Crunch time for the sad clipper ship City of Adelaide – can you help?

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The City of Adelaide again. Photo courtesy of Paula Palmer of
the National Historic Ships

Rather late in the day, I’ve just received news of the last chance to save the other’ last clipper, the City of Adelaide from the Australian group trying to preserve her.

There’s more information on the history of the ship and their campaign and appeal here, and also a gut-wrenching open letter to the people of the UK and our political leaders. It seems unthinkable to let a clipper from the middle of the 19th century go now after surviving so long.

This is the message I’ve received:

‘On the 22nd October, the Scottish Maritime Museum issued a tender for the demolition of the City of Adelaide. Tenders close on Monday 23rd November.

‘We are preparing an offer to submit by the deadline on Monday. Our offer will be based on removing the City of Adelaide whole and thus save her from being permanently lost to future generations.

‘We urgently seek your help to raise an additional A$200,000 to enable us to bid a lower price for our tender submission. This will improve our competitiveness against the cheaper chainsaw and bulldozer options.

‘We already have offers of in-kind support from industry for labour and materials that will be needed in Scotland and Australia but we need more industrial in-kind help. If you are in a heavy engineering industry and believe that you could supply labour, steel and/or equipment for use either in Australia or Scotland then we are most keen for you to contact us This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

‘At this time we would like to acknowledge the support of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (London) commemorating their 150th year 1860-2010, and Aztec Analysis (Adelaide) heavy lift engineers.

‘We do need more support. Would you please consider supporting our cause to save the City of Adelaide clipper through a financial contribution?’

In publicising the Australian claim to rescuing the dear old City of Adelaide, I’m in danger of forgetting another aspect of the story – the fact that there are people in Sunderland, where she was built, who would also dearly love to retrieve her and care for her. In fact, one of that illustrious town’s councillors recently camped on board the old ship to draw attention to her plight. See the BBC’s news story here.

Campaign now to save the City of Adelaide

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The clipper City Of Adelaide, later renamed HMS Carrick, and finally SV Carrick.
The hull is visible on a slipway at the Scottish Maritime museum, Irvine, North
Ayrshire, Scotland. From the Wikimedia:the original author is Rosser1954.
Click on the photo for a larger image

City of Adelaide again. Photo courtesy of Paula Palmer of
the National Historic Ships

I imagine many readers have been troubled by the condition of the passenger clipper City of Adelaide as she moulders on a hard at Ayr. The following communication from National Historic Ships director Martyn Heighton makes it clear that we now have an opportunity to make our point heard, and to make a difference. Martyn’s email is below – please do what you can to put our message across.

‘Heritage protection Bill – Latest News

Dear Supporter,

You will be aware from our website and newsletters that the government will be considering a new bill in Parliament later this year which is designed to strengthen the protection of the UK’s heritage assets. As things stand, historic vessels are not included in the bill going before Parliament. National Historic Ships has responded formally to these serious omissions, and has published our case on our website. I have also been in correspondence with Margaret Hodge, who until recently was the Minister with responsibility for Culture and have received the letter set out below from her before she left office. A copy of the Ministers letter is attached, which I urge you to read.

Although this letter contains some encouraging statements on the future of historic ships, there is still no proposal to bring these vital heritage assets into the provisions of the Bill. Our earlier response to the Draft Bill raised many valid issues which in the end focus on 3 key matters

1. The Bill does not recognise National Historic Ships, the Advisory Committee which governs it, or the National Register of Historic Vessels (NRHV). The Bill makes specific reference to the registers run by English Heritage and Cadw. It is crucial that the NRHV, for which National Historic Ships is accountable to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, is recognised in a similar way.
2. Historic Ships are exposed to loss by neglect and demolition, with recent high profile examples such as
City of Adelaide and HMS Stalker. Thankfully the demolition of the City of Adelaide has been slowed down due to the fact that she is one of only 2 ships to enjoy protection as listed buildings. No such protection applies to HMS Stalker and we fear she will soon be nothing more than a memory. Something needs to be done to prevent the tragic loss of more of our significant historic ships. Where vessels in the National Historic Fleet (that is the Core Collection and Designated Vessels) are presented in a static form – either dry or afloat – they should be subject to similar protections as those applied to historic buildings. It is more complicated for those vessels which operate and move from port to port, but the Bill could at least recognise the issue and pave the way for further work.
3. The Small Grants scheme which we run has had positive impact far in excess of the amount of monies disbursed. We need to find ways to expand this scheme, especially for the Registered Vessels. The Draft Bill is concerned primarily with physical protection rather than funding. Nevertheless aspects of funding are referred to in the Bill and this needs to be recognised with regard to ships. Relatively small sums can be made to go a long way.

Robert Prescott, the Chair of National Historic Ships and I are in touch with Barbara Follett, the new Minister for Culture, Media and Tourism, and are asking for an early meeting so that we can set out our concerns and ambitions for historic ships in the UK. We need to know your views on all this, and are keen to hear from you. Please go onto our website –, and click onto the heritage protection bill thumbnail, read our submission in full online, and let us know what you think by email

We really do want to hear from you
Warm regards
Martyn Heighton
Director & Secretary to the Advisory Committee
National Historic Ships

For more on National Historic Ships:

For more on the City of Adelaide:

For more on HMS Stalker:

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Ian Proctor remembered at the Maritime Museum Cornwall

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Ian Proctor

Ian Proctor. His achievement in designing popular small sailing boats was recognised by the design establishment

The National Maritime Museum in Cornwall is staging an exhibition celebrating the work of outstanding 20th Century small sailing boat designer Ian Proctor. I’m delighted, as there can’t be many small boat sailors in the UK who haven’t sailed at least one of his boats – my own family sail a Minisail and a Prelude, and love them both even if their little hearts are plastic.

Here’s the NMM’s press release outlining some of Proctor’s outstanding achievements:

‘The life of Ian Proctor and his outstanding designs will be celebrated this autumn at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth.

‘From September 17, find out more about this accomplished yachtsman and prolific designer in the Museum’s Study Boat Area. Check out a state of the art brand new Topper dinghy on show, loaned to the Museum by Topper International, and the first fibre glass International Tempest, Tempestuous.

‘Ian Proctor’s innovative designs and ideas modernised the whole concept of small boat sailing, making a vital contribution to the popularisation of the sport. He designed over 100 different boats and was a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Royal Designer for Industry.

‘Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager at the Museum, explained: “I chose Proctor because Continue reading “Ian Proctor remembered at the Maritime Museum Cornwall”