Monday, February 18, 2013

Richmond Shipyard #3

Richmond Shipyard #3 at sunset, looking East at North slip.

Kaiser built 4 shipyards in Richmond with the largest shipbuilding capacity in the US, assembling a total of 747 Ocean (pre-Liberty), Liberty, Cargo Ship (pint size Liberty), C4 Transports, Frigates, LSTs and Victory ships.

The big Whirley crane in the background had a 110 foot long boom and could handle up to 83 ton (166,000 pound!) loads. It got it's name from it's novel ability to spin in a full circle. The cranes lowered iron gates into the water to convert the slip into a dry-dock, with pumps removing up to 50,000 gallons per minute.

Red Oak Victory is the big grey ship in back, you can see the 3 inch bow gun just above the right end of the white Matson container. 534 Victory-class ships were built and she is 1 of the last 2 still floating.

On the very left the 205 foot long 950 ton Wapama, a 1915 lumber carrier, is hauled up on the pier being restored. According to the Library of Congress Wapama was the last working ship of 225 West Coast steam schooners built from around 1880 to 1923. The CA Thayer in San Francisco and Wawona in Seattle, WA are other examples.

You can see a 5 ton fragment of another steam schooner the Point Arena (1887) at Año Nuevo State Park. The Point Arena, one of the first steam schooners built with an engine, was loading at Pigeon Point "doghole" harbor (tiny unprotected rocky inlet) in 1913 when a large wave snapped a mooring line and the hull was torn open on a rock. The dangerous small, unprotected and rocky harbors of the West Coast claimed many ships in this class.

Nice to be out on the bike again.

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