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.


“Lost in Musing Circumstances…”

Sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. Add to that a bit of drama and stir…

Yeah, it was that kind of week.

“Don’t surround yourself with yourself…”

It’s a bad thing, but that’s all I want to do now. Anyway…

There was a problem with the shiny, new gangway.

gangplank fail

The less said about that, the better.

I spent only about 40 minutes on the ship on Saturday. I did a quick walk around the deck, checked the list, and left. Among other things, my heart just wasn’t in it to do more. That was for the best because I had other matters to attend to.

Sea Princess rat guards:

Sea Princess rat guards

Yet another photo of the old anchor:


While I was trying to deal with taking photos through a gap in the fence, a large needlefish cruised by:


Beautiful colors…pointy teeth!

Draft marks on tug:


Male house finch in a tree at Pier 15:

house finch

“Turn yourself around…Turn your life around…Turn your world around…Turn this ship around…”

New contacts and a new project. Perhaps it’s possible.

Watch this space.

Reflecting on Things

Most of the things I do on board FOC are thankless, routine maintenance jobs. Frankly, some of them can be quite unpleasant. However, as anyone who works on a ship knows, they have to be done and someone has to do them.

Why do I do them week after week? I once asked Brush if I was crazy. He replied, “No, you love an old ship.” That’s indeed what it boils down to. I do love her and enjoy spending time with her. She’s a good old gal with many fascinating tales to tell those who are willing to stop and listen.

There have been, and continue to be, frustrating situations that wear me down emotionally and mentally. I constantly wonder how I manage to hang in there when things are sometimes quite bleak.

I credit my parents for drilling into me the importance of giving 100% to whatever task I set out to do. If they were here, I hope they’d be proud of me. Secondly, I credit my old school, Bryn Mawr, for helping to build the confidence I have in myself to tackle new and difficult things outside my comfort zone. Last, but not least, I thank my friends, mentors, and the experts who have given and continue to give me their time and advice.

With a Will

It’s been a rough two weeks. My life has been filled with ship-related notes, lists, spreadsheets, and phone calls.

As the person overseeing the preparations for the hull survey and pumping system projects, I’ve been under a fair amount of pressure to get things done in a timely manner. There have been a few setbacks, but things are beginning to come together.

Crossing my fingers that we will be able to start work on the pumping system this Saturday. If we can get it partially up and running, it will make pumping out the tanks go a lot quicker.

Thinking outside of the box is important when dealing with the particular issues of an old, one-of-a-kind ship. It’s all too easy to say something can’t be done because it seems too hard at first glance. The key is to get beyond this sort of mentality. I have great admiration for and appreciation of the folks I am working with who have the ability to come up with creative solutions to the difficult problems.

The days leading up to the hull survey project will probably be filled with challenges, but I find I am looking forward.

T minus 14 days and counting…

That Dream Again…

Last night I had one of my recurring dreams involving the ship. They’re not very nice ones. They usually wake me up, which is why I remember them. I guess they stem from one of the fears I push to the back of my mind.

The pressure I’m under at the moment probably doesn’t help. Only five weeks left! So much to do!

“Damn it Jim! I’m a graphic designer…

…not a ship expert.”

The past few months have been challenging ones. As the manager of two technical projects, I had to deal with issues outside of the scope of my daily “real life” work as a graphic designer. There were many things I had to learn and most of that learning had to be done on the fly.

There were moments of frustration. Fortunately, they were tempered by the positive interactions I had with the experts I reached out to for help. They took time out of their busy professional schedules to provide me with valuable information and advice. For that, I am truly grateful.

old wire