Maria Asumpta entered Plymouth, oldest active square rigger, painting from direct observation, as seen from a friends flat on Plymouth Hoe.
Measuring 61 x 91 cm (24″ x 36″), oils on canvas, long since sold,
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I knew Maria Asumpta, built 1858, and her people well when she was based at Charlestown and I lived at nearby Par Beach, Cornwall.
I climbed those masts many a time including a few wild nights.
One night in particular I’ll never forget, force 9 off Dungeness going aloft to reef tops’ls… Wow, what a view we had !
She was the last example of a 19 th century merchant brig that still looked, felt and smelt like one.
Sailing on her was quite an experience…
I sailed in her including most memorably to Sheveningham in the Netherlands, a voyage that included thunderstorms and a force 9, and among adventures, I sailed with her into the London Docks.
was at the time the world’s oldest actively sailing square rigger.
Built in Spain 1858, Maria Asumpta was 11 years older than the Cutty Sark (now permanently conserved at Greenwich, London).
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Gordon Frickers © updated 17.03.2021
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