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End of the line for Carrick EXCLUSIVE Historic clipper to be broken up after study rules out restoration
[February 03, 2006]

End of the line for Carrick EXCLUSIVE Historic clipper to be broken up after study rules out restoration


(Evening Times Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)AMAJOR part of Scottish maritime history is to be lost forever.

Experts brought in to carry out a feasibility study to try to restore the historic A-list clipper SV Carrick to its former glory has been ruled "impractical".

Instead, the Scottish Maritime Museum today said the rotting hull of the former River Clyde landmark would be "deconstructed" where it now lies in Irvine.

The Carrick, originally named the City of Adelaide, was built in 1864 and its record of 65 days for sailing 12,000 miles from Britain to Adelaide, Australia, still stands.

The vessel, which was later permanently based at Custom House Quay, Glasgow, for 50 years, sank in 1991 and was towed to Irvine.

But it has been rotting away on the slipway of the Scottish Maritime Museum for the last 14 years.

It was hoped the Carrick - the oldest clipper in the world - could be restored and, after years of funding problems, a feasibility study was launched in 2003 by businessman and enthusiast Mike Edwards.

Mr Edwards said he would buy the Carrick, but wanted to "know first if it could again become a seaworthy passenger vessel.

But the study by Clydebank firm Tritech Marine Consultants showed the clipper would be "little more than a reproduction" even if a multi million-pound restoration was carried out.

And today the Scottish Martime Museum announced it wanted to dismantle the vessel and would seek permission from Historic Scotland and North Ayrshire Council.

Mr Edwards said: "Unfortunately, the consultants' report demonstrates making it seaworthy cannot be achieved without destroying its integrity as a genuine restored historic ship to an unacceptable level.

"There would be so little left of the original City of Adelaide it would be little more than a reproduction - and that is not what we have been seeking to achieve.

"Ihave no regrets about trying to restore one of our historic ships and we certainly gave it our best shot."

Sam Galbraith, the former Scottish Health Minister, now chairman of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: "It would have been wonderful to see City of Adelaide back at sea and carrying passengers and that was clearly Mike's dream.

"In that respect, we share his disappointment at the outcome."

Mr Galbraith said another option to turn the clipper into a static museum would have been too expensive at an estimated GBP10million.

Mr Galbraith said: "By implementing a programme of recorded deconstruction, we would be recording City of Adelaide and ensuring her place in history.

"The old lady would be consigned to maritime history with dignity and purpose and that must be infinitely better than watching her rotting on a slipway.

"The latter simply cannot be allowed to become an option and it is certainly not in our thinking."

The vessel is the only one in Scotland to be listed by Historic Scotland as an A listed building.

chris. musson@eveningtimes. co. uk

TIMES FILE

Built in Sunderland in 1864, the Carrick is the world's oldest surviving clipper.

The 176ft vessel was originally named City of Adelaide and made 22 trips from the UK to Adelaide, carrying up to 270 passengers, before being sold as a cargo ship.

It was used for the North Atlantic timber trade and in 1893 became an isolation hospital.

She was bought by the Royal Navy in 1921 and moved to Irvine as a training ship for the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. It was then renamed Carrick.

From 1947 she was moored on the Clyde and used as a clubhouse for the Royal Naval Reserve, until sinking at her moorings.

It is listed as one of Britain's 46 most important vessels by the National Historic Ships Committee as part of the UK Core Collection of vessels of major historical significance.

This puts it in the category alongside Admiral Nelson's flagship HMS Victory and the Cutty Sark, the UK's only other surviving clipper.

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