Lord Nelson, which has already won a following in Fremantle and Albany, WA, arrived in Adelaide this afternoon. The 55-metre square rigger is owned by UK charity, Jubilee Sailing Trust, and was designed and built to enable disabled and able-bodied crew members to sail together.
During Lord Nelson’s short visit to Adelaide this weekend she will appear at the Festival of Maritime Trades at the South Australia Maritime Museum. The museum is hosting the biggest gathering of tall ships in South Australia for quarter of a century in Port Adelaide Inner Harbour.
Lord Nelson will be open to the public on Saturday 31 August and South Australians will be able to get on board to explore the ship and see some of the features that make her accessible to disabled and able bodied people, including braille signage, hearing l oops, speaking compass, wheelchair lifts between decks and a bowsprit that is wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
Adelaide resident Craig Gordon, 48, whose participation has been sponsored by Norton Rose Fulbright and Rotary International, has been a crew member on board Lord Nelson since she set sail from Singapore on 10 June and will sail into his home city.
The father of five, who runs a scrap metal recycling business, has been blind since the age of eight and also wears hearing aids in both ears due to hearing impairment.
Approaching his home port, Craig said, 'I’m getting excited because any homecoming is a sweet feeling. It’s the main reason I chose to sail on this voyage.
'I can’t pick out a highlight; the whole voyage has been the highlight for me. I came with the view of being as sailor and experiencing as much as I could. I will always remember the ship and the feeling of ‘mateship’ on board.'
Craig’s family and friends, including his wife and children were on the dock to meet Lord Nelson as she sailed into Port Adelaide this afternoon.
Lord Nelson is making her first ever visit to Australia having been invited to take part in the RAN International Fleet Review in Sydney in October.
The invitation from the Royal Australian Navy was the catalyst for Lord Nelson’s departure on the first ever circumnavigation of the globe by an accessible tall ship. The two -year, 50,000-mile Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge will see the ship call in to more than 30 ports on six continents and round three Great Capes; she has already sailed around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa and Cape Leeuwin in Australia. Early next year she will round the infamous Cape Horn at the very tip of South America.
The voyage will carry the message of equality and inclusion to every port of call. 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.
Crew are paired up in a buddy system and work together to support each other during a voyage. The minimum age is 16 and there is no upper age limit. Everyone works to his or her ability and the ship’s ethos is to focus on what people can do, rather than what they can’t.
A limited number of berths are still available for disabled and abled bodied people from across Australia to join Lord Nelson on the voyage from Sydney to Auckland and wider availability during her forthcoming visit to New Zealand. For more information, including voyage dates and availability, visit www.jst.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 9981 3312 in Australia.
As well as Lord Nelson, the Jubilee Sailing Trust operates a second accessible 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 embarked on her 23-month voyage from Southampton in the UK in October last year, riding the wave of success enjoyed by the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 9 December, before setting sail again for a second transatlantic crossing, this time to Cape Town, and a first-ever visit to South Africa. During her inaugural visit to Australia Lord Nelson will also visit Melbourne and Hobart before arriving in Sydney to take part in the RAN International Fleet Review.
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
38 voyage (paying) crew; 17 may be physically disabled and 4 may be wheelchair users