SOS Falls of Clyde

30th June 2008, 23:57
Dear participants

I wonder whether anyone is following the drama occurring in Honolulu regarding the future of one of the most historic square riggers remaining, the four-masted ship Falls of Clyde of 1878.

Yesterday I received the following information:

Extract from a recent Blogg (26th June 2008)

Jill Byus Radke, Development Manager
Historic Hawaii Foundation

This week Bishop Museumís contractors will begin to remove the
rigging from the Falls of Clyde. Despite several news reports, this
is not an indicator that the ship is being restored. After years of
struggling to keep the Falls of Clyde afloat, the Bishop Museum
issued a call for a new benefactor who can provide the resources
necessary to save the National Historic Landmark. Should a
benefactor not be located by the end of this June, the Falls will
either sink at its berth or be towed and sunk. While the museum
works to find another owner or supporter for the ship, it will
engage in several near-term actions, which are required for either
taking the ship to dry dock for repairs or for ultimate disposal.
And Web reference here:

If losing a historic sailing ship concerns you, then you might like to have a look at a web page that I have created that tells the story to date at

If you want to do more, then I encourage you to express your concerns to the US National Parks Service, the Bernice C. Bishop Museum and the Historic Hawaii Foundation (as well as any Hawaiian Newspapers). It appears to be a case of now or never. The last thing we want is to see a viable historic sailing ship made into a dive wreck in the 21st century!

Best regards
Mori Flapan

3rd July 2008, 15:19
Further to my post a few days ago, the following is my letter to the Honolulu Star Bulletin that was published on 1st July 2008 regarding the Falls of Clyde.

Viewable at:

Donít let Falls of Clyde sink without a fight

The Falls of Clyde at Honolulu is one of the few remaining 19th-century square-riggers, the only remaining example of a four-masted ship afloat, the only remaining example of a sailing oil tanker and the only remaining big sailing ship to have been registered in Hawaii ("Savior needed for Falls of Clyde," Star-Bulletin, June 25). The Falls of Clyde is significant for Hawaii, for the United States and for the international community. Those who saved the ship in the 1960s understood this. It would be a shameful thing for our generation to let her go and deny this wonderful historic artifact to future generations.

The Falls of Clyde has been neglected. No ship can be left afloat indefinitely. Periodic docking is essential. Without a plan to undertake such basic maintenance, one cannot say that there has been a serious effort to conserve the vessel. However, the Falls of Clyde is still a viable restoration. Compare her against the James Craig that we have restored in Sydney, which had been a wreck for 40 years. Falls of Clyde is in nowhere near as bad a condition as our ship was. But by the same token, the days of just using the Falls of Clyde without getting serious about her restoration appear to have passed. It is now time to act.

I was closely involved in the restoration of James Craig in Sydney for 15 years and conceived the facility that made the project possible. The key solution was to put the ship on a pontoon dock so that work could be carried out as and when funds became viable without tying up a commercial ship repair facility. Our pontoon dock was purpose built. The cost in the 1980s was about $300,000. Today that might amount to $1 million. It was a big investment, but it paid for itself many times over. That pontoon dock is still in use 23 years later, currently used for restoring another ship, the steamer John Oxley.

As an alternative to building a new dock, it might also be possible to source an existing vessel (perhaps a surplus floating dock or a barge from the offshore industry). Once the Falls of Clyde is docked on the pontoon dock, that will provide a buffer against rash action and allow a slower, more paced and probably more economic approach to the restoration.

It is probably unrealistic to hope that a benefactor will arrive with $30 million like a knight in shining armor. My experience is that success builds on success. By the same token, people tend to hold back until they see a commitment from others. Funding is much more likely when potential benefactors can see a plan for the future that provides for a reasonably viable way ahead. Putting the Falls of Clyde on a dock will help achieve this. Just as important, it provides for a much more realistic short-term target of $1 million instead of $30 million.

Mori Flapan lives in Manly, New South Wales, Australia.

On the Net
Ľ Recovery4.html

Ľ ation/JO-docking.html


Is there anyone out there that is concerned? If so, then perhaps you might like to contribute to the blog attached to the letter at:


9th July 2008, 04:37
Dear All

It has intrigued me to find that nobody on Ships Nostalgia seems to have a view on the threat to destroy the 1874 iron 4 masted ship Falls of Clyde. I would have thought that I would not be alone in considering the ship to be an important example of nineteenth century maritime heritage, and a topic well worthy of discussion on Ships Nostalgia. Am I writing to the wrong forum? Or is Tall Ships the wrong thread?

While waiting for some sort of response by participants to this site, I have not been idle. Today I wrote the email that follows. If there is anyone else concerned, now is the time to show that you care.


Dear Burchenal Green

I am writing to ask you as the president of the National Maritime Historical Society use your influence to intervene in the proposed sinking of the historic 4 masted ship Falls of Clyde that has been preserved at Honolulu for 40 years. Recent press reports indicate that the owners, the Bernice C. Bishop Museum are threatening to scuttle the Falls of Clyde unless a donor comes forward with $30 million.

This would be no less than an act of vandalism as the Falls of Clyde is of great significance for Hawaii, for the United States AND for the international community. The ship is :

One of the very few remaining nineteenth century square-riggers;
The only remaining example of a four masted fully-rigged ship afloat;
The only remaining example of a sailing oil tanker; and
The only remaining big sailing ship to have been registered in Hawaii.

The Falls of Clyde has reached this perilous situation because the ship has been neglected for twenty years. No vessel can be left afloat indefinitely without maintenance. Periodic docking is essential and this has not occurred. Without a plan to undertake such basic maintenance one cannot say that there has been a serious effort to conserve the vessel. However, I believe that the Falls of Clyde is still a viable restoration. I was closely involved with the restoration of a sailing ship in Sydney called the James Craig. Our ship had been A TIDAL WRECK for 40 years before we acquired her. After years of concerted effort the James Craig has been transformed from a wreck to a thing of beauty that now sails again. Only the week before last, I followed her to sea in my boat. What a grand sight she is. The James Craig is now part of the fabric of Sydney and Australia, a centre-piece for many of the maritime events on our harbour. It just proves what can be done with persistence and commitment.

