Tall Ship Boat Sailing Holiday

Tall Ship Boat sailing holiday (1)

Under sail in the English Channel

I recently had a week away on a Tall Ship Boat Sailing Holiday. It was an exciting experience, truly memorable. Organised by the Jubilee Sailing Trust the boat, called the Lord Nelson, is designed and built for people with a physical disability. There were 50 people on board, including the regular crew, varying in age from 20 to 80. I was one of about six people on this trip with a physical disability. Two people had to use a wheelchair. With the benefit of hindsight it would have been a good idea for me as well. Next time eh!

 Tall Ship Boat Sailing Holiday

The Lord Nelson sailed from Southampton in the morning. After passing The Needles the sea turned very choppy, consequently quite a few people suffered.  I too felt queasy despite seasick pills. Sea sickness is one of life’s more unpleasant experiences.

Rough night

That night the motion of the Lord Nelson in the swell was unpredictable and a very cold North Easterly wind was blowing. Pitching and rolling of the boat made walking all but impossible.  My watch was from midnight to 4 am; the watch leader for my watch decided it would be unsafe for me to venture onto deck. Secretly I was quite relieved. In the morning we anchored off Ile de Brehat and went ashore for lunch.

Tall Ship Boat sailing holiday (1)

Sunrise from the Lord Nelson

St Malo

That night we sailed along the French coast. The choppy sea had died down and the boat was now under full sail.  I was on watch from 4 am to 8 am, I saw the sunrise, it was totally memorable and a few hours later we moored in the yacht basin at St Malo.

Tall Ship Boat Sailing holiday

Lord Nelson moored in St Malo at dusk

During that time I was taken up the mainmast in a wheelchair, the nimble and able had climbed up the rigging. In the evening our watch ate ashore.

Back home

Next day we sailed back to Southampton. You are probably thinking, ‘That’s not much of a holiday’.

Being part of a crew sailing a Tall Ship boat was a fantastic unforgettable experience Steering the boat, setting the sails; I am a disabled sailor but there are still plenty of jobs to do.

Galley Duty

One day I had to do galley duty. . There were plenty of jobs for me such as peeling potatoes for 50, no joke or laying table places. Then there was the clearing up afterwards and of course the washing up. Obviously my contribution was limited, and I found it an exhausting 24 hours ‘in the office’.

End of the trip

At the end of the week I was exhausted. I was definitely suffering from an MS Hangover, burning the candle at both end and not enough sleep plus my feet were very cold. I did not know what to do with yourself except possibly go back to bed and even that requires too much energy. Classic symptoms.

Do it again?

Absolutely no question, deinitely a YES. An immensely rewarding and satisfying week.

8 responses to “Tall Ship Boat Sailing Holiday”

  1. Mary Murphy says:

    Hi Patrick – I was in the same watch with you on that trip (with my Aspergers son). I was a first-time sailor and you were really reassuring and supportive when I was struggling to bring the helm under control in choppy sea. Thank you so much for that; to say nothing of your sense of humour and general ‘can do’ example.
    With best wishes
    Mary Murphy

    • Hello Mary,

      Thank you so much for those comments. Yes I do remember you. For one reason or another I have not gone on on another voyage. My MS has deteriorated and I would find it impossible to cope on my own, my wife would not contemplate going on a voyage and I would need a carer. Also at the end I was physically exhausted. Great experience but sadly not to be repeated.

      Very pleased that you are looking at the website.

  2. R leakey says:

    Hi Patrick, well done with the tall ships trip. Do you have a special diet that helps your MS? What sort of MS do you have? Mine is a progressive type that is fairly slow at the moment and long may it continue! I have just asked my doctor to arrange for me to perhaps have FES if possible.
    Do you still drive?

    • Hello Raam,

      THe tall ships trip was 24/7 full on but very very enjoyable. Just a shame it was so cold that week.

      No I do not have a special diet but I do avoid junk food. Everything we eat is home cooked within reason so I don’t make spaghetti or grow my veg or rice. I have SPMS and it goes forward very very slowly. Started in 1972. I can only see the progress by looking back over the previous year. I hope progress of my MS remains slow.

      FES, really good idea but not guaranteed to work for everyone. It helps me enourmously. Double vision has ended my driving career as well as poor peripheral vision. I don’t like going anywhere for the first time on my own, I get stressed and slightly panicy

  3. Mateja says:

    Thank you for sharing, Patrick. I believe you enjoyed that “sort of holidays”.
    By the way, I am from Slovenia (Europe continent, a small country), so except my English writing, please.

    • Hello Mateja,

      I love that sort of holiday. 49 other people who I had not met before from a huge variety of backgrounds. We all got on, it was tremendous fun and an amazing experience.

      Where abouts do you live in Slovenia? I worked in Ljubljana from 2000 for 3 years and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it. Went for holidays at Lake Bohin area and the caves to the South East. This was around the time the Euro was being introduced so there were not planeloads of tourists. Ljubljana airport was tiny. I flew thhough it abot in about 2008 from Skopje and did not recognise. I used to go to Jugoslavia in the late 60’s, holidays in Dubrovnik and visiting Sarajevo and the Greek Orthodox monastries.

      I feel very lucky and privilidged to have visited those places when I did.

      Enjoy the website,


  4. John Cowburn says:

    Well done Patrick! When I heard you were going on the Tall Ships I felt a touch of envy, but reading your experience has added to the realisation that really, I have no wish anymore for discomfort in my life! As I hit 70, I have decided that comfort is what I wish for, my own comfy bed to myself alone, a superb pillow and a house set up for me and my disablement! Perhaps if hadn’t succumbed to MS I would have thought differently, who knows?

    • Hello John,

      It was a full-on holiday. No it was not comfy, privacy was minimal everything was pretty basic and it was hard work. After a week I was totally exhausted but it was a wonderful experience and I fully intend to go again next year.

      Yup I am with you on comfy bed etc but I did enjoy the challenges, meeting other people and the feeling that my disability is not a hinderence. It made me appreciate the home comforts even more.

      Talk soon,


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