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THE ARDENCAPLE-EARL WEMYSS COLLISION.

A PLUCKY SALVAGE. Captain Thomas Guthrie, the master of the ship Ardencaple gives the following account of his disastrous collision with the ship Earl Wemyss :— "On September Bth, at 8 p.m., weather fine, wind variable from the southeast to south-south-east, moderate, with a moderate chopping sea from the south-east, the ship was in lat. 2*56 south and long. 27 _7 west, with all sails set, I being in my cabin reading. Hearing the lookout report from the forecastle ' a light on the port bow,' at once went on deck and found the first mate (then in charge) on the fore part of the poop, port side, looking with theglas3esat the green light, which alone was visible, distant about two miles. I then remarked' What is that vessel going to do V our course being from south-west-half-west to south-west by west on a wind. The green light continued in sight from two to three minutes, during which time we were still keeping the same course, the vessel appearing to be crossing our bows. The mate then said, 'We shall have to luff, or there will be a collision,' to which I replied * Yes.' By this time the vessels would have been about half-a-mile apart. The mate then gave the order to starboard, the boatswain having already been directed to have all hands by the braces. I, however, said, 4 Don't starboard ; sail her close.' By this time our ship had come up about a point, the green light of the Earl Wemyss being still in sight about three-quarters to half a point ou our starboard bow. The mate then crossed to leeward to watch the light, I remaining on the other side, the order having been previously given by mc to keep the vessel close to the wind to reduce our speed, and to allow the other vessel more time to cross our bows. The Ardencaple remained, however, quite under command. The mate then called out from the lee side, '-"he is all clear, sir.' Having then crossed to the other side, I found the freen light still in sight. Almost immeiately after the red light became visible, the other vessel being then on Our starboard bow. When I saw the red light I ran to the windward, calling at the same time to the man at the wheel to put the helm up and let go the spanker halyards. The mate at the same time gave the order to back the crosscheck yards, but before this could be done the ships had collided, our jibboom striking the Earl Wemyss before her mlzenmast. I immediately gave orders to clear the boats, which was done at once. The mizzenmast of the Earl Wemyss having gone by the board, Rhe canted close alongside of us, and her spars falling upon ours, carried all our foreyard away. The Earl Wemyas had in the meantime been settling down by the stern, when she suddenly canted clear of us aud went down. Oar starboard boat, having been launched, proceeded to the wreckage, lifebuoys and ropes having also been thrown out, and twelve of the crew, including the master and second mate of the Earl Wemyss, were got on board the Ardencaple. After our boats had returned I consulted all hands as to throwing part of the cargo overboard, which was ac once decided on as the vessel was down by the head, the bows being stove in and the forepeak full, of water. The pumps having been previously sounded, it was found that the ship was not otherwise making water. As soon as sufficient cargo had been thrown overboard to lighten her forward, set to to put canvas over the bow to stop the rush of water into the forepeak, which was continued till daylight the following morning, when we examined the bows and found the hole too large to stop with canvas. I then set carpenter and some bands to work to shore up the bulkhead from abaft, others of the crew having been set to work to send down the broken yards, so as to clear wreckage and set sail. The man continued to work till about S a.m. of the 9th, when a vessel hove in sight. All hands then stopped aad demanded that signals of distress should be hoisted. lat first declined, but subsequently gave into the wishes of the other crew, and allowed the signal to be put up. When the vessel came alongside, and the crew of the Earl Wemyss had gone off, the crew of the Ardencaple demanded to be allowed to leave also. I advised them not to do so, as there was no danger to life if the boats were keDt ready, but they persisted in leaving. The first mate and I were the only two to remain by the ship, and finding on the 10th that we had been drifting to the westward, and not having sufficient sail to make a course for Pernambuco, decided on trying to reach the Island of FernandoNoronha, which was then about 300 miles west of us. Having a niizzen topsail on tho vessel and the remains of the mainsail hoisted up, we set a mizzen staysail on the forestay, and under those sails were able to keep the ship away, running in the daytime and hove-to at night, with our three red lights burning, and kept watch for passing vessels. By this means we succeeded in reaching Fernando Noronha by the loth, and anchored ship in a safe position about three-quartera of a mile from the shore, where we remained 90 days, till assistance, which had been sent for from home, arrived, after which the ship was sufficiently repaired to be towed to Greenock/which was reached on January 19th." the tugStormcockhaving completed the longest towage on record.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/CHP18890416.2.53

Bibliographic details

THE ARDENCAPLE-EARL WEMYSS COLLISION., Press, Volume XLVI, Issue 7286, 16 April 1889

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971

THE ARDENCAPLE-EARL WEMYSS COLLISION. Press, Volume XLVI, Issue 7286, 16 April 1889

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