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  • The Oldest Clipper's Final Journey

    No, it is not the Cutty Sark that has been on the move.



    Those interested in the old clipper trade think immediately of the slim, record-breaking vessel, its yards creaking and the sheets straining as the billowing sails propel it on, on and on, slicing its way through mountainous seas first to China for the tea trade and then in later years to Australia to take on the huge bales of wool being exported to Britain.



    The Cutty Sark was launched on the River Clyde, in Scotland, in 1869 and is often spoken of as the oldest surviving ship of its kind.
    But not so.
    It was my Aussie friend John (those of you who read my thread about our adventure and camping in the outback in 2007 will remember him) who, some time ago when I was enthusing about the Cutty Sark’s restoration subsequent to the terrible fire, pointed out that it was not the oldest remaining clipper. A still older one exists, the City of Adelaide, built at Sunderland by William Pile, Hay and Co. and launched 7 May, 1864. This long-neglected hulk has just completed a wonderful final journey piggy-back on the HLC Palanpur to Adelaide in South Australia, the city to which in the 19th century it made many trips carrying immigrants from Europe, those pioneers to whom many memorials have been erected over much of Australia and who figure large in the history of the island continent. An Australian Broadcasting Co. report said that estimates give a figure of about 250,000 people at present in Australia who are descendants of those who came over in the City of Adelaide. Here she is:



    The above copy of a lithograph by Thomas Dutton of the City of Adelaide was made by Cruickshanks.

    More follows.
    Last edited by wherrygirl; February 28th, 2014, 11:52.
    Ivy

    "To thine own self be true.......
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

  • #2
    The clipper was designed primarily as a passenger ship although she carried trade goods as well, and made her maiden voyage on 6 August, 1864. She and the Cutty Sark were amongst the first composite-built ships in the world, and the construction of wood on an iron frame can be seen in this photo I took on the latter ship at Greenwich, where she is on display and where John, his wife and I visited her during their brief stay in London in 2013.



    The first trips of the City of Adelaide were between Great Britain and South Australia, carrying passengers and general cargo. But later she led a very varied life, in 1887 being re-rigged as a barque, then used as an isolation hospital, in the 1920’s taken over by the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, renamed HMS Carrick and used as a training ship. She was eventually sold to a Trust in 1990, but after sinking at her moorings a year later the clipper was refloated and moved to a private slipway at Irvine by the Scottish Maritime Museum, where it was hoped to restore her.
    However, as so often happens, funds ran out and work was halted. Years went by and in 1999 the owners of the slipway, where she stood slowly rotting, had her removed. Finally, in 2010, when it seemed that this venerable old clipper had no future except the breaker’s yard or, more likely, the indignity of being demolished on the spot, a group of Australians formed a company to try and have her brought over to South Australia, where she would be restored and cared for in her name city. Plans were made and the Government made a one-off grant towards getting the clipper fit to make the journey.
    Last edited by wherrygirl; March 8th, 2014, 18:50.
    Ivy

    "To thine own self be true.......
    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

    Comment


    • #3
      For anyone whose imagination is caught by the whole idea of this project the ship’s home site gives a fascinating pictorial/diagrammatic account of the huge amount of work that went into just getting the clipper ready for its first move for years. See http://cityofadelaide.org.au/the-pro...portation.html
      Rentokil had the job of cleaning every last inch of the hulk to the satisfaction of Australian governmental experts, who flew over to inspect the work and ensure that the Aussie quarantine rules would be satisfied. A substantial cradle was made to fit the vessel’s underside, using laser survey data which reproduced the exact shape to the millimetre and so gave strong support to the ancient timbers, and scaffolding was erected inside the hull to give extra support while it was being moved.
      Then she was towed from Scotland down to London, where she was moored alongside her sister ship, the Cutty Sark, for a few days. There, at a renaming ceremony, she was given back her original name by the Duke of Edinburgh who had taken a great interest in the whole project from the start. This Flickr site gives superb views of the preparatory work up in Scotland and the farewells as she left on her journey down south to London for the final renaming ceremony by the Duke of Edinburgh.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/41497096@N07/9743360430/
      That URL will hopefully take you to the first main photograph of a whole series. For those not familiar with Flickr if you look just below the picture to the right you will see the thumbnails and clicking will enable you to enlarge and browse them. This member is an enthusiast for vehicles other than ancient ships so you will find a few “strays” mixed in! But click on.

      More follows.
      Last edited by wherrygirl; March 8th, 2014, 23:45.
      Ivy

      "To thine own self be true.......
      Thou canst not then be false to any man."

      Comment


      • #4
        Good grief but that is a huge amount of work.
        Cheers,

        Mark.

        www.pologlover.co.uk

        Comment


        • #5
          Very interresting thread Ivy.

