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Adventure Under Sail, the charity which operates Weymouth’s tall ship Pelican, are pleased to announce their collaboration with Portland Museum for a celebration of local maritime history.

On 5th February 1805 a large sailing ship called the Earl of Abergavenny got into trouble in bad weather just off the Dorset coast. During her attempt to seek shelter and refuge in Weymouth she hit the Shambles in Weymouth Bay and subsequently sank.

Of the 402 on board, 263 people perished. One of these was the ship’s captain, John Wordsworth, the brother of poet William Wordsworth.

The wreck of the Earl of Abergavenny lies on the seabed in Weymouth Bay, 20 metres below the surface. Since the 1970s a team from Portland Museum, amongst others, have excavated the site and most of the artefacts recovered are in the museum.

To mark the 210th anniversary of the ship’s sinking TS Pelican and Portland Museum are organising a unique educational opportunity for students in Dorset.

Classes aged 7 upwards are invited to come on board Pelican in Weymouth on 5thor 6th February to learn about the Earl of Abergavenny and what happened to her. There will be real artefacts from the wreck site, and students will learn about life on board a tall ship today during a tour of Pelican.

Lisa Gravett of Portland Museum says: “This is a unique opportunity for local schools to learn about an incredible story from our local maritime history and to experience this learning in the truly wonderful environment of a working tall ship.”

On 12th April 2015 the tall ship Pelican is offering a special commemorative day sail from Weymouth Harbour for members of the public.

Once again staff from Portland Museum will be on board with artefacts from the Abergavenny wreck site and as part of the day sail Pelican will be sailing to the Abergavenny’s final resting place to lay a wreath.

Becky Simmons from Adventure Under Sail says: “Our day sails are hugely popular each year but we wanted to offer something special, something really unique.

“As always, anyone joining the ship will be able to get involved in sailing, including taking the helm and pulling on ropes. The Abergavenny experience offers another dimension to the sailing day. It’s going to be fantastic.”

Anyone interested in bringing a school group on board, or joining the commemorative day sail, should contact Adventure Under Sail on 01305 858274 or