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Wavertree was built at Southampton, England in 1885 for R.W. Leyland & Company of Liverpool. She was first employed to carry jute, used in making rope and burlap bags, between eastern India (now Bangladesh) and Scotland. When less than two years old she entered the tramp trades, taking cargoes anywhere in the world she could find them. After sailing for a quarter century, she limped into the Falkland Islands in December 1910, having been almost totally dismasted in a gale off Cape Horn. Rather than re-rigging her, her owners sold her for use as a floating warehouse at Punta Arenas, Chile. She was converted into a sand barge at Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1947, and acquired there by the South Street Seaport Museum in 1968 for eventual restoration to her appearance as a sailing vessel.
By the time Wavertree was built, she was nearly obsolete. Steam engines suitable for efficiently propelling ships across the ocean had been introduced in the 1870s and were being used on nearly all the shorter trade routes. While this was taking place, iron-long the choice of ship builders in iron producing countries, such as England - was giving way to steel. Wavertree was one the last large sailing ships built of wrought iron. She is today the largest afloat. Most countries stopped building large sailing ships altogether in the first decade of this century. The last large cargo-carrying sailing ship was launched in Germany in 1926.
The last two to round Cape Horn with cargoes did so in 1949, carrying grain from Australia to Europe.
Extreme length: 325
Length on deck: 263'
Beam: 40.2
Construction: Iron hull
Draft: 22' (loaded)
Rig: Full-rigged ship
Rig height: 167'
Gross tonnage: 2,170
Net tonnage: 2,118

Submitted by @lampbane

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