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Crews sought for Antarctica voyage

Clive Gray, chief executive of Blyth Tall Ship project.
Clive Gray, chief executive of Blyth Tall Ship project.

Blyth Tall Ship has launched the first phase in selecting the final four crews for the Williams Expedition, which will start in 2019.

This will repeat the original voyage of discovery to Antarctica. It took place from the Northumberland town in 1819 on the Blyth-built brig Williams, which was skippered by William Smith – a Blyth merchant captain.

The reason for the voyage is to get recognition for Mr Smith and show that people in the area can still achieve great things against the odds today.

Blyth Tall Ship’s aim is to recruit 80 experienced adult volunteers as ocean navigators, watch keepers, engineers, doctors/science officers and cook/morale officers to whittle down to 36 on the four legs around the world.

The process will start with a week learning how to sail the Williams II, the charity’s restored 100-year-old Baltic Trader, in 2018.

The next stage is a week on a leg around Britain with an inexperienced crew in early 2019 and then, if they are selected, the big expedition – an eight-week or 10-week voyage to the Antarctic via Cape Horn and home via the Panama Canal, Greenland and Iceland, as Mr Smith also ventured north.

Clive Gray, Blyth Tall Ship chief executive, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in an historic adventure, repeating the exploits of one of Britain’s unsung heroes in a traditional wooden sailing vessel.

“It will be a testing experience and we aim to find people who are technically able, resilient team players, able to support an inexperienced crew – who we will select from September 2018 – and have a great sense of adventure.”

Volunteers with sailing qualifications, doctors, ships engineers and cooks must be prepared to be featured in a documentary about the voyage and pledge to raise £1,500 before they start sailing to support Blyth Tall Ship’s work.

Job descriptions, sailing plans and application forms can be found at www.blythtallship.co.uk/the-williams-expedition/apply-to-join-the-expedition and completed forms need to be sent to clive@blythtallship.co.uk