          At present I have not time to read the links (you know,my English.....) but I'll do that when I come back from Dubaî,next week.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you, Mark and Yves. Yes, it was a tremendous task to undertake and so many people were involved in Scotland, England and the Netherlands as well as Australia. I have been thoroughly hooked by the clipper's progress over the past month or so and I think that Thijs was very interested, too - even the silent one in Singapore may have been mildly interested in this unusual task for a HLC.

            So, at 13.30 on 20 October 2013, the next stage began as the little convoy moved off down the Thames. They were heading for a Dutch port where the hulk would be fumigated, shrink-wrapped and loaded on to a HLC for her journey to the other side of the world. Fumigated? You may well ask! But Australia is fanatical about objects made from animal or vegetable material entering the country. Quite rightly so, the flora and fauna to be found in that great country are often the only specimens of their type in the world and contamination is an ever-present danger. So after years of neglect the hulk had to be fumigated in the second stage of thoroughly cleansing it of the insects and vegetable growths which had made it their home, penetrating deep inside the timber.
            On marinetraffic I followed the ship, loaded on to the Dutch barge Louise van der Vees and towed steadily down the Thames by the tug Dutch Pioneer en route to the Kent port of Sheerness. Following the loop of the river around the Isle of Dogs, I saw her move past Plumstead, the part of London where I was born and grew up, and how I wished I were standing by the river at nearby Woolwich to see her. At this spot I would have had a perfect view:



            But I learned about this astounding journey too late to make arrangements to stay in London.
            Next morning I was worried, what was happening? The map had the Dutch Pioneer anchored at Sheerness at the mouth of the Thames, but the Itineries page said it should have left there the previous evening. The track showed a wide sweep with the tug having emerged from the Thames estuary and then almost doubling back on itself to turn for Sheerness, but that could have been because of shoals or mudbanks at the mouth of the Thames, it’s a tricky area for shipping. I hoped nothing was wrong. Then a few hours later I had lost her completely –- no longer showing at Sheerness but nowhere to be seen across the Channel or North Sea, either.

            More follows.
            Ivy

            "To thine own self be true.......
            Thou canst not then be false to any man."

            Comment


            • #7
              Then, the following morning, (22 October) there she was, having just arrived at Zeebrugge in Belgium ready to move on to Rotterdam for the work to be done to prepare her for the long, last journey.
              The Australian Broadcasting Co. confirmed that the vessel would be in the Netherlands for a month while being prepared and, sure enough, on 22 Nov., the news was that she was to be loaded that day on to the German heavy lift carrier MV Palanpur at Heysehaven, Rotterdam. It gave the Palanpur’s itinerary as via Norfolk, Virginia, USA, on to Cape Town, then Port Hedland in Western Australia, and finally on to Adelaide. I searched all of Rotterdam and eventually, after wandering in and out of the docks, found the carrier. The Palanpur was at Schiedam just east of the Benelux tunnel.
              I did wonder if Thijs, who was very interested in what was happening, might be able to take any photos in Rotterdam if his work took him there, but that was not possible. However, Ombugge had given me the link to maasmondmaritime.com where I found this photo of the City of Adelaide at Schiedam, loaded on to the HLC Palanpur – and ready to go.





              I promptly emailed it to John. Ombugge and Thijs also gave me links to the following, which is a good simulation video of the loading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3cvvDNHV0U The hulk plus its cradle weighed 550 tonne. There is now also a video of the actual operation at http://cityofadelaide.org.au/our-new...mber-2013.html

              More follows.
              Ivy

              "To thine own self be true.......
              Thou canst not then be false to any man."

              Comment


              • Seagull
                Seagull commented
                Editing a comment
                Wonderfully compelling narrative, Ivy.

            • #8
              great story so far Ivy,lets hope that they can make her complete again
              best regards Thijs

              Comment


              • #9
                I saw this thread for the first time last night, and I'm ecstatic---- great thread!
                With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Many thanks for your enthusiasm, Jan-Olav. It's some tale, isn't it! I'm so glad you enjoy it.
                  Ivy

