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The “Sugar Boat”

My friend Alastair with his comment on how he and his school friends watched the QE2 progress down the Clyde in 1968 reminded me of other sights I have witnessed on the firth. I have lived in Helensburgh much of my life and was born and brought up there. My clearest and indeed happiest memories are of the Clyde Steamers which terminated at Craigendoran near Helensburgh. Many happy family days were spent aboard these boats and from our window in upper Helensburgh there was a constant moving picture of these pleasure craft going back and forth as well as the battleships and submarines on their way to and from the Faslane Submarine Base.I can remember a short lived commercial hovercraft service too

However one of my clearest memories is sitting in room 19 (Miss McKerracher's English Class) at Hermitage Academy on a January day in 1974 watching a ship gradually capsizing in a gale. The following is from Clydesite Magazine:

Stand almost anywhere around the upper reaches of the Firth of Clyde and you will hardly fail to notice one of it's most famous landmarks.
Locally referred to as "the sugar boat" she lies on a sandbank at the Tail o' the Bank (the upper firth anchorage) near to the promontory of Ardmore Point and was the 8325 grt Greek cargo ship CAPTAYANNIS.

On the evening of 27th January 1974 the area suffered from a terrific storm which blew the vessel from its anchor (it was waiting to deliver sugar to the James Watt Dock) and caused it to collide with the BP tanker BRITISH LIGHT. The tanker suffered no damage but the anchor chains of the tanker holed the sugar boat allowing water to pour into her.

The full article is HERE


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