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

Touched a Rock

Touched a Rock.

Although the Nelson sailed the seas for between 40 and 50 years, she had more than one narrow escape of going to the bottom. Her worst experience was in 1897, on the passage out to Wellington. This year, when 45 days out from Liverpool, the ship met tremendous gales. Mountainous seas swept her deck, smashing the houses and carrying away one of the boats, the jibboom, and the foremast stays, and the fall of the topgallant-mast was only prevented by the bravery of the chief officer, Mr. Davies. After this gale all went well till the Nelsonpage 106 was abreast of Cape Farewell, on November 27, when the weather became thick and another severe gale sprang up. During the storm the ship touched on a rock, believed to be Tom's Rock, and soon it was found she was making water rapidly. The pumps were manned, but the water continued to gain, and the gale increased to hurricane force. Fortunately, when the ship was in this perilous position near Cloudy Bay, the steamer Tarawera was sighted, and Captain Perriam signalled that his vessel was sinking. the Nelson was taken in tow, and on arrival at the Heads the Tarawera was relieved by the tug boat Duco. The ship was leaking badly, and when docked three holes about an inch in diameter were discovered under the forehatch on the starboard side; there were also numerous dents in the plates, but the damage was not as serious as contemplated. In one of the holes a piece of rock was jammed, and in another a fish was squeezed.