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S.V. Florence C Robinson, ex Annapoorani – Valvettithurai to Gloucester of America

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S.V. Florence C Robinson, ex Annapoorani – Valvettithurai to Gloucester of America

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About writer: Capt.A.Athavan
Name Florence C Robinson
Ex name Annapooraniyammaal
s.v Sailing vessel  (Categorization under Collision regulations of  International Maritime organization)
Year of built 1929 or 1930
Place of Built Valvettithurai, Jaffna, Srilanka
Builders Some experts from Valvettithurai, Jaffna, Srilanka
Type Brigantine or the ‘British frigate’
Dimension Length 89 to 90 Feet, rest of the information accurately unavailable
Maximum speed 18 Knots, recorded in Red sea
First owner Chetty families, Tamil Nadu, India.
2nd and last owner William Albert Robinson, USA
Local Name Salanku or Thoni
Trading Coastal and or Foreign going)
Last port of call Gloucester, America
Year 1936-1938
Total number of crew sailed 6, All from Valvettithurai, Jaffna, Srilanka. Another foreign crew – Capt.Duncan   A.Mac Cuish have joined in Cyprus
Route followed VVT (Valvettithurai) Colombo – Arabian sea – Red sea – Suez canal – Cyprus – Crete – Mediterranean sea  –  Gibraltar – Atlantic – Hamilton – Gloucester of America
Insured by Lloyd’s of London

The above relates the brief story of a Srilankan made sailing vessel, built in Valvettithurai, sailed to Gloucester of America. In 1936, the first owner family in Tamil Nadu sold Annaporani to a wealthy American William Albert Robinson. The Annaporani then has sailed to Colombo with its Valvettiturai under a Thandaiyal (Head of the crew, similar to a Captain of a Ship) Mr.Kanagaratnam Thampipillai.

In Colombo, the Annapoorani was re-named as Florence C Robinson and has sailed and reached after 2 years port of Gloucester in the eastern coast of America, in 01st Aug 1938.
It is very regrettable that many of the people of Valvettiturai is still unaware of the full real story of Annaporani.
If William Albert Robinson has not purchased Annaporani, we may not have come to know about the stories of ship building, foreign going trades, local ship builders, Skipers (thandaiyalkal) of Valvettiturai.
By remembering Annaporani, her builders, skippers and owner, in this 75th Jubilee, we all should work to bring the full stories of Annaporani and the old famous seafaring and shipping of Valvettiturai.

1 Comment
  1. Somasiri Devendra says

    I have long researched the story of the ship s.v. Florence C.Robinson’. I am a maritime archaeologist and a boat ethnographer and have published widely on Sri Lankan watercraft and also written about this ship. I am interested in popularizing studies into Jaffna’s nautical heritage and would like contact Capt. Athavan with the view to exchanging information. I have information about this ship after she arrived in Boston. Could Capt. Athavan please contact me?

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