Glenlee (ship)

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Picture of Glenlee as Galatea in 1922 at Cartagena Harbour.
Career (UK) Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: Glenlee
  • Archibald Sterling and Co. Ltd. (1896-1898)
  • Islamount Sailing Ship Co. (Robert Ferguson & Co.) of Dundee (1898-1905)
  • Flint Castle Shipping Co. (Robert Thomas & Co.) of Liverpool (1905-1918)
  • John Stewart & Co. of London (1918-1919)
  • Clyde Maritime Trust, Glasgow (1993)
Builder: Anderson Rodger & Company, Glasgow, UK
Cost: £ 24,000 (1896)
Yard number: 324
Launched: 3 December 1896
Maiden voyage: 13 December 1896
Renamed: Islamount (1898)
Glenlee (1993)
Homeport: Glasgow (1896-1898); Dundee (1898-1905);
Liverpool (1905-1918); London (1918-1919);
Glasgow (1993-)
Fate: Museum ship since 1993
Career (Italy) Civil Ensign of Italy
Name: Clarastella
Owner: Società Di Navigazione Stella d'Italia (Italian Shipping Company Star of Italy)
Acquired: 1919
Homeport: Genova (1919-1922)
Fate: Sold to the Spanish Navy
Career (Spain) Flag of Spain
Name: Galatea
Owner: Escuela Naval Militar de Oficiales (Officers's Military Navy School), Spanish Navy
Acquired: 1922
Homeport: El Ferrol (1922-1981); Seville (1981-1993)
Fate: Sold to Clyde Maritime Trust in 1993
General characteristics
Type: Three-masted barque
Tonnage: 1,613 GT (gross tonnage)
1,490 NT (net tonnage)
Displacement: ca. 2,990 tons
Length: 201 feet (61 m) LBP, 282 feet (86 m) LOA
223 feet (68 m) LOD (length on deck)
245.5 feet (74.8 m) LOH (length of hull)
Beam: 37.5 ft (11.4 m)
Draught: 22.5 ft (6.9 m)
Propulsion: Sails
Capacity: 1490 tons

Glenlee is a three-masted baldheaded steel-hulled barque, launched fully rigged and seaworthy on December 3, 1896. She is now a museum ship at Yorkhill Quay, Glasgow, known as The Tall Ship at Glasgow Harbour.

Glenlee was built in 1896 at the Anderson Rodger & Company shipyard of Port Glasgow for the Glen-line of the Glasgow shipping company Archibald Sterling & Co. Ltd. and has a hull length of 245.5 ft (74.8 m), beam of 37.5 ft (11.4 m) and depth of 22.5 ft (6.9 m), the over-all length with the spike bowsprit is 282 ft (86 m). She has 1,613 GRT and 1,490 NRT. Rigged only with double topallant sails over double top sails, she was not equipped with royal sails (baldheader rigging) to save costs concerning gear and seamen. As with many baldheaded sailing ships the square sails were a little wider than the sails of a standard rigging to gain sail area for a better propulsion.

Picture of the tall ship Glenlee at Glasgow Harbour.


On December 13, 1896, just ten days after launch, her maiden voyage brought her in ballast to Liverpool and from there with a general cargo to Portland, Oregon. For 23 years she traded as a bulk cargo carrier under the Red Ensign to Cape Horn and Australia, firstly under the ownership of Islamount ("Islamount Sailing Ship Co. (Robert Ferguson & Co.)" of Dundee, 1898-1905, and sunsequently with"Flint Castle Shipping Co." (Robert Thomas & Co.) of Liverpool, 1905-1918). Glenlee was renamed the Clarastella in 1919 when she changed hands to the Italian "Società Di Navigazione Stella d'Italia" of Milan ("Italian shipping Company Star of Italy") who registered her in Genoa. The new owner had her repaired and equipped with two auxiliary diesel engines (1922). In 1922 the ship came into the hands of the "Escuela Naval Militar de Oficiales" ("Officers' Military Navy School") as the Galatea to be used as a sail training ship. During this period the ship underwent a lot of changes to her hull and superstructure. A flying bridge was installed on the poop deck, a flying jibboom was attached to the spike bowsprit, and many other changes such as the installation of accommodation facilities for 300 cadets were made.


After more than 47 years of service as a sail and later on as a stationary training ship she was first laid up in A Graña, El Ferrol, her Spanish port of registry. In 1981 the underwater hull was re-plated at the drydock in Ferrol. Later on the more than 85 years old Glenlee was completely de-rigged down to a hulk (all yards with standing and running rigging and even the masts removed) and was towed to Seville to be used as a floating museum, but left forgotten. Some sources even reported that the ship was sunk in the harbour by removing her bronze sea cock valve, but salvaged later on by the Spanish Navy. In any case the ship was in such poor condition that it was eventually decided to scrap her. In 1990 a British naval architect (Dr. Sir John Brown, 1901-2000) discovered her and in 1993 she was rescued from being scrapped and subsequently bought by the Clyde Maritime Trust at auction for ₧5000,000 or £40,000. After making the hull seaworthy (all openings on deck were closed and the flying bridge spanning the poop deck during her service in Spain and the attached flying jibboom were removed) the ship was returned to Glasgow months later in tow from Seville. After preliminary works in dry-dock such as the removal of the unnecessary propellers, the check and repair of all the plates below the waterline and new paint, a six year long process of restoration began including a new cut wooden figurehead, a complete set of new rigging including the re-assembling and re-stepping of her original masts and re-crossing of the old yards (1998), as well as many other replacements (original deckhouses) and repairs. Her old masts and many of the old yards, which still existed somewhere in Spain, were given back by the Spanish when they realized that the old ship would be really renewed to her original "Cape Horn status", painted grey again with "gun ports". Except for the hull a new ship had to be rebuilt. All the changes made to the ship by the Spanish and previous owners had to be removed, such as all the cabins built for the trainees and a lot of scrap iron ballast in the frames of the holds. First of all she was given back her original name, Glenlee, by the Lord Provost of Glasgow on July 6, 1993 when the ship arrived in Glasgow for the first time since her launch in 1896 - 97 years ago - at her old and new port of registry - Glasgow Harbour. Glenlee is now recognised as part of the National Historic Fleet, Core Collection.

As a museum ship and tourist attraction, the Glenlee offers educational programmes, events including exhibitions and is a venue for the West End Festival and volunteering opportunities.

Other preserved Clyde-built tall ships

Four other Clyde-built tall ships are still afloat:

  • Balclutha, a steel-hulled full rigged ship, built in 1886 (San Francisco)
  • Moshulu, a steel-hulled four-masted barque, built in 1904 (Philadelphia)
  • Falls of Clyde, an iron-hulled four-masted full-rigged ship and the last one of her kind, built in 1878 (Hawaii)
  • Pommern, a steel-hulled four-masted bald-headed barque, built in 1903 (Åland Islands)

See also

External links

Coordinates: 55°51′45″N 4°17′53″W / 55.86263°N 4.298063°W / 55.86263; -4.298063

de:Glenlee (Schiff) es:Galatea (buque escuela)