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Featuring her transatlantic voyage aboard Felicity Ann

Best of all, I like handling things. Things in

action. Driving fast cars, riding wild horses,
flying an aeroplane.
Ann, one of a handful of commercially licensed pilots
in the UK in the 1930s, delivered mail by aeroplane
around England. She met her future husband, an
airfield owner, Frank Davison, when she applied for a
job as a stunt pilot.
Civilian flying from Hooton was suspended
Davisons airfield requisitioned by the RAF
Their aeroplanes & gear, stored nearby,
were destroyed when, as Ann wrote in
Last Voyage,
some irresponsible dolt started up
one of the aircraft engines just to
see if it would the engine started,
fired back and up it went dope, fabric
and all the planes still with petrol in
their tanks.
Frank and Ann
farmed in
Loch Lamond,
1940 - 1946

Then on Inchfad, an island

they bought and sold.

First on Inchmurrin
Inexperienced & fleeing creditors, Ann went to sea with Frank,
bound for Cuba, before Reliance was complete..

In a 19 day ordeal, they Unseaworthy, Reliance

were blown down the Irish became uncontrollable as
Sea then to the east, along her steering gear seized.
the English Channel.

Currents took their life raft out to sea, where waves swept them off,
time and again, after theyd managed to re-board.
Frank perished in the
frigid waters.

Ann made it to shore,

climbing the 50 cliff of
Portland Bill, to rescue,
after 14 hours adrift.
A Look magazine article

Anns writings helped her to pay off the debt

of Reliance & dream of adventure, once more.
Three years later I sailed again,
alone, but it was not in any spirit of
defiance, or revenge, or expiation, or
vindication, that I chose to return to
a way of life that had barely begun
before ending so disastrously.
From the start, even as I climbed
those cliffs, I knew I would, I had to,
though at the time it would have
been impossible to explain why.
Ann Davison
In preparation for her next adventure, Ann
wrote that she spent a couple of weeks sailing
an 18 footer down Devonshire way, and another
couple of weeks in concentrated study of
celestial navigation.
Choosing a boat is like
choosing a husband, a
wife or a horse; you have
to fall in love to get the
best out of the

I fell in love with a two

and a half ton Bermudian
sloop called Felicity Ann

Ann Davison
Originally named Peter Piper, Felicity Ann
was hull number 12 of a line of stock
wooden four-ton sloops by Mashford

Construction in 1939 was halted by WWII

#12 was sold, and finally completed and

launched, but didnt voyage, in 1949
In 1949, Peter Piper was purchased by a
yachtsman who commissioned and renamed
her for a cruise to Norway. When his plans
changed he put Felicity Ann up for sale.

FA was surveyed by Hum Barton, who had

recently sailed a 25 yacht from England to
New York. He advised Ann on modifications
to FA, to make the boat more appropriate
for the planned journey.
LOA: 230
LWL: 190
Beam: 76
Draft: 46
Displacement: 4 tons
Sail area: 183 sq.ft.

Ann kept the name

Felicity Ann,
but most often referred
to her as FA.
She is the kind of vessel you pull over your
head and wear. You go below and promptly
sit down, because there is no headroom.
There is not very much any other room either, and the
distribution of load is a nightmare, for the amount of spare
gear you have to take for an ocean crossing is stupendous.
In memory of
Franks grand dream
of sailing to a new
life in the Americas,
Ann embarked upon
an epic journey, a
feat that would
enter the annals of
history, and
commemorate their
relationship with
one another &

Ann left
Las Palmas
in the
Canary Islands
November 20th,
65 days of doing without
not enough food
she had provisioned for only 30 days
not enough sleep
self-steering gear didnt exist
she hove to when she needed rest
no contact with others
no news from others
no way to report that she was safe
rare aircraft sightings of her status
no modern navigational assistance
From Dec. 14- Jan. 5, Ann experienced severe
doldrum conditions. With no self-steering gear,
she pulled down the sails, leaving the boat to
drift, when asleep.
Ann finally anchored in Prince Rupert Bay, Dominica,
two days after being blown past Antigua & Barbados.

In her onboard diary, Ann wrote,

Unless I can get assistance, I dont think I can make port.
Am stupid with fatigue and my thinking is warped.
Ann planned to complete her journey in
90 days.

It took 254 days, from leaving

Plymouth, England, on May 20th, 1952

to arriving across the Atlantic Ocean,

anchoring in Prince Rupert Bay,
Dominica, on January 23rd, 1953

Grateful, exhausted, exhilarated, and starving.

From the Bahamas, Ann sailed up the
Intercoastal Waterway to New York City.
According to Ann Davison,

Pursuit of beauty and truth,
all of that
Ann lived aboard FA, cruising back and forth between New York
and the Bahamas with the seasons, visiting with other sailors.

Ann is pictured with history-making

sailor, Edward Allcard aboard his
boat, in Virginia.

Ann with FAs mast unstepped in

the Intercoastal Waterway

Ann married American businessman, and sailor, Bert Billheimer.

As Ann said, her ship was SO small!
Ann had already decided to sell Felicity Ann and
embark on a new venture, in 1960.

She planned a singlehanded circumnavigation of

eastern North America via the Coastal Waterway
again, including the Great Lakes, the Mississippi
River, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Her adventures continued aboard a 17-foot

outboard-powered cabin cruiser, named Gemini,
but only after conquering cancer.
Ann was
inducted into
Hall of Fame
in 1988,
honored for her
epic voyage
Felicity Ann.
Ann never returned to England
after leaving Plymouth in 1952

She lived happily, with Bert and

their cats, to the ripe age of 78.

Margaret Ann Billheimer died on

May 12, 1992, in Lorida, Florida
has only sailed 7 years

hasnt sailed in 58 years

has been trailered approximately 6500 miles!

Felicity Ann has waited, adapted, accepted change,

stood all tests of time and nature

Felicity Ann has endured

and been restored

To sail again in 2018!

Now FA needs rigging, sails, and cabin design & construction. But she has
committed supporters to help put her back on the water, with more
intrepid women at her helm! Follow her story & theirs at
Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building
The Community Boat Project

Instructors, staff, students


Who re-crafted a piece of history,

so it could repeat itself

Follow the good news at!