Thinking about the past being inhabited by the same people as us. Times and technology were different, but our reactions to them would have been similar.
Below is a brief account of a voyage made in 1865 by one of my great-grandfathers, W.W.Petherick.
As far as I can tell, these are his own words. In fact, I have taken it from his son’s notebook. I assume he copied it direct from the original. His text has very few punctuation marks and no paragraphs. Because that makes dense reading on a screen, I have added both. This will annoy the history purists, but, hey, it’s a good short story, hiding a lot between the lines – enjoy it.
Brigantine “Forest Prince” of Newport, Monmouthshire.
I shipped on the Brigantine “Forest Prince” of Newport, Mon. as Able Seaman at £2.17.6 per month, in the beginning of March 1868 on a voyage from Newport to Lisbon with a cargo of 325 tons of Coals, then Ballast for Villa Real in Spain near Gibraltar, then take a cargo of Copper Ore to Liverpool.
We sailed from Newport on March 7th with an easterly gale and very heavy snow. We ran down to Morte under a close reefed topsail and foresail. When passing that, we set the double reefed mainsail and, after passing Hartland Point about 10 pm the same night, the wind being just abeam, blowing heavy, we found what we was up against.
She was a new vessel, the first voyage, the owners having six vessels just the same size all running against each other, trying which should make the quickest and most passages. Our vessel appeared to be over-masted and over-sparred, top heavy. She got hove down on her broad side with the lee bulwarks all under, and full of water on deck from end to end. She looked very ugly. We got her away before it and took the foresail off.
The next morning it moderated a bit when we soon got and entered the Bay of Biscay, when the wind shifted around to the South West and blew very heavy and we had to heave to. We found her a miserable sea boat. She would not come up and take the seas end on, but merely fall off and allow the seas to roll over her in the trough of the sea. We smashed away a good deal of the lee bulwarks to try and relieve her. After two or three days the wind veered to the North West, still blowing very heavy, when we had to get her on the other tack and smash away more bulwarks.
After about a week the wind moderated, came from the East and we eventually got to Lisbon, a beautiful harbour and beautiful town, with plenty of fruit. And while there I went to a bull fight one Sunday afternoon, but never wish to go to another. After discharging we took in ballast and proceeded to Villa Real where we duly arrived having had a fine passage.
We then loaded a cargo of Copper Ore and sailed, having a fine passage as far as the Scilly Islands when the wind came from the North East and blew very heavy all the way to Liverpool, where we arrived in the middle of May, when we all left but the Captain, not wishing to go another voyage in such a wet Packet as that. WWP.
This is one of a number of posts on the Ketch “Ceres” – in this case her onwer’s early years. They have been presented in a random order as and when I have found, or been given, new material. They represent steps in a personal quest to find out more about one branch of my family.
If you are interested in maritime history or would like to read more, please use the Search facility at the top right hand side of this page (‘Ceres’). If this is not available on your current screen, then click on ‘Bill’s Boat Blog’ – (or the title of this entry, then ‘Bill’s Boat Blog’), to be taken to the correct page.