Log of SV Free Spirit and ships company

The chronicles of the schooner Free Spirit and her crew, embarking on an open ended journey upon the great rolling heap. Free Spirit is currently pursuing humanitarian and commercial goals in the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispaniola. Working under the Ocean Reach USA and Paradigm Research banners, she is serving as logistics headquarters, workshop, and development laboratory for many ongoing projects. This is the log of her journey.....

Web sailfreespirit.blogspot.com
If you are joining us for the first time, click here for an introduction!
Books and more, at the Schooner Free Spirit Chandelry
Clothes and more, at the Free Spirit Logo Shop!

Monday, October 23, 2006

SV Balclutha

Overall length 301 feet
Length of deck 256.5 feet
Beam 38.6 feet
Depth 22.7 feet
Gross tonnage 1689
Height of mainmast 145 feet

"A friend of my father was a ship broker at Cardiff, so being there at the time, I asked him what chance I had of getting such a trip. His answer was, ‘We are brokers for a new ship loading coal at Penarth for San Francisco, and she will sail this week. She is a ship called Balclutha and we can get you a berth …’"

"… we were towed away from the dock soon after we joined her … we headed down the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea under full sail. You may guess how I felt up aloft on a topsail furling sail. I don’t know that I had ever been on a yardarm before, but I had to … ."

Excerpted from a letter by Captain Norman Pearce, chronicling his experience as an able-bodied seaman on Balclutha's maiden voyage.

The full rigged Ship Balclutha has seen several carreers prior to her current berth with the national park service.

She was launched under the british flag as a Deepwaterman in 1886, and on January 15, 1887, with a twenty-six-man crew, Balclutha sailed under British registry from Cardiff, Wales, on her maiden voyage. She was bound for San Francisco. The ship entered the Golden Gate after 140 days at sea, unloaded her cargo of 2,650 tons of coal, and took on sacks of California wheat.

Because of the months-long ocean voyage, Balclutha made only one round-trip per year while engaged in the Europe-to-San Francisco grain trade. She arrived with a cargo three times, but also brought pottery, cutlery, Scotch whisky (from Glasgow and Liverpool) and "Swansea general" (tinplate, coke and pig iron) to San Francisco.

During the mid-1890s the ship called at other ports around the world; in New Zealand, for example, she loaded wool and tallow for London, England.

In 1899 Balclutha was transferred to Hawaiian registry, and she joined the bustling Pacific Coast lumber trade. For three years the ship sailed north to Puget Sound, Washington, and then across to Australia. Much of the 1.5 million board feet she could carry ended up underground, used for mining timbers in the Broken Hill Mine at Port Pirie, Australia.

Balclutha was the last vessel to fly the flag of the Hawaiian Kingdom. In 1901 a special act of the United States Congress admitted the ship to American registry so that she could engage in "coastwise" trade (i.e. between American ports). Soon thereafter, the Alaska Packers Association, a San Francisco firm which harvested and canned salmon, chartered her to carry men and supplies north – to Alaska.

When Balclutha went aground in 1904, the Alaska Packers Association purchased her where she lay for the non-princely sum of $500. After extensive repairs, they renamed her Star of Alaska (all Packer iron and steel sailing vessels had a "Star" prefix to their names).

During this career, the ship sailed up the West Coast from Alameda, California, carrying supplies and cannery workers. Star of Alaska anchored out in Chignik Bay, Alaska, during April. After the supplies were unloaded and the cannery workers had settled into the company’s camp ashore, only a shipkeeper or two remained on board. In early September, her hold packed with cases of canned salmon, Star of Alaska started the 2,400-mile voyage back to San Francisco Bay. She was considered a fast sailer, averaging better than twenty-two days for the trip north and fifteen days when homeward bound.

During the winter the ship was laid up with the rest of the Packer’s fleet of thirty-odd vessels in Alameda, where shipwrights performed maintenance and renovation. In 1911, the poop deck was extended to house Italian and Scandinavian fishermen. Later, additional bunks were added in the ‘tween deck for Chinese cannery workers. As Balclutha, the ship carried a crew of twenty-six men; on Star of Alaska, over 200 men made the trip north.

Star of Alaska was the only sailing ship the Packers sent north in 1930, and when she returned that September she, too, was retired.

He rcareer as a movie star began when Frank Kissinger purchased Star of Alaska in 1933 (for $5,000) and renamed her Pacific Queen. Kissinger took the ship south and, while anchored off Catalina Island, she appeared in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (Clark Gable and Charles Laughton also appeared in supporting roles). For a time thereafter, Kissinger towed her up and down the West Coast, usually exhibiting her as a "pirate ship." Pacific Queen slowly deteriorated, and she barely escaped the World War II scrap metal drives.

In 1954 the San Francisco Maritime Museum purchased Pacific Queen for $25,000. Assisted by donations of cash, materials and labor from the local community, the Museum restored the vessel and returned her original name. The ship was transferred to the National Park Service in 1978, and Balclutha was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Introducing Propcalc 4.0

Use Propcalc to easily match your hull with your engine, transmission, and propeller
Put the known data in the top fields, then hit the Update button to get the answers.
Results, of course, should be verified by a Naval Architect or qualified surveyor.
Data is provided for three bladed propellers of average type
For two or four bladed props, use the modifiers shown below.

Fill out the fields as follows:

Vessel LWL (ft) = Waterline length
Vessel Disp (lbs) = Vessel displacement
(max) HP = Rated Engine Max HP
Engine RPM max = Engine RPM at Max HP
Engine RPM cruise = Desired or estimated cruise rpm
(Cruise or Max) Kts = Speed to work the calculations for
Slip = Propeller efficience. 45% is average for a displacement cruiser.
Gear ratio = 1: Gear ratio of transmission
SL Ratio Adj. = This value will be added (or subtracted, if a negative value) to the calculated S/L ratio.

Key information:

If the "hp required" is greater than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too low for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is significantly less than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too high for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is greater than the "Max HP", then your target speed is too high for your engine/hull parameters.
The S/L ratio is calculated automaticaly based on your input. It can be adjusted if necessary, but normally it should be left alone.
If the calculated S/L ratio exceeds S/L MAX, then the results are likely to be non-predictive. Try a lower speed requirement.
SL Ratios of 1.1 - 1.4 are typical of displacement hulls. Semiplaning or planing hulls can go higher.

Typical propeller slip values:

Sailing auxiliary, barges, etc less than 9 Kts............45%
Heavy powerboats, workboats 9 - 15 Kts....................26%
Powerboats, Lightweight Cruisers 15 - 30 Kts..............24%
High speed planing boats 30 - 45 Kts......................20%
V bottom race boats 45 - 90 Kts...........................10%


it is possible to get irrational answers by irrational input , I.E specifying excessive speed for hull type and length
Any attempt to exceed hull speed (1.34 times the square root of the waterline length in feet) with a displacement hull are likely
to fail unless the hull is extremely fine (multihull) or otherwise exceptional. In such cases, an S/L adjustment would be in order.

2 and 4 bladed props:

For two bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by 1.05, and the pitch by 1.01
For four bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by .94, and the pitch by .98

Vessel LWL (ft) =
Vessel Disp (lbs) =
  (max) HP =
  Engine RPM max =
  Engine RPM cruise =
  (Cruise or Max) Kts =
  Slip =
  Gear ratio = 1:
  SL Ratio Adj. =
  Prop rpm max =
  Prop rpm cruise =
  Pitch =
  Diameter =
  Static Thrust =
  Cruise HP =
  Cruise HP% =
  SL Ratio =
  DL Ratio =
  SL Max =
  HP Required =