Have you ever felt like being in a wheelchair was limiting your choice of holidays? Have you ever wanted to throw yourself into a life-changing adventure but were worried about the limitations you may encounter? Perhaps you’re anxious that you might not fit in. Fear not because a voyage with the Jubilee Sailing Trust will alleviate all of these reservations and worries because it’s wheelchair accessible.

The aim of the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) is to promote the integration of men and women of all physical abilities through the challenge and adventure of Tall Ship sailing. On board our magnificent, fully accessible, tall ships – Lord Nelson and Tenacious – everybody gets the chance to participate in all aspects of running the ship. Since the charity’s inception 35 years ago the philosophy of JST has been that life should be about equality, sharing and celebrating our individual differences, and working together to achieve greater things. 

Aboard one of the ships, every crew member has a vital role to play irrespective of ability, disability, age or gender. The success of each voyage depends on teamwork and working to the best of individuals’ strengths, not weaknesses. Crewing a tall ship can be a challenge for anyone – the JST proves that with teamwork and understanding this challenge can be met.

JST has a wealth of experience when taking people with all types of physical ability to sea, from wheelchair users, sensory impaired, and amputees – to name a few. The JST understands that everyone has different strengths and tasks around the ship ranging from climbing the mast and steering the ship, to keeping watch and assisting in the kitchens whilst on galley duty. JST values each job or responsibility on the ships equally in order to keep the ship running smoothly, so whatever your ability – you get the most out of your voyage by participating in the tasks that are most suitable to you.

However, that shouldn’t stop you from taking part in the more strenuous activities like climbing, steering, or setting the sails. The ships are fully accessible to everyone. With signs in Braille, a speaking compass, and a guidance track on deck to help blind and visually impaired crew navigate their way around.  There are lifts between decks, power-assisted steering, or joystick-assisted steering to enable those with limited mobility to easily maneuver the ship and specialist equipment for assisted climbs… Even if you’re in a wheelchair you can climb the mast! (If that’s what you want of course!)

Both Lord Nelson and Tenacious are fully equipped with accessible accommodations. There are cabins with turning areas for wheelchair users. There are also walk-in shower rooms and plenty of handrails to facilitate easier movement around the ships.

Anyone over the age of 16 can sail with JST. Since the JST was established in 1978 over 40,000 people have sailed with JST, and of these, approximately 15,000 people were disabled and 5,000 were wheelchair users. The voyages range from day sails to shorter coastal voyages of 5 days to our epic ocean passages of 28 days and more. JST aims to take an equal mix of the able-bodied and physically disabled crew on each trip with a maximum of 40 people on each voyage.

The offices for JST are located in Southampton, UK but Lord Nelson and Tenacious have been enjoying their time in the Mediterranean, New Zealand, and Antarctica with a lot of exciting adventures planned.

For most, sailing with the JST is a fantastic adventure holiday but for many it also represents a life-changing experience, affording many disabled people the opportunity to rediscover a sense of independence and freedom that they may otherwise have thought out of reach. Whatever ability you are, and wherever you fancy going, there is a voyage for you!

For more information about the JST and upcoming voyages please either call 023 80 426 849, email Maureen.dealey@jst.org.uk  or visit www.jst.org.uk

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