Outlook Issue 22 Winter 2016
News and Views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
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A life-changing experience
For the last month of the summer I have been tall ship sailing aboard the STS Lord Nelson, which is adapted so that people who are physically disabled and the able-bodied can sail together. It was a very empowering experience. You are involved in every aspect of the running of the ship: cleaning the vessel and helping in the galley (kitchen). You are also expected to helm the ship and keep a look out, which involves keeping an eye on your surroundings, such as a nearby fishing buoy, and on other ships. I had a great time, especially being part of a sea shanty choir with some amazing people I met along the way. We belted out Southern Australia! I sailed as part of the Tall Ships Race and Regatta. We went from London to Blyth and then from Blyth to Gothenburg. For the regatta in Blyth we dressed the ships with flags. Lord Nelson won the prize for best dressed ship! At the end of the race in Class A we came 8th and overall we came 13th. We were all very proud considering that we were the only mixed ability crew in the race. We had to overcome all kind of weathers, including some heavy rain and choppy seas for 48 hours. We had to deal with a fishing vessel that was ignoring Lord Nelson’s sound signals and Morse Code signals. Lord Nelson had priority, as we were under sail power, but in the end we had to change our course by 70 degrees to avoid a collision course. The best moments for me were the three times I climbed the foremast and completed an assisted climb (pictured). This involved a safety line being attached to me and a climb up the mast, using my own arm and leg strength. I had some amazing views each time I climbed. In Blyth I could see thousands of people enjoying themselves at the regatta. In Sweden I could see the whole of the Visingsö Island. I also climbed in Heligoland, North Germany and again I could see the whole island. Going aloft is a truly exhilarating experience! I loved every moment aboard. I hope that the Lord Nelson, owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, will continue to provide the life-changing experiences for people like me who happen to have a disability. Simone Butler-Meyer