Tall Ship Lord Nelson 1st visit to Cape Town0
Often in the news reports are published about people who do daring and amazing things. Normally these people are able bodied and push themselves physically and emotionally to their limits. The crew aboard the Lord Nelson, a British tall ship 55-metre long normally a routine visitor to Irish ports, arrived in Cape Town last week on her first visit to South Africa. Her voyage is all part of the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge.
This journey is another initiative which is being organized by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, a British charity. It is supported by Norton Rose an international legal practice, which has 5 of its forty two offices in Africa.
The ship is unique in that it has been set up to enable crew who are physically disabled to work alongside crew who are able bodied. The tall ship was escorted by a Cape Town pilot boat into the V&A Waterfront.
Lord Nelson had just completed a transatlantic crossing in 24 days and this is the first time it has made landfall on South African shores. The 35-strong crew were not short of supporters as they were welcomed back onto land by family and friends and with the sounds of African drummers.
One of the crew that completed the 3,455-mile passage from the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was Gareth Cooper from Essex in England. He has had since birth a form of brittle bone disease and is confined to a wheelchair.
Gareth is not new to the Jubilee Sailing Trust initiatives but he reported that this voyage was a life changing adventure. He is like any able bodied sportsman, he pushes himself to his limits to gain the greatest satisfaction out of life.
The crew are not limited to Europeans but some South Africans will be having their chance too. 55 year old Russell Vollmer who is the Commodore of the Royal Cape Yacht Club and is sponsored by Norton Rose will be part of the South African sailing sector. At the age of 19 he broke his neck while diving in the South African Navy and has since been a quadriplegic. He has already completed a voyage from Cape to Rio in 2000 and he competed in the solo 2,4 metre class in Sydney at the Paralympic Games in 2000.
.Lord Nelson was launched in 1986. The specially designed features on board include wheelchair lifts, hearing loops, speaking compasses and integrated Braille instructions which means a disabled sailor has the chance to contribute to the journey to the same degree as a crew member who is able bodied..
Throughout the 23-month circumnavigation, the tall ship, will cross the Equator 4 times and it will visit thirty countries. At least 1,000 people are being given the chance to take part in this 50,000-mile voyage. Lord Nelson will return to Britain in September 2014.
Tags: Cape Town, crew, Lord Nelson, Norton Rose