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Old Sailing Ship

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Old Sailing Ship

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Date Posted:August 23rd, 2005
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Balclutha is a steel-hulled squared rigged sailing ship, built in 1886. She is named after the town of Balclutha in New Zealand and is currently preserved at San Francisco, California.

The Balclutha was built in 1886 by Charles Connell & Co. Ltd., of Glasgow in Scotland, for Robert McMillan, of Dumbarton in Scotland. Designed as a general trader, Balclutha rounded Cape Horn 17 times in 13 years. During this period she carried cargoes such as wine, case oil, and coal from Europe and the East Coast of the United States to various ports in the Pacific. These included Chile for nitrate, Australia and New Zealand for wool, Burma for rice, San Francisco for grain, and the Pacific Northwest for timber.

In 1899 the Balclutha transferred to the registry of Hawaii, and traded timber from the Pacific Northwest to Australia, returning to San Francisco with Australian coal.

In 1902 the Balclutha was renamed the Star of Alaska and joined the salmon fishing trade, sailing north from the San Francisco area to Alaska in April with supplies, fishermen and cannery workers, and returned in September with canned salmon. For this trade she carried over 200 crew, as compared to the 26 man crew she carried as the Balclutha. Her last voyage in this trade was in 1930.

In 1933, the Star of Alaska was renamed the Pacific Queen. In this guise she appeared in the film Mutiny on the Bounty starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. She then eked out an existence as an exhibition ship, gradually deteriorating.

In 1954, the Pacific Queen was acquired by the San Francisco Maritime Museum, who restored her and renamed her back to Balclutha. In 1985 she was designated a National Historic Landmark. She is now one of the exhibits of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and is to be found moored at the park's Hyde Street Pier.

The Balclutha also played the ship Bounty in the classic film, Mutiny on the Bounty.

General characteristics
Gross tonnage: 1689 tons (1716 tonnes)
Overall length: 301 ft (91.7 m)
Length of deck: 256.5 ft (78.1 m)
Beam: 38.6 ft (11.8 m)
Depth: 22.7 ft (6.9 m)
Height of mainmast: 145 ft (44.2 m)
Category: - Ships/Boats/Submarines
State: - California
Country: - United States

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