The Jubilee Sailing Trust | Changing Lives
It would be an experience of a lifetime to be part of a crew on one of these incredible journeys and the opportunity is here right on our doorstep in New Zealand.
Of course, when we heard they were coming we couldn’t wait to check out all its accessibility features!
One of the comments we received from a recent Facebook post reads:
“Tenacious is breathtaking, isn’t she? After a stroke, I sailed as one of the “d-crew” from Bermuda to Southampton, UK. 30 days at sea and talk of exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I have made friends for life with many on the voyage. I hope many more can have that experience someday”
Rick Stilson UK
Getting On Board
Finlay and I were all set to check out the Tenacious on its arrival into Auckland. It has berthed at the Princes Wharf, home of the Spirit of Adventure Trust. We took the opportunity to jump on board for its first public open day, welcomed on by its passionate voluntary staff and crew. To wheel on board, we were greeted with quite a steep ramp, however, access was quickly explained when the crew tied a rope to Finlay’s wheelchair. One man pulled from the top of the ramp and the other pushed Finlay up. We called it the ‘push and pull’ method and it worked a treat!
A member of the crew happily pointed out tactile pointers around the handrails on deck. They were there to assist those with visual impairments in identifying where the bow and stern were located. We also noted signs in braille and tactile surfaces at the top of stairways. On each deck, we found a lift that can be operated by users to move between the decks. The decks are flat and wide with raised dividers on the surfaces to help guide wheelchair users and visually impaired as they navigate around the ship.
The first place we headed for was the bow! We wanted to see if we could relive the famous Titanic movie with Cate Blanchett and Leonardo Dicaprio. We failed dismally but it was pretty exciting to imagine what it would be like out at sea. You could see how accessible it was for those in wheelchairs to work the ropes with ‘Unwin’ fixing points throughout to secure the chairs down during rough weather.
The wheelhouse was next on our ‘must-see’ list, to find the helm. Another lift took us up to the next deck level where the control station was located. What a helm? It was magnificent! Our guide pointed out that the steering had a power assisted hydraulic system which made it easy for people with the limited strength to steer the ship … wow, they have really thought of everything! Also pointed out were the bright track radar screen and a speaking compass. The speaking compass came with a digital readout screen which enables the visually impaired crew to steer the ship. Very impressive!
Down to the Mid-Deck
We headed back into the lift to find the accommodation level. On this level, we found the bar and a lower mess hall. You could literally feel the vibe of many a fun night had on this level. Guitar on the wall, big cushions spread out for hanging out with a well-stocked bar. A central area with tables that had plenty of space to manoeuvre around to enjoy a bite to eat or a game of cards. We were told about the induction loop that was fitted in this room to assist those with hearing impairment during briefing sessions.
Then located further along the mid-deck towards the Bow are a row of ‘accessible’ bathrooms and sleeping cabins. We had a little fun trying to find the correct nautical terminology that is used on ships.
“Did you know that the toilet is known as the head?”
The “head” comes from the days when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened.
The Sleeping Quarters & Bathrooms (Head)
The sleeping quarters are well equipped with sliding automatic doors, bunk-style cabins with pressure mattress. Apparently, the bunks are fitted with vibrator pads to alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing in the event of an emergency. On the Starboard side of the ship, the cabins have ceiling track hoists for those who need a little more assistance with a transfer. Bathroom facilities have Clos-o-Mat toilets with a ceiling track hoist to transfer from wheelchair to shower, toilet or washbasin. The fold back seat for the shower can be adjusted to suit the user.
What an incredible experience it would be to crew one of these tall ships! We were amazed how spacious and easy to get around the ship was. There wasn’t an area you couldn’t access. Safety was well thought about and everything was set at a level that independence could happen. Like they say “Tenacious does not take passengers you are here to crew a ship!”
Get in touch with The Jubilee Sailing Trust for more information on this experience of a lifetime!
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (09) 887 5672
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