Restored tall ship too tall to leave port

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The restoration of the Kathleen & May saved "from the chainsaw" at a cost of £750,000, has left the tall ship with masts too high to let her leave port.

The river Torridge bridge at Bideford, Devon, where she is berthed, has clearance of 78ft at high tide – but the old coastal trading vessel has masts that are 86ft tall.

Steve Clarke, 50, a businessman and owner of the schooner, believed the bridge had 100ft clearance. Now, to be ready for sea trials on Tuesday, his riggers are working on a way of allowing the upper sections of the masts to be lowered whenever required by the 100ft long ship.

The Kathleen & May, the last surviving example of her type and a working ship until 1962, will feature as a tourist attraction in Bideford, and each year sail once or twice to Ireland.