Cornwall

Crippled tall ship captain blames 'freak gust'

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Media captionThe "Fryderyk Chopin" has arrived in Falmouth

The captain of a tall ship has blamed a "freak gust" of wind for crippling his vessel.

The Fryderyk Chopin lost both its masts about 100 miles (160km) south west of the Isles of Scilly on Friday.

The vessel, which had 36 14-year-olds on board, was towed into Falmouth Bay by a tug and moored to a buoy earlier.

Captain Ziemowit Baranski said the ship was built to sail around the world and should have been able to withstand the gale-force winds.

He said the Polish-registered ship, which had previously sailed around Cape Horn, was hit by a freak gust on Friday.

The teenagers have been brought ashore and are expected to spend the next few nights in a hostel.

One of the adult crew members said the young people were all "in very good spirits" and wanted to continue the voyage once repairs had been made to the masts and rigging.

Teenager Natalia Galda said only adults were allowed on deck after the first mast was damaged.

"It wasn't so terrifying for us, because we didn't see what happened," she told BBC News.

"For us under the deck, life went on normally."

The Polish-registered ship got into trouble about 100 miles (160km) south west of the Isles of Scilly on Friday. It had left Holland last month on a three-and-a-half-month cruise to the Caribbean.

The ship is owned by the European School of Law and Administration, a private university based in Poland.

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