The condition of the Falls of Clyde is nowhere near as deteriorated as that of the James Craig when we started. But by the same token, the days of just using the Falls of Clyde without getting serious about her restoration have passed. It is now time to act.

It is unrealistic to expect a benefactor to suddenly appear with $30 million. Such an ultimatum should not be the measure of the viability of the ship's future. For just $1 million the Falls of Clyde could be lifted onto a pontoon dock where she would be progressively restored as and when funds become available. That is how we were able to restore the James Craig. With the ship on the dock, the restoration was able to proceed over 12 years without occupying expensive dockyard space. I am certain a similar arrangement would suit this ship. Once on the dock, there is no immediate need to find all the funds to complete the project up front. Also, with viability strengthened by ongoing evidence of progress, sources of funding tend to become easier to find as the project progresses.

The Bernice C. Bishop Museum needs your guidance and influence to help them see that there are much more appropriate and responsible solutions to their current dilemma.

Please do not let apathy sink this ship. Your assistance and personal interest are very urgently needed. We cannot let another US square-rigger go the way of the Kaiulani. Perhaps you could use the Sea History magazine to promote a fundraising drive to raise sufficient funds to acquire a barge or pontoon dock on which to place the ship. A target of $1 million should be achievable.

As the designer of the pontoon dock that was used to restore the James Craig, I would be happy to give you more detail should you feel it could be of assistance. The Sea Heritage dock is still in use 23 years after it was built for the restoration of another of the Sydney Heritage Fleet Ships. A pontoon dock acquired for the Falls of Clyde could later be used for other historic US Ships that may be currently preserved but will inevitably require major work as time goes on. Such a facility could provide a really worthwhile investment in the future of preservation in the USA. See the following links for more information:
Please find attached ....

Yours sincerely
Mori Flapan

9th July 2008, 23:39

I am sure that many members of this site share your views about preserving our heritage, but the fact is that most efforts to do this on lead to nothing as there is little or no interest on the part of those who hold the purse strings - they probably believe there are no votes in it.

The only recent interest in this country has been in the fire aboard the Cutty Sark - and the fund to repair her has only reached its target by the intervention of a wealthy ex-seaman. As far as I am aware our government has not contributed a penny.

Good luck with your crusade - I hope some of our members on your side of the world feel they are able to support you.



10th July 2008, 01:07
Dear Brian

Nice to hear from you.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I understood that the UK government has been quite proactive in support of the preservation of Britain's Maritime Heritage by directing lottery funds to a number of worthy projects. Of course, sadly, there are always going to be more projects than there are funds so not everyone will be happy with the outcome. But for those ships that receive support, the Government's contribution must be welcome.

In regard to the Falls of Clyde's present situation, for 25 years I was very active in the preservation of vessels in Sydney. I would not like to count how many times I heard people say that our objectives could not be achieved, that there would not be support, that the vessel was too far gone, etc, etc. It is very easy for people to take a negative stance, complacency costs nothing and there is no commitment required. But it is far more challenging to follow your convictions. If we as ship enthusiasts think preserving a vessel is important, then it is up to us to do what we can, even if it is just to say to others in power that we think it is important. If we are not prepared to give it a go, who will?

Similarly, who knows what might happen from a discussion on these pages?. There could be a philanthropist out there who, like Sammy Ofer with the Cutty Sark, would be willing to support something close to their heart that will live on to future generations. After all, one hears that there are people prepared to spend a million (dollars) on frivolous events that last just one day. Perhaps there are people prepared to spend similar amounts on something worthwhile that will last a century or more!

Please don't let the Falls of Clyde be lost because of apathy and negativity. She is a wonderful artefact that represents so many significant aspects of her era. Just out of interest, does anyone know whether a bulk oil tanker has been preserved ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD? The time will come one day when the transport of mineral oil will be a thing of the past. Will there be any examples of such ships preserved? The Falls of Clyde is one of the grandfathers of the class, and a comparatively handy size to boot!

Sorry to rant on, but if I cannot convince a group like you who participate in SN that saving the Falls of Clyde is worthwhile and perhaps even viable, then the task will certainly be a difficult one.

I am currently preparing a series of web pages that will illustrate the stages we went through in the restoration of the James Craig. I will send a message to SN when it is up and running.

In the meantime, keep looking at the Falls of Clyde webpage at

Falls of Clyde has international significance. Those of you that live in a place that has a connection with the Falls of Clyde, through its trade, construction or some other reason might consider writing to the local newspapers. You are very welcome to draw on the information on my Falls of Clyde webpage above and to use the text that I have written without acknowledgement. Who knows what it might lead to. You might be the person to save the ship!

Best regards

Tony Breach
10th July 2008, 09:56
FYI I made a post about the FALLS OF CLYDE problems in the CUTTY SARK thread as I thought those interested in a UK built clipper may be interested in a UK built four poster. This was some days before your post & also did not get a response. It interests me as I have been on board her & am also a member of NMHS.

Please keep us informed if you hear any news.

10th July 2008, 13:16
Dear Tony

Thanks for the post.

Yes, I suspect that the participants to the Cutty Sark thread have just been through a difficult period, what with the shock of the fire, concern as to her future and relief arising from recent events. They probably are not very receptive to hearing of problems faced by other ships. I too felt devastated by the news of the fire, but hopefully all will work out OK in the end.

The challenges faced by the Cutty Sark, Falls of Clyde, City of Adelaide and many other preserved ships are likely to grow over the next 20 years as one by one they reach the time when they need a major overhaul. If we are not to lose the good work of visionaries that preserved many of these ships in past decades, the present and future generations of ship lovers will have to lobby for the continued funding for these vessels.

I will keep you informed when I hear more about the Falls of Clyde.

I will be very interested to hear an answer to my question of whether there are other tankers preserved anywhere in the world. I put a thread on the Tankers forum asking the question but so far have not had a response.

Best regards

Tony Breach
10th July 2008, 21:04
Thanks for that, Mori.

