Star of India

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john sefton
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Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 1:59 pm

Star of India

Post by john sefton » Sun May 17, 2009 7:30 pm

The Star of India is the world's oldest active ship. She began her life on the stocks at Ramsey Shipyard in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were experiments of sorts then, with most vessels still being built of wood. Within five months of laying her keel, the ship was launched into her element. She bore the name Euterpe, after the Greek goddess of music.

Euterpe was a full-rigged ship and would remain so until 1901, when the Alaska Packers Association rigged her down to a barque, her present rig. She began her sailing life with two near-disastrous voyages to India. On her first trip she suffered a collision and a mutiny. On her second trip, a cyclone caught Euterpe in the Bay of Bengal, and with her topmasts cut away, she barely made port. Shortly afterward, her first captain died on board and was buried at sea.

After such a hard luck beginning, Euterpe settled down and made four more voyages to India as a cargo ship. In 1871 she was purchased by the Shaw Savill line of London and embarked on a quarter century of hauling emigrants to New Zealand, sometimes also touching Australia, California and Chile. She made 21 circumnavigations in this service, some of them lasting up to a year. It was rugged voyaging, with the little iron ship battling through terrific gales, "labouring and rolling in a most distressing manner," according to her log.

The life aboard was especially hard on the emigrants cooped up in her 'tween deck, fed a diet of hardtack and salt junk, subject to mal-de-mer and a host of other ills. It is astonishing that their death rate was so low. They were a tough lot, however, drawn from the working classes of England, Ireland and Scotland, and most went on to prosper in New Zealand.As for the Euterpe, she was sold to American owners in 1898, and in 1902, commenced sailing from Oakland, California to the Bering Sea each spring with a load of fishermen, cannery hands, box shook and tin plate. She returned each fall laden with canned salmon. This went on until 1923 when she was laid up by her owners the Alaska Packers. The Packers had changed her name in 1906, dubbing her Star of India in keeping with their company practice.

By 1923, steam ruled the seas. Sailing ships were obsolete and scores were laid up in ports, including the Star of India. What saved this particular ship from the knacker's torch was a determined band of San Diegans, led by reporter Jerry MacMullen. They scraped up $9,000 to buy the Star in 1926, and the following year she was towed to San Diego. For the next three decades, however, the Star languished; the depression and World War II delayed her restoration to her days of glory. She began to assume an increasingly tattered [appearance], with weepers of rust running down her sides and Irish pennants fluttering gloomily in her rigging.

In 1957, Captain Alan Villiers, a famous windjammer skipper and author, came to San Diego on a lecture tour. He took one look at the dilapidated Star and delivered a broadside to the local press, lambasting the citizenry for doing nothing to save this gallant ship. Things got better after that. Slowly, the nickels and dimes trickling in turned to dollars. Skilled workmen along the waterfront volunteered their services and the cheerful sound of hammers, saws, and showers of sparks from welding torches replaced the silence of decay aboard the Star.

Finally, in 1976, the fully restored Star of India put to sea for the first time in fifty years, under the command of Captain Carl Bowman. She sailed beautifully that day, to the applause of half a million of her fans, ashore and afloat. The Star of India now sails at least once a year making her the oldest active ship of any kind in the world. She is sailed and maintained by a volunteer crew that trains year-round, keeping not only the ship but also the skills to sail her alive.

She has been called the foremost symbol of San Diego, for ships like her were the original sinews of our city's progress. Yet she is more than that-she is the essence of a vanished age, a glorious time when men and women voyaged under towers of masts and clouds of canvas.

San Diego Maritime Museum web site

Isle of Man SG385,388. Grenada SG3146 Penhryn SG347
Euterpe prior to re-rigging SG385
Euterpe prior to re-rigging SG385
Star of India SG388
Star of India SG388
euterpe ms (Small).jpg
Star of India.jpg
Star of India.jpg

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Re: Star of India

Post by Arturo » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:18 pm

Star of India

Penrhyn Islands 1981, S.G.?, Scott: 162c.
Star of India.jpg

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Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:28 am

Re: Star of India 1863

Post by aukepalmhof » Sun Oct 11, 2015 8:41 am

Sierra Leone 2015 Le24,000 sgMS?, scott? (she is the vessel in the margin of the sheet.)
( The vessel on the stamp is the GLENLEE ... 7250#p7246 )
star of india.jpg
Last edited by aukepalmhof on Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Star of India

Post by ptvisnes » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:29 pm

There are two different ”Star of India” on stamps. In addition to the ship from 1863 we also have the “Star of India”(1861), built at A. Stephen & Sons, Dundee for Somes Brothers.
For more details see Watercraft Philately (WP) vol 30 No 3 (nov-Dec 1983) and
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.anc ... findia.htm

Stamps with “Star of India” (1861):
1981. 4c. Mi 183, SG 176, Sc 140
1981. 30c. Mi 203, SG 196, Sc 160
1983. 36c on 30c. Mi 331, SG 309, Sc 242
1984. 50c. Mi 379, SG 347, Sc 278
1996. $1. Mi 3223, SG 3146, Sc 2560i
Grenada Grenadines
1998. 75c. Mi 2762, SG 2529. Sc 2013
Ships name and year 1861 on all stamps except Grenada Grenadines with only name.

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Re: Star of India

Post by Anatol » Sat Oct 09, 2021 9:43 am

«Star 0f India» (1861 - 1892) Blackwall passenger ship, 1045 tons, length 190ft 4in, beam 34ft 2in, depth 22ft 1in. Constructed of wood, built by Stephen, Dundee, for Joseph Somes. A Blackwall frigate built for the first class passenger trade to India. After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1863 it did not take many years before P & O steamers were taking over the first class passenger trade to India but in the early 1879s the passenger trade to Australia was booming. The STAR OF INDIA was moved to this trade and was in it for ten years. In 1873 and 1874, she made two voyages to New Zealand under chater to Shaw Saville. In both voyages she carried 300 emigrants 'tween decks to first Lyttelton and the Wellington.
About 1881/2 she was sold to Norwegian owners and spent a dozen years as a barque in the North Аtlantic timber trade. She was abandoned at sea in 1892.
The design stamp is made after painting of Jack Spurling.
Grenadines of St. Vincent 2020;(4x3) $
Clipper STAR OF INDIA.jpg
Clipper STAR OF INDIA.jpg (85.69 KiB) Viewed 75 times
star-of-india.jpg (147.12 KiB) Viewed 75 times

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