Sailing the seas in your wheels

ROLLING INSPIRATION readers have the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) on an adventure on the open seas. People with disabilities as well as those without can board the JST as crew and assist in sailing the boat. The first expedition will take place in February with the JST Tenacious sailing from the Falkland Islands to Cape Town via South Georgia and Tristan de Cunha.

The Tenacious includes six wheelchair lifts between the decks and fixing points throughout to assist wheelchair users in rough weather; deck ribs, Braille signage and a speaking compass for the vision impaired; and vibrating alarm pads under the bunks and an induction loop for the hearing impaired.

While many people will steer the ship using the traditional wheel (power assisted if required), those with very limited mobility can steer it using a joystick (much like that on electric wheelchairs). People with more severe disabilities who require their own carer can be accommodated in dedicated cabins that provide more privacy and suitable facilities.

The JST encourages people with disabilities to challenge themselves while having an adventure that is for people of all abilities
and in doing so build their self-esteem and confidence. Sailors without a disability not only get to sail the seas, but their preconceptions are challenged and they realising the true extent of the contribution that everyone can bring to the team.
They learn to see the capability rather than the dis-ability.

The Tenacious sails with nine professional crew who are assisted by volunteer bosun’s mates, watch leaders and cook’s assistants. These volunteers have previously sailed with JST and have had sufficient training and hours of sailing
to qualify for these roles. If you want
to support the Tenacious crew in this way,
or assist the charity with anything from fundraising to maintenance, please email

Along with the professional crew, the Tenacious carries 40 ‘voyage crew’, typically comprising 20 people with disabilities and 20 without disabilities. It can take up to eight wheelchair users on many voyages, including two with more complex medical and support needs (assisted by their own carer). The rest of the crew will “buddy up” to enhance the learning and inclusion on both sides.

These buddies will support each other throughout the voyage, sharing experiences and developing a special bond of friendship, often creating a positive and lasting impression.

Anna*, who sailed from Melbourne to Hobart, shares her experience of sailing with JST: “The overall JST experience was one of the most empowering things I have ever done as someone with a disability. At no stage was I made to feel any different, less able or less capable than any other member of the crew. The JST truly do embody the phrase, mixed-ability.

“They believe that everyone has something to offer, whether or not they have a disability.  If a crew member with a disability is willing and able to complete a task, they are encouraged to do so. I was encouraged to work in the galley, help with handing and setting sails and be an active part of my watch. This provided me with a feeling of normality and acceptance that is difficult to adequately put into words.”

The voyages both into and out of Cape Town are true bucket-list, epic ocean passages lasting 40 days, with visits to some of the most remote places on Earth.

ROLLING INSPIRATION readers can join the crew and receive a discount by using the promo code INSPIRATION241 when booking. It offers two people the opportunity to sail for the price of one. The trip from Falkland Islands to Cape Town via South Georgia and Tristan de Cunha in the company of renowned explorer Skip Novak will take place from February 26 to April 6, 2018. The 40-day journey costs R39 600** per person.

This works out at only R990 per day, which includes accommodation, fresh food, tea, coffee and juice as well as the opportunity to brave the big blue.

Another trip from South Africa to Antigua and Barbuda is available from April 9 to May 24, a 46-day voyage, for R32 850 per person (R715 per day).

For more information, phone Peter Mitchell at (0)410 468 470 or email If you would like to donate to the cause, visit


* Names changed to protect our Voyage Crew’s discretion

** South African Rand price at exchange rates at time of publication. Note prices may vary at time of booking due to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates

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