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.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Facebook Group

We've created a Facebook Group, to allow crew members to upload their photos and share their experiences.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Shakedown Sail

Following, what seemed to be, a never-ending winter refit, the Kathleen and May visited Clovelly last Saturday evening for a shakedown sail.

We practiced our safety drills, including firefighting and tightened the rigging - as the masts had all been removed during the refurbishment.

A swift run ashore to the Red Lion on Saturday night before a beatiful sail across Bideford Bay on the Sunday.

As we approached the Fairway Buoy, under full sail, we were hailed by the Westland Wessex, of 22 Sqn RAF who wanted to carry out a Search and Rescue practice with us. It was amazing watching them lower the winch-man onto the whaleback, whilst we maintained our course and speed, for a brief chat before heading off to a real drama in Swansea.

Videos of this exercise appear here and here.

We then lowered the sails and steamed home to Bideford - and as ever, held our collective breath, as we passed under the Torridge Bridge, with the view from the shore here.

More updates soon, as we await a weather window to sail to France for an enviromental transport of wine to Dublin.