Today I received my copy of Ships Monthly & there is a short article concerning the plight of FALLS OF CLYDE so it has made its way into a lot of enthusiasts hands complete with photo. Trouble is that no-one has any "discretionary" cash these days.


14th July 2008, 11:12
Dear All

I have added a new page linked to the Falls of Clyde webpage illustrating an approach to restoration that might have value for the Falls of Clyde and other museum vessels.

You can view the page at:

If you have not done so already, please consider expressing your concerns regarding the proposed scuttling of the Falls of Clyde. A list of persons and organizations of influence can be found at the webpage with email addresses listed.

A few minutes of your time could help save this lovely old ship.

Best regards

14th July 2008, 14:13
Dear All

The latest information sent to me by Hugh Balean (thanks Hugh):

Spartalk forum at


".....but have been flat-out on a major project: sending down the rig
on the four-masted, full-rigged ship "Falls of Clyde", in Honolulu. It
is exciting work, and it is a privilege to be aboard one of the finest
square-riggers on Earth, but boy is it exhausting.
So far we've sent down all the yards on the jigger and mizzen masts.
We move on to the main tomorrow. I am hoping that things will smooth
out, and that I'll be able to be more present here soon. Christian
will be posting photo's on the site in the near future. Until later

Photos can be viewed at: (compare the current
condition of the Falls of Clyde against the condition at the beginning
of the restoration of the James Craig (2 Mb)at\


"....As for the ship's future, it appears to be extremely short; we
were hired for the downrig because major pieces were starting to fall
out of the sky, and the hull was in even worse shape. So we are
endeavoring to give the dear vessel a solid and respectful last
downrig. As of today, after 3 weeks here, there are only 3 topmasts
and some standing rigging left to send down. Already on deck are the
jibboom, 4 t'gallant masts,14 yards, and thousands of feet of standing
rigging. Also a huge pile of blocks, shackles, etc. We calculate that
we have lowered about 40 tons of wood and metal so far. This is a
large ship...."


14th July 2008, 21:59
Hi Mori and welcome to Ships Nostalgia, I had no idea that you were a member here.
Diverting a little from my "usual" field (steam tugs), I thought that perhaps some current information may assist here.
I am a little "more than more familiar" with the Falls at the moment... and also have the latest surveys... all 300 pages of it!
It may sound a little cryptic, however things are perhaps not what they seem and the Falls may yet be saved.
The works involved are for stabilization purposes, as one way or the other the ship needs to be moved from its berth, sooner rather than later.
I hope to be able to provide a lot more over the coming few weeks...

SAS Amatola
16th July 2008, 21:00
Excellent news!

Tony Breach
17th July 2008, 06:49
A ray of hope.

20th July 2008, 00:01
Dear participants to Ships Nostalgia

This is the latest report on events concerning the threat to the Falls of Clyde.

A meeting of concerned stakeholders was held on Monday 14 July in Honolulu to see what could be done to save the Falls of Clyde. About 30 people attended including members of the Propeller Club, Coast Guard officials, a representative of the Bishop Museum, original riggers of the ship, Harbor Pilots, a Maritime Archaeologist (who had done an 8 page recommendation for the reconstruction of hull etc.), the Caledonian Society, the Navy League, a dry dock company that is considering dry docking the ship at cost and a towing company that will tow her there free. The meeting was described by one participant as hot and heavy because most people had no idea that the ship was to be sunk until the articles were leaked into the newspapers and magazines. A number of proposals were mooted. A company originally contracted to tow the ship out for sinking has refused to do so. The Bishop Museum agreed to stop dismantling the ship for the time being. The spars and masts have been removed but they were in bad shape anyway. Another meeting is scheduled for next Monday.

While this very small start has been a positive development, the Falls of Clyde is still very much in treacherous waters. I encourage any concerned persons to keep an eye on what is happening and to continue to actively lobby to save this very historic vessel.


31st July 2008, 07:05
Dear All


I received the following message today from Chris Woolaway:

...just got word that the Bishop Museum has stuck with their original time table the FALLS is scheduled to be sunk on Tuesday Aug. 5. which was not what we heard at Mondayís meeting from Blair.

It looks like the situation is getting desperate. If you don't want to see this lovely old ship destroyed forever, write to Tim Johns President of the Bishop Museum at Also write to one or more of the various people listed at the top of the Falls of Clyde webpage at

It would be a terrible thing if the ship was scuttled before the local group who are trying to save her get a chance to become established. The following is a summary of their meeting only just last Monday


"The report of the Friends of the Falls of Clyde meeting that was held on 28 July focussed on the immediate issue of what would have to be done to save the ship. It was reported that, while the Bishop Museum was willing to see another party take over the vessel, they would only delay their plans to scuttle the vessel for a limited period, thought to possibly be till mid August. It was noted that the next Museum Board meeting of the Bishop Museum is to be held in about three weeks. It was imperative that the Board be presented with some sort of fleshed out preservation plan with a realistic budget, but taking into account generous offers of support through donations or 'at cost' provision of goods and services. There would need to be a non-profit organization to take responsibility of the ship from Bishop Museum, and this could also be discussed at the Board meeting. With this in mind, other items that were discussed at the Friends of Falls of Clyde meeting included potential groups that might take the vessel on, planning for project coordination, a project office, matters pertaining to purchase of the vessel (including fundraising, insurance, berthing, existing documenttion), securing of the vessel, short term restoration goals, partnerships with other organizations, A disturbing development was news that representatives of the San Diego Maritime Museum and Mystic Seaport Museum would be coming out to view the rigging fittings from Falls of Clyde for their own use. Their best guess was that as things currently stand, the ship had a one in five chance of being saved. The next meeting is scheduled for 4 August"

Tony Breach
31st July 2008, 09:26

This is sad news but in the context of the international & especially the U.S.
financial situations there must be little hope of raising the necessary funds. What will be, will be & we must be thankful that both Mystic & San Diego are willing to be custodians to whatever artifacts may be salvaged.

