It will be like a scene from another century when the world’s largest wooden ship leaves Williamstown on Sunday.
Tall ship Tenacious, which arrived in Williamstown last August, will depart for the voyage back to the UK.
She is one of two tall ships operated by UN-accredited charity Jubilee Sailing Trust and was built for a mixed-ability crew.
About half the crew of 40 have a disability and the ship has wheelchair-accessible rigging and masts, Braille signs and speaking compasses for the visually impaired, and vibrating alarms for the hearing impaired.
Peter Mitchell, the trust’s pacific regional manager, said having a mixed-ability crew broke down barriers between people living with disability and the able-bodied.
“The whole crew is sailing the ship but it’s important that people who are not familiar with disability get to change their own perception so they start to see the capability rather than the disability,” he said.
“We’re trying to create this microcosm on board of what we think the world should look like, and that’s one that’s completely inclusive.”
Kerrie Brindell, who has used a wheelchair since a car crash 43 years ago, has been on three voyages since February and became a watch leader.
“You can live in the second-largest city in Australia and every day you roll out your front door you know there’s going to be something that isn’t inclusive,” she said.
“But you can pop on that ship and it’s just this socially-inclusive environment.
“It’s freeing, and going aloft up into the crow’s nest – that’s awe-inspiring.
“The first voyage I did, I was out of the wheelchair, up on the netting at the front of the tall ship, so I was able to just lay back there and look at the empty wheelchair.”
Tenacious departs from the rear of Seaworks between 10.30-11.30am on December 3.