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Life on an ocean wave for Port Talbot's Andrew Basten

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

By Gill Roberts

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AN office worker who broke his back more than 20 years ago has swapped his desk for the high seas.

Andrew Basten, who is from Port Talbot, is sailing in a tall ship from Rio de Janeiro to South Africa with the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

The journey started for the 43-year-old wheelchair-user, who works for Gwalia in Swansea as an office resources assistance, when he flew from Heathrow to Rio to board the Lord Nelson.

This is one of only two tall ships in the world designed and built to accom- modate people of all physical abilities.

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It's on its first round-the -world voyage, the journey taking two years with a crew of 50.

Andrew said: "I'm passionate about sailing.

"I've supported and sailed with the Jubilee Sailing Trust since 2000.

"They do a really good job in challenging prejudices and misconceptions about disability.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to take part in the Sail the World voyage."

The Lord Nelson left Southampton in October and, after its stop-off in Rio, is travelling for more than 3,500 miles and 37 days to Cape Town.

The schedule included a visit Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited islands in the world.

Andrew is due home this month. He lives independently despite breaking his back and damaging his neck in a 1989 motorbike accident when a piece of wood fell from a lorry and into his path.

He has worked for Gwalia for more than 15 years, and the local housing and care provider is supporting his once-in- a-lifetime adventure by sponsoring part of his trip.

Andrew said: "I appreciate Gwalia's support and sponsorship to allow me to embark on this journey.

"It's something I'll never forget. I certainly started 2013 with a bang, seeing the famous New Year's Eve fireworks on Copacabana Beach in Rio with a million others."

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