It was a sad day for the Jubilee Sailing Trust and its supporters as their flagship, Lord Nelson, was decommissioned on the 11th October 2019. The weather that day summed up the mood, although it wasn’t as bad as the forecast had said with spells of light rain instead of constant downpours and 50mph winds all day.
She and Tenacious had completed the Battle of the Barques in the Solent instead of going further afield due to weather (Which the Nellie won) and just after 9am, they raised their anchors and headed home, Nellie leading the way. Her paying off pennant was unfurled as she was near Ocean Terminal.
The decommissioning ceremony was being held in Ocean Terminal between 2pm-6pm with both ships alongside and the Nellie open to view. Due to weather, it was held inside. There was a good turnout to say goodbye, supporters and those who sailed on either or both ships. I spoke to some people, disabled and able-bodied who loved the ships and enjoyed the opportunity they gave them.
Before the service began was the Battle of the Barques presentation. Duncan Souster, CEO, followed as he opened the ceremony, talking about the history of the JST, how they came to own the Nellie, right up to the present day difficulties due to various conditions which led to the decision to decommission their much-loved flagship. Some speeches couldn’t be heard very well, which was a shame.
The queue to visit the Nellie had receded after the buffet lunch so I took the opportunity to have a look around before heading home. It was easy to see why she is so beloved by those who sailed on her.
The Nellie is scheduled to leave her berth in Southampton and head to Bristol to be laid up by M Shed, where she will undertake maintenance until she is sold.
One thing I took away from yesterday was how they weren’t just passengers and crew yesterday, like when a cruise ship leaves the fleet. It was a family saying goodbye to a much loved member. That connection everyone involved has with the charity and vessels is unique and long may it continue.
More information about the Jubilee Sailing Trust or how to donate can be found on their website. https://jst.org.uk/