Matthew (ship)

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Matthew Dec09.jpg
A replica of The Matthew in Bristol Floating Harbour
Career (England)
Name: The Matthew
Builder: Storms'l Services
Laid down: 1994
Launched: 1996
Homeport: Bristol
General characteristics
Type: replica caravel
Displacement: 85
Tons burthen: 50
Length: Length overall: 78 ft (24 m)
Beam: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
Height: 72.5 ft 6 in (22.25 m)
Draught: 7 ft 6 in (2.29 m)
Decks: 2
Installed power: 200hp Caterpillar 3116
Propulsion: sail, engine
Sail plan: caravel

The Matthew was a caravel sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to North America, presumably Newfoundland. After a voyage which had got no further than Iceland, Cabot left again with only one vessel, the Matthew, a small ship (50 tons), but fast and able. The crew consisted of only 18 people. The Matthew departed either 2 May or 20 May 1497. She sailed to Dursey Head (latitude 51°36N), Ireland, from where she sailed due west, expecting to reach Asia. However, landfall was reached in North America on 24 June 1497. His precise landing-place is a matter of much controversy, with Cape Bonavista or St. John's in Newfoundland the most likely sites.