These days, when it seems like the washing machine you bought last week is already broken, it’s a little mind blowing that a 131-year-old sailing ship looks like she was launched yesterday.
But Balclutha — a 301-ft, three-masted square-rigger — is still going strong. And unlike your washing machine, there is a small, dedicated army of enthusiasts invested in maintaining her. The ship is about to undergo a round of maintenance at Bay Ship & Yacht in Alameda.
Balclutha is one of seven historic ships at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, and contributes to the Bay Area’s rich maritime history, while also offering educational opportunities to students of all ages. Part of the maintenance and upgrades scheduled on Balclutha include installation of a wheelchair lift, according to reporting by the East Bay Times. If a boat built before WWI can adapt to change, so can we.
Once all 4,100 tons of the ship are hauled out of the water, Balclutha will have her foremast, mainmast and mizzenmast yardarms removed for repairs and painting. There will also be a complete ultrasonic hull plate survey — which will indicate whether plates will need to be replaced or repaired — and a full sandblast of the ship’s freeboard and underbody.
The short-term goal? To preserve Balclutha’s steel for at least another six years, the East Bay Times said. The long-term goal? To continue to put all washing machines built today to shame.