The Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), based in Southampton, UK is a sail training charity registered with the Charity Commission. Founded in 1978 with money from the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II fund by Christopher Rudd, a keen sailor, its aims were to integrate both able-bodied and disabled persons through Tall Ship sailing.
Unfortunately, this month it was announced that the Jubilee Sailing Trust (Tenacious) Limited (JST(T)L), the company that owns and operates the tall ship TENACIOUS could not continue and had also been put into administration, with all planned voyages cancelled and the tall ship to be sold. The future of the Trust itself will be determined by the Charity Commission.
Each year the JST took around 2,000 adults to sea, both able-bodied and physically disabled. Each ship can sail with up to 40 voyage crew, half of whom may be physically disabled and are guided through each task on board by eight or nine permanent crew members (professional seafarers) and three or more volunteer crew. The ships sailed around the United Kingdom, Western Europe, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.
The last four years have seen two large-scale funding appeals, refinancing, several restructures, and a reduction in fleet size to one ship – and of course a pandemic. With much internal and external consultation they tried different funding models, most of which were heavily reliant on fundraising, or, trying to attract partners willing to pay full price to charter the ship.
For the last 15 months they tried a funding strategy that was more reliant on income from the voyage crew paying for 75-80 per cent of the cost of a voyage (or using bursary funding secured for this purpose).
Unfortunately neither voyage sales nor fundraising efforts were successful in meeting the c.£150,000 a month required to operate Tenacious and keep her legally compliant to deliver voyages, nor to repay a historic debt (£477,000) accumulated prior to the September 2022 change in strategy.
Without the funds from the balance payments for those winter voyages (of which almost £100,000 is due now), and knowing they would be unable to refund the voyage crew whose voyages have been cancelled, emergency talks with the Board, financial and legal advisors, and other key persons, with long-term connections to the JST history, were initiated.
Unfortunately without identified income to meet imminent expenditure in December (including the wages of crew and shore-based personnel) pursuing other financing options, or a public fundraising appeal, is not possible and legal advisors viewed closure as the only option available.