E. R. Sterling




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Texas Tech University Libraries


Ship Name:E.R. Sterling; Sailed: 1883-1928; Type: Iron 4-masted later bark later 6-masted barkentine; Built by: Belfast, Ireland by Harland & Wolff; Dimensions: 308.2' x 42.9' x 25.1'; Tonnage: 2577 tons.


Built as a four-masted iron ship, Lord Wolseley originally sailed for Herron’s Lord Line in general trading. Sold German around 1900, Lord Wolseley became Columbia. Dismasted of fore and main in 1903, Columbia came under Canadian ownership. The Canadians moved the existing mizzen forward to become the foremast, and installed five identical fore-and-aft rigged masts abaft the foremast, creating the first six-masted barkentine. Named the Everett G. Griggs, the barketine entered the lumber trade to Australia primarily. Captain E. R. Sterling purchased the Everett G. Griggs in 1910, and named the ship after himself. He installed telephone and electric wiring throughout the ship (a first for a sailing vessel), and completely reconditioned the ship. E. R. Sterling thus sailed for four years, and the captain’s son, Ray Sterling, took over command in 1914. E. R. Sterling made enormous profits during World War I and the ship was further upgraded with a fast motorboat, and housing for a motorcar to be hoisted out when in port. E. R. Sterling’s last voyage in 1927 was one of tragedy and dismastings after which the ship was scrapped. The photographs show the barkentine with its astonishingly tall fore and aft masts. Perhaps nowhere else in the world could single lower masts of such height be obtained than the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, the cost of replacing E.R. Sterling’s gear after being dismasted in 1927 was so daunting (the ship was in the Caribbean at the time) that it was deemed impractical.


Merchant Ships, Ships