The Matthew offers ‘Moor’ Support to the RNLI
March 1496 and King Henry VII grants John Cabot the right to ‘…seek islands and countries of the heathen toward the West, East and North’ and he was happy for him to sail under the English flag. A year passes and then Cabot takes up the Kings offer and along with a small crew of 18 aboard his ship The Matthew they sail for fifty days. June 24th 1497 and The Matthew reaches the New World landing on Cape Bonavista Newfoundland. Now in the interest of all our visitors it is very important to stress that much controversy still surrounds the exact landing place of The Matthew on this date so in fairness here are several other suggested landing zones:- Cape Breton, Labrador, Nova Scotia and Maine.
In 1997 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World a replica of The Matthew manned by the same amount of crew set sail and followed the course the original Matthew took in 1497. Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the caravel ship On June 24th as she landed at Port Bonavista after taking the same journey time to arrive.
Today visitors can see her in the Falmouth harbour or moored alongside the National Maritime Museum at Events Square. Here to support the Sea Shanty Festival The Matthew offers sailing trips out on Falmouth’s water usually taking up to 2 – 3 hours.
The International Sea Shanty Festival is in its 8th year this year and as with all years the town will be alive with song and colour. Organised to raise money for the RNLI the festival celebrates the maritime heritage of Falmouth and Cornwall.
The Shanty is a song sung by crews aboard merchant sailing vessels a practical tool to synchronise the movement among crew members. The rhythm aids sailors in completing repetitive tasks. The shanty would quite likely have been used aboard The Matthew as she sailed to Newfoundland so it is only fitting that she is here today to support the Shanty Festival and the RNLI.
With the gale force winds and heavy rainfall over the last few days there is little doubt that the RNLI has been called upon highlighting the need for continued support.
The International Sea Shanty Festival starts this evening with the opening ceremony at 6.30pm at Custom House Quay. Various performances will take place throughout the town including, Events Square, Shipwrights (a.k.a Chainlocker), Quayside Inn, The Front, Five Degrees West, Seaview Inn, Watersports Centre and many other venues during the evening.
The festival will continue through the weekend and a programme can be purchased at £4 from a number of sellers including, the Cornish Store which also has the festival CD available, the Visitor Information Centre, the Watersports Centre, The Front pub, Quayside Inn and the Chainlocker. By purchasing a program you are supporting the RNLI thank you.