Hannah Fabig

Hannah, a cerebral palsy sufferer, was the 2013 Scholarship recipient who travelled with her carer from Adelaide to Melbourne on the British tall ship, Lord Nelson.

Below is her story of the voyage.

“As Tyler, my carer has already mentioned our schedule on the ship was incredibly taxing, but it’s an experience I will never forget.  I learnt so many new things about sailing that I had no idea of before.  For Example, if you don’t put your lee cloth up on a rough night you’re likely to end up on the floor.

The biggest challenge was overcoming exhaustion to adequately do our chores, but I soon realised that this was not just an individual challenge as everybody around you is feeling exactly the same way.  In a sense you bond with those people in your watch group over-exhaustion, getting to the point of counting down the hours of our watches till we could go to bed.  But it’s in these long hours that you learned so much about the people that you’re on watch with.  

This was one of my favourite parts as I heard so many amazing stories on those nightshifts because we all encouraged each other no matter how exhausted we got.

This resulted in a large number of running jokes between us.  It’s a very encouraging thing to see so many volunteering to help on the Ship and, because of this, it created a very warm and happy atmosphere.

It is because of these same volunteers that I was able to experience what is the most breathtaking Adventure perhaps to date, the trip itself and my mast climb.  I don’t really have a word to adequately describe what the climb felt like.  The best I can come up with is painful and awe-inspiring.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to take this trip because without it I would not have the friendships that I now do and perhaps the comprehension of what true exhaustion means.

Start with:

  1. Introducing ourselves- Hi my name is Hannah etc.
  2. We went on the Lord Nelson Tall Ship.  Our journey began at Port Adelaide on the 1st of September, 2013, and finished up in Williams Town on the 8th of September where we, absolutely exhausted, flew back to Adelaide.
  3. When we first got there we were all herded down into the cabin for a team brief and safety talk. Afterwards, we were introduced to our watch leader and group where we were allocated to Aft Port with 6 others who we would be working for the duration of our trip.
  4. So a bit of a rundown of our every day on the ship
  5. Every day was full-on. If we weren’t up on deck keeping watch we were mustering sails, on mess duty, or trying to get in a quick shower and nap, where you weren’t even guaranteed to have enough water or time to be feeling fresh.  Every day we would be woken at 7:30 regardless of whether we had had the 2 am-4 am watch shift or had been able to snatch a full 8 hours of sleep. First off was breakfast and general preparation for the day before we got into happy hour. The happy hour didn’t have anything to do with cheap drinks or prepping for a big night out as most of us would hope.  It was about cleaning the ship from stern to bow and not missing a spot.  We did everything from mopping the deck to polishing the brass to cleaning the showers.
  6. But we were rewarded for our hard work with smoko which usually included coffee, tea, cake and biscuits and the occasional birthday celebration.  After smoko, it was straight into pulling sails and avoiding getting on Steve’s bad side.  Steve was the first mate and wasn’t one to cross when there was work to be done.  If you were lucky there was time for a quick shower or sit down before it was time to get ready for lunch. After lunch was the most savoured time of all.  Sleeeep!!  All the lights were turned out and you could get a good 2 hours sleep or spend some relaxing time above deck with other crew members.
  7. After quiet time, it was time to eat AGAIN! Sometimes it felt like we spent our entire time eating but it was necessary if you were to keep your energy up for the late-night and early morning watches as well as the day’s chores. After that, it was general things that needed to be done around the ship, such as altering sails, getting coffee for those on watch, prepping for dinner and so on and so forth.
  8. Watch was probably the most out of the routine thing we did.  Up at ridiculous times of the night or up super early and missing out on that precious wink of sleep before having to get up to start the day.  Long stretches of dark with amazing stars, hot sun with dolphins jumping out of the water or beautiful sunsets and sunrises was what waited on watch so it wasn’t all as bad as we can sometimes make it out to be.
  9. In the sparse free time we had, we got to try climbing the mast, which has to be one of the highlights for both of us.”

“The B&G Trust scholarship to travel on the tall ship, STS Lord Nelson (from Adelaide to Melbourne) contributed to Hannah’s personal growth— an overwhelmingly positive experience where she achieved something that many able-bodied people are afraid to try.”

Annie Fabig, Hannah’s mother


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