Falls of Clyde

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Falls of Clyde
Falls of Clyde in Honolulu
Ship data
National flag: Hawaiian flag
Surname: Falls of Clyde
Launch : December 12, 1878
Builder : Russell & Co., Port Glasgow
Maiden voyage : April 20, 1879 Greenock - Karachi - London
Constructor: William Lithgow
Shipping company : Wright, Breakenridge & Co.
other owners: Wm. Matson (1899-1906); Associated Oil Co. (1906-1920); GW McNear (1920-1921); General Petroleum Corp. (1921-1959); Wm. E. Mitchell (1959-1963); Bernice P. Bishop Museum (1963-1970); Hawai'i Maritime Center (1970–)
Home port : Glasgow (1879-1899);
Honolulu (1899-1906);
San Francisco (1906-1921);
Ketchikan (1921-1963); Honolulu (1963-)
Captains : Bryce, Crispin, Lawrence, Hurry, Hill, Anderson, D. Addison
Crew : 30 men
Technical specifications
Construction : Iron hull as smooth decker , two deckhouses
Rig : Four-masted full ship ; Lower masts, mars / bram poles ; Four-masted barque; Mizzen mast , stalk , 1 gaff
Type: Sailing freighters;
Sail tanker (1907);
Oil barge (1922);
Museum ship (1968)
Number of decks : 2 steel decks, back, poop; top decks with teak
Length over all (LüA): 98.45 m (323 ')
Hull length : 88.7 m (291 ') ( Galion stern)
Length on deck (LaD): 81.1 m (266'2 ")
Width: 12.2 m (40 ')
Room depth : 8.6 m (28.2 ')
Side height: 8.9 m (29.2 ')
Draft : 7.1 m (23 ')
Measurement : 1,809 GRT / 1,748 NRT
Displacement : 5,500 t (3,660 t cargo +1,840 t ship mass)
Load capacity / load capacity : 3,500 ts (1  ts = 1.016 t )
Sails: Four-masted full ship: 34 sails, 3,400 m² (36,597 sq ft)
Four-masted barque : 30 sails, 3,100 m² (33,368 sq ft)
Mast height: 158 '(48 m) ( mast - keel );
41 m (135 ') ( mast - deck )
Auxiliary drive : auxiliary steam engine 1899 only
Top speed: 16 kn
Best Etmal : approx. 340 nm

The Falls of Clyde is the only surviving four-masted full ship , as well as the only surviving sail-powered oil tanker. She is currently moored as a museum ship in the Hawaiʻi Maritime Center in the port of Honolulu .


The four-master was laid down at Russell & Co. , Port Glasgow , for the Falls Line ( Wright, Breakenridge & Co., Glasgow ). It was designed by William Lithgow as a smooth decker with two continuous iron decks , poop and back , the predominant hull type at the time, based on the Medium klipper model, plus the four-masted full- ship rigging , which is very common in Great Britain , and which was never built in Germany and extremely rarely operated ( see Peter Rickmers ). The iron hull was originally painted gray, with a black and white ribbon at the top, the underwater hull with a water pass, carmine red. Later it had a black hull, now the original gray hull again. The 34-foot forecastle contained the crew quarters and a large winch. Three large hatches between the masts interrupted the open deck, two riveted iron deckhouses, one with the kitchen, steward and cooking cabin behind the main mast and the second with the cabin boy berths in front of the cross mast. In the poop deck (23 feet) was the comfortable mess with valuable furniture, mahogany columns and paneling, brass fittings and marble sideboards, as well as the officers 'and passenger cabins with the captains' rooms, from the corridor of which a staircase led to a shelter on the poop deck at the stern was the wheelhouse with steering wheel, in front of it the compass house and a large skylight for the mess hall.

After switching to Wm. Matson in 1899, in addition to the rigging to the four-masted barque, the crew quarters in the forecastle were removed and a large cooling room for perishable provisions was installed. A wooden deckhouse with a new galley and berths for 12 men, plus cabins for stewards and cooks, was placed on the front main deck, and an auxiliary steam engine replaced the old galley in the iron deckhouse. A small wooden shelter for passengers was installed on the poop deck .

In 1907, the Falls of Clyde was converted into a sailing oil tanker. Ten steel liquid cargo double tanks, five on each side, were installed, plus a pump room, boiler room with all lines, pipes, cleaning and safety devices.

