An award for the Yavari
A Victorian iron ship on Lake Titicaca -
- surviving on the roof of the world
London, England, Wednesday 14th March 2012 Meriel Larken, Director and Founder of the Yavari Project was presented with an Engineering Heritage Award for the 150 year old iron ship by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers...MORE
The Yavari was built in beside the River Thames in London in 1862. Once the ship was complete the parts were colour-coded, numbered and broken down for despatch to Peru as a kit complete with instructions. It was the Victorian engineering equivalent of a flat pack. Along with the Yavari went a sister ship, the Yapura also as a kit. The two boats were ordered by the Peruvian Government as 'gunboats' or armed passenger cargo vessels and both are still afloat. Thanks to the Yavari Project the Yavari has been partially restored.
Picture: Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Award was presented at a luncheon hosted by Professor Isobel Pollock, President designate of the Institution. Present on behalf of the IMechE were David Andrews, Richard Campbell, James Fulker and Laura Gardner. For the Yavari Project:- Peter Lea, FCA, Trustee and Project Treasurer, Tony Morrison the longest serving Trustee and co-founder of Nonesuch Expeditions, Robert Munro, Trustee and Financial Consultant, Hallam Murray, Trustee and Chairman of the Anglo-Peruvian Society,Tim Parr, Naval Architect and Ian Biles, Master Mariner.

The Yavari and Yapura kits were assembled on the lakeside.The Yavari was launched on December 25th 1870 and the Yapura on March 18th 1872. Both had a long working lives as passenger cargo ships before they were taken over by the Peruvian Navy in 1977 and both names were changed. .The Yapura was converted to a hospital /medical ship the BAP Puno and still works beteween the lakeside communities. [BAP = Buque Armado Peruano]

The Yavari was named BAP Chucuito and was seldom used so became derelict. But thanks to the reduced oxygen in the air of the high mountains and the non-corrosive fresh water of the lake the iron hull survived in near perfect condition.Since the late 1980's and another change of ownership a Peruvian crew has lovingly tended the now renamed Yavari . Restoration and upkeep has been financed largely by funds donated to the Yavari Project a charity based in London.

The twins Yavari and Yapura have been a regular sight in the lakeside port of Puno for many years
When this photo was taken the Yavari [behind] and Yapura were owned by The Peruvian Corporation a British Limited company created in London England in 1890. The Peruvian Corporation was given many rights in Peruvian railways, the lake steamer fleet and many natural resources in exchange for cancelling Peruvian debts especially bonds issued by the government and used to finance the original undertakings.

Brian Fawcett the younger son of Colonel Percy Fawcett the lost explorer [1926] who worked on Peruvian railways said....the most interesting from a historical point of view is the baby of the family and at the same time the grandmother of them all — the little 180 ton Yavari, converted in 1953 into a tanker— Railways of the Andes 1963

[Ed: The conversion to a tanker was never completed]

All pictures by Tony and Marion Morrison

1992 LEFT The Yavari with its Peruvian Navy paint 19 and named Chucuito on the stern is awaiting restoration.

The Yavari was altered in 1895 by inserting a 15 m section to te forward part of the hull. Apart from the engine the Yapura has remained largely as built.

In the early 1990s plans were prepared for the rehabilitation of the Yapura but the scheme failed to get funding.
On the 10th November 2007 the Yapura was awarded a Naval Medal of Honour for its long and continuous work helping the lakeside communities - first passengers and cargo then latterly with medical facilities. [El Comercio, a leading newspaper Lima].

1999 LEFT The massive Swedish-built four cylinder Bolinder hot-bulb semi diesel engine installed in 1914, is serviced and working. It replaced the original 2 cylinder steam powered engine.

1999 RIGHT The Yavari is freshly painted and ready for trials. Behind - the funnel of the Ollanta which at the time had been re-named Mariscal Andres de Santa Cruz. Built in England in 1930 by Earle's of Hull the Ollanta has a79.25m length. In the days of the Peruvian Corporation the Ollanta was the flagship of the fleet but when this picture was taken the ship was out of regular service and idle at the quayside.
And both Yavari and Yapura are still afloat.... and working [2012]
They are a great testament to the Victorian engineers who built them
The story of the Yavari — its life and rescue has been told in two books by Meriel Larken

The Ship, the Lady and the Lake - published May 1st 2012 Bene Factum Publishing ISBN 978-1-903071-42-7 and available from Amazon

Vapor Yavari - Navigation on Lake Titicaca - Peru, published in Peru 2006, Peruvian National library deposit number 2006-1754 [ISBN 9972-2778-0-1]

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers

On Wednesday 27th January 1847 in Birmingham, England the Institution of Mechanical Engineers was founded by the British railway pioneer George Stephenson and some friends. The mid-1800s were years of growth enjoyed by both civil and mechanical engineers with railways spreading across Britain and other countries. British yards were turning out iron ships by the score and they needed machinery including engines - and so the mechanical revolution raced forward with the energetic spirit of the Victorian age. The Institution moved to London in 1877 and to its present building, 1 Birdcage Walk in 1899. In 1930 the Institution received its Royal Charter - a formal founding and recognition from King George V and today with over 98,000 members is a world leader as a centre for Mechanical Engineering

Engineering Heritage Awards.
The awards were established in 1984 with the aim to promote artefacts, sites, or landmarks of significant engineering importance - past and present. The Yavari award is the 73rd and others ships in the list include the SS Great Britain [launched 1843] HMS Belfast [launched 1938], and Holland 1 submarine [launched 1901]
The citation

M S Yavari

The world's oldest iron kit built ship

Designed by James Watt & Co and built in 1862 by the Thames Ironworks and Shipbuilding Co she was assembled on the shore of Lake Titicaca, Peru and launched in 1870.

Now powered by a 1914 4 cylinder Bolinder hot bulb semi-diesel engine producing 320 bhpat 225 rpm, M.S Yavari is an enduring symbol of the ingenuity and global reach of British engineering

14 March 2012



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