Kathleen J Kilbey I.Eng MRINA.
Kathleen grew up in Southern England within a few miles of the Sussex Coast. Much of her childhood leisure time was spent around Chichester and Langstone Harbours. In fact she still subscribes to the Arthur Ransom philosophy that “if duffers – will drown; if not duffers – won’t drown” and she is on a fairly short fuse as far as what she sees as “interference in commonsense-sailing by Nanny State” is concerned.
After leaving Grammar School in Sussex, Kathleen attended Kingston College of Technology and completed an HNC in Mechanical Engineering, before qualifying as a Technical Lecturer at London University’s Garnett College. She subsequently lectured in Maths, Engineering-Technology and Science at various technical Colleges, prior to completing a course in Naval-Architecture at the then, Sunderland Polytechnic.
A career move to Marine Engineering Consultancy work, and a long stint overseas, first with Mobil Oil International Inc, and then with Ocean Systems Inc. and finally Mannai Corporation, followed.
By the early 1980’s, expatriate-life with its “Club Class and Hilton” travel syndrome had definitely palled – whilst sailing the creeks and harbours of Southern England and the English Channel, beckoned more and more strongly.
In 1984 Kathleen turned her back on oil-company life and commenced a temporary career as a Classic yacht charter owner and Skipper. “Oiled teak and Flying Spray – Come and get wet cold and uncomfortable on our 1962 Buchanan 11-ton cruiser-racer” ran the adverts! At that time, Kathleen used to tell her (mostly very motley) crews that there was no chance of their being seasick – they would be too busy and terrified even to think of it! Kathy Kilbey has always been a keen and competitive sailor, having competed in most of the major RORC races over the years, including the Fastnet Race in 1989, skippering “Sinbad of Abersoch” her Buchanan 38 sloop, in IOR class II. (Click here for a pdf presentation. Sinbad’s Fastnet 1989 and the “story behind the story” Sinbad Maintenance 1984-97
Kathleen holds the RYA International Certificate of Competance (I.C.C) for motor and sailing vessels up to 80 gross tons; the RYA Yachtmaster-Offshore Certificate, plus the various RYA intermediate tidal, Coastal-Skipper, VHF, first-aid, day-skipper etc. certificates; she is thus qualified to deliver both sailing and motor vessels from UK,to areas such as the Mediterreanian.
During the 1970’s and early 1980’s there was relatively little interest in wooden-yachts and many of the “Classics” of today were languishing derelict in creeks and harbours along the south coast, being used as chicken coops or houseboats. “Endeavour” was on the Medina, “Bloodhound” in Poole, “Lulworth” on the Hamble – whilst “Velsheda”, with rusty holes visible in her topsides and a somewhat ragged rig, was to be seen sailing about the Solent with a very motley crew indeed !!
KJK is on record at that time, as saying that “in 15 years time, people will be spending millions restoring these classic-boats!
It was during the early 1980’s while operating as a part-time charter-yacht skipper, that Kathleen Kilbey, having regard to the sad fate of the wonderful old classic-boats mentioned above, decided to combine her marine engineering skills and her extensive wooden boat experience and become a full time Marine-Surveyor.
During the period 1983-1990 Kathleen had as mentors, a number of senior traditional-yacht surveyors and she qualified as a full Member of The Royal Institution of Naval Architects, (MRINA) in 1992, sponsored by none other than Alan H Buchanan. After some seven years of years of mentoring (1983-1990) by her experienced Naval-Architect and Marine-Surveyor associates, Kathleen Kilbey set up her own Marine Surveying practice and online home at ClsssicBoatSurveys.com
Please see our history and photo archive pages on this site for details and pictures of some of the Marine Survey and construction-supervision projects in which the Survey practice has been involved.
As a complete contrast to her professional interest in and previous experience of, large wooden “Classic” yachts, Kathleen was recently involved in a project to restore “Apache” (K6054), a 1972 GRP (24ft) Hunter 701 sloop. KJK likened the move from a 38ft Wooden Ocean Racer to the Hunter, as “like going from a vintage Bentley to a Lotus Seven – but now I don’t have to feed and clean up after a hungry, thirsty crew”! Download the full story here ; Apache Project
“Apache” was fully restored for long-distance solo cruising and racing and was adapted internally to provide a full size navigation station and galley, plus two full-length quarter berths and occasional (foc’sl) 3rd / 4th berths. A lightweight inboard lister diesel was projected at the time. The rest of the interior was intended to be largely food and water storage – however that project had to make way for custodianship of the Ex RN Northney 34 yacht “Severn Wraith”, formerly “Sea Wraith ll ” – please see project pages on this site.