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Falls of Clyde May Have Sinking Fate Print E-mail
Written by Sabrina Hall -   
February 22, 2008 05:20 PM


It's unique, but a very expensive ship to maintain, the Bishop Museum has struggled for years to pay the half million dollars a year to care for it, but The Falls of Clyde has fallen into such disrepair, it might take a miracle to save.

The Falls of Clyde is the only four-masted, fully-rigged sailing ship left in the world.

It's a historic landmark and a floating exhibit at the Hawaii Maritime Center that children visit, and adults adore.

"I never seen a sailboat that big in my life!" said David Oberlin, an Ohio resident.

But you can't set foot on the 1,800 ton vessel, because it's in serious disrepair.

Spars that hold up the mast are rotting, the rigging is failing, the hull is eroding.

"There are literally holes in the rudder," said Blair Collis, of the Bishop Museum.

The Falls of Clyde is falling apart, and Collis sees only one way to save it.

"Find that white knight who comes forward with a huge donation," Collis said.

A huge donation equaling $30 million! And not only that, it has to come by the end of the year. If not, the Bishop Museum will likely take the historic ship and sink it.

"It has a great maritime history throughout the world but particularly through Hawaii," said Collis. "It was one of the original Matson vessels. It was a life line to the islands. It brought molasses out of the islands to the mainland and brought oil to the islands. It would be a great loss to Hawaii, as well as the world if the vessel would have to be disposed of."

But to raise the $30 million needed to restore the rapidly deteriorating ship, it will be a feat never before accomplished by the bishop museum.

"Wow! We better get to work, shouldn't we?" said Oberlin.

Oberlin of Ohio said he's willing to donate, but Collis said even if every resident in Hawaii chipped-in $10, it still wouldn't be enough.

"It's not one of those things where if we get a portion of the money it will necessarily be able to be saved," said Collis. "It is a large cost and a portion of it is not going to do. We need to raise the money quickly and we need to raise all of the money."

A white knight or miracle, either one will do.

If you happen to be the one who wants to make that $30 million donation, the Bishop Museum wants to hear from you. Or if you have any ideas on who to help save the Falls of Clyde, it asks you give the Hawaii Maritime Center a call at 523-6151.

Last Updated ( February 22, 2008 05:20 PM )

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