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Irish Linked Heritage Vessels Listed on Prestigious UK Historic Ship List

Posted: 18  Mar. 2012


Two yet very different vessels with strong intertwined Irish maritime connections have been accepted onto the prestigious British National Historic Ship list, as vessels of historic significance, according to the Wicklow People.

The larger of the two vessels De Wadden is a Dutch built three-masted schooner dating from 1917 and was the last surviving schooner to trade regularly on the Irish Sea. She operated for Richard Hall of Arklow, until sold in 1961. She would later appear in the 1970's TV series 'The Onedin Line'.

In 1984 De Wadden she was purchased by Merseyside Maritime Museum (MMM) in Liverpool, because of her importance and as a regular trader to Merseyside over many years.

As for the second vessel added to the historic ship list, she is the iconic yacht Huff of Arklow which was designed by famous British naval architect, Uffa Fox. She was launched from the Co. Wicklow port shipbuilder John Tyrrell & Sons in 1951.

Huff of Arklow is unique as she holds the distinction of been the first ocean going yacht designed to the fin and skeg configuration. Her design would be a forerunner for what is now commonplace in international yacht races. She is undergoing restoration for Eisca, an English sail-training organisation.

De Wadden (as previously reported on Afloat.ie) is only one of three Irish Sea merchant schooners that have survived into the 21st century. Each of them, are representative of their particular types. She is a steel auxiliary schooner representing the transition from sail to mechanical propulsion.

The other two (topsail) schooners are Kathleen and May (1900) and the Result (1893). The Carrickfergus built steel hulled schooner represents the move from wood to metal hulls.

As for the Kathleen and May she is the last traditional (West Country) wooden topsail schooner and was built in Bideford in north Devon.The trio are listed on the register, to view visit: www.nationalhistoricships.org.uk

Also reported on Afloat.ie (see link above) was the West Country ketch Bessie Ellen which was making passage through the Irish Sea last September bound for Liverpool where De Wadden is permanently dry-docked at the museum. The De Wadden is on display but is not open to visitors due to conservation work..

De Wadden's last year as a working vessel was in 1961, though, as in the case of Kathleen and May she returned to commercial trading, after a gap of nearly half a century. Her comeback albeit brief included several wine cargoe passages for CTMV / Fair Wind Wine from France to the UK and Dublin, once in 2008 and 2009.

Fair Wind Wine also chartered the St. Malo based schooner Etoile de France, which sailed to Dublin in advance of St. Patrick's Day festivities three years ago and their last Iirsh bound cargo was also to the capital in 2010.

To read much more about the story of the 'Arklow' vessels in the Wicklow News click here.




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