We must all be thankful to the U.S.A. for their excellent record of preserving historical ships - take a look at the U.S. National Park Service list of ships, it is the most impressive in the world. During the 11 years I spent there I visited as many ships & maritime museums as I could on both coasts.


2nd August 2008, 12:13
Dear All

The immediate threat has been averted. Bishop Museum has now back-tracked (TEMPORARILY!). The new date that they have set for scuttling the Falls of Clyde is 1st Sept 2008, a stay of execution for a month. Thank you to those who added their voices to help persuade Bishop Museum to think again.

While this is good news in that there is some more time for action, the local group still needs support wherever it might be available. So please keep thinking about and exploring options for how we can secure the ship's future.

Best regards

2nd August 2008, 12:44

This is sad news but in the context of the international & especially the U.S.
financial situations there must be little hope of raising the necessary funds. What will be, will be & we must be thankful that both Mystic & San Diego are willing to be custodians to whatever artifacts may be salvaged.

We must all be thankful to the U.S.A. for their excellent record of preserving historical ships - take a look at the U.S. National Park Service list of ships, it is the most impressive in the world. During the 11 years I spent there I visited as many ships & maritime museums as I could on both coasts.


Dear Tony

I am not casting aspersions regarding the track record of the USA in preserving historic ships. You are quite correct. The USA has many successes. However, the threat to the Falls of Clyde is an aberration that I believe we cannot let happen without trying to do something constructive. Our group in Sydney had to find and raise the wreck of the James Craig and spend 28 years restoring her. And yet here is the Falls of Clyde, a wonderful example of a sailing ship, certainly no less significant, and with much more original material, still afloat, and people are preparing to throw her away!

Yes, there are special challenges restoring ships during times of economic slowdown. This is definitely a period of heightened risk. However, a ship restoration extends over such a long period that it will straddle at least one if not more periods of boom and bust. That is why it is imperative to find a position of safety for the Falls of Clyde, to secure her survival. I have proposed putting her on a pontoon dock or barge, but there are other options such as recommissioning old dry docks, and even, as a last resort, beaching her in a quiet cove. The main objective at this stage is to prevent the ship being destroyed.

A point of concern regarding ships preserved around the world is that eventually, they all need to undergo major restorations (see my web page at I worry that many of these ships may also face similar threats of being discarded as the time comes for serious restoration work. That is why there is a real benefit to building a purpose designed pontoon dock. It can be used for the Falls of Clyde, and then in a decade or so, it can then towed to another location to be used for other ships on the US National Parks Service list. Such a facility could become a major asset for supporting ship preservation in the USA.

I hope this clarifies my position.

Best regards

david cook
5th August 2008, 16:23
Is there any possibility of legal action to prevent this? I suspect that if the foundation responsible for, say, Monticello decided that Jefferson's house was too expensive to maintain and they intended to raze it and build condominiums, there would be an immediate legal challenge. In the case of Falls of Clyde it might give a bit more breathing room.


6th August 2008, 02:00
Dear All

David, thank you for your thoughts. I will send them on to the Friends of the Falls of Clyde Group.

You might be interested in this latest development:

Recission of EPA Region 9's conditional concurrence for ocean disposal of FALLS OF CLYDE


After I issued a conditional concurrence concerning disposal of the Falls of Clyde vessel on July 14th, it came to EPA's attention weeks later that the vessel had been designated a national historical landmark pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). As EPA is obliged to consult with the National Historic Preservation Office (NHPO) and its state office under Section 106 of NHPA prior to authorizing actions that may affect a designated landmark, we hereby rescind our conditional concurrence. We are in contact with NHPO and will work with them and the vessel owners to complete consultation as quickly as possible. At that point, we will reconsider your request for ocean disposal if it remains necessary to pursue that disposal option - the same details (i.e., disposal site coordinates, proposed tow plan) should remain in effect for the ocean disposal option. In the meantime, please contact us if you have questions about this consultation process or if any urgent situations develop in regard to the condition of the vessel.

************************************************** **************
Allan .....
Oceanographer / Regional Ocean Dumping Coordinator
Dredging and Sediment Management Team (WTR-8)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

This is a very significant development. I originally wrote to the National Parks and Wildlife Service about the ship. I have seen correspondence that indicates that they are currently unconcerned about the destruction of this National Historic Monument. It sounds like it might be well worthwhile for others to express their concerns regarding the proposed scuttling of the Falls of Clyde as this very critical time. I suggest you write or email Mary A. Bomar Director of the National Parks Service via the National Register email address The more people object, the more likely they may intervene.

Part of my previous letter is listed below for information.

Best regards

Dear Sir or Madam

I am writing to the US National Parks Service to express my concern that an important historic artifact of international significance is apparently under threat of being destroyed. The Falls of Clyde at Honolulu is one of the very few remaining nineteenth century square-riggers, the only remaining example of a four masted ship afloat, the only remaining example of a sailing oil tanker and the only remaining big sailing ship to have been registered in Hawaii. The Falls of Clyde should be treasured, not threatened. Thanks to the foresight, dedication and effort of many people in years past, the Falls of Clyde has survived relatively intact. As a person who was closely involved in restoring the James Craig in Sydney that had been a tidal wreck for 40 years, I believe that comparatively the Falls of Clyde is still a very viable restoration proposition. Those who originally had the foresight to save the ship and restore her deserve better than apathy from a current generation that would let her go without a struggle.

17th August 2008, 09:19
Dear All

The latest word on the Falls of Clyde saga is that there are concerns that the Bishop Museum may not have been following due process in its plans to scuttle the Falls of Clyde. Apparently the proposed action is subject to what is called a Section 106 review. However, nothing will happen unless the spotlight is squarely shone on the US government to be proactive in their involvement.

The Falls of Clyde Group have launched a petition that can be viewed at:

The petition provides a relatively straight-forward method for you as concerned persons to express your views. Signing the petition will help provide a concentrated expression of public disapproval.

Also, the Bishop Museum has had discussions with an Australian regarding the possibility of acquiring the ship. While this could provide a safety net should attempts to preserve the ship in Hawaii fail, the negotiations are still far from finding agreement, and the ship still remains at threat.

