Alaskan reef

Bay Ship & Yacht restoring historic ship


By Dennis Evanosky


Some 104 years ago, the Alaska Packers Association, whose wharf stood at the foot of Grand Street, rescued the ship Balclutha from an Alaskan reef. Today, Bay Ship & Yacht Co. is restoring the ship — marking the second time that an Alameda company has stepped in to repair Balclutha in her 123 years afloat.

Shipwrights in Glasgow, Scotland, built the three-masted ship in 1886. Balclutha — Gaelic for "Town on the Clyde," which describes Glasgow on the banks of the Clyde River — departed Cardiff, Wales, on her maiden voyage on Jan.15, 1887.

She was bound for San Francisco with a crew of 26 and sailed through the Golden Gate 140 days later. Balclutha traded her cargo of coal, pottery, cutlery, Scotch whisky and "Swansea general": tinplate, coke and pig iron for California wheat.