Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Spectacular Visitor

The barque James Craig was built in Sunderland, England in 1874.
Originally named Clan Macleod, her maiden voyage was to Peru.
For 26 years she plied the trade routes of the world carrying general cargoes during which period she rounded Cape Horn 23 times.
In 1900 she was purchased by Mr J J Craig of Auckland and was used on trans-Tasman trade routes as a general cargo carrier.
In 1905 she was re-named James Craig and then a short six years later she was laid up because increasing competition from steam ships made sailing vessels uneconomical. She was then stripped and used as a copra hulk in New Guinea.
After the First World War there was an acute shortage of cargo ships. This gave James Craig a new lease of life after being towed from New Guinea to Sydney for re-fitting.
Her return to service was brief because in 1925 she was reduced to a coal hulk at Recherche Bay, Tasmania.

In 1932 she was abandoned and became beached after breaking her moorings in a storm. She remained beached until 1972 when volunteers from the Sydney Heritage Fleet re-floated her.
In 1973 she was towed to Hobart where temporary repairs were carried out. She was towed to Sydney in 1981 and restoration work commenced. The James Craig's restored hull was re-launched in February 1997.
And on a glorious summer day in February 2001, she hoisted all her 21 sails for the first time in nearly 80 years and is now fully operational
This week she is anchored in Jervis Bay just to the north of us and  is expected to be in the area until next Thursday, taking part in a training program with Australian Defence Force Academy cadets.
You don't get a better sight than a ship under full sail and this is one grand old lady.

No comments: