The new year has started off with major carpentry work on Falls of Clyde. Now that we know the time frame for the ship to return to Scotland in the summer 2018, we are replacing much of the deteriorated wood and are putting on protective covers over the two main entries to the tween deck. We have also replaced the forward hatch cover and the skylight cover over the Captain’s salon. The main deck will get some repairs and a new cover also. Here are some pictures of the work being led by volunteer carpenters Bill MacGillivray and Larry Phillips.
The Scottish Plan to return Falls of Clyde to Scotland got some positive publicity with a front page story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on December 28 with an in-depth interview with our Scottish partner David O’Neill. This gives the community an excellent status report.
Friends of Falls of Clyde has started working on a number of projects to replace deteriorated wood and replace the cover in the salon skylight. This is in preparation for the move next summer.
To all of those who follow Friends of Falls of Clyde, we wish you a very Happy New Year 2018!!!
Friends of Falls of Clyde underwrote David O’Neill and his wife’s trip to Honolulu, which was very successful. David held several meetings to discuss his plan for Falls of Clyde when she returns to Scotland. He met with the FFOC board of directors and impressed everyone with the details of what he has accomplished and what he is still working on related to the long-term restoration and preservation of the ship. Perhaps most importantly, the Harbors Division accepted the recommendation of OHT, the Norwegian heavy lift ship company that will take the ship back to Scotland, to make the move in the summer of 2018. The Harbors Division has agreed to have David and OHT schedule the move in July, August or September 2018. David will work with OHT to set the specific time frame for the work. Companies that will be working with us locally have been advised of this timeframe.
December 12 was a red letter day as the 139th birthday of Falls of Clyde. On that day in 1878 she was launched in Port Glasgow, Scotland. This was the 10th year that Friends of Falls of Clyde has had the honor of blessing the ship. President Bruce McEwan conducts the blessing and ends with a whisky toast. This year there was a cold, light rain during the afternoon blessing, which added a Hawaiian blessing. Here is a picture of the blessing.
Friends of Falls of Clyde hosted Capt. Ken Bekkevold of Offshore Heavy Transport (OHT), the marine company that David O’Neill, our Scottish partner, is working with to transport Falls of Clyde to Scotland. He had a productive tour of the ship and it looks like positive movement toward this project coming together.
David O’Neill is coming to Honolulu during the week of December 4 to hold a series of meetings that will educate various parties on his plan for the future of Falls of Clyde when she returns to Scotland. Plan coordination will be done with Friends of Falls of Clyde and a meeting to give details to the Harbors Division has been scheduled.
David O’Neill, our Scottish partner, is still negotiating with heavy lift ship companies to schedule a trip to Hawaii to pick up Falls of Clyde and take her to Scotland. The Norwegian company that we hoped would be here in September took a commercial job and closed that window. We are hopeful another window will open before the end of the year.
In preparing things here, we are looking at removing some of our property from the ship and also securing the property that will go with the ship. We are looking for wooden crates to secure small items and would appreciate any crate donations or ideas where we can source crates.
We started the process of unloading ballast to lighten the ship in order to make her ready to be loaded on a heavy lift ship. The process is a slow one, but progress is being made. Besides offloading ballast, we also need to shift some from tanks 1 to tanks 2. Here are some pictures of the pump system and the way we need to move ballast between tanks on the main deck.
We heard from Scotland that the September timeframe for a heavy lift ship to pick up Falls of Clyde for transit to Scotland has been delayed. The company has a commercial job that precluded being able to come to Hawaii. There are ongoing discussions to find another window.
We have just moved some of the ship’s property that will go with the ship from the pier onto the deck. Heavy work but we managed it well.
We continue to plan for the various activities we need to complete in preparation for turning ownership of Falls of Clyde over to the Scots for her return home to Scotland and restoration. We are awaiting a date certain for the heavy lift ship pickup in order to finalize our work.
September is the month that Foodland runs its “Give Aloha” program. Friends of Falls of Clyde is one of the many nonprofit organizations to which shoppers at Foodland during the month of September can make a tax deductible donation while shopping at one of their stores. We encourage supporters of Falls of Clyde to shop at Foodland and include a donation to Friends of Falls of Clyde. Our organization number for a donation is 78512. Donations will go towards the costs of our preparation for the move to Scotland.
We continue to prepare for the eventual move of Falls of Clyde to Scotland. The Scots are working finding a place for the ship, gathering resources for her restoration, and hiring the services of a heavy lift ship to transport Falls of Clyde to Scotland. Friends of Falls of Clyde have secured tug services, ship agency services, and have a plan for removing ballast in anticipation of the move. We will also be preparing the ship for the move. We will be coordinating the communication between the parties to the project so that a final plan for the movement will be made to review by the Coast Guard and Harbors Division.
Robert Carter, an Australian marine artist and supporter, has donated three paintings that he has made of Falls of Clyde. These paintings are available to anyone who will make a donation of $300 or more. Here is a picture of the painting that we hope will be added to some art collections. It is ready for framing.
These past two week have been very positive for Friends of Falls of Clyde. First, we had a meeting with representatives of the Harbors Division, who discussed with us what they learned in dealing with projects requiring bringing large vessels in and out of the harbors. They advised us on what we will face in terms of providing information to the Coast Guard when bringing in the heavy lift ship to pick up Falls of Clyde to take her back to Scotland. As what we are calling the Scottish Plan comes to fruition, Harbors will take the ship out of impoundment when ownership is transferred to the Scots. Right now that time frame is September. Friends of Falls of Clyde is preparing the tug service and shipping agent service to be ready when the heavy lift ship arrives to pick up Falls of Clyde. We are thankful to the Harbors Division staff for their help.
We also had the opportunity to meet with Captain Jonathan Boulware, the Executive Director of the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City. He took a tour of Falls of Clyde and was very impressed by her condition after almost 139 years. He is a supporter of our plan to return the ship to Scotland. His organization is returning the ship Peking to Germany. He also reminded us that his ship Wavertree is the last remaining iron hull, three-masted ship, which is a partner to our historic four-masted, iron hull ship. A very important connection.
We also had two very positive TV spots. The first was on Hawaii News Now and included interviews with both David O’Neill of Old Gorbals Heritage in Scotland and Bruce McEwan of Friends of Falls of Clyde. The second was on KITV, where Bruce McEwan highlighted the importance of Falls of Clyde in the international maritime community even though she is not as respected for her historic importance here in Hawaii.
President Bruce McEwan had an excellent meeting with David O’Neill in Glasgow, Scotland and heard firsthand the progress that has been made and continues to come together. The work that has gone into this project is amazing and is bearing fruit. Hopefully the final pieces will come together shortly so that the Harbors Division will accept that Falls of Clyde will be returning to Scotland in 2017.
Locally, we continue to plan for the deballasting that will need to be done and to plan for the various activities we will need to conduct in order to prepare the ship for transport to Scotland. We continue to seek donations to help offset costs associated with the preparation and to gather funds that will support the Scots.
Bruce McEwan, President
We know that there is great interest in the future of the Falls of Clyde. There is a lot going on that the Board of Directors is dealing with, so we felt that keeping stakeholders involved through a report on our website is the easiest way to reach our worldwide audience.