Replica frigate on course for Atlantic crossing

A crew of trainees is to help a replica of a historic British frigate make its first trans-Atlantic voyage.

The Rose, the largest wooden-hulled tall ship afloat, sets sail from the American port of Boston, Massachusetts, on 21 April to visit more than a dozen destinations throughout Europe.

The $l.5m (pounds 1m) replica of HMS Rose, a 24-gun Royal Navy frigate from Nelson's era - begins her European journey at the end next month when she arrives at Bristol for the International Festival of the Sea.

The three-masted square rigger will be supervised on the Atlantic crossing by expertsailors but crewed largely by 30 trainees. The Rose is the only tall ship to have passed rigorous tests required for the US coastguards' certificate for a Class-A Sailing School vessel.

The 500-ton ship acts as a floating ambassador for Connecticut and her home port of Bridgeport.

Captain Richard Bailey said: "It is time to show the flag in Europe. We have visited most ports on this side of the Atlantic from Bermuda to Newfoundland, and gained years of experience of operating the ship in all conditions.

"Rose is more than just an exercise in historical make believe. Our educational programmes range from high school classes to corporate team building seminars.

"The challenge is real and so are the rewards. The sea can be just as cruel today as it was 200 years ago."

The Rose was built more than 15 years ago in Canada and is a recreation of the type of frigate that helped the British defeat Napoleon.

The original HMS Rose was built at Hull in 1757 and played a major part in the blockade of the smugglers' port of Newport, Rhode Island.

Such was her fame that she is generally credited with being responsible for the formation of the American navy.