There was a time, on the River Clyde, when years as an apprentice rigger, were followed by years as a
journeyman rigger, and one became a master rigger finally because their knowledge of the craft was
complete.  Their rigs were not just spliced and seized  they were also held together with a chain of
knowledge unbroken by time and tempered by Cape Horn.  Clydebuilt was not just a perception of quality
but a definition.

More ships have been built on the Clyde than on any other river in the world. Since 1711, when the Scott
brothers started in Greenock, some thirty five thousand vessels of all kinds have been built along its length
including many thousands of sailing ships. Worldwide only five Clydebuilt sailing ships remain afloat - three
in America, one in Finland and now, at last, the Glenlee in Glasgow.

The GLENLEE was launched by Anderson Rodger in Port Glasgow on December 3rd 1896 for Archibald
Sterling & Co as a 3 masted Barque of 1,613 tons. In 1899 she changed owners and her name to the
ISLAMOUNT and sailed under the red ensign until 1919, rounding Cape Horn 16 times and making 4
circumnavigations.  She would certainly not have survived if the Spanish Navy had not bought her in 1922
as a sail training ship for petty officers and seamen.

Renamed GALATEA she was extensively altered to accommodate a crew of 307.  Her last cruise was in
November 1969 after which, she was permanently secured alongside and used for rigging training.

In 1981, with the idea to sail the ship for the Seville Olympic Games, the Spanish navy completely
re-plated the hull below the water line. Soon after funding was abruptly halted for the Olympic sail.
The spars were removed , cut into 20 to 30 foot lengths and dumped in a field beside the Naval base.  She
was then towed to Seville where she was allowed to lie at a remote quay in the intense heat and sun
without any attempt at maintenance or security.

In 1993 the Clyde Maritime Trust purchased the ship at auction for 40,000 Pounds and in June of that
year, towed her back to the Clyde. The ship had come home but the Clyde of her birth had changed.  From
scores of shipyards, only 4 were left, no longer building but assembling component parts of offshore Oil

The gangs of riveters, shipwrights, and riggers were gone.  The song of the Clyde was silent.     

In August of 1997, The Clyde Maritime Trust, through Mr Hamish Hardie, Chairman of the Glenlee Ship
Committee, asked me to lead the rigging restoration and train a crew of Glaswegians.  Several bids had
been tendered by rigging companies in the south of England, but had been rejected since they all involved
building the rig at their own lofts and only assembling it in Glasgow.  This would leave the ship without
anyone who could adequately maintain or repair the rig in Glasgow.

Many details of her rigging were changed by the Italians and the Spanish.  A
jibboom was added along with main brace boomkins,etc.  My task is to return her
to her rig to her original Cape Horn configuration.  As the GLENLEE and
ISLAMOUNT she rounded Cape Horn 14 times and had 4 circumnavigations.

In February 1998, I spent 2 weeks in Glasgow hiring a crew, building a rigging loft, and began training the
crew.  They learned the basics of how to Worm, Parcel, and Serve, in addition to splicing wire rope.
The wire rope splicing practice continued after my return to San Francisco thanks to FED EX.  Every week
for the next 6 weeks, I received parcels from FED EX filled with wire eye splices for my critiquing.

In late April 998, I returned to Glasgow for the duration of the re rig or the 8th of December, which ever
came first, and began an intense training program for the crew on how to rig a Barque.
               ~Barque Glenlee Time line~

  • 1896 December- Launched at A. Rodgers, Glasgow as the GLENLEE, and delivered to Sterling & Co., Glasgow.
  • 1899- Sold to the Islamount Sailing Ship Co. (R. Ferguson & Co), Dundee, and renamed ISLAMOUNT
  • 1900- August 6th Grounded at Holyhead
  • 1905 23rd August. Arrived Liverpool after a voyage London - Australia - Falmouth
  • 1905 Sold to Flint Castle Shipping Co. R. Thomas & Co, managers, Criccieth and Liverpool.
  • 1909 20th December. Valued by Kellocks of Liverpool at 4,750 to 4800 pounds
  • 1910 May. Grounded outside Adelaide.
  • 1917 February. While under tow outside Melbourne the hawser parted and vessel nearly went aground.
  • 1918 Operated by J. Stewart & Co., London, for the Shipping Controller.
  • 1920 Sold to Societa Italiana di Navigazione "Stella d'Italia", Milan, who modernised her, renamed her Clarastella
    and registered her at Genoa.
  • 1922 March 29 Acquired by the Spanish Navy to be used as a sail training ship. Rebuilt at Cautieu Navale Triestino,
    onfalcon (Triest) and renamed the Galatea.
  • 1927 Became a training ship for non-commissioned officers and used for special training exercises.
  • 1946 October Lost almost the entire rigging in a severe storm, but managed to put into Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
  • 1960 (?) Laid up at El Ferrol del Caudillo.
  • 1993 Rescued from a Spanish scrap yard by the Clyde Maritime Trust, she was towed back to the Clyde for
  • 1998 April. Rigging restoration work is begun.
  • 1998 July.  Lower masts are stepped with the topmasts the following month.
  • 1998 December.  Rigging restoration is finished and maintenance begins
  • 1999 July  Towed downriver to Greenock to participate in the Cutty Sark Tallship event
  • 1999 August.  The Glenlee opens as a museum ship at Yorkhill Quay.
  • 2011 Glenlee relocated from Yorkhull Quay to the new Riverside Museum.
Barque Glenlee loading cargo
This is the earliest known photo of her.
Barque Islamount, ex Glenlee
This is the photo that I used to recreate
her rig as a Cape Horner.
Galatea, ex Islamount, ex Glenlee sailing
as a training ship for the Royal Spanish
Navy.  Notice the flying bridge spanning
the poop and the flying jibboom on the
original spike bowsprit.
Galatea under sail
Galatea under tow
entering the Clyde
Glenlee day 1
April 1998
Glenlee in her berth at
orkhill Quay
(large photo file)
One of the over 275 wire splices needed
for the rigging.  Jim Barry (r) and
Likeke Goings (l) are putting in an eye
splice in the Inner Jib Stay - 1 3/8" wire
galvanized 6x7
Stepping the fore, main, & mizzen
lower masts on 16 July, 1998.  The
crew managed to step all 3 in one
day.  Quite an accomplishment as
they weighed over 9 tons each
Crossing the fore lower
topgallant yard
16 November 1998
S/V Glenlee
~Project Totals~
1 3/8"
1 1/8"
6x7 fiber core
6x19 fiber core
1x7 annealed
seizing wire
1 1/4"
1 1/8"
Wire Splices
Wire Seizings
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Newspaper article about my previous
career as a purveyor of fine bikinis
Arrival in Greenock from
after tow from Spain
Glenlee Restoration pdf
Click to view
Glenlee Restoration Video
by Interpretive Media Limited
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