Best regards

Tony Breach
17th August 2008, 11:53
Done with pleasure & a lot of hope, Mori.
Best regards

20th August 2008, 18:31
best wishes

Bob Theman
21st August 2008, 00:08
Done - Fingers Crossed !

22nd August 2008, 06:05
Dear All

The following news item that appeared in the Honolulu Advertiser on Monday indicates that the Falls of Clyde is still very much at risk. Some of you may have experienced problems signing the petition calling on the vessel not to be destroyed. I am told that the issues have now been overcome. So if there is a heritage-aware bone in your body, might I encourage you to act NOW and sign the petition at:

Best regards

The 130-year-old ship will be sunk unless a new owner is found by Sept. 1, according to Timothy E. Johns, president and CEO of Bishop Museum.

In a letter to Bishop Museum friends and family dated Aug. 14, Johns explained that three parties who expressed interest in adopting the ship are no longer factors. The Falls of Clyde needs extensive restoration work, which could cost $32 million, as well as ongoing maintenance of $1 million per year, Johns said.

In his letter, Johns said:

"Although we continue to meet with various community members to try and come up with additional ideas to save the ship, we must recognize at this point after six months of searching for a new caretaker that if a suitable adoption arrangement for the Falls of Clyde cannot be worked out with any interested parties by Sept. 1, we will have no other option but to sink the ship."

Johns said the Falls of Clyde has been uninsured since February, posing a liability to personnel and property at its Honolulu Harbor berth site. "If the ship was to sink at this time, the cost to bring it out of the water would place the museum in direct jeopardy of its continued operation," Johns said.

In conclusion, Johns wrote, "We are saddened by the prospect of sinking the Falls of Clyde. We wish we could do more, but we neither have the finances nor staff resources to undertake the significant fund-raising campaign that would be necessary to restore the vessel."

Tony Breach
22nd August 2008, 10:14
I always thought the Bishop Trust was loaded.

26th August 2008, 05:09
Dear Tony

In reply to your comment regarding the Bishop Museum, the following is a copy of what I wrote to the Honolulu Advertiser blog a few days ago.

The Bishop Museum seems to be in a tearing hurry to destroy your maritime heritage.

They say that the ship has to be scuttled because it is in danger of sinking. I lived as a watchman on a historic ship when it could not be restored for lack of funds and sprang holes from time to time. However, with sensible measures such as a watchman on board, automatic pumps, bilge alarms and materials to make concrete boxes, the risk of the vessel sinking can be largely mitigated. Add to this a proactive survey that identifies any suspect areas so that preventative measures can be taken and the ship can stay afloat with reasonable security, at least for a year or two before docking.

The more I read press reports coming from the Bishop Museum and others, the more obvious it becomes that the Bishop Museum's management have lacked the commitment and passion needed to save this ship. It is no wonder that she has been neglected and it explains why they seem all too willing to destroy your heritage.

So the long and the short of it is that the Bishop Museum is not committed to saving the Falls of Clyde. It is not that they can't, it is just that they don't want to. I have offered them the benefit of my years of experience with the James Craig and so far have not even received a response.

So the fate of one of the world's few square riggers lies in the hands of people who don't really care. That is why the issue has to be taken over their heads to the US Government itself.


27th August 2008, 10:43
Dear All

1. The "Friends of the Falls of Clyde" has just been incorporated.

2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have apparently SIGNED OFF on scuttling the ship after having spoken to Tim Johns, the President of the Bishop Museum.

3. The Friends of the Falls of Clyde have today sent the Bishop Museum a letter asking to be included in the Section 106 process, so that they can provide community input.

4. The fear is that the Bishop Museum could scuttle the ship NEXT MONDAY 1st of September. If this happens, recriminations won't bring her back.

I have just written to nearly all of the people listed on the webpage highlighting the fact that the Falls of Clyde is still threatened even though there have been two good offers to take the ship on.

Please forgive my mentioning it again, but don't forget to sign the petition on and perhaps take to opportunity to mention it to your friends, families and work colleagues.

The current statistics of the petition are given below. Thank you to those who have participated.

Best regards

25 Aug, 2008
Total number of signatures: 165

Australia 55
USA 63
UK 14
Canada 4
Singapore 2
Scotland 3
Belgium 2
The Netherlands 5
Denmark 1
Sweden 1
New Zealand 1

SAS Amatola
28th August 2008, 10:31
Hi Mori

Have also signed petition. Its disgraceful that the museum is intent on scuttling the vessel even though two organisations are prepared to save it. Unacceptable to say the least. 1 September is only 3 days away! Any update so far?



30th August 2008, 00:30
Thanks Dylan for your support.

Dear All

The Friends of the Falls of Clyde have a meeting scheduled with the President of the Bishop Museum for Wednesday Sept. 3rd.

I interpret that to mean that the Falls of Clyde will not be scuttled on Monday prior to such a meeting. So at the very least, everyone who has expressed an opinion to save the ship should be pleased that there is an 11th hour stay of execution.

However, may I suggest that you keep up the pressure because agreement has not been reached and ownership has not been transferred. Even if the Bishop Museum decides to pass on the ship to new owners, there are still questions regarding the artefacts from the ship, private trust funds set aside for the ship, and restitution for any vandalism that may have occurred (institutional or otherwise).

So please don't forget to sign the petition on and tell others who might be similarly concerned.

Best regards

SAS Amatola
4th September 2008, 15:37

Any update?



4th September 2008, 20:09
I wrote to the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace a couple of weeks ago [he is well fairly well known in the UK for his interest in maritime history], drawing his attention to this scandal, and was delighted with a response from his equerry "HRH has read your letter with great interest and I am now making a number of enquiries... I look forward to being able to write again in the near future".
Apologies if this sounds a little immodest, but I felt this had to go to the top.
I have never written to the royals before.

