At just after 11.50 on Trafalgar Day, 21st October 2012, STS Lord Nelson left her home port of Southampton to start her epic voyage around the world. She returned to her berth in Southampton on 26th September 2014.
This two-year round the world voyage was an enormous undertaking for the Jubilee Sailing Trust. It could not have happened without the many corporate and individual sponsorship companies that provided goods and services for free and, of course, all the JST volunteers who generously gave their time maintaining the ship and raising funds.
During the voyage the STS Lord Nelson known as ‘Nellie’ covered 52,557 nautical miles, 60,482 land miles. Nellie did not have any passengers; she was crewed by two Captains, Cpt Barbara Campbell and Cpt Chris Phillips along with a professional crew (PC) and around 1000 volunteer crew (VC), both able bodied and disabled.
The Sail the World Voyage was split into Legs and Voyages, the Legs being longer distances and the voyages shorter, sometimes starting and ending in the same place.
Nellie visited many amazing places, from tropical islands with colourful sunsets and turquoise seas to the wilds of Antarctica, as well as many other remote, rarely visited places. She crossed the equator six times.
It was a voyage of contrasts. The weather was often a challenge, with many storms, winds up to 60 knots and torrential tropical downpours. But there was also great fun on board, wonderful camaraderie, warm welcomes, incredible scenery and an abundance of wildlife.
Alan Fisher has put an enormous amount of his time into compiling this book for the JST. Alan sailed as a Bosun’s Mate on four of these voyages. I don’t know how he persuaded the two Captains to write all the articles for the book, but without the huge amount of work they have put in, it could not have gone ahead. Alan has tried to use all articles submitted and, where possible, we have tried to acknowledge all the photographs used from the voyage CDs. I became involved when Alan outlined his idea on a voyage from London to Yarmouth in 2015. I hope you enjoy the book.
I have just circumnavigated the world in the sail training ship “Lord Nelson”. I enjoyed the company of her two very able Captains, Barbara Campbell and Chris Phillips, together with her professional crews. The ship was sailed by these qualified sailors with around 1000 Voyage Crew, both able-bodied and disabled, sailing different ‘legs’ of the circumnavigation. All aboard (apart from me, the only passenger) were part of the crew sailing “Nellie”, many had never sailed or even rowed a boat before setting foot on the gangway.
We set sail from Southampton on Trafalgar Day, 21st October 2012 and did not return until 26th September 2014. “Lord Nelson” is part of the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a charity set up in 1978 to integrate physically disabled with able-bodied people on tall ships – the result was Tenacious and Lord Nelson, which were built to accommodate the varied needs of people with physical problems. This was to be the adventure of a lifetime, with up to 40 Voyage Crew sailing for each leg of the journey. I was astonished at the abilities of the people branded as “disabled”, and their willingness to do things like going up the rigging in a wheelchair or steering the ship when you are blind.
We sailed through strong gales, high seas, torrential tropical downpours and were in the Doldrums for a while. Sailing in Lord Nelson, under full sail, was an amazing experience and the ship looked absolutely stunning, sailing at speeds of up to 14.2 knots. Near the Tropics, at times it could be unbearably hot, and in Antarctica, freezing cold. We visited busy ports, safe harbours, Antarctic shores, tropical islands and secluded bays out of reach to all but intrepid sailors. We sailed alongside vessels of all shapes and sizes but often did not see another vessel for days on end. I crossed the equator six times in the company of Neptune’s Court and a great many pollywoggles (look it up). I sang along with “Queen” as we approached Freemantle, making our fun video based on the band’s “I want to Break Free” song.
At one stage the Captain and her Mates posed with guns, prepared to face pirates, alongside armed security guards. Fortunately firepower was not needed, but you have to be prepared. I also saw her and the crew wearing some very strange outfits on more than one occasion, but perhaps this was one law of the sea which I did not understand. I saw scenery and wildlife, which were unforgettable. My vocabulary was broadened dramatically. The camaraderie was infectious and although at times I was scared, at others almost seasick, I had great fun. Locals in the places we visited were mainly generous, warm and welcoming. During her two year voyage Nellie covered 52,557 nautical miles and I was there for every one of them.
I should confess that this was all without leaving my sofa, as I have just finished reading the new book “Sail the World” by Alan Fisher who sailed as a Bosun’s Mate on four legs of the voyage. There are full contributions from both Captains and others from crew members, with a glorious spread of beautiful photographs. Profits from sales go towards the Jubilee Sailing Trust to help enable more people enjoy the experience of a lifetime and perhaps change their lives for the better.