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Kate

Kate

KATE (63917) 129grt, l'gth 91, wood topsail schooner built by Graves in the Isle of Man in 1872, owner Mrs C. Graves. It was the last schooner to be owned in Almwch. She was managed by the family of her builder and was always registered at Peel. The end of sailing ships at Almwch came in January 193

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Super pic Stein, a real work horse of a coaster. Two masted schooners to my mind always seemed well balanced and sailed well though many, particularly in the West Country preferred the ketch rig, being a bit easier to handle. As a topsail schooner she would probably have had a crew of five, master, mate, cook, two ABs or one AB and a OS. The cook would probably have been an experienced seamen perhaps not able to go aloft but capable of taking a watch as well as helping on deck. In the 1920s, with the topsail yards sent down, they were often run with a crew of three, but they could not be pressed and resulted in long passages much time spent sheltering or waiting for tides. In the Bristol Channel a lot of worn out sails were handed down and recut for local fishing vessels, but even for a spritsail Somerset flatner there would not be much of any worth in any of these sails which are obviously her summer suit.
Gil.
 

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Hi Gil. I wonder if her dark sails had been what we here call "barked", coloured red-brown with a concoction that consists to a degree of cooked birch bark, and the patches thus given a particular prominence. They're many I agree though. A Spritsail Somerset Flatner I've not heard of, but "flatner" doesn't sound like a complicated hull form, and spritsails were not considered high class no. (The Norwegian pilots stuck to spritsails for a long time, the explanation: you slam the sprit into the mast, you've got a total sail reduction in seconds)
I note that the the mainsail is laced to the boom, I've claimed that that was primarily an American practice on this site, I wonder how wrong I might have been?
The other Kate I've not found, I'll keep looking. Regards, Stein.
 

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Hello again Stein. It was not normal practice to bark/tan sails in the UK coasters and I was once told that the JAMES POSTLETHWAITE and possibly the LOCHRANZA CASTLE were the only two they could remember. Nearly all ketches and schooners did however bark the staysail because it was frequently wet. By the 1930s nearly all two masted schooners had roller reefing on the mainsail, while the boom foresail was still point reefed. In the bigger three masted schooners it was usual by that time to have roller reefing on all booms.
The Somerset flatner was rocker bottomed, double ended like a dory, up to 21ft in length and with a sprit rig and foresail and a dagger board. The bigger boats were used in Bridgwater Bay for long lining, sprats and tending stake nets, while the smaller ones dipped for salmon and set eel traps in the River Parrett. They owe their origins to the Viking trading settlement that was established on the West side of the River Parrett mouth in the area around Stolford. I have built two replicas a 21ft and a 14ft, they are quirky sailers especially when running with wind and tide and really need a drogue to stop them broaching.
Gil.
 

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