Schooner hand-built by Spanish family among stars of Tall Ships in Sunderland

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A ship built by a Spanish family from trees they felled themselves is among the more impressive ships in Sunderland for the Tall Ships.

The Atyla was a labour of love for the family of captain Rodrigo de la Serna, the nephew of the ship's lead creator, and took four-and-a-half years to build.

The Atyla

The Atyla

She is one of the very few handmade wooden-hulled tall ships in the world that still operates, painted scarlet red, and based on an original design inspired by the schooners of the 19th century - and looks as if she has sailed straight out of a pirate legend.

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Rodrigo said: "She was built by my family in a small village in the north of Spain near Bilbao. They found the wood and chopped it down, and drew up the designs which my uncle sent to a naval architect for approval.

"The whole thing took four-and-a-half years, starting in 1979 and finishing in 1984."

Rodrigo said one day the family hoped to fulfill his Uncle Esteben's dream of circumnavigating the globe with the Atyla.

She is used as an educational project, taking 16 trainees as part of her 24-strong crew.

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