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This is the voyage of a lifetime

The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) in association with Norton Rose will make history by sailing the world’s first disability-friendly tall ship, the 55m Lord Nelson, on a ground breaking world voyage to pass on the spirit of the Paralympics. First stop: Rio!

The resounding success of the London 2012 Paralympics has done a lot to transform public perception of what can be achieved by disabled people. An intrepid mixed-ability crew is about to set sail around the world and again redefine what is possible. This inspirational voyage will depart from Southampton on Sunday 21 October aboard Lord Nelson, a unique tall ship which was built specifically to accommodate people with a vast range of disabilities.

Britain has a proud sea-faring heritage and the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge will highlight the ability of disabled people to achieve something truly amazing and create history as they become the first crew of this type to sail around the world. Crew member James Whale, who suffers from cerebral palsy and has previously won two silver medals at the Cerebral Palsy World Games, has swapped his goggles for sails and is very much looking forward to this epic first leg from Britain to Rio de Janeiro.

“I can’ t wait to be aboard Lord Nelson. JST allows people with disability to broaden their horizons and experience something which they never thought possible - I’m now a sailing fanatic! The community on board is incredible; people with all sorts of disabilities combine with able-bodied crew members to sail the ship and the camaraderie can create life-long friendships. These JST trips do give a real sense of achievement and I’d recommend it to everyone, disabled or not.”
- James Whale, Crew Member Southampton to Rio

The JST was founded in 1978 and was the brainchild of Christopher Rudd, a teacher and sailor who wanted to give his disabled pupils the same opportunities as able-bodied children. Starting with two non-adapted vessels, the charity grew and Lord Nelson, a custom built ship which can be sailed by a crew of 40, was commissioned. Since her maiden voyage in 1986, over 10,000 people with a physical disability have sailed aboard Lord Nelson and of those almost 4,000 were wheelchair users. The bespoke features on Lord Nelson, as well as the JST’s other ship, Tenacious, mean that a disabled sailor can contribute to the voyage just as much as an able-bodied crew member and the interdependence creates a community aboard the ship for the duration of the voyage – a bond which remains long after the crew is back on dry land. Some of the features aboard the two ships that make this possible are hearing loops, wheel chair lifts, integrated Braille instructions and speaking compasses.

On 21 October, Lord Nelson’s permanent crew will be joined by 40 pioneering spirits to embark upon one of the most ambitious and historic voyages in British maritime history; the first ever around-the-world voyage of an accessible tall ship. From Southampton, Lord Nelson will head towards Rio de Janeiro, rather fitting considering the city will host the next Paralympic Games in 2016, and will stop at the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands along the way. Aboard the ship for one of the legs will be Alexandra Rickham, a Team GB sailing Paralympian medallist at London 2012.

“It’s a fantastic project from two very different points of view. The Jubilee Sailing Trust gets people, disabled or able-bodied, involved in sailing and shows them what a wonderful sport it is. More importantly, it gives people with physical disabilities the opportunity to really challenge themselves and try something they may have thought wasn’t even possible, which can be really life-enhancing.”
- Alexandra Rickham, British Paralympic Sailor.

Almost anyone can join in the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge, regardless of previous experience. The places, or ‘berths’, can be paid for privately or alternatively can be partially or fully sponsored by a charity. The opportunity to sail in a mixed-ability crew can be a life-changing experience for disabled or able-bodied crew members, for those with vast sailing experience or those with none at all. Further booking information can be found on the JST website].

The international law firm Norton Rose has offices in many of the countries where Lord Nelson will call. Norton Rose aims to offer the opportunity of a seven-day in country voyage aboard Lord Nelson off the coasts of South Africa, Australia and Singapore to individuals of mixed physical abilities through local charitable organisations with whomthe law firm has contact through its corporate responsibility and diversity programmes. Norton Rose is also enabling people with physical disabilities to join Lord Nelson on different stages of her epic ocean passages.

“This is the voyage of a lifetime and I like its boldness and simplicity. What do we really mean when we talk about diversity? It has to be about inclusion and respect for the individual. And this is what the Jubilee Sailing Trust and the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge is all about.”
- Peter Martyr, Global Chief Executive at Norton Rose

Between October 2012 and September 2014, the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge will make history and will change lives. The international law firm Norton Rose is the Title Sponsor. The Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge has also been generously supported by Associated British Ports, Overclean, Globecomm and United Kingdom Hydrographic Office, amongst many others.

To sail with the Jubilee Sailing Trust, please call their office on 023 8044 9138, or visit Facebook: Jubilee Sailing Trust Twitter: @Jubilee Sailing

For all press enquiries, images and interviews, please contact Yolanda Copes-Stepney at Captive Minds. Email: or telephone +44 (0)207 422 8269

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