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.

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Lady Varnishes

Work is well under way on the mast and rigging overhaul.  They are getting an 8 coat treatment from a Coelan product, giving a clear hard-wearing finish. 

"The task ahead of us is huge," said Richard Hall, whilst applying the fifth out of eight coats on one of the three gaffs,  "but the finish is looking very good so far.  But this is one of only 13 spars we have to do and the main masts are 17m long and 1.2 m in circumference.   This really brings home to us the scale of the job."

"Sacha has been working on some minor repairs that come from wear at areas on the rigging." 

"We are looking forward to seeing the ship in top notch condition for next year's sailing season" he continued. 

"Anyone wishing to join us to give us a hand can leave their details on line, or come to the meeting this Saturday evening."

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