Bob Theman
5th September 2008, 13:32
Hi, folks,
I heard from my Texas chum yesterday evening that the UK Sunday Telegraph intends to run an article on FOC probably this coming week-end.
I hope this will help to raise a bit of wider awareness among those as yet unaware of the impending disaster.
I still don't know whether the vessel is still afloat or not. Any news on that ?

6th September 2008, 02:29

Dear all

My apologies for not getting back sooner, but I have been seeking clearance to report from the FFOC. This is the latest:

The president of the Friends of the Falls of Clyde (FFOC) Bruce McEwan reported that the meeting held between representatives of the FFOC and the Bishop Museum on Wednesday 3 September had gone well. The FFOC presented how they intended to meet with the specified criteria set by the Bishop Museum including insurance. The Bishop Museum undertook to provide the FFOC with the document that would be used to convey the ownership subject to the FFOC meeting all their terms.

Mr McEwan said "We are encouraged that we were well received by the CEO (Timothy Johns) and COO of Bishop Museum, but they made it clear that the final decision to transfer ownership rests with their Board of Directors, which is scheduled to meet on 25 September.

"We still have work to do, but we are optimistic at this time that we will be successful.

"We will need approval from the Bishop Board and the State Harbors Division to leave the ship at its current berth until we have
drydock availability later this year.

The outcome of this meeting, while very positive, does not yet guarantee that the Falls of Clyde would not be scuttled in the near future.

Please keep watching what is happening to the Falls of Clyde, spreading the word to your friends and others about her plight, and of course encouraging people to sign the petition. It is important that when making their decision on the 25th, the board of the Bishop Museum have a full appreciation of how much the ship is valued by people in Hawaii, the USA and the rest of the world.

The petition web address is at:

By the way, I noticed in a post on another forum that there was a comment that the Bishop Museum is no longer taking donations for the ship. For those who might be interested in donating to save the Falls of Clyde: the Save the Falls of Clyde webpage at: states:

If you want to contribute directly to the effort to save the Falls of Clyde, please send your donation to The Caledonian Society of Hawaii, P.O. Box 4164, Honolulu HI 96812-4164.

Thank you to those who have already acted to help save the Falls of Clyde. To others, it is not too late to do something that will make a difference.

Best regards

SAS Amatola
6th September 2008, 10:00
Hi Mori

Excellent news! Thanks!



Bob Theman
6th September 2008, 23:35
I'm told FOC article in S Tel postponed becasue of flooding problems in UK. Maybe next weekend.

Bob Theman
7th September 2008, 17:42
To see photographs of Falls of Clyde as she was day before yesterday (5th Sept 08) go to and click onto ship index then Falls of Clyde.

18th September 2008, 12:36
Dear All

One week to go before the Board of the Bishop Museum meet on the 25 September to decide the fate of the Falls of Clyde.

The President of the Friends of the Falls of Clyde is due to meet with the principals of Bishop Museum on 18 September at 3 p.m. to hopefully finalize an agreement of sale.

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, as well as the Chairman of the World Ship Trust, Lord Greenway are reported to have expressed considerable interest and serious concerns at the proposed destruction of the vessel. There has been a strong response to the petition at:

Mahalo to all who have signed it. The tally of 305 on 5 Sept was as follows:

USA 142
Australia 97
UK 30 including 4 from Scotland
The Netherlands 6
Canada 4
Belgium 4
Singapore 2
Denmark 1
Sweden 1
New Zealand 1
South Africa 1
Finland 1
Nevis 1
West Indies 1
Switzerland 1

For those of you that have not yet taken the opportunity to sign, it is not too late to make a difference. For others, don't forget that you might have friends or family that might like to help.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the concerns of people around the world, the US Coast Guard have declared the following Temporary Final Rule to facilitate the scuttling of the Falls of Clyde should negotiations fall through:

The Coast Guard is establishing a temporary 500-yard moving safety zone around the S/V FALLS OF CLYDE and her tow vessel(s) during transit within the Honolulu Captain of the Port Zone. The safety zone is established at the request of the Hawaii Maritime Center to protect vessels and persons from approaching too close to the dead-ship tow of the S/V FALLS OF CLYDE. Entry of persons or vessels into this temporary safety zone is prohibited unless authorized by the Captain of the Port.

SAFETY ZONE: This safety zone, in U.S. navigable waters within the Honolulu Captain of the Port Zone (See 33 CFR 3.70-10), from the surface of the water to the ocean floor, includes all waters extending 500 yards in all directions from the S/V FALLS OF CLYDE and her tow vessel(s) during transit from the Honolulu Harbor main channel commencing at a line between channel buoys no. 1 and no. 2 to 12 nautical miles off shore of Oahu, HI. This safety zone moves with the S/V FALLS OF CLYDE and her tow vessel(s) while they are traveling and becomes fixed when the S/V FALLS OF CLYDE is anchored, position-keeping, or moored.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This rule is effective from 12:01 a.m. on September 2, 2008 until 11:59 p.m. on October 2, 2008.
Grim, isn't it! Lets cross fingers that Friends of the Falls of Clyde meet with the success they trying so hard to achieve!


SAS Amatola
18th September 2008, 17:04
Thanks, Mori.

Not sure I like the way arrangements are being made for towing before the meeting on 25th.

Tony Breach
19th September 2008, 11:30
Received my NMHS journal yesterday which takes some time to arrive from New York. It states: "At the time of this printing, workers have removed 250 cubic yards of non-rigging material of which 50 cubic yards has already gone to other museums. All removeable historic artifacts and the ship's remarkable inventory of steel yards and other square rigged components are being saved to share with the heritage community. A portion of the bowsprit has been removed; the stern has been reinforced with new transverse frames and some plating to be sure she survives the tow out to the open ocean. It is so hard to beleive we cannot save this great ship. As the twelfth hour approaches, we still hold out hope for a reprieve, while planning for a farewell"

Sounds like the deed is all but done.

19th September 2008, 13:41
Dear Tony

That is what they would like you to believe! That is, it is too late to save the ship. But compared to many other sailing ship restorations, the Falls of Clyde is still much better than most.

The reality is that when restoring a ship, you have to take it apart to do the repairs. So, while it probably would have been better to stage and probably better document the dismantling, IT IS NOT AS BAD AS YOU MIGHT AT FIRST THINK.

