Built in Connahs Quay in 1900 and named "Lizzie May". Sold to Martyn Fleming of Youghal Ireland in 1908 and re named after his daughters Kathleen & May". Working the ports of western England , Wales and the south and east ports of Ireland. Crewed by skipper, boy and four seamen, operating under sail only. Bought by Tommy Jewell in 1931 the ship had an auxilary engine fitted, the top masts taken down and the bowsprit reduced. She continued trading in this manner with now only a crew of four up to 1960, bringing her last cargo from Cardiff to Bideford. Bringing to an end centuraries of transporting cargo under sail. Eleven years later the Kathleen & May was partly restored by the Maritime trust and put on show first in Plymouth then in London.

By 1995 the ship was in a seriously distressed state and required major restoration work. Lacking the essential funds the ship was closed to the public and after having the masts & spars removed was taken round to Gloucester docks to await an uncertain end. Saved in time by Bideford businessman Steve Clarke and bought back to her home port for a full restoration. For his part in the restoration and contribution to our maritime heritage Mr Clarke received the OBE.
The full story of the Kathleen & May is available at only £3.00 plus postage.

The ship is of historic importance, and, as the last of her type, is part of the Core Collection of the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV).

Drawing of the ship

Drawing of the ship
This is how the Kathleen & May would have looked between 1900 and 1930. With with square sails to the fore topmast and gaff topsails to the main and mizzen.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Sailing 2008

On the morning of July 7th the Kathleen & May slipped her moorings in the pool at Appledore and set course for France. The destination Brest for the International Festival of Sail, an event held once every four years. Ships from all over the world gather in the resort for a week long extravaganza attracting over a million visitors.

For anyone interested in ships this festival is a must. The shear number of classic ships in port is an amazing sight; coupled with the music, dancing and shore side demonstrations it is breathtaking. Evenings are packed with entertainment culminating with firework displays and an illuminated sail parade.  The week ended with all the ships over a thousand, in a grand parade of sail to the port the port of Duarnenez where some remained for another event or returned home.

Leaving Duarnenez the Kathleen & May returned to Brest where the ship took on a cargo of 30,000 bottles of premier French wine. This being the first commercial cargo to be transported under sail by a British ship for 48 years.
The archives show it was also the Kathleen & May that previously carried the last recorded cargo in 1960. Quite an achievement for a vessel that is 108 years old. The destination, Dublin where the wine was unloaded on the city quay, an event that made headlines in all the major press.

On the return voyage from Dublin the ship put in at Youghal, in the south of Ireland.  A visit that marked the 100th anniversary of the transfer of ownership from Coppack to the Flemings and a change of name from Lizzy May to Kathleen and May. A time for celebrations and a civic reception. The last leg back to Bideford was rewarded with good weather and favourable winds that saw the ship making better than 10 knots.


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