                  "To thine own self be true.......
                  Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    This report last left the City of Adelaide clipper at Schiedam, having gone through the cleansing, fumigation and shrink-wrapping process and made ready for the great zig-zag journey across the oceans to her final destination of Adelaide, her name town, in South Australia.
                    But to recap for a moment, here are three YouTubes which I have selected from the collection to which Thijs guided me recently. Thank you, Thijs. They show footage of the departure from Scotland and arrival in the Thames estuary.
                    For those who have to have music in the background of their videos, there is none. So they must skip on, for the only sounds are those of the strong winds buffeting the photographer, the occasional voice, and the triumphant whistles and answering klaxon to mark the successful passing of the little convoy through the narrow Millennium Bridge as the boats leave Irvine. Oh yes, and a dog adding its congratulations! They will miss the atmosphere engendered by the slow, steady progress of the Dutch tugs fore and aft guiding the barge Lastdrager 28 as it bears the clipper out from the dock at Irvine, Scotland, down the river and carefully, so carefully out to sea.
                    I have watched these videos several times, and on each occasion am strangely moved. I see this old ship, almost miraculously rescued from destruction, moving in stately fashion with its attendants along the river whose surface is well ruffled by the wind, I see the leading tug beginning to bounce and the white crests of the waves breaking at the river mouth and hold my breath to think of what conditions may be like as the journey progresses down the coast to London. Then still to come is the zig-zag crossing to the other side of the planet. I have to remind myself that it is over, accomplished without accident, the two Adelaide's are re-united.
                    So, here is the first video showing the squeeze through the bridge. This was the second try, as the attempt the day before had to be halted because the strong winds made passage too risky.

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10MEGHZonjk

                    That done, they apparently docked temporarily while the tugs reversed their positions as this next video shows the Dutch Pioneer at the rear of the group as they move off down the river:

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDpgE19FLnY

                    Then, the arrival at Chatham, Kent, on the way up the Thames to London where the City of Adelaide was to be moored alongside her sister, the Cutty Sark, for a few days. I have referred to the clipper by her original name throughout, but - as I mentioned at the beginning - when her life as an immigrant ship ended and she was eventually taken over by the RNVR she was renamed the Carrick. On her arrival in London she was given back her true name by the Duke of Edinburgh, and my post at #3 gives links to some excellent Flickr photos of all this.

                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QppN8FZID5I

                    More follows.
                    Last edited by wherrygirl; March 8th, 2014, 21:02.
                    Ivy

                    "To thine own self be true.......
                    Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I can't still fathom and understand shrink-wrapping something that big.... a shrink wrapped vessel!

                      Strange.... must be something really special to see.
                      With best regards from Jan-Olav Storli

                      Administrator and Owner of CaptainsVoyage.
                      Main page: http://www.captainsvoyage.com
                      Old forum: http://captainsvoyage.7.forumer.com/
                      Join us: Save the "Kong Olav" on facebook

                      Surround yourself with positive, ethical people who are committed to excellence.

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I agree, Jan-Olav. Photos show the clipper being encased in sheets of plastic and men welding the seams together, but it is not clear as to how the actual shrinking of the plastic to such a tight fit was done. However, look what I've found: http://dr-shrink.com/training/ tells you all you want to know about the actual process of shrink-wrapping vehicles and boats - though not one quite the size of the clipper! Now we know!
                        Ivy

                        "To thine own self be true.......
                        Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          There are some photos on the ship's website showing the ceremonial renaming by the Duke of Edinburgh at Greenwich, which I referred to in #11 and I have picked out three to show here. There is a lovely old legend detailing how this ritual should be conducted. It is said that every vessel ever made is recorded in the Ledger of the Deep and is known personally to Neptune, the god of the sea. In order to change a ship's name the original one must be purged from the Ledger and from Neptune's memory and all traces of its old identity removed, otherwise bad luck will always dog the vessel.
                          Well, the ship had undergone strict cleansing operations up in Scotland and now the officer in charge of the ceremony held the card bearing the name Carrick over a container and set light to it, letting the ashes fall into the pot.


                          Photo by Andre Camara


                          These ashes were then cast into the Thames.
                          Thus the vessel retained no trace of its identity as the RNVR ship HMS Carrick and was considered to be pure and ready to be reborn. Neptune was then addressed, asking that he expunge from his memory all knowledge of the Carrick for she no longer existed. Finally the Duke of Edinburgh stepped forward and declared the ancient clipper renamed as the City of Adelaide.


                          Photo by Andre Camara



                          Photo by Andre Camara


                          There is a second part of this ritual which I shall show in the next post.
                          Last edited by wherrygirl; March 10th, 2014, 00:31.
                          Ivy

                          "To thine own self be true.......
                          Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Having had her original name restored to her, "The City" must now be recommended to the care of the winds of the four main compass points, that they do her no harm. Glasses of wine were ready for the libations:

                            Photo by Andre Camara

                            and an address made to each wind by name, imploring "Grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scurge of your strong breath." After each of the four speeches, a glass of wine was emptied in the direction of the wind so addressed:


                            Photo by Andre Camara
                            Ivy

                            "To thine own self be true.......
                            Thou canst not then be false to any man."

                            Comment

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