Any museum that hung around like a vulture and has taken booty from the Falls of Clyde instead of having done something constructive to save the ship should be ashamed of itself! I hope there is a proper inventory, because they have a moral obligation to return any artifacts that they pillaged from what is still a National Historic Landmark.

Tony, I cannot stress how important it is to remain positive! That is the difference between people that have the passion to make a project like this happen and, well, other people who cannot.


19th September 2008, 14:40
I have only just come across this thread. I signed the petition today. My apologies for being a bit late and sincerely hope it is not too late.

Regards Robert

24th September 2008, 14:03
Dear All

The 25th is the day that the Bishop Museum Board will decide whether to give the Falls of Clyde a chance for a future or whether to destroy a 130 year old US National Historic Landmark.

The outlook for the Falls of Clyde appears to be improving, though nothing is certain till the Board meeting.

Bruce McEwan president of the Friends of the Falls of Clyde stated "At the meeting on September 22nd, it was agreed that Bishop Museum would allow the ship to stay at the current berth until she goes to drydock without charge or any change in the lease agreement between Bishop and DOT Harbors Division.

"We have provided Bishop Museum with one of three documents they want by the September 25th Board meeting. Iím working with our insurance broker to get the second one and am waiting for a confirmation of drydock letter from Marisco...

'We are still hoping for the transfer on September 29th...

I am sure that many of you who have been reading the posts on the Falls of Clyde will join me in wishing the Friends of the Falls of Clyde every success for this important day.

The tally for the petition is now over 600.

I will keep you all updated as and when more news comes to hand.

Best regards

26th September 2008, 05:25
The Bishop Museum Board are apparently meeting at this very moment.

Fingers crossed!

26th September 2008, 07:21

I just received the following terrific news!

On Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Chris Woolaway wrote:

Hi Mori, I talked to Blair Collis and this evening the Bishop Museum Board agreed to the proposal that the Friends of FALLS of CLYDE submitted and ownership will be transferred at a signing ceremony Monday Sept.29th at the FALLS with Pipers!. I will be talking to Blair for more of the details. I will send more information as we get it, Mahalo for all your support, Chris


Thanks to everyone who provided support. Of course, the ship has a long way to go before she is out of trouble. But it is certainly an important first step!


26th September 2008, 08:11
Tremendous news to wake up to in the UK, Mori

I guess the hard work starts now


Tony Breach
26th September 2008, 09:43
Wonderful news Mori, many thanks for updating us. Has anyone approached Sammy Ofer the philanthropist shipowner? He has recently donated many millions to the National Maritime Museum & Cutty Sark but you never know???

david cook
27th September 2008, 03:47
This took a great deal of effort - congratulations to all those involved and thanks from all lovers of sailing vessels. It will be lots of work, but she is in much better shape than some other ships that have made a remarkable recovery. I really appreciate the efforts of those who have kept us abreast of developments. I was terrified that "Falls of Clyde" would end up in my "Lost Ships" file like "Carthaginian". Great news! Thanks!


28th September 2008, 00:44
Dear All;

The following is the press release issued by the friends of the Falls of Clyde.







Hawai`i Maritime Center - Falls of Clyde at Pier 7

Registration & Talk Story
4:30 pm

Bagpipes & Blessing
Signing Ceremony
Million Quarter Fund Drive
Recollections of Days Past and What Lies Ahead
5 pm

Bagpipe Escort to Gordon Biersch Brewery & Restaurant & Pupu Reception
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

After several weeks of negotiations. the Bishop Museum's Board of Directors has agreed to sell the classic sailing ship Falls of Clyde to the Friends of Falls of Clyde for a nominal sum.

To mark this important moment in the ship's 130-year history, on TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2008, at 5 pm Tim Johns, president of the Bishop Museum, and Bruce McEwan, president of the Friends of Falls of Clyde, will sign the transfer documents in a special ceremony to be held at the Hawaii Maritime Center where the ship has been berthed for the past two-plus decades.

In addition, the FoFOC will announce the launch of the MILLION QUARTERS DRIVE to raise funds to start the preservation work. The MILLION QUARTER DRIVE is based upon the original fundraiser put together back in 1958 by the late Honolulu Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss in which he challenged Hawai`i school children to collect a million pennies to help underwrite the costs to bring the ship back to Honolulu.

His daughter Ginger Krauss will attend the ceremony and share her recollections about her father's support the Falls of Clyde which continued right up to his death at the age of 82 in 2006.

Afterwards, attendees are invited to attend a pupu reception (no-host bar) on the lanai at Gordon Biersch Brewery and Restaurant in the Aloha Tower Marketplace. In order to get a reasonably accurate headcount, RSVP acceptances only to


On December 12, 1878, shipbuilders Russell & Co. launched the four-masted, full-rigged ship Falls of Clyde at Port Glasgow, Scotland where it became part of the Falls Line fleet - all of which were named after Scottish waterfalls. Built with a wrought-iron hull with a net tonnage of 1748 tons, she had a registered length of 266 feet.

At the time of her launching, no one envisioned that her life under sail would last for more than four decades and that this stalwart ocean wanderer would visit ports on all continents with the exception of Antarctica from her first voyage to Karachi in 1878 under British registry until she was sold to an agent of Capt. William Matson.

In January,1898, flying the Hawaiian flag, the Falls of Clyde arrived in Honolulu. Capt. Matson then modified the shipís rig to that of a bark and built a large wooden deckhouse forward and a charthouse on the poop deck.

Later registered in the United States, she carried sugar from Hilo to San Francisco until1906 when the Associated Oil Company in which Capt. Matson had an interest bought the ship and converted it into an oil tanker in 1907. Added were 10 tanks within the hull, a boiler room, and a pump room with a carrying capacity close to 750,000 gallons. She also carried molasses from Hilo to San Francisco over the next13 years.

