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KEEPING THE TALL SHIP’S TRADITIONS
20 JANUARY 2005
A very interesting & informative talk was given by Brian & Ruth Portway, on life aboard ‘The Lord Nelson’, a tall sailing ship of The Jubilee Sailing Trust; which caters for able bodied, as well as disabled persons, of all sailing abilities, & no upper age limit.
The ship is 20 years old and will be at Chatham in Aug 05. The Crew = 10 permanent & 40 volunteers = mixture of experienced sailors/novices, being able bodied & disabled persons, some with wheelchairs.
Ruth saw an Article on The Lord Nelson asking for volunteers & so joined in 1990, as Medical Officer. On her 1st voyage there were 3 women/36 men, but now it’s more equally gendered. She even witnessed, men on their knees polishing brass, who say –‘don’t walk on that, I’ve just polished it’!!
Before the ship leaves port, you need to do an evacuation drill to the muster point & have 6 mins to evacuate safely. There are hearing sensors under pillows & stair lifts/lift rack are wheelchair accessible. Some cabins are for wheelchairs & lifts have Braille & visual impairment signs. Even the toilets are coded.
The Capt 1st does a briefing = 4 watches & the foremast, moremast, lizzen mast & one other. The Wheel is hydraulically powered, with an audio compass & there are rails on deck stating Starboard / Port. The Bowsprit is also wheelchair accessible.
Pipecots are bars/brackets on the floor, like a seatbelt clamp for wheelchairs & a Metal strap can be affixed. Whilst on Watch – if you see something in the water, you point in that direction. When being Watch leader, you learn people skills so that everybody gets the best out of it.
is only 15 ft Clearance under Tower Bridge, but have radar to assist. At times
when crossing the Channel, which takes 18 hours, super tankers can be ½
mile behind you.
Ruth has climbed up the rigging, which supports the mast = 450 tonnes, 120 ft long & 145 ft tall. There are 4 points of contact, but have no less than 3 pts of hands/feet on it, to let the sails down. She has also helped steer the ship back to port & learnt a bit of everything. Lines must follow – stress the yard & saw, using your body weight to pull – heaving with 5 – 6 people. 2/6 heave, can take 5mins to pull up a yard. 4 masts weight 7 tons.
There are 8 berths with the wheelchair & the Capt & 1st mate work out the sleeping area & who is in what watch Co. Happy hr is cleaning & you should use the sails as much as you can.
The sister ship, The Tenacious, was launched 2 ½ yrs ago, in demand with the Lord Nelson. It is the largest all wood ship since the start of last Century, made from Siberian Larch – miles of miles of larch. It took 2.5 – 3 yrs to build & people of all abilities helped, some of which both build & sailed in her &. wheelchairs would be hoisted up to the 1st level.
For longer voyages – there are talks & lessons on rope work & people can go swimming. Lots of fun can be had anytime & a slide was shown of someone wearing a laundry bag, with SICK BAG written on it, as a joke.
Sometimes Ruth/Brian sailed together & were asked if they were married! Brian bought a sail from the Ship in an Auction for Ruth & brought it along to show the audience.
You can join a local Branch of the Society, of which there are approx 20 Branches & you could see lovely Scenery, dolphins, and dawn breaking etc..
Last Revised: 9 May 2005
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