History and travel

Baptized on 12 December 1878 the waterfalls of Clyde at New Lanark , South Lanarkshire , she led her maiden voyage on April 20, 1879 Greenock , Scotland , to Karachi and back to London , where they broke in on 18 December 1879th The ship was used under her first owner in the jute voyage to Calcutta , India , which is why these ships were referred to as "Indiaman" based on the " East Indiaman". In addition to jute, it also transported cement , iron in various forms, grain and other bulk goods to Bombay , Rangoon , Singapore , Bangkok and many ports in the Pacific such as Portland (Oregon), San Francisco , Melbourne , Auckland , Hong Kong and Shanghai .

In 1898 the Falls of Clyde made her last voyage as a full ship and under the British merchant flag from London to San Francisco, where she arrived on November 21. The ship changed hands to “Wm. Matson ”(Honolulu) after exchanging the crew on December 21, she moved to Honolulu ( Oahu , Hawaii ), which she reached in January 1899 as the first four-masted full ship and was registered there. There she was rigged to a four-masted barque and drove with passengers and cargo between California and Hawaii. She made more than sixty travel between Hilo ( Hawaii ) and San Francisco with an average duration of 17 days. In 1906 she moved to "Associated Oil Co." and was converted to transport crate oil , and in 1907 to a sail tanker with 10 tanks, control and pumping room. Until 1920 the Falls of Clyde drove in oil transport between California and Oahu, Hawaii, and returned with molasses for fodder and made 5 - 9 trips per year. Then it went to the company “G. W. McNear “from San Francisco. Under the new flag, she sailed from San Francisco on January 31, 1920 with a cargo of crate oil to Kolding , Denmark (June 6). Twelve days later she traveled to Beaumont , Texas , and on August 26th to Port Arthur . She brought another shipment of Texas oil to Copenhagen on September 4, 1920, on November 12, 1920 . After arriving in Texas in February 1921, the Falls of Clyde was sold to "General Petroleum Co." from San Francisco (March 1921). Under the new shipowner she made her last voyage under sail to Buenos Aires via Tampico , Mexico , in the summer of 1921. After returning to the port of Tampico on August 21, 1921, she was laid up there until December 1921.

On January 1st, 1922 the Falls of Clyde was towed from Tampico through the Panama Canal to San Pedro (February 28th), California . Here the yards and the bars were removed and the ship was converted into a tanker barge for the General Petroleum Co. On March 27, 1922, the steamer Yorba Linda towed them with a stop in Seattle to Ketchikan , Alaska , where they served for the next 37 years (1959) as a "floating filling station in Ketchikan". The “head” of the oil lighter lived with his family in the mess, officers and crew quarters and cabins of the ship. In 1959 "General Petroleum Co." (now "Mobil Oil") opened up new production facilities, and the Falls of Clyde , which was no longer needed , came to William W. Mitchell from Ketchikan, who had it towed to Seattle and hung up there. Between 1959 and 1963 various attempts were made by Captain Fred Klebingat and others to save the old ship from being used as a breakwater off Vancouver . When the end of the Falls of Clyde seemed inevitable in 1963 , the ship was bought for US $ 18,900 with the help of funds from the Matson Navigation Co. and nationwide donations. The US naval tug USS Moctobi brought the Falls of Clyde to Honolulu on Oʻahu, Hawaii in 20 days, where it was enthusiastically received in its former home port (November 1963), where it was registered more than half a century ago.

Until it opened in 1968 as a museum ship at Pier 5, it was largely restored. In 1970 new masts attached to the mast stumps were installed and in the following years the Falls of Clyde were rebuilt as a four-masted ship according to authentic plans with a wire rope rig. The sponsor was the "Bernice P. Bishop Memorial Museum". The ship soon came into the hands of the newly established “Hawaii Maritime Center” and was relocated to Pier 7 - the main attraction of the Naval Museum. On July 2, 1973, the Falls of Clyde was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a monument. The Falls of Clyde has been a National Historic Landmark since April 11, 1989 . It is controversial to what extent a planned restoration took place. The ship was 130 years old in November 2008, but is in extremely poor condition and has been closed to visitors since February 2007. The rig is largely rotten and the hull is badly corroded, since the ship was last in the dock in 1987 and since then sacrificial zinc anodes have been procured but never installed. After the museum had plans to sink the ship off the coast, it was sold to a private group "Friends of the Falls of Clyde" in the fall of 2008 for the symbolic price of $ 1, which so far has only $ 35,000. while previous owners estimated the cost of full restoration to be $ 30 million. In November 2008 the ship should now leave its traditional berth. However, a transfer to the dry dock failed due to a storm and asbestos was discovered in the insulation of the pipeline systems. A dispute between the new owners and the previous owners about the cost of the renovation leaves the fate of the ship in the balance. It was planned that it should return to Pier 7 after a stay in the dock.

