On This Day

22 February

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1890 California


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The sailing ship California (Yard No. 225), built to the order of Ismay, Imrie & Co. for the North Western Shipping Co.Ltd. and to sail under the White Star Line burgee was launched today at 12 noon.

She was the last wind ship built for the Company and at the time of her entry into service the largest sailing vessel in the world.

Intended for the general trading business between Liverpool and San Francisco via Cape Horn, the four masted clipper was so large that steam powered windlasses, winches and patented winches for working her top sails were required in order to set her canvas.

She was fitted out in the Hamilton Graving Dock and was completed in April and scheduled to have left for Liverpool under tow of the steam tug Blazer but bad weather prevented her departure by one day to the 24th.

One contemporary commentator said of her ‘California, huge and slow as time’ but this was rather unfair for she could keep up with the best clippers in the trade and on occasions set records for the number of nautical miles covered in a single day. With her sale to German interests in 1896 White Star severed its long association with the sailing vessel as a trading vessel forever.
See Ship Fact Files - California

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1890 Chichester


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The 2,082-ton steel cargo ship Chichester (WC&C Yard No. 68) was launched by Workman, Clark & Co. Ltd., at high water today for William R. Rea, 19 Donegall Quay, Belfast. The christening ceremony was performed by Mrs Rea, wife of the owner. Chichester was a ‘well-deck’ type steamer and classed 100 A1 at Lloyd’s of London with the special survey mark attached.

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1894 Ikbal

The 5,404-ton cargo ship Ikbal (Yard No. 279) was launched today for Edward Bates & Son, Liverpool. The christening ceremony was performed by Mrs Glover, wife of William Glover, Marine Superintendent of the Company. The twin-screw vessel, 445 feet long, was intended for the Company’s Eastern trade.