Did you guess the name of the submarine in my last post? The H.L. Hunley was significant in the development of the modern submarine. In my book, 10 Ships That Rocked the World, coming out later this year, you can read about the Hunley’s exploits during the US Civil War. After its one and only attack on an enemy ship, it sank. It was raised from the sea bottom near Charleston, South Carolina after 136 years. Now it is being studied by archaeologists at Clemson University in Charleston.
Another ship in my book, the 3-masted wooden cargo vessel, Lady Penrhyn, was one of the First Fleet that transported convicts from Britain to Australia in 1788. Steamships eventually replaced sailing ships for moving cargo, but if you want to see large sailing ships, you can visit a maritime museum on the east or west coast of Canada or the US. Or watch for a festival of tall ships, held every year to offer visitors a chance to learn about the Age of Sail.
In San Diego, the Maritime Museum displays the Star of India, a 3-masted ship too, built of iron in 1863. Its tonnage (the weight of water displaced) is about 3 times more than the Lady Penrhyn, it’s about twice as long at 62.5 metres and a third as wide with a 10.7 metre beam.
I walked the decks of the Star of India, trying to imagine what it must have been like aboard the much smaller Lady Penrhyn for 104 convicts on an 8 month voyage from Britain to Australia.