More falls-of- ships

The shipping company "Wright, Breakenridge & Co." had a total of nine large four-masted square sailors built at Russell & Co., Port Glasgow & Greenock, for their "Glasgow Falls Line" ("Glasgow Falls Line"), all of which are based on Scottish waterfalls - also little known - were named and the first specimen was the Falls of Clyde . A year later, the identical, somewhat smaller sister ship, the Falls of Bruar, followed . Another seven four- masters were laid down by 1894, including five four- masted full ships, two of which ( Falls of Afton , Falls of Halladale ) were later converted to four-masted barques, and two four-masted barques made of iron and steel. The largest and fastest unit was the Falls of Earn . All but the last unit, Falls of Ettrick, were iron ships and had the so-called standard rig on the first three frame masts, which slowly emerged after 1880. It had six square sails per mast with split topsails and head sails and royals. Some of the units, such as the Falls of Halladale , had instead of a gray hull with a black and white finish to the edge of the ship, a porte band made of black rectangles on a white background, finished with a black stripe at the top to the edge of the ship.

The tall ships of the shipping company Wright, Breakenridge & Co., since 1892 Wright, Graham & Co.

  • Falls of Clyde , four-masted full ship (12/1878); 1809 BRT, 1748 NRT; Rig with double Mars sails, single slab sails, royal sails
  • Falls of Bruar , four-masted full ship (03/1879); 1808 BRT, 1740 NRT; Rig with double Mars sails, single slab sails, royal sails
  • Falls of Afton , four-masted full ship (02/1882); 1974 BRT, 1899 NRT; Standard rig, marshmallow: double topsails, single top-end sails, royals; as a four-masted barque (1901): mizzen mast with pole, 1 gaff
  • Falls of Dee , four-masted full ship (04/1882); 1973 BRT, 1844 NRT; Standard rig, cross mast: double Mars sails, single top sails, royal sails
  • Falls of Foyers , four-masted full ship (04/1883); 2009 BRT, 1974 NRT; Standard rig, cross mast: simple Mars and Bramsails, royal sails
  • Falls of Earn , four-masted full ship (05/1884); 2386 BRT, 2292 NRT; Standard rig, main mast and aft mast: sky sail
  • Falls of Garry , four-masted barque (06/1886); 2088 BRT, 2026 NRT; Rigging with double Marts, single head sails, royal sails; Mizzen mast as pole mast, 1 gaff
  • Falls of Halladale , four-masted full ship (07/1886); 2085 BRT, 2026 NRT; Standard rig; as a four-masted barque (1890): mizzen mast with pole, 1 gaff
  • Falls of Ettrick , four-masted steel barque (03/1894); 1974 BRT, 1899 NRT: standard rig, mizzen mast with pole, 1 gaff

Today only the Falls of Clyde remains of these ships .


  • Frank O. Braynard: The Tall Ships of Today in Photographs . Dover Publications, New York 1993, pp. 15-16; ISBN 0-486-27163-3
  • Hans-Jörg Furrer: The four- and five-masted square sailors in the world . Koehlers Verlagsgesellschaft, Herford, 1984, p. 90 u. 113; ISBN 3-7822-0341-0
  • Fred Klebingat: The Falls of Clyde . In: The Annual Dog Watch , No. 14 (1957), pp. 60, 64.
  • James Kleinschmidt: Survey Report No. 3-JK: Survey of the Ship Falls of Clyde . Hawaii Maritime Center, Honolulu 1987, p. 3.
  • Karl Kortum: The Saving of the “Falls of Clyde” . National Maritime Museum, San Francisco 1963
  • Basil Lubbock: The Last of the Windjammers . Brown, Son & Ferguson, Glasgow 1927, Volume I, p. 244.
  • William L. Worden: Cargoes: Matson's First Century in the Pacific . The University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu 1981, pp. 1-11

Web links

Commons : Falls of Clyde  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Entry in the National Register Information System . National Park Service , accessed May 13, 2016
  2. Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: Hawaii. National Park Service , accessed July 21, 2019.
  3. Current information on the homepage of the owner

Coordinates: 21 ° 18 ′ 20 ″  N , 157 ° 51 ′ 54 ″  W.