Taking the Falls of Clyde Home?

Those of you who are interested in large historic sailing ships have no doubt been following what has been going on at South Street Seaport Museum. Wavertree is back from dry dock and looking splendid. (Congratulations to all involved!) Peking is being prepared for her journey back to Germany and a brighter future.

It is quite a different situation here in Hawai‘i. Time is running out for the National Historic Landmark ship, Falls of Clyde.

Lately, I have been quiet regarding the Falls of Clyde. It is not because I do not care. I have been watching and waiting to see what became of the discussions between DOT Harbors and the Friends of Falls of Clyde (FFOC). Frankly, I didn’t have much hope for the future of the ship.

I have been spending my time trying not to be angry and depressed by the whole situation and mentally preparing myself to hear bad news.

Will she be:

• Towed out and scuttled in international waters?
• Sold and broken up for scrap?
• Sunk as an artificial reef or dive site?

Nothing but sad thoughts. Until today. Today brought a glimmer of hope.

Is it possible that there is enough interest in Scotland to bring the Falls back home to the Clyde, should the FFOC’s efforts fail?

A campaign has been started to explore the possibilities, while still supporting the mission of the FFOC. The following is a Facebook post from David O’Neill, who is spearheading the effort:

This is a Glasgow and Clyde Heritage related post, I am looking for volunteers who have an interest in the Clyde Shipbuilding History, who may have skills in P.R., Media and fund raising or crowdfunding. This is a campaign to bring back and restore a Port Glasgow built ship Falls of Clyde. Built at Russell shipyard, now Ferguson Marine.

The ship is currently in Hawaii and was a museum ship up until about 8 years ago, now under threat of being sunk as an artificial reef.

Hollywood actor and Scot, Mr Brian Cox of Bourne Identity, Troy and Planet of the Apes has agreed to be our patron so hopefully this will boost the campaign.

Glasgow Nautical College are also on board and can play a part in her restoration.

Clyde Maritime Trust are also offering help to save this 138 year old ship

We will shortly be launching a crowd funding campaign, so please consider playing a part in this effort, if we succeed the plan is to rebuild her and put her back to work, as a Fairtrade Transport Vessel, Sail powered, carbon free.

Another aim is to include Community Groups and Secondary Schools across Scotland, who can send kids aboard on trips for life changing journeys to fly the flag for Scotland and Glasgows Shipbuilding Heritage.

Please share to all groups and friends you know, this will be a tough challenge, but will be worth it.

I am happy to share David’s message. I spoke with him at length on the phone this afternoon. He is walking into this with eyes wide open. He knows it will be a hard road. I fully support his efforts. I like his energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to explore all channels necessary.

While I would be sad to see the Falls leave Hawai‘i, to have her return to Scotland would be pono, since the state does not seem to care about supporting her as an important part of local maritime history.

There is hope.


National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards Friends of Falls of Clyde a Preservation Grant from National Trust Preservation Funds

Honolulu, Hawai‘i – August 6, 2010 – The Friends of Falls of Clyde was awarded a $3,500 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Hawai‘i Preservation Fund. The seed grant will be used to offset the cost of hiring a temporary project manager to oversee the preparation of the vessel, Falls of Clyde, (1878, NHL, NR), for tow and dry dock. These funds require a one to one match of non-federal funds. The consultant will coordinate the volunteer effort to stabilize the hull and interior features of the National Historic Landmark, Falls of Clyde in preparation for tow-transport to dry dock the vessel for further repairs. A hull condition survey completed under the direction of the Friends of Falls of Clyde has identified the list of tasks to be completed prior to dry dock. Built in 1878, the Falls of Clyde is the last surviving iron-hulled four-masted full-rigged sailing oil tanker vessel.

“Without organizations like the Friends of Falls of Clyde, communities and towns all across America would have a diminished sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The National Trust for Historic Preservation is honored to provide a grant to Friends of Falls of Clyde, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared heritage.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation dispenses small grants for local projects through the National Trust for Historic Preservation Funds grant program. The grants range from $500 to $5,000 and have provided over $5.5 million dollars of funding since 2002. The grants are awarded to non profit groups, educational institutions and public agencies, and must be matched, at least dollar for dollar with public or private funds. Preservation Funds grants are being used nationally for such wide-ranging activities as consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources and educating children about their heritage. These grants are often the deciding factor on whether historic buildings or sites can be saved for future generations.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Fund grants, visit:

About the Friends of Falls of Clyde
The Friends of Falls of Clyde (FoFOC) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Falls of Clyde. The FoFOC received ownership of the Falls of Clyde from the Bishop Museum on September 30, 2008. More information about the Falls of Clyde and the efforts to save this important part of Hawai‘i’s maritime heritage can be found at http://www.friendsoffallsofclyde.org.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation (www.PreservationNation.org) is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history-and the important moments of everyday life-took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. With headquarters in Washington D.C., nine regional and field offices, 29 historic sites, and partner organizations in all 50 states, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy and resources to a national network of people, organizations and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories.