The Matthew was named after John Cabot's wife Mattea.The Matthew was a caravel sailed by John Cabot in 1497 from Bristol to North America, presumably Newfoundland. After a voyage which had got no further than Iceland, Cabot left again with only one vessel, the Matthew, a small ship (50 tons), but fast and able. The crew consisted of only 18 people. The Matthew departed either 2 May or 20 May 1497. She sailed to Dursey Head (latitude 51°36N), Ireland, from where she sailed due west, expecting to reach Asia. However, landfall was reached in North America on 24 June 1497. His precise landing-place is a matter of much controversy, with Cape Bonavista or St. John's in Newfoundland the most likely sites.
Cabot went ashore to take possession of the land, and explored the coast for some time, probably departing on 20 July. On the homeward voyage his sailors incorrectly thought they were going too far north, so Cabot sailed a more southerly course, reaching Brittany instead of England. On 6 August he arrived back in Bristol.
The replica is 78' (23.7m) long with a beam of 20'6" (6.3m) with a draft of 7' (2.1m) and . of sail. She now offers commercial harbour and offshore cruises from March to September each year from Bristol, where she is moored next to the SS Great Britain in the Floating Harbour.