Blyth Tall Ship Antarctic training voyage delayed by strong winds

image copyrightBlyth Tall Ship
image captionThe Williams II has been renovated to be "very similar" to Captain Smith's original vessel

A Tall Ship voyage around Britain to train sailors for a commemorative expedition to the Antarctic has been delayed by strong winds.

The Northumberland Blyth Tall Ship charity plans to recreate a journey made by Captain William Smith in 1819.

Volunteers, many unemployed, will sail round Britain in 10 one-week legs to train for the expedition.

The charity's chief executive Clive Gray said they "can't wait to get started".

"Although there are likely to be challenges along the way, not least the weather, this journey is the realisation of years of hard work and dedication," he said.

image copyrightBlyth Tall Ship
image captionPatrons for the expedition include Sir Chris Bonnington , Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the Duchess of Northumberland

Captain Smith was born in Seaton Sluice and trained in Blyth.

A Danish ship, Haabet, has been renamed Williams II after his ship Williams, which was built in the town.

It has been restored by local volunteers and apprentices to be "very similar" to the original.

After the training trips round Britain, the Williams Expedition hopes to travel to the Arctic in August.

Its eventual aim is to follow the route of Smith's voyage to the South Shetlands and Antarctica.

In the process it will train unemployed people, who will crew alongside doctors, engineers, cooks and experienced sailors.

Departure for the trip round Britain is now planned for late Monday or Tuesday.

image copyrightBlyth Tall Ship
image captionThe 100 tonne, oak-hulled, twin-masted, gaff-rigged ketch, formerly known as the Haabet, was brought from Denmark and refitted in Blyth

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