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A father’s legacy

JAN. 3 — The son of late yachtsman Sir Peter Blake is heading to Antarctica to help fulfill a pledge his father made to preserve the continent’s heroic heritage.

James Blake, who is 19, is preparing for a six-week expedition to Antarctica with members of the New Zealand contingent of the Antarctic Heritage Trust to restore three huts used by arctic explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott, news reports say.

“Sir Ernest Shackleton was renowned as a great leader of men and was one of my father's heroes,” Blake says in a report. “It's a great privilege to be able to contribute to a program that helps save his legacy for future generations.”

Sir Peter Blake had promised the trust that he would assist in its restoration of the huts. James Blake’s efforts would fulfill his father’s pledge, trust executive director Nigel Watson says in a report. “Before his expedition to the Antarctic peninsula and in anticipation of an expedition to Antarctica's RossSea, Sir Peter had offered to assist the trust in any way that he could," Watson says in the report.

But Sir Peter Blake never made it to the RossSea. In December 2001 the Jules Verne trophy winner was shot dead by pirates aboard his 119-foot schooner, Seamaster. At the time of his death, Blake and his crew were on an environmental awareness expedition on the Brazilian Amazon.

“It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” James Blake says in the report. “I really appreciate the chance.”

— Jason Fell