Vessel Was Hove Down and Destruction
"A close call for vessel and all
hands," is the report of Capt. Alex McEachern of sch.Maggie
and May, which arrived from a Bank cod trip this morning.
The captain's remark had reference to an
experience in the heavy gale of October 11. The vessel at the time was anchored on the
northern part of Quero Bank and the crew were busy making hauls to complete the trip. The
wind breezed up form the southeast in the forenoon, and at 10 o'clock a strong gale was
blowing, accompanied by a heavy sea.
Two hundred fathoms of cable were put out and
every thing movable about deck put below and the hatches battered down, and with the wind
blowing so that the vessels would clear Sable island if she should go adrift and every
thing ship-shape above and below, everybody felt easy, and all went below except the watch
John Doucette and Leo Clemming.
The wind was all the time gaining in force,
and was blowing with such fury as to pick the water right up, making it impossible to see
over 15 feet away. The trysail had been taken in and stowed below to save it from blowing
to pieces, and under bare poles the schooner tugged at her anchor and pitched into the
heavy seas which every now and then threatened to engulf her.
Suddenly one huge wave rose like a green wall
and came hissing toward the vessel, striking her on the port side about amidships, and
heaving her down so that she lay with her side all under water.
All hands rushed on deck to find that both Clemming
and Doucette had been washed overboard by the sea, but both were powerful
swimmers and were soon back aboard the vessel.
The cable did not part when the vessel was
hove down, and she did not come back, but lie on her side like a wounded duck. The trysail
was again put on her , but this had no effect and the situation was most serious. Capt. McEachern
had one of the crew stationed forward with an axe to be ready for an emergency, should
some vessel be discovered drifting down on them.
Soon Capt. McEachern, who was
standing aft, saw another big wave coming which he knew would strike the disabled craft.
He realized that if it did, it was all over the crew and vessel. Quickly he raised his
hand and gave the sign, at the same time reversing the wheel, while the sturdy fellow
forward, in obedience to the signal, cut the cable. Then the vessel righted and was wore
round and all was safe.
Shortly after 5 o'clock the gale began to
abate and the vessel suffered no farther accident. An examination below showed how far the
vessel wend down. Forward and aft the clothing in windward berths was all hove across into
the leeward bunks. The salt, which was under the forecastle floor, burst the trap door
open and part of it lodged on the upper lee shelves where the cook kept his stores. The
kenches of fish in the hold were also every one shifted.
On deck the dories had been tossed about. One
nest was found up against the fore gaff, while the other nest had twisted its gripes and
turned completely over topside up.
Capt. McEachern says the gale
was as hard as he ever experienced. Among his crew are men who have engaged every winter
for years in the West Indies and Porto Rico trade, and they say it was the heaviest wind
they ever felt, being cyclonic in force and resembling a southern storm in its violence.