Fastest of all the 'Lochs', and perhaps 'the most perfect example of an iron ship ever built' (launched 1873 at the Barclay, Curle yard), the Loch Maree had an unfortunate maiden voyage under Capt MacCallum, being dismasted by a squall near the Canaries. After repairs at Gibralter, she ran out to Melbourne in 74 days, a foretaste of the kind of passages she was to make. Usually in the top half dozen ships' passage times out and back, in 1878 she sighted the Lizard only 68 days out from Melbourne.

She was set up to carry a lot of sail, crossing three skysail yards and being equipped with a full set of stun'sails and assorted 'kites'.

Her career, however, was a short one. On the 29th October 1881 she left Geelong for London with a cargo of wheat. One day out she was 'spoken' by the three masted schooner 'Gerfalcon', and was never seen again. Another big ship, the North American, also homeward bound at the same time, also disappeared. There is conjecture that the two vessels may have collided. There was also speculation that part of a ship's figurehead found washed up at Invercargill on the south coast of New Zealand belonged to the Loch Maree.

 

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