A long and unusual story of a ship that started on the River Thames in London and ended on Lake Titicaca in Peru, the vessel YAVARI was commissioned by the Peruvuan Government to the James Watt Foundry who subcontracted Thames Ironworks to build the hull.
When fully built the vessel was dismantled and the parts packed in kit form and shipped to Peru to be transported by mules over the Andes mountains to Lake Titicaca which stands at 12500 ft. YAVARI and her sister ship YAPURA were commissioned as gun boats. After dismantling, each piece was numbered and where necessary were painted red or green for port and starboard and sailed for Peru in the steamer MAYOLA in 1862. A team of engineers and Naval personnel travelled to Lake Titicaca in 1863 to prepare for the vessels which were to arrive piecemeal by mule train. Thereafter hostilities with Spain, civil unrest and very slow delivery of the parts of the vessels meant further delay.
The YAVARI was finally launched in 1870 and undertook her maiden voyage in 1871. In 1875 ownership of YAVARI and YAPURA was transferred from the Navy to private interests. They continued to ply the Lake until the 1950s. A Lloyds Condition Survey made in 1983 found that the combination of high altitude and fresh water had maintained the vessel's iron hull in excellent condition and the vessel was deemed worthy of restoration and in 1989 Naval Architect Tim Parr visited to advise on the restoration. In 1998 the vessel was officially opened as a State Museum. She continues to receive many visitors each year from all over the world and is subject of national and international publicity.
Classic Boat: On Lake Titicaca - The iron lady, May 2013
Classic Boat: Peru - Lake steamer, June 2012
Commissioned by Peruvian Government and built in flat pack pieces by James Watt at Soho Foundry
Loaded in 2,766 pieces on board MAYOLA and then unloaded at Arica docks in Peru
Sufficient pieces delivered to Puno on Lake Titicaca for keel to be laid
YAVARI launched at 3pm on Christmas Day
YAVARI's hull was extended and her original James Watt steam engine was replaced with a Bolinder crude-oil engine
Her ownership having passed from Peruvian State Railways to the Peruvian Navy YAVARI falls into disrepair
Discovered in derelict condition at Puno's port. Fundraising project to save her established by Meriel Larken
The YAVARI Project formed and YAVARI bought from Peruvian Navy
YAVARI officially opened as a State Museum fully restored and on public view
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