Friday, August 15, 2008

The Star Of India

When the Star of India was first built in 1863 on the Isle on Man, it was configured as a windjammer, full-rigged with three masts with squaresails on all three. This mighty iron ship was first christened "Euterpe", named for the Greek goddess of music. Her maiden voyage was a disaster - a collision with an unlighted Spanish brigantine off the coast of Wales was followed by a mutiny by the crew, seventeen of whom were eventually jailed at hard labor. The Euterpe sailed a route from England to India and then in 1871 began 25 years of service to New Zealand, hauling freight and emigrating passengers.

In 1901 the ship was rerigged as a barque and sailed between Alaska and California, hauling salmon. Rechristened "The Star of India" in 1906, it sailed until 1923, when steam became king. Purchased by the San Diego Zoological Society in 1926, with the intention of creating a maritime musem, those plans were put on hold throughout the Great Depression and World War II. Restoration began in 1957 and the grand old iron ship is moored today at the Embarcadero in San Diego, the world's oldest working ship of its kind.

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