In 1951/1952 Ann Davison became the first woman to sail alone in a yacht from England to America. This painting depicts Ann at the helm of her 23 foot sloop Felicity Ann during trials in Plymouth Sound before her epic voyage. Crew on the Laurent Giles L class yacht view her trim craft.
Details on Ann Davison’s epic trip are covered in her novel My Ship Is So Small first published in 1956 by Peter Davies Ltd press, and the painting is based primarily on photographs and information from this book. An earlier novel by Ann Davison titled Last Voyage describes the tragic earlier voyage of the yacht Reliance which Ann and her husband Frank sailed and which was lost on rocks at Portland Bill during a gale which claimed her husband’s life.
Update 2021 – The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding located in Washington State USA, in partnership with the Community Boat Project, restored and relaunched Felicity Ann on May 1, 2018. The Felicity Ann project is using the inspiration of Ann Davison’s accomplishment to encourage women and others to consider a career in the marine trades and is used as an on-the-water training platform for woman, youth, and the community. Further information on the restoration is available on the Northwest School website.
Specifications and details of Felicity Ann:
Length overall -23 feet
19 feet on waterline
Beam 7 ½ feet
Draught 4 ½ feet
4 ton Thames Measurement
Sails; Area 237 sq ft
Working sails all waterproofed and dyed blue
Engine 5 HP Coventry Victor Diesel
Designer and Builder Mashford Brothers – Cremyll Shipyard U.K. Construction commenced in 1939 but was delayed due to the War until 1949. Originally built under the name of Peter Piper but launched as Felicity Ann in September 1949. Bought by Ann Davison in 1952.