In 1921, she was sold to the General Petroleum Corporation who, after de-rigging the ship, then used it as a floating petroleum depot in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Nearly three decades later, she was taken out of commercial service and was on the verge of being sunk to form a breakwater when Honolulu Advertiser columnist Bob Krauss came to her rescue. In addition to a core group of local supporters primarily from Hawai`iís maritime community, over the next several years school children across the newly-admitted state raised money to help bring the ship back to Hawai`i.

Even the United States Navy provided assistance by towing the Falls of Clyde from Seattle to Honolulu in 1963.

With the financial support from people around the world and hundreds of volunteers working on a variety of restoration projects, the Bishop Museum, which had taken over management of the shipís operations, opened the ship to the public in 1971 at Pier 5 in Honolulu Harbor. Over the next decade, tens of thousands of people visited the Falls of Clyde.

Unfortunately, during Hurricane Iwa in 1982, the ship sustained major damage when Pier 5 was destroyed. Over the next several months, several concerned individuals led by Bob Krauss formed the original Friends of The Falls of Clyde group which then took over control of the vessel after receiving permission to berth it at Pier 7.

The Friends joined with the Aloha Tower Maritime Museum to form the Hawaii Maritime Center in 1988.

A few months later, the Falls of Clyde was named a National Historic Monument by the National Parks Service, and additional restoration work began on a new forecastle deck and jibboom which was completed several years later.

Because of the need for more financially stable leadership, the Bishop Museum came back into the picture in 1996 and took over the Hawaii Maritime Center, including responsibility for both routine maintenance as well as long-term restoration work on the Falls of Clyde.

By early 2008, after receiving an estimate of at least $30 million to restore the ship, the Bishop Museum issued a contract to remove all valuable items from the ship including a priceless figurehead, to dismantle the rigging, and to prepare the Falls of Clyde to be towed out to sea for scuttling.

Once word got out, several interested parties entered into discussions with the Museum, but other than delaying the actual scuttling date, no progress had been made to save the ship - until an ad hoc group of maritime enthusiasts and history buffs began to meet in mid-July, 2008, to figure out how to take back the shipís ownership and then, over time, to restore it to its rightful place in Hawai`iís history.

On August, 28, 2008, the Friends of Falls of Clyde filed its initial paperwork with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and submitted its 501c3 non-profit tax-exempt organization application to the IRS on September 22. On September 25, the Museum's Board of Directors approved the sale.

What a wonderful life this ocean wanderer has led sailing around the world under three separate flags. Even today, the Matson House flag which flies proudly from all its vessels includes a star recognizing the Falls of Clyde.

SAS Amatola
1st October 2008, 15:30
Brilliant news, well done Mori!

2nd October 2008, 15:35
The Falls of Clyde was transferred from the Bishop Museum

to the Friends of the Falls of Clyde on Tuesday 30 September 2008

Jeanie Ainlay attended the ceremony and wrote:

"Just a quick note to let you know that ceremony went well. It was well attended. A bag piper, Scottish dancer and singer entertained us. Of course there was lei giving and hugs. Speeches were made by Bruce McEwan, Ginger Krauss and State Representative Corinne W.L. Ching. Finally I shall be allowed aboard the ship as of to-day. I have not been aboard her since January. I miss her! This will be my 21st year working on her. There are tow lines attached to her bow. That is how close she was to be taken out and scuttled.....We got the ship. This is not the first time she has been saved in the 11th hour. What character she is".

To view photos taken by Kevin Williamson at the handover ceremony go to:

Thank you to all those who contributed to this most excellent outcome.


PS. The real champions that deserve the accolades are the group in Hawaii that formed the Friends of the Falls of Clyde in such a short time and did the hard yards complying with the conditions arising from the negotiations.

13th October 2008, 14:12
Dear all

You might be interested in the final results of the petition for the Falls of Clyde provided by Ling Ong who is with the Friends of the Falls of Clyde.

Aloha all,
The petition ran from Aug 11 to Oct 3. The final tally is a total of
718 signatures from 23 countries.

Australia 162
Belgium 5
Canada 18
Cyprus 1
Denmark 2
Finland 2
France 4
Germany 4
Hong Kong 1
New Zealand 6
Norway 4
Poland 2
Singapore 2
South Africa 1
Sweden 1
Switzerland 1
Thailand 1
The Netherlands 15
UK 77
USA 392
West Indies 2
Philippines 1
Malaysia 3

The support provided from people all over the world reinforces the assertion that the Falls of Clyde really has an international significance. Thank you all who signed the petition.

Best regards

Ron Whitfield
30th October 2008, 22:20
Just stumbled accross this forum and wish to say many thanx to those who've expressed interest in the sad plight of this incredible ship, especially, mflapan.

Here is a new write up concerning a few matters not on the main radar -

Many other articles are available in a google search, but you can see recent pix of the poor gal's current state in this, another forum's thread, as well as some of my thots -
You may wish to have some tissues nearby. It's actually worse than it looks.
A link to the group now in charge is there in one of my posts, for those who have any abilities to aid in whatever manner. Those with old-time ship experience can be of extreme help in their offerings.

As a worker aboard her in the early 80's, I've got a long time interest, consisting of real blood, sweat, and tears, and am hoping to continue that effort when she is about to soon go into her latest dry-docking and after, to begin the gruelling task off getting her back together, which will probably not become fulfilled in my remaining lifetime.

She was saved at, virtually, the very last minute, and now there is a glimmer of hope towards restoring her, thanx to people like my former Captain, Skip Naftel, and top rigger, Dorian Travers.

All the best!

Ron Whitfield
1st December 2008, 21:04
In it's rush to sink the FOC, the Bishop Museum allowed many irreplaceable artifacts to be taken, and now the exercise to retrieve them has started -

If you know of the whereabouts of any pieces from the ship, please do what you can to help get them back where they belong.


Ron Whitfield
10th December 2008, 02:27
The museum has actually thrown away valuable and needed items. ve_a_historic_ship.html

1st February 2009, 23:32
Hi all,

Any new 'news' re the above as it has been very quiet since the deadline passed at the end of Dec



10th July 2009, 00:09

At this site you can get the latest news concerning this sailing ship.