Wasn't she called Vesteys yacht because the Lord was a passenger on her maiden voyage. I think she was skippered by Captain Houghton in her early days. I'm not sure but I sailed with him many times.
I remember Mad Mike McGuiness, one of the Ulster's notorious bosun's. The story had it that he once fell from her yard arm. Landing on top of a samson post he then rolled on to a lowered derrick topping lift wire. Drapped over it he slid down and rolled off the derrick head block onto the deck. He then got up and walk away unscathed.
A bit exaggerated I'm sure but the man was larger than life. Six foot odd of Hebridian pent up hostility, he was the archetypal 'Punch yer f#####g nose in' bosun. I sailed with him on the Tasmania Star. Everything was done at a hectic pace. He never let up until it was time to go ashore and get drunk - then the pace doubled. Leaving Sydney one time he had us flatten out and batten down for sea inside seventeen minutes. With seven hatches (plus a lazerite) and twenty seven derricks that took some doing. But, from Pearmont to just past the Bridge it was done without injury.
Years later I was told he fell overboard from a west coast boat - either the Columbia Star or Catalina Star, and met his demise.
They used to say that albatross are the souls of dead bosuns, well if so he became one hell of an angry big bird.
This is a great site, I've just discovered it, some excellent photos. I always thought the Dunedin Star was known as Vesty's yacht!I sailed in the following "Star boats" in the sixties, Hobart, Rockhampton, Newcastle, Canberra, Wellington and Caledonia Stars.
Talking about Blue Star Bosuns,do any of the Blue Star Fraternity remember a bosun by the name of MacNeil,he was a big burly guy who always got after the sailors about leaving holidays on their painting. Half the deck crew where MacNeils and hailed from the same island in the Hebrides (Barra) He seemed a nice guy to me,a lowly junior Engineer,and had a great accent,great memories.
Some of the Bos'ns from the western Isles were certainly characters.I sailed with George Mackinnon for a short time in the Hobart Star.He was from Barra(I think) his son was an OS and out of 14 men in the sailors alleyway only 2 were not from Barra.A lot of them were related.Archie Mcgaskill (mad Mcgaskill) was Bos'n in the Wellington Star when I was in her, I seem to remember he joined the ship for a 5 month trip with all his gear in a couple of carrier bags.I remember him in a bos'ns chair painting down a mast stay using a wad (no brush) with black bitumastic paint.It only took him a few minutes & on reaching the deck he washed his hands in nitromors paint stripper and swilled them off under a deck hydrant.I heard he once insisted on being brought out of a hatch by holding on to the hook of the union purchase rigged on the derricks.Obligingly 2 AB's hoisted him up, swung him clear of the hatch turned the winches off and walked away leaving "Airchie" suspended 10 ft above the deck.The tale may be apocrophal but it conjours up a great image.
The Ulster Star was my first ship as cadet in 1974. I joined in London and the Rio was my first port, a hell of an introduction to life at sea. The skipper was Tony Cheshire and the Mate was John Mackereth I can't remember any of the crowd, expect the chippy who was a red haired cockney who lived in Santos.
Hi igater, do you know where John Macereth is now ? We were cadets together on the "conway" in the early sixties, his father was master with "Maggie Booths"John Joined Blue Star as cadet shotly after me in 1963 but I never met up with him since.
I was the 3rd mate on that first trip of yours.... excellent trip if I remember rightly! I have tried to track down John Mackareth but had no luck.....he seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth!