July 29, 2012

Balclutha, wind-powered schooner at Pier41

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The Balclutha, tied up at San Francisco's Pier41 is a wind-powered schooner that transported goods up and down the Pacific coast. Instead of using a modern steam-powered engine, the Balclutha continued the tradition of using wind and sails as the most economical way of moving freight.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The Balclutha was built in 1886 by Charles Connell & Co. Ltd., of Glasgow in Scotland, for Robert McMillan, of Dumbarton in Scotland. Her namesake is said to be the eponymous town of Balclutha, New Zealand, but her name can also refer to her first homeport, Glasgow, Scotland, which is a "City on the Clyde" - the meaning of her name derived from the Gaelic Baile Chluaidh.

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. (source: Wikipedia)

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

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. (source: Wikipedia)

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

In 1902 the Balclutha was chartered to the Alaska Packers' Association. After having struck Sitkinak island near Kodiak on May 16, 1904, she was renamed the Star of Alaska when bought by APA for merely $500.

After extended repairs she joined the salmon fishing trade, sailing north from the San Francisco area to the Chignik Bay, Alaska, in April with supplies, fishermen, and cannery workers, and returned in September with a cargo of canned salmon. For this trade she carried over 200 crew and passengers, as compared to the 26 man crew she carried as the Balclutha.

In 1911 the poop deck was extended to the main mast to accommodate Italian and Scandinavian workers. In the 'tween deck bunks for Chinese workers were built in. Her last voyage in this trade was in 1930, when she then was laid up after her return home. (source: Wikipedia)

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

In 1933, the Star of Alaska was renamed the Pacific Queen by her new owner Frank Kissinger. 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. (source: Wikipedia)

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

In 1954, the Pacific Queen was acquired by the San Francisco Maritime Museum, which restored her and renamed her back to Balclutha. In 1985 she was designated a National Historic Landmark. (source: Wikipedia)

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photowannabe said...

Terrific shots of the Balclutha.
Its been far too many years since I toured the ship.
I like how you captured all the lines and angles.
The first one with the graying background and the colored mast? (don't know what that thing is called) is wonderful.

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