By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Lord Nelson, a one-of-a-kind “tall ship” designed to accommodate a crew of people with disabilities, will arrive in Rio today. The sailing ship, which belongs to the Jubilee Sailing Trust, left Britain on October 28th to embark on its first world voyage calling in on Rio, Africa, India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Cape Horn.
The charity behind the voyage, the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) not only helps to integrate and empower but to change common perceptions of people with disabilities, allowing them to perform duties on the ship and get involved in all elements of the high-seas adventure.
Project manager for the JST, Robert Peacock explains, “With people with disabilities, the focus is often on what they can’t do but we try to turn that around and show people what they can do.”
The crew includes people of all ages and abilities with each member pitching in on duties. There are people with varying disabilities on board, ranging from those who have been disabled since childhood, and others who have become disabled in later life having sustained injuries through accidents or as soldiers during war.
One of the many benefits of the voyage is that it brings people together and can foster friendships that last a lifetime. Having sailed aboard Lord Nelson many times, Peacock reveals, “After five days at sea, something magical happens and peoples inhibitions fall away and friendships start to emerge. At this point, no one is different, everyone is equal.”
A large welcome committee will await Lord Nelson which docks in Ilha de Mocanguê at 3PM. Amongst them will be British Paralympic bronze medalist Alexandra Rickham who will spend time with the crew and visit the city in which she will be competing in the next Paralympic games.
Stationed in Rio until the December 18th, Lord Nelson will then make a ten-day voyage around Brazil, eventually returning to Rio on December 28th. Places on the ship are still available for anyone who wishes to be part of this journey, to find out about costs and subsidizing options, contact the JST here.
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