The world’s first fully accessible tall ship has docked in London after a ground-breaking two year challenge circumnavigating the world, which included a stop-off in Australia.
British tall ship, Lord Nelson, returned to British shores last Friday. Its inaugural voyage is a partnership between the Jubilee Sailing Trust and law firm Norton Rose Fulbright
, and has promoted diversity, inclusion and equality in each of the ports she has visited.
The unique 55-metre square rigger, which is one of only two purpose build ships accessible to disabled and able-bodied sailors, took centre stage in London as it was sailed through Tower Bridge by a crew of 38 people, of whom 13 were disabled, before mooring alongside HMS Belfast on the Thames.
More than 350 of the crew who took part in the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge have a disability, ranging from quadriplegia, deafness, PTSD and cerebral palsy, to blindness and those who have suffered amputations and spinal injuries.
Throughout its 52,000 nautical mile voyage, the tall ship crossed the equator 6 times and called into more than 100 different ports across 30 countries, making history as the first accessible tall ship to round the three great capes: Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Horn.
Lord Nelson set sail from Southampton in September 2012, carrying a Paralympic torch from the London Paralympics. She took part in the International Fleet Review in Sydney Harbour in October 2013, and was honoured with leading the tall ships out of Sydney Harbour at the start of the tall ships race to New Zealand.
Tim Marsden, deputy managing partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, says the firm is “immensely proud” to have been involved in such a hugely ambitious project.
“We have supported disadvantaged and disabled communities, financially and voluntarily, through the Norton Rose Fulbright Sail the World Challenge, which has seen our people and our clients raise disability awareness and promote diversity on a global scale,” he says.
The Jubilee Sailing Trust aimed to show all crew members the full extent of what they are capable of on board the ship when the environment is designed to be inclusive.
Everyone on board was a full and active member of the crew, working as an integrated team for the life of each voyage.
Duncan Souster, Chief Executive of the Jubilee Sailing Trust says the journey was ground-breaking.
“The dedication of our expert team is helping to change the perception of what can be achieved by disabled people.”