The Ketch ‘Bacchante’

Written by Karen Day
First Published

Sigurfari - Burton's Last Ship

The last known surviving ship to be built at the Burton Stather shipyard John Wray & Son, was Bacchante. Completed and launched in 1885, for Mr J. Tipson of Boulevard, Hull, a smack owner. The 85 ton fishing vessel, ketch rigged worked out of Hull and was purchased in 1895 by George William Cook. In 1897 she was sold to an Icelandic man, Captain Jon Jonsson for the sum of £325. She was sold again quite quickly, refitted and fished out of Seltjarnaresi, near Reykjavik. Her name was changed to Sigurfari in about 1900. In 1919 she was again sold and began a new life fishing from Klakksvik in the Faroe Islands. There she stayed for the next 50 years and her final working voyage in the summer of 1970.

Sigurfari was then purchased for preservation and returned to Iceland. She is now in a museum in Arkranes, close to Rekjavik and is the only ship of her type left. Though in preservation, she is in a very poor state. So dangerous in fact that no one is allowed aboard for safety reasons. It is hoped enough money can be raised for Sigurfari to be fully restored before it is too late.

Sigurfari, the last remaining Burton Stather ship.

For a more detailed account (if your Icelandic is up to it) visit the boats page on the or there is a little in English on this page.


Map showing the approximate location where the vessel was thought to have been lost, or the last known position.

Vessel Details for Bacchante

Official Number:91442
Fishing Number:H1469
Vessel Name:Bacchante
New Names:
  • Guòrun Blöndal 1897
  • Sigurfari 1900
  • Thomas Jipson of Hull
  • Elizabeth Jipson 1887
  • George William Cook 1890
  • R J Sayers 1891
  • Jon Jonsson of Iceland 1897
  • H P Duus 1919
  • U Olsen 1970
  • Robert Nicholson 1886
  • Samuel Mitchell 1887
  • Joseph Copeland 1889
  • Henry Reynolds 1890
  • William Bowen 1891
  • James Chapman G Davison 1894
  • J Kennedy 1895
  • Hull
  • Grindavik
  • Reykjavik
  • Klaksvig
Notes:Name changed to Sigufari in 1900. Worked until 1970. Fishing numbers, H1469 GK17 RE136 KG378.
Trade:North Sea fishing. North Atlantic fishing, Iceland then Faroe Islands.
Incidents:On Fri Jul 18th 1890 the smack Liberty run across the bow and carried away the bowsprit. 22nd Sep 1893 North Sea. Lawrence Whelan, 4th hand. Whilst assisting to store the boat, had his right hand on the mast against the iron ring, whilst in this position the swinging of the boom caused the goose neck to snap and his thumb was so severely crushed between the boom and the mast as to necessitate amputation. 16th Dec 1893 North Sea. Name of person punished W T Bradley by G Davison. Several causes, untruthful and generally neglecting duty. Thrashed him with a piece of line, striking 3 times across the shoulders. 11th July 1894 11.30pm North sea. Alfred Francis, 4th hand. Drowning, supposed to have lost his balance due to the sudden lurch of the vessel so fallen overboard. 9th Feb 1896 at Sea 8am. Alexander Kay, skipper. Fore topsail sheet carried away striking him on left hand and head, cutting his hand turning him blind.
Fate:The last known remaining ship from Wrays yard. Now rests in Akranes Museum, Iceland, in state of decay.
Image:View Image Picture


  1. A Lincolnshire Shipyard - Burton upon Stather. Clapson, Rodney (2007)
  2. Akranes Museum Centre website
  3. Hull History Centre.

Last updated

© 2017 Burton upon Stather Heritage Group

© Background Photograph by John Naylor.