UNIMPAIRED ADVENTURE: The Tenacious is a modern British wooden sail training ship, specially designed in the 1990s to accommodate anyone over 16 with a disability.
Cape Town - With multiple giant white sails stretching out across the horizon, the wooden-hulled ship called Tenacious conjures up images of Pirates of the Caribbean as it pushes through heavy tides, making its way on to the Cape Town shores from the Falkland Islands.

The ship, which is set to arrive in Cape Town on Friday, will be met by Premier Helen Zille to welcome the world’s largest operating wooden-hulled ship, which journeyed 20 000 nautical miles from Southampton.

The ship is sailed by a mixed ability crew - able-bodied and those with disabilities - who are delivering a programme of voyages to start an ongoing relationship with this part of the world and break down barriers between people with abilities and disabilities.

The Tenacious features six wheelchair lifts between the decks, a speaking compass for the vision impaired and vibrating alarm pads under the bunks for the hearing impaired. The ship also has the ability to be helmed with the traditional wheel, or a joystick for those with limited mobility.

The voyage is managed by the Jubilee Sailing Trust, which envisions the voyage as an opportunity “to unlock human potential and break down barriers between people of different circumstances”.

The ship was built 16 years ago by the Trust in Southampton by 1 500 volunteers, approximately half of whom were living with some form of disability.

Tenacious has voyaged for over 18 months around the southern hemisphere. The ship will dock in Cape Town for three days before departing for a 46-day voyage to Antigua in the Caribbean on Monday.


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Cape Argus