 permanent crew, 2 bosun’s mates, 1 cook’s assistant, 1 cadet, 38 voyage (paying) crew; 17 may be physically disabled and 4 may be wheelchair users