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TABLE VIEW quadriplegic Russell Vollmer is one of nine South Africans who will board the British tall ship Lord Nelson this week to spend time along the Cape Coastline as part of a 80 000km world tour.
The ship docked in at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town yesterday.
Lord Nelson is embarking on the Norton Rose Sail the World Challenge, a two-year voyage around the world. For the first time, able-bodied and disabled people will be picked up around the world.
Vollmer, 55, a member of the QaudPara Association of SA, said this was his first time on board the ship, which is a large, traditionally-rigged sailing vessel.
“I have sailed for years in yachts and rowed as a form of fun and partook in many local competitions. The most unique thing about the ship is that there is nothing I have to prepare for, the ship is fully equipped,” he said.
The square-rigged, three-masted, 55m sailing vessel was built and is operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust in Southampton. The ship’s equipment includes hoists to enable a wheelchair to be lifted up and disabled-friendly toilets. Some of the crew members on board have cerebral palsy, are blind or have suffered amputation and spinal injuries.
Over the next two years, Lord Nelson will sail four times across the Equator, covering 80 000km, seven continents and 30 countries.
Since the launch in 1986, more than 11 000 trainees have sailed aboard the ship.