An estimated $32 million is needed to restore the historic Falls of Clyde. Here, workers gingerly walk atop the prow of the deteriorating 130-year-old ship at Pier 4 near Aloha Tower.
Supporters hope to preserve Clyde
Weekly meetings look at short-term plans to save the historic ship
Supporters are looking at ways to save the Falls of Clyde without restoring the deteriorating historic ship at an estimated cost of $32 million.
They are trying to come up with a short-term plan to preserve the ship after recent news that the 130-year-old vessel is likely to be scuttled if a benefactor is not found to provide the restoration funding.
Chris Woolaway, one of the organizers of weekly meetings held to discuss the matter, said participants are looking into costs to dry-dock the ship for preservation.
"The first step doesn't have to be restoration. The first step can be preservation," said Woolaway, whose parents were part of an effort to save the vessel in the early 1960s when it was due to be scuttled.
She estimated preservation costs at $1 million.
Meanwhile, Bishop Museum, operator of the Hawaii Maritime Center, which owns the ship, has received international interest for potential preservation work on the Falls of Clyde.
Blair Collis, the museum's senior vice president and chief operating officer, said he has had daily discussions with a man from Australia who was part of the restoration team for another vessel.
The effort would involve dry-docking the ship in Australia. "We're hoping to have something more tangible in the coming days," Collis said. "We're keeping our fingers crossed."
Clifford Laughton, who established the Falls of Clyde Foundation two years ago, commissioned a study for restoration. The study conducted by Joseph Lombardi of Ocean Technical Services LLC last year included a long list of problems that include deterioration of the main deck.
The vessel is the world's only fully rigged four-masted ship.
While Laughton said it would be wonderful if the vessel could be saved, the cost to restore it is not justified when compared with other needs in the community. The cost to prepare the vessel to be safely towed to another location alone is phenomenal, he added.
"Everyone appreciates everyone's concern and willingness to come out and express interests and ideas and things to try and save it. Their hearts are in the right place, (but) the desire to do that and the harsh reality to do these things are oceans apart," Laughton said.
He recommended that the vessel start a new chapter in her life as an undersea attraction for divers.
But Woolaway said that is not the best approach. "A terrible thing will be done if they took her out and sunk her," she said.
Meetings to discuss the fate of the Falls of Clyde are held every Monday at 4 p.m. at the Clean Islands Council, 179 Sand Island Access Road. The meetings are open to the public.