The Loch Garry, at the time of her launch from the yard of Messrs.Thomson of Glasgow, was considered by experts to be the 'finest sailing ship in the world' and certainly was an example of the 'Glasgow type' at its best. Her almost unique rigging was shared by only 4 other ships, including her sister ship the Loch Vennachar, having short topgalant masts with fidded royal and skysail masts.


The legendary Captain Horne, who commanded the Loch Garry for nearly 26 years, described her thus -

"The Loch Garry is a front rank ship and always will be so. She is a ship with no vices and when properly loaded is as gentle as a lamb. It is quite a pleasure to sail such a ship, which might be described as a 1500 ton yacht. She is not a ship of excessive speed but with a moderatley fresh breeze will maintain a speed of 10 or 11 knots without much exertion"

Despite this, the Loch Garry did suffer two serious mishaps in her life. In 1880 off the Crozets she lost her fore topmast and main topgallant masts in a heavy beam sea when the weather forebrace carried away - it took her a further month to reach Melbourne under a jury rig. In August 1989 she was dismasted in a severe gale south of the Cape of Good Hope (see this graphic first-hand account written by James Horne junior, serving as mate on the vessel). Captain Horne was obliged to jettison some 100 tons of cargo including "gunpowder, whisky, bottled beer" etc in order to save his ship. He then sailed the vessel under foresail and fore lower topsail to Mauritius, where she was delayed several months while new spars were sent out from the UK, ultimately reaching Melbourne 8 months out from Glasgow (her sister ship the Loch Vennacher was similarly delayed for 5 months in Mauritius waitning for spars in 1892 after an encounter with an Indian Ocean typhoon).

In her latter years she was still making good passages under Captain Horne, in spite of a shortage of good crews.The following runs are recorded:

1892

Tuskar to Cape Otway

71 days

1894

Downs to Melbourne

77

1895

Lizard to Melbourne

77

1895

Melbourne to Prawle Point

80

1900

Melbourne to Prawle Point

85

1901

Adelaide to Cape Otway

48hr

1903

Port Phillip Heads to Lizard

74 days

1904

Melbourne to Dover

77

1905

Tuskar to Cape Borda

73

1905

Equator to Leeuin

36

 

Discharge papers in the Strachan family's posession show that Captain Strachan sailed on the Loch Garry in the voyage of 1888/1889 as able seaman, and the photograph below of the Loch Garry's officers (the name can be read on the lifebouy in the full size photo) suggests that he sailed on her again as mate (seated, centre) on another (unrecorded) occasion. By deduction from the rest of his career, this must have been in the 1890s.

 

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The crew of the Loch Garry around 1892 - Click for larger image

The Loch Garry was a survivor, and after the Loch Line ceased trading she was sold to Italy for scrap in 1911, for the princely sum of £1800 *.

*(footnote - according to James Horne (junior) the Loch Garry was not actually scrapped in 1911, but sailed on into the Great War to an unknown fate)

 

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