On This Day

26 May

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1883 Sailing ship W. J. Pirrie


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The 2,576-ton sailing ship W. J. Pirrie (Yard No. 155) was launched shortly after 12 noon today for Samuel Lawther, J.P., Belfast.

The vessel, named after William James Pirrie of Harland & Wolff, was launched in the presence of a large number of spectators. The new ship was intended for the Calcutta and San Francisco grain trade and the fourth built by the yard for Lawther. In many respects she was similar to Fingal (Yard No. 156) launched on 11 April and at the time lying in the Abercorn Basin being made ready to leave for Dublin and her maiden voyage.

W. J. Pirrie differed from Fingal in being about eight feet longer and an iron ship, whereas the latter was constructed entirely of steel. Her dimensions were: Length, 323 feet; breadth of beam, 42 feet 6 inches; Depth in hold, 25 feet, with a deadweight capacity of 2,500 tons and registered 100 A1 at Lloyd’s of London.

Accommodation on board was described as being ‘most superior’ and ‘in accordance with the latest development of the shipbuilding art’. She was fitted with a double purchase cargo winch at the foremast, a steam winch and donkey boiler in houses and a condenser circulating pump. To be fully prepared for long voyages there were two water tanks, each with a capacity of 3,250 gallons.

W. J. Pirrie was rigged as a four-masted ship. The fore, main and mizen masts were ship or square rigged with double top-gallant yards on each. The fourth or jigger mast was fore and aft, or schooner rigged. The standing rigging was all of the best galvanised charcoal wire and the jigger mast and bowsprit made from steel.