THE historic schooner Kathleen and May was the subject of a lifeboat rescue at Appledore on Sunday afternoon. In high winds and dropping tides, the Bideford based sailing vessel became stranded and entangled on the Appledore lifeboat mooring, with the moo

THE historic schooner Kathleen and May was the subject of a lifeboat rescue at Appledore on Sunday afternoon.In high winds and dropping tides, the Bideford based sailing vessel became stranded and entangled on the Appledore lifeboat mooring, with the mooring rope tight around its rudder.Timing is crucial for the three-masted ship to leave her moorings and make her way down river from Bideford to ensure sufficient water to float, but allow clearance for her 100ft masts under the Torridge Bridge.Having negotiated the bridge she would normally then moor up at Appledore before starting her passage.On this occasion the water had dropped too far to reach the mooring, so Appledore lifeboat offered its secondary mooring. But in strong tides and heavy winds she missed the pickup and over-sailed the mooring. The mooring strop got caught in front of the rudder, bringing the boat to an abrupt halt and she was well and truly stuck, with the tide about to turn.A full scale exercise by the Appledore lifeboat crew followed and local diver Colin Eastman was called in. Despite only a metre clearance under the boat and murky conditions, he managed to clear the rope from the rudder and the Appledore lifeboat pulled the mooring clear. The 100-year-old vessel was able to continue her journey out of the estuary on route to the Brest International 2008 Tall Ships Festival in France. Steve Clarke, owner of the Kathleen and May, said: 'We were extremely grateful to the Appledore RNLI letting us borrow its mooring in the event we missed the tide, which prevented us being able to tie up elsewhere. We were even more grateful to the crew for getting us off the mooring so we could go on our way!'