Matthew (ship)

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Matthew Dec09.jpg
A replica of the Matthew in Bristol Floating Harbour
Career (England)
Name: Matthew
Operator: John Cabot
Builder: Colin Mudie
Cost: nothing
Laid down: 1994
Launched: 1996
Homeport: Bristol
General characteristics
Length: 78 ft (24 m)
Beam: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)

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.