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Pelican pops in on way back to Britain

On a visit: the tall ship Pelican of London, leaving St George’s (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A British sail training ship has docked in Bermuda to forge an educational partnership with the island equivalent.

The Pelican of London, captained by Chris Blake, the first skipper of the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s Spirit of Bermuda, is in Hamilton before voyaging to Europe with a group of 30 German and Swiss students.

The crew have been on board the ship for five months on a cultural exchange voyage that started in Dublin and visited Spain, Morocco, Tenerife, the Cape Verde Islands, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba, Key West, F lorida, and Bermuda.

Mr Blake, who was named Captain of the Year in 2008 by Sail Training International, told The Royal Gazette: “The Bermuda Sloop Foundation, the operators of Spirit of Bermuda, and Adventure under Sail, the operators of Pelican of London, are working towards a joint venture that will involve young people from Bermuda and Europe utilising both vessels in educational and cultural exchange programmes.”

Mr Blake first visited Bermuda on the Australian sailing ship Endeavour, a replica of the vessel Captain James Cook used on his epic 1770 voyage to the continent.

He was invited by the Bermuda Sloop Foundation to assist in the construction of Spirit of Bermuda in Rockport, Maine.

Mr Blake was later asked to sail the vessel on its maiden voyage to Bermuda with a crew of young people from the island.

He said: “When we arrived into Bermuda, I assisted with the setting up and running of the school programme that is still in operation.

“I was also asked to train up Bermudian officers so that they would take over the manning of Spirit.”

Mr Blake added: “Some of the students that sailed with me are now in the maritime industry and doing very well in their careers.”

He hopes to open the Pelican of London to the public while it is docked in Hamilton.

The ship visited the island four years ago on the way back to Britain from South America.