Modern-day pioneers are drawing on the Blyth spirit of adventure to make a voyage around the British coastline in a magnificently restored tall ship – and it’s not too late to join the crew!
On Sunday, March 17, the 100-year-old sailing ship the Williams II will set off from its workshops at Blyth where it was lovingly restored, on an around-Britain voyage on ten one week legs to train and select locals for future crews and challenges.
The ship will leave the port of Blyth at 13.00, followed by a flotilla of boats. From 11am, members of the public are invited to the quay.
The reasons for the voyage are: to celebrate the achievement of Captain William Smith, born in Seaton Sluice and trained in Blyth, who built a trading vessel in Blyth and eventually made the first discovery of land in Antarctica on February 19 1819 as well as to transform the lives of local unemployed people through offshore skills learning and bring ‘pride in place’ for the community of Blyth.
Each one week leg will involve learning how to sail the Williams II, the restored 100 year old Baltic Trader, thus gaining competent crew skills alongside experienced doctors, engineers, cooks and sailors who have already trained onboard.
It’s not too late to apply to join one of the crews and you need have no experience of sailing. Through funding and support from Northumberland County Councils Community Chest Scheme, Blyth Town Councilors, Catapult, Global Marine, EDF, Port of Blyth the Ballinger Trust, The Garfield Weston
Foundation, the Lottery Heritage Awards and the Community Foundation the team are able to fund unemployed crew to take part.
Anyone interested should apply online via the website https://www.blythtallship.co.uk/the-williams-expedition/apply-to-join-the-expedition
The Expedition has Sir Chris Bonnington, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Leo Houlding, Paul Rose and the Duchess of Northumberland as patrons. The circumnavigation of Great Britain is a precursor to an epic journey to Antarctica, which is scheduled for next year.
The Antarctica expedition will showcase the North-East’s engineering and technology skills on a world stage and, in conjunction with Newcastle University; it will undertake meaningful marine science.
Clive Gray, Chief Executive of Blyth Tall Ship said:
‘This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in a series of historic adventures, exploring the exploits of one of Britain’s unsung heroes in a traditional wooden sailing vessel. It will be a testing experience but great fun as well and people will learn offshore skills, resilience and teamwork. And of course this all comes with a great sense of adventure and hope.’
Liz King, the skipper of the Williams II said:
‘I’m really looking forward to working with so many people and seeing them grow in confidence and skills. There are a few sponsored places left for unemployed people and we can take people up to a week before we go. The Round Britain trip is a significant achievement and will ensure that there is a large pool of people in and around Northumberland who can support future expeditions and bring pride to a local community that is reclaiming its future’.
Job descriptions, sailing plans and application forms can be found at https://www.blythtallship.co.uk/ the-williams-expedition/apply-to-join-the-expedition and completed forms sent to firstname.lastname@example.org