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


A very well-known vessel which brought many early New Zealanders to these shores was the ship Ida Zeigler, which for seven years was commanded by Captain Abraham L. Reynolds, and on the last voyage by Captain Sellars.

Captain Abraham L. Reynolds had the reputation of carrying on when he had a chance, but he was popular with his passengers. In 1864 Lady Wynyard (wife of Governor Wynyard), with her family, were passengers to England in the "Ida." On this occasion Mr. William Mann was chief officer, and Mr. Henry Neville second officer. In later years Captain Charles George Best, for
The "Ida," as she was affectionately called. This picture, which is from a photograph or a painting owned by Mrs. M. A. Whitcombe, shows the ship lying-to, waiting for the pilot.

the Ida Zeigler, A Favourite Ship.

some years harbour master at Tauranga and the Thames, was chief officer on the "Ida." Captain Best married a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, of Parnell. She is still in Auckland, residing at Remuera.

The "Ida" was a comfortable ship, specially fitted up for carrying passengers, and she brought many hundreds to Auckland. Although not a record-breaker, her longest passage from London to Auckland was 96 days, and the shortest 85 days. She made some fast runs Home, on one occasion docking in London only 74 days from Auckland. She did not sail direct to any other ports in the Dominion.

The "Ida" had several eventful voyages when trading to New Zealand. During the passage out in 1865, after passing the Cape of Good Hope she encountered, on October 30th, a terrific gale, during which some heavy seas were shipped, which stove in all the skylights, washed away the quarter boat, and took most things on deck overboard. The gale lasted for 36 hours.

On September 19th, in 44 S. latitude and 84 E. longitude, she passed through another gale of hurricane force, during which a tremendous sea broke on board, carrying away a portion of her port bulwarks, washing away hen coops off the poop, seriously damaging a life boat on the davits, and filling the cabins with water, and washing to and fro everything movable on deck. On the same day another heavy sea struck the ship, which washed the second mate and two men from the wheel, stove in the after hatches, carried away the quarter boat, and started the poop, rent stanchions and mizzen channels fore and aft, thus causing the vessel to leak. When the sea struck the "Ida," she was thrown on her beam ends, and the forepage 219 topmast boom and all the gear of the foreyard were washed away. At midnight the ship rolled heavily, during which she carried away her fore and main top-gallant backstay lanyards. The officers' succeeded in at once getting preventives rigged on the mainmast. During the gale the ship was running before the wind, and at times, when in the trough of the sea, her head sails would hang close to the masts, there being no wind to fill them, the barometer falling to 29deg 20m.

During the 1867 trip the "Ida" went through another severe buffeting. Soon after leaving the Trades, the weather became boisterous, and on the 28th August a very heavy squall struck the ship. Sail was shortened, but later a very heavy sea struck the vessel, which sprang the mainmast all round immediately below the spider band. At this time the gale had increased to hurricane force, and the vessel was shipping large quantities of water. The men set to work, under great difficulties, in securing the mainmast by placing the spare main yard over end and lashing it on the after side of the vessel. Hardwood fishes were also secured around the mast, together with several stunsail booms. The weather continued boisterous for some days, and when abreast of the Cape another severe gale was met with from W.S.W., with a terrific sea. A tremendous heavy sea struck the vessel amidships, and washed overboard the sheep pen and several valuable pedigree sheep. A portion of the port bulwarks was also stove in, and the long boat severely damaged.