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White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900

The Mary Shepherd

The Mary Shepherd.

Heavy Gales and Icebergs.

the Mary Shepherd, a full-rigged ship owned by Shepherd and Company, and chartered by the Shaw, Savill Company, was a comfortable old craft of 920 tons. She made several voyages to Auckland, bringing many hundred passengers, and paid one visit to Lyttelton. She was never a fast sailer, but made good average passages, some of which were eventful. On her first run out to Auckland in 1866 she sailed from London on October 25, and on the following day experienced a heavy S.S.W. gale and heavy sea. When off the Albans Head the wind suddenly shifted to W.N.W., blowing very hard and causing the ship to plunge so heavily as to put the forecastle under water, filling the main deck and extinguishing the galley fires. The cutwater and figurehead sustained considerable damage, and the bulwarks and some of the sails also suffered.

There being no abatement of the severe weather, Captain Croot, who was in command, bore up and sought shelter at Spithead, where he found a large fleet of vessels sheltering. Repairs were made, and sail was made again on November 1, but adverse weather continued. On November 3, the ship being under water, the jib and flying jibboom were carried away, taking with them the fore topgallant mast. Severe weather continued, and on November 6 the fore topmast staysail was lost. Favourable weather generally then continued until reaching the New Zealand coast.

the Mary Shepherd had on board 40 immigrants, the first instalment for the special settlement at Kawakawa, and she called at the Bay of Islands on February 11. After landing her passengers she sailed two days later for Auckland and dropped anchor in the Waitemata on the 15th. Notwithstanding the delay in the Channel and the loss of two days at Russell the passage was completed in 112 days, a very creditable performance for this ship.

On the second outward voyage to Auckland, in 1867, the Mary Shepherd experienced more favourable weather, after leaving the Downs on November 19, but on February 14 in latitude 48 S. and longitude 119 E. she fell in with large icebergs, which were so numerous at times as to oblige Captain Croot to shorten sail and proceed with caution for two days. As many as forty huge bergs were in sight at one time.

In 1870, with Captain Peek in command, the ship had another rough experience when off Start Point. During a heavy gale she lost her jibboom and sustained-other damage which necessitated Captain Peek running back to Dartmouth to repair damages. She sailed again on February 10, so that from this port she made the passage in 109 days to New Zealand:—

Here follows the record of her passages

To Auckland.
Sailed. Arrived. Captain. Days.
Oct. 25, '65 Feb. 15, '66 Croot 112
Via B. of Is.
Nov. 19, '66 Mar. 5, '67 Croot 105
Jan. 15, 69 May 7, '69 Peek 111
*Feb. 1, '70 May 29, '70 Peek 109
To Lyttelton.
May. 12, '73 Aug. 20, '73 Caroline 1OO

* This passage was from Dartmouth.