Category Archives: Locations

Bisquine La Cancalaise at Douarnenez

Bisquine Bisquine Bisquine

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Here’s another big boat to gawp at – and this time it’s La Cancalaise, perhaps the largest lugger I’ve seen and certainly the only one with three tiers of sails. Here are some photos of mine taken with a film camera at the Douarnenez Maritime Festival some time ago. This is her racing rig by the way; I’ve read the usual working rig for bisquine’s is smaller, and with only two tiers of sails.

Note the little steam launch in the foreground, by the way.

Click here for more on La Cancalaise:

The reborn Kathleen & May

Kathleen & May Kathleen & May Kathleen & May

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The Kathleen & May is a boat to make one gasp. Built on the Dee Estuary in 1900, by the time she retired in 1960 she was the last of the merchant schooners to earn her living carrying cargo. I don’t know what happened to her over the next few couple of decades, but in the mid 1990s she was rediscovered in a sorry state without spars or rigging in Gloucester Docks.

The man who found her was Steve Clarke, the enterprising President of Bideford Chamber of Commerce. On seeing the Kathleen & May, he felt that she should be restored and brought back to Bideford as an attraction; the town had been a frequent port of call during the old boat’s long career. His initial intention was to restore her cosmetically, but later decided to restore her to sailing condition.

She was relaunched in fine style in 2002, and can now be seen in Bideford when she isn’t voyaging somewhere – I was lucky enough to pay a visit a little while ago when she put into Watchet harbour, and she made a big impression. My only regret is that the weather was pretty grim and I didn’t come away with a set of nice big photos to share – but there are some nice ones on the website.

Click here to visit the Kathleen & May website:

While we’re thinking about coasting cargo boats, check out the Bessie Ellen, Britain’s last coasting ketch still sailing:

Got your breath back yet? I haven’t…

Some snaps from La Roche Bernard

Brittany 2007 Brittany 2007 Brittany 2007

Brittany 2007 Brittany 2007 Brittany 2007

Britt Brittany 2007 Br

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I’m shattered after a long weekend playing music at a festival in Brittany. It’s been great fun, but I haven’t the energy to write too much tonight. Still, here are some photos that might particularly interest those of you who would have enjoyed a stroll around a harbour but didn’t manage to fit one in this weekend.

Why did I include the last image? Only because it made me smile! In common with many Breton towns, La Roche Bernard has a stronger sense of its history as a seaport than any town I know in the UK – even the beer bottles bear an illustration of one of the area’s distinctive heavy two-masted luggers. I wonder whether any breweries put traditional boats on their bottles in the UK? Answers on a postcard please…

By the way, if you have any information on any of the boats shown here, do please send it in so we can share it with other interested readers. Thanks!