Recent developments in the cry wolf, tug of love, not in my back yard – then, in mine please! – no, mine thanks! saga of the high-and-dry 1864 Sunderland built clipper ship, City of Adelaide, rather passed me by of late.
But now there is action in Irvine, Ayrshire, and its silted-up River Garnock; in fact things are happening relatively quickly.
Dutch specialists have recently been assembling under her a steel cradle that was fabricated in Australia and shipped to the Clyde (ah well, coal has been sent to Newcastle…), which will allow this rather amazing monument to the strength of “composite” construction to be lifted aboard a specialist ship for transportation to her new home. And to even more challenges – the age-old “restoration” dilemmas – at the South Australian port she was originally named after.
Whatever the ins and outs of whether she should simply have been recorded in great detail, then broken up (demolition was the much more traumatic sounding, landlubberly term employed a few years ago), City of Adelaide is a fascinating reminder of the huge pull these ships had in their day on the minds of young men with a passion for the design of these legendary hell for leather passage-makers. Young men like G.L. Watson, who was 13 in 1864 and soon to begin his training at two of the River Clyde’s most innovative shipyards: Napier of Govan and Inglis of Pointhouse.
I keep my pleasant early 1980s memories of a superb Glasgow city centre lunch venue with water feature, from when she was last alive and afloat as the Carrick. It would be nice to do the same someday, down under…
As they say around the Clyde, gaun yersel!
Update September 23, 2013: Good images of Carrick/City of Adelaide’s eventual final movements, and sailing from Irvine on September 20 (sailing on a Friday? Surely not! Ed) from Dougie Coull and at the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Flickr page.
Update November 27, 2013: Sailed from Rotterdam yesterday aboard heavy lift ship, MV Palanpur. Destination: Port Adelaide.
G.L. Watson’s early life and the metropolitan, cosmopolitan and industrial influences of the rise of Glasgow that shaped his remarkable career are covered in great depth and beautifully illustrated in Martin Black’s biography, G.L. Watson – The Art and Science of Yacht Design.