Star of India (ship)

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The article is about the ship "Star of India". For other items of the same name, please see Star of India.
The Euterpe in 1883, later renamed the Star of India.
The Euterpe in 1883, later renamed the Star of India.

Star of India was built in 1863 as Euterpe, a full-rigged iron ship in Ramsey, Isle of Man. After a full career sailing between Great Britain and India, she became a salmon hauler on the Alaska to California route. After retirement, she was restored and is now a seaworthy museum ship ported in San Diego.



As Euterpe

Named for Euterpe, the muse of music, she was a full-rigged (royals and double topsails) iron ship built in 1863 by Gibson, McDonald & Arnold, of Ramsey, Isle of Man, British Isles, for the Indian jute trade of Wakefield Nash & Company of Liverpool. She was launched on November 14, 1863, assigned British Registration No.47617, and signal VPJK.

Euterpe's career had a rough beginning. She sailed for Calcutta from Liverpool on January 9, 1864, under the command of Captain William John Storry. A collision with a Spanish brig off the coat of Wales carried away the jib-boom and she returned to Anglesey to repair. During the repairs the crew became mutinous and had to be confined to the Beaumaris Gaol. Then, in 1865, Euterpe was dismasted in a gale in the Bay of Bengal off Madras and had to be repaired at Trincomalee. Captain Storry died during the return voyage to England and was buried at sea.

Euterpe made four more relative uneventful voyages to India, then, in 1867, was sold, first to David Brown of London to be used in the India and South America trade, but then again in 1871 to Shaw, Savill & Company of London. In 1873 she began thirty years of carrying passengers and freight on the New Zealand trade. The fastest of these voyages took 100 days, the longest was 143 days. She also made ports of call in Australia, California, and Chile.

In 1897, after 21 round trips, Euterpe was sold, first to Hawaiian owners, then in 1899 to the Pacific Colonial Ship Company of San Francisco, California. She was registered in the United States on October 30, 1900.

As Star of India

The Star of India docked in San Diego, California.
The Star of India docked in San Diego, California.

In 1901, Euterpe was sold to the Alaska Packers' Association of San Francisco, who re-rigged her as a barque and in 1902 began sailing each spring from Oakland, California to the Bering Sea, returning each fall with holds full of canned salmon. In 1906, the Association changed her name to be consistent with the rest of their fleet, and she became Star of India. After eleven years, she was laid up in 1923.

In 1926, Star of India was sold to the Zoological Society of San Diego, California, to be the centerpiece of a planned museum and aquarium. The Great Depression and World War II caused that plan to be canceled; it wasn't until 1957 that her restoration began. Alan Villiers, a windjammer captain and author, came to San Diego on a lecture tour. Seeing Star decaying in the harbor, he publicized the situation and inspired a group of citizens to form the "Star of India Auxiliary" in 1959 to support the restoration of the ship. Progress was still slow, but in 1976, Star of India put to sea again. She currently houses exhibits for the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and sails at least once a year.

General characteristics

  • Displacement:
    • 1197 tons gross, 1107 tons under deck (as Euterpe)
    • 1318 tons gross, 1247 tons net (as Star of India)
  • Length: 62.5 m (205 ft 5 in)
  • Beam: 10.7 m (35 ft 2 in)
  • Height:
    • Full-rigged: 7.1 m (23 ft 4 in)
    • Barque rig: 6.5 m (21 ft 6 in)

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