The oldest Junk

  • 01 Sep 2021 21:48
    Reply # 10975197 on 10974267

    David W. and Jan - that's a very interesting article.

    The article does not mention, though some people will be aware, that Paul Chow wrote a book about this, called The Junk that Challenged the Yachts. 


    The book, written in an easy style, describes the purchase of the junk and its voyage to the USA, but does not, of course, cover the return journey of the hulk, many years later.

    (If you click on the image of the book it will take you to Amazon.com and from there you can click on their image, and sample some chapters of the book.)

    A book review was done some time ago, and will probably appear in one of the next issues of the JRA magazine, and for those interested, here is a video which was made from film clips captured by Calvin Mehlert during the outgoing trip. This short video is a trailer for the 1-hour video referred to below.

    The boat was named Free China. It was returned to Taiwan in 2012, for restoration as it is thought to be one of the oldest original junks still in existence. 

    Correspondence with the Museum in Keelung, Taiwan, in October 2019 confirmed that the restoration work on Free China is now complete, she is outside the museum under a temporary cover, and in 2019 was still waiting for the Bureau of Cultural Heritage to approve funding and planning permission for a dedicated display pavilion.

    The video documentary on this vessel, with some remarkable colour footage taken during the voyage, as well as the current situation regarding her restoration, is highly recommended. It was produced in Taiwan, with English subtitles, and tells not only the amazing story of the transpacific voyage in 1955 – but the equally unlikely and seemingly impossible voyage back to Keelung, Taiwan in 2012.

    Its a one-hour documentary. It can be found here.



    LOA 24.5m  LWL 19.2m

    5.4m beam x 1.48m draft.

    Elevation and plan drawings of Free China taken from the PhD dissertation Misunderstood Junks by Hans K. Van Tilburg. 





    Last modified: 01 Sep 2021 22:31 | Anonymous member
  • 01 Sep 2021 13:27
    Message # 10974267

    I found this article today: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/free-china-junk-boat-taiwan-us-trip/index.html

       " ...there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in junk-rigged boats" 
                                                               - the Chinese Water Rat

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