Some of us (chaps) have lovingly rebuilt cars and other bits of machinery, but not large steamers 8,000 miles away and 12,500 feet above sea level. So Meriel Larken's odyssey is at once understandable and amazing. It is an inspiring story of persistence and persuasion and the Peruvian government should be very grateful for such an example of 'British eccentricity'.
Meriel's modern story is matched by a fascinating revelation. The Yavari was but one product of an extraordinary niche industry. At the height of her conventional ship-building dominance, Britain was also sending off boats in kit form all over the world, complete with teams led by an 'Engine Erector' to re-assemble the vessels in all sorts of outlandish places. The Yavari parts, each carefully numbered, had to weigh no more than a mule could carry and there were over 2,000 of them.
Both the 1860s delivery of the Yavari to its destinations on Lake Titicaca and Meriel's recent quest to restore her took much longer than expected, but this excellently produced and well-written book tells us how both efforts paid off handsomely.