Category Archives: Boating, boats, ships and the sea

Sad end threatens for 1878-built sailing ship Falls of Clyde

The Falls of Clyde - An early oiltanker - panoramio

‘She is the last remaining ship of her class and a striking reminder of the golden age of sail.

‘But the Falls of Clyde, which was launched at Port Glasgow in 1878, looks set to be consigned to a watery grave somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

‘The ship has been declared unsafe by Hawaii’s transport department.

‘The 137-year-old iron-hulled four-masted vessel was this week declared unsafe by Hawaii transport officials, who ordered she be removed from her permanent mooring in Honolulu harbour. It now looks likely the Falls will be towed into deep water and scuttled to become an attraction for divers – unless a last ditch campaign to save her is successful.’

Read more on The Scotsman website and on the Wikipedia.

The story of the original Colin Archer

"Stavanger", "Kragerø" og "Colin Archer" 01
The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning) was founded in 1891 and a year later Colin Archer built the first rescue cutter.

A double-ender with a continuous deck, it was 14m long, 4.65m in beam and had a draught of 2.25m. The sails – a main, mizzen, staysail, jib and topsail – added up to 110squaremetres.

The vessel was launched in late July 1893 and named Colin Archer after its builder and designer.

RS1 Colin Archer performed convincingly during her first season and became the prototype for rescue cutters built in Norway over the following 30 years. Over 40 years of loyal service, she clocked up an impressive record: she saved 67 ships and 236 people, as well as assisting 1,522 vessels carrying some 4,500 crew.

At the end of her career in service, in 1961 RS1 Colin Archer was discovered in America. She was now in a bad way, but was brought back to Norway and was used by the Scouts for some years before being acquired in 1972 by the Norwegian Maritime Museum.

1973 the museum concluded a long-term agreement with the Seilskøyteklubben Colin Archer (SSCA) to take over her day-to-day care. Her hull has since been comprehensively overhauled and her interior refurbished and restored to its original colours.

But the there’s more to the well-loved Colin Archer types than seaworthiness and strength alone. In 1983, RS1 Colin Archer was overall winner in the Cutty Sark Tall Ships’ Race of 1983 in a field of 75 ships – but even more strikingly another Archer design, the RS10 Christiania came second, and the Stephansen/Archer design RS5 Liv came third.

In the next race in 1987, RS1 Colin Archer again won over all with RS10 Christiania again second. And in 1993 RS1 Colin Archer was overall winner for the third time, and also took home the Cutty Sark Tall ships’ Races biggest prize, the Cutty Sark Trophy.

Read more about Colin Archer’s designs here and here.

12ft Bevins Skiffs in a 60-mile sponsored sail


My American buddy Shawn Payment has been been working with the Lowcountry Maritime Society, local organisation that uses boat-building as a means of teach grade-school students maths and technology through hands-on learning. The projects have included coaching a group of 6th-8th graders at Simmons-Pinckney Middle School through building four 12ft Bevin’s Skiffs.

Right this minute, half a dozen of the adults involved in the programme are sailing those little 12ft boats about 60 miles from Charleston to Georgetown South Carolina, just in time for the Georgetown Wooden Boat Festival (warning – turn your speakers down a bit or you could be in for an surprise).

Why? To bring attention to the programme and perhaps raise a few dollars to keep the boatbuilding programme going in the future.

Shawn’s carrying a SPOT satellite tracker, so if you would like to follow his progress up the coast, click here.

Each skipper is trying to raise as much as possible, including Shawn. He asks that you go to PayPal and send a donation to All proceeds will be forwarded to the Lowcountry Maritime Society.