Photos & Video: Bideford bids farewell to Kathleen and May

13:53 01 September 2014

The Kathleen and May leaving Bideford on Saturday. Pic: Maciek Pawlowski

The Kathleen and May leaving Bideford on Saturday. Pic: Maciek Pawlowski

Archant

The magnificent schooner sailed out of Bideford once more - but she could be back one day.

Capturing a glimpse of the iconic schooner as she sails away. Pic: Maciek PawlowskiCapturing a glimpse of the iconic schooner as she sails away. Pic: Maciek Pawlowski

Crowds gathered to wave off the Kathleen and May as she set sail back to Liverpool on Saturday, leaving behind her home town of Bideford once more.

But it might not be a forever farewell, said Marilyn Clarke, wife of late owner Steve Clarke, as the schooner’s sails disappeared up the Torridge.

“We are achieving a sustainable future for her and see no reason why she should not continue to be enjoyed by generations to come,” said Mrs Clarke.

“They are aware in Liverpool of her strong connections to Bideford and we are sure she’ll be able to come back – we’re just not sure when.”

The three-masted top sail schooner – the last of her kind – received an emotional homecoming last weekend as she arrived at Bideford Quay.

The vessel, arriving from Gloucester where she was involved in the filming of Johnny Depp movie Alice Through the Looking Glass, was only due to stay for two days.

But bad sailing conditions meant the magnificent ship was able to moor on the quay until Saturday, when she set off back home to Liverpool.

Mrs Clarke added: “There is a trip planned to the Isle of Man but other than that, it’s been such a hectic time and she will now be back in Liverpool for a while.

“Steve’s heart was always for her to be in Bideford but she has got to be somewhere she can be looked after and sustained.”

In the same way she entered Bideford, the Kathleen and May was piloted out by members of the Torridge Pilot Gig Club.

Lucy Bates, of the club, said the club last piloted the schooner out in 2010 and it demonstrated the gig’s original purpose.

“The first gigs were built in the late 18th century and were used to carry the pilot out to ships,” she added.

“The pilot would then navigate the ship through the potential hazards into and out of harbours.”

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