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: 1933-1954), Saturday 3 February 1934, page 19
of the superstitions of sailor 60 or 70 years ago was the jelief that any ship bearing the of a reptile was name bound to meet with of bad luck. The misheaps fortunes which befel the ship Blackadder, at least in Çhe early years of her career, seemed to bear this out. after she first Within three years took the twice badly was water she in three coldismasted, was involved lisions, and stranded on an was once in reef Uncharted the China Seas, to say nothing of quite a number of other of acomparatively mishaps minor character. The "hoodoo" the on Blackadder, lifted after she was however, was put Into the trade between London 10 succesand Brisbane. She made sive between 1889 voyages to Brisbane and 1898 without meeting with' any
worthy of mention, and with substantial profit to her owners. visit On each the Blackadder spent in port, several she was and weeks the cynosure of many admiring eyes, while her comCaptain Grassam, his officers made and nummander, bers of friends here.
BY the DISASTER:
Maudsley, Greenwich, on
Messrs. of Field, at East Son, and the Thames, in 1870, the sister, Blackadder and her the Hallowe'en, were designed for the China tea trade. It was said that the conlet at tract for their building was a In consequence rate, and that very low of the work was some badly scamped. While loading the Blackadder nearly sank in dock owing to a badly-fitting the waterline. pipe flange just above her from maiden London On voyage to on Shanghai, she left the Downs 1870, the and crossed 24, March equator on April 19, 26 days out. 10, when the manoeuvre On May of out, wearing-ship was being carried
National Library of Australia
the chains at the mainmast head came parted, the lower and rigging down The mainmast buckled in the 'tween decks, and a few minutes later a side went the with fearful over crash, tearing up the deck, Almost also came immediately the mizzenmast awful tangle an over down, making the side of the ship, and giving her diffiWith much an alarming list. culty and the considerable danger cut away, wreckage though not was before a been big hole had knocked a In the ship's quarter, temporary was patching-up of which necessary. first set A course for Rio, was but, with a change of wind, it was decided to make of Good for the Cape Hope, and the Simon's Town anchorage was reached on May 26-63 days out from At Simon's the foreTown London. mast was taken out of her, and three masts new were stepped, with completely new rigging, the spars generally than being a little less heavy the original ones.
in 1873, when, In company with the Cutty Saik, she was bound from Off the Ladrones Sydney to Shanghai a severe typhoon, and they encountered ou", of it while the ran Cutty Saik far was the Blackadder unharmed, less had Th» fortunate. Blackadder left Sydney on Mai eli 26, and the
COLLISION AFTER three
months delays at ?**? Simon's Town the to voyage Shanghai was resumed, and Anjer was passed on September 10. In the China Seas the another exBlackadder had citing experience December On 7 the French mall into steamer Volga ran her, cutting her down to the water's The steamer also was edge badly staggered damaged, and both ships into port with their fore compartments full of water. time the necessary By the repairs been had completed, the Blackadder lost her had chance of getting a tea went to Penang. cargo, so she While lost her Jib-boom there she In a collision with another ship. Captain Robinson had charge during the disastrous maiden He was sucvoyage ceeded by Captain F. W. Moore, under whose command the she made best of the season to Shanghai in passage 1872, flyera as defeating such famous the Titania, Undine, and Norman court. During the round voyage, London to Shanghai, and Foochow homein another collision in ward, she was which she lost her mizzen topgallant mast IN A TYPHOON.
On May 2 Blackadder was steadily falling, with a fresh SE. gale and a big SJS sea making. Dining the night the barometer continued,to fall, and both wind and sea increassfl. Sall to was close-reefed shortened three foresail. topsails and As the conditions the ship was became worse put under a lower main topsajl <md hove to on the starboard tack. Next morning the wind increased to hurricane force and the order to furl the lower main topsail was It was given. ^linost an imit possible task; but somehow was done In the afternoon, in a terrific squall of wind and rain, the ship was her beam ends, with on hove down the W.ater over the lee sheer poleä and half covering the hatches The decks were swept clean, the skylight torn off all the Iron ports to leethe poop and ward washed away.
six Cutty Sark the barometer
MASTS CUT position of the rpiJE .*. ing.
She gave no sign of freeing herself, her and to bringing spars windward. On the contrary, she seemed The to be settling in the stormy sea. order was given to cut away the top gallant-masta and this was promptly carried out. The ship still lay on her beam ends, wallowing in the sea. The the side next sent over topmasts were -still with little or no improvement in the ship's position The dan¿er confronting her was aggravated by the impossibility the of clearing away wreckage, due to the fearful force of Then*, to and the awful sea the wind matters make the malnyard worse broke adrift. In this desperate situation tile courof the British age and resourcefulness seamen rose to the occasion. With celerity, remarkable axes were brought into use, and the lanyards cut through. the mast three Immediately, oroke feet below the deck beams, tore a great hole in the in deck, and, two boats.
its In third A fall,
third boat in two boats. A lifted off the skids by a sea, and smashed on to matchwood the deck. position was Although the ship's eased loss of the materially by the mast, the pouring of the sea through the hole in the deck created another danger; but, after almost superhuman exertions, the two mates and the carpenter, with other help, succeeded In nailing a the tarpaulin over gap. In the a Meanwhile, number of men like hold were Trojans in working their endeavour to trim the coal cargo which shifted had to leeward over when the ship was on her beam-ends. After a while the weather moderated and the ship eventually reached Shanghai, having covered 1400 miles under jury rig.
Iloilo, left Phillipine U.S.A., Islands, on October 22, 1873, in company with the barque Albyn's Isle, the latter's destination being Melbourne. The two vessels kept together until Island on reaching Banguev November 2, aftd there for they both anchored the night. At daylight next morning but the two ships got under way, unable to make were any progress against the strong easterly current. At from the a heavy squall came noon on thicjj S.W., with torrents and of rain About weather. 4 p.m. the Blackadder got hard and fast on a shoal of coral and sand and remained there for four hours, the the hammering ground was whole time. She only refloated had been after a quantity of cargo thrown overboard.
China Mr. Basil Lubbock, In "The tells a storv th« Clippers," who about ">f asserts that the occurrence, crew the Blackadder were actually transferred to the Albyn's Isle, and that almost immediately afterwards, ths blown stranded off the reef ship was sbuall. after which It took by a sudden to catch the Albyn's Isle four hours her and put Cant. Bissett and his crew their ship. back aboard Though It
a pity to spoil a diverting narrative, It is strange that in a detailed report on their experience written for the Nautical Magazine by the captains Is made of both vessels, no mention the part of such adventure on of anv crew. the Blackadder's sold, the 1899 was In Blackadder the Norwegian flag. and went under was 1905. she wrecked In November, that about to enter at Bfthla, when port with a cargo of coal from Barry, South Wales.
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