While the world’s spotlight is about to fall on the inspirational athletes of the Olympic Games, a group of young Germans with disabilities are stretching their own boundaries by crewing the tall ship Tenacious from Emden to London as part of a special programme to inspire accessible sailing in Germany.
Tenacious is a fantastic ship that offers a great opportunity to sailors of all physical abilities Gareth Stephens
The Behinderten-Sportverband Nordrhein-Westfalen (BSNW), a regional member of the German Paralympic Committee, has organised the project in order to inspire inclusion in sport and more specifically to motivate sailing clubs to open up their facilities to disabled people. Tenacious’ young crew will be made up of ten disabled and ten able-bodied to act as companions.
On the ship they will learn about inclusion and team-work and after arrival, they will attend various events of the Paralympic Games. The project will be filmed and streamed on German television.
The tall ship Tenacious is operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST) and is one of only two tall ships in the world, both operated by the JST, which were designed and built to enable people of all physical abilities to sail side-by-side as equals.
Special features on board the ships include wheelchair lifts between deck levels, a talking compass for the visually impaired and a professional crew trained in the techniques of enabling people of all physical and sensory abilities to join in such activities as setting sails, navigating, steering the ship and keeping night watches.
Dieter Keuther from BSNW says: “We chose Tenacious to bring the young people to London because on a tall ship like this there is so much to learn about teamwork and how everyone can take part regardless of their physical ability. We are also sure that they will be inspired by seeing the amazing Paralympic athletes from all over the world.”
The Canal & River Trust is providing the mooring free of charge.
Gareth Stephens, Docklands harbour and waterspace manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Tenacious is a fantastic ship that offers a great opportunity to sailors of all physical abilities, and we are lucky to be able to welcome her into West India Dock all year round. We are delighted that this project to inspire accessible sailing and inclusion in sport has chosen this unique way to arrive in London, and we hope they enjoy their stay in West India Dock.”