Britain's most famous ever disabled sailor, Lord Nelson, has given his name to the tall ship which has just departed Britain as the first vessel of its kind to sail around the world with a crew of disabled sailors. The Jubilee Sailing Trust's (JST) ship has left Southampton on its 23-month 50,000 mile journey.
Lord Nelson wheelhouse
The 55-metre ship, which is the first tall ship to have been built to enable physically-disabled and able-bodied people to sail side-by-side, will visit more than 30 countries on all seven continents and cross the equator four times during the trip.
An adventurous route:
The first leg of the journey will be across the Atlantic to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Other stopovers during the journey will Cape Town, Kochi, Singapore, Sydney (where the ship will take part in the centenary celebrations of the Royal Australian Navy), Auckland and Ushuaia. The ship will also visit Antarctica and travel around Cape Horn.
Expedition leader Skip Novak is best known for his participation in four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races since 1977 and has had huge experience sailing in the southern latitudes.
In 1997 he navigated the French catamaran Explorer to a sailing record in the Transpac Race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. In 1998 he co-skippered Explorer with Bruno Peyron breaking the sailing record from Yokohama to San Francisco. In January to March 2001 he co-skippered the 33 meter French catamaran Innovation Explorer to a second place in the millennium non-stop, no limits circumnavigation The Race.
Special features on board the ship include wheelchair lifts between deck levels, a talking compass and a professional crew trained in the techniques of enabling people of all physical and sensory abilities to join in such activities as setting sails, navigating, steering the ship and keeping night watches.
Neither is this merely a group of 18-year-olds. One of those taking part is 69-year-old Beryl Jones, a retired disability adviser from Anglesey, Wales, who has multiple sclerosis.
She said: 'My grandfather was a sea captain who sailed the world and I guess at this late stage in my life I am following in his footsteps.
'This sail will provide adventure, involving almost every activity on board.
'Scrubbing the deck and potatoes, washing dishes, setting the sails, keeping watch and peering from the crow's nest - a thrill of a lifetime. I am looking forward to the whole experience.'
Alex Lochrane, JST chief executive, said: 'This is no pleasure cruise - our crew will be working together to guide Lord Nelson across the Atlantic and then around the world.
'The Jubilee Sailing Trust is a unique charity. No-one else can enable disabled and able-bodied sailors to man a ship on totally equal terms.
'The modifications made to Lord Nelson include wheelchair lifts, Braille instructions, joystick steering.'
Places still available:
'It's a great cause and there are still places available for the rest of the voyage if people want to join our crew.
'We are delighted to be able to give both disabled and able-bodied people the opportunity to take on massive challenges and push their boundaries.'
Fair winds, Lord Nelson!