This ship was built in 1886, a very late date to build a sailing ship. She was designed to be a bulk carrier and speed was definitely not one of the design objectives. She was a four master rig and a very large bulk carrying sailing ship. Arguments were rife at this time as to the exact type of rig - should all masts carry yards on all four masts or not and was it worth the extra hands to carry skysails and double topgallants.
Economy was the main word for the FALLS OF HALLADALE. Russell & Co. built her for the Falls Line of Glasgow, who already had six four-masters on their rosters. The new vessel was to sacrifice speed for carrying power with economy realized by a smaller sail area resulting in a smaller crew. Her yards were also smaller than a typical ship of her type of this period. She was launched in July of 1886. The one great advantage to the rig of this ship was that her captain knew he could carry a full set of sail in almost any weather which resulted in less wear and tear on the crew. The captain was responsible for all the gear on the ship with strict instructions to observe all means of economy and careful preservation of sails and rigging, which explains why some captains were not quite as fearless as others were in a gale of wind. This was probably the main reason why the FALLS OF HALLADALE was somewhat notorious for getting on the overdue list.
The registered tonnage and measurements of the ship were as follows: 2,026 tons; 275 feet 2 inches, length; 41 feet 6 inches, breadth; 23 feet 9 inches depth of hold. These ships ere also unique in that they had fore and aft lifting bridges for bad weather, one of the earliest ships to be so fitted. These bridges enabled the crew to get aft dry-shod in the worst of the Westerlies, when it would have been unsafe to put a foot upon the main deck. This may be hard to believe for those who have never seen a ship's main deck in a high following sea to fully appreciate the value of these bridges. These bridges did not look very good but they saved the hands from death and injury again and again during rough passages.
Iron and steel four-masters of over 250 feet in length could not keep clear of heavy weather like their shorter wooden predecessors, with the result that quite an ordinary Southern Ocean sea would roar aboard and sweep irresistibly the whole length of the main deck. It was at such times that heroic deeds were routinely done down on the flooded main deck, when men risked life and limb in strenuous attempts to do their assigned tasks and many times save their drowning watch mates. Lucky ships with midship-bridges had no need to rig a maze of life-lines about their main deck, since the heavy weather conditions reached the levels of the bridges, and even when it did these sturdy steel structures were built to withstand the worst of poopers.
The bridges that were on the FALLS OF HALLADALE went from forward aft. The first led from the forecastle head and rested its after-end upon the fore boat-skids. The next bridge went to the top of the mid-ships house, from which another bridge went aft to the half-deck. The last bridge went from the half-deck to the poop.
The best passage the FALLS OF HALLADALE made was 108 days between Calcutta and Falmouth in the spring of 1900. The first time she gave the underwriters anxiety was in 1893. Captain Peters sailed from the Tyne on April 27th for San Francisco. He encountered nothing but head winds, a rough passage off the Horn, and light winds in the Pacific, resulting in a passage of 187 days. She spent most of her life in the Pacific grain trade to Europe. She had no homeward passage of less than 130 days. In 1898 she again was on the overdue list, being 172 days out from San Francisco. Then in 1902 she was 169 days to Queenstown from Astoria. Her worst passage was outward in 1903-04. Captain Thomson sailed from Liverpool in July 25th, 1903. In attempting to go around Cape Horn she was so battered by a succession of Cape Horn "snorters" that she began to leak requiring the pumps to be continuously manned. They continued to battle for three terrible weeks during which time 19 sails were blown to smithereens. Finally, the last blow was struck when a tremendous sea fell aboard the whole length of the main rail, and from such a height that it even smashed up the fore and aft bridges. Captain Thomson then gave up and decided to make the long run around the world via the Cape of Good Hope. Meanwhile the food had turned bad and things were so bad aboard the ship that a near mutiny was about to take place. Captain Thomson was forced to put into Invercargill on January 1st, 1904 were things settled down. Resuming the voyage, Captain Thomson again had trouble with the crew and clapped seven of the crew in irons. At last, on March 19th, 1904, the FALLS OF HALLADALE, all rust-stained and battered, with the main royal mast gone and her mizzen royal yard missing, struggled up to the anchorage in San Francisco Bay, being 238 days out from the Mersey.
Toward the end the FALLS OF HALLADALE came to London with a cargo of 70-foot blue gum logs and created quite a stir amongst the London shipping people, since by this time big sailing ships had become very rare in the Thames. She afterwards took in a cargo of chalk at West Thurrock and then loaded explosives below Gravesend, sailing for the Antipodes on St. Patrick's Day, 1908. The end came on November 14th, 1908, when the FALLS OF HALLADALE stranded about six miles west of Port Campbell, on the coast of Victoria, Australia. The ship struck, bow on , in fine weather (The Captain obviously did not realize he was so close to land) and became a total loss.
The design stamp is made after painting of Jack Spurling.
Liberia 2020;(4x100) $.
Sources http://shipmodelersassociation.org/research/fam9812.htm. http://www.spurlingandrouxwatercolours.com/mpgt.html.
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