White Wings Vol I. Fifty Years Of Sail In The New Zealand Trade, 1850 TO 1900
Sails Blown Away
Sails Blown Away.
"The following day our course was altered a point or so to the south, and some hours later we were taken aback in a heavy squall. Our wheel was smashed and many of our sails blown to ribbons. Heavy weather and head winds held us up for 14 days, and but for this unfortunate mishap we should probably have had a neck-and-neck race to the Channel. When the pilot boarded our ship he informed us that the Crusader had passed up the Channel 13 days ahead of us. the Avalanche arrived on the 2nd of June, 1877, making the passage in 78 days.
"On her return trip to Wellington during September she was in collision with the barque Forest of Windsor, going down the Channel, and over 100 persons were drowned, including more than sixty passengers from the Avalanche.
"Captain Williams was in command and was drowned. Three of the crew were saved by clambering on to the Forest of Windsor. The latter ship also sank, but had time to launch several boats, and the whole of the crew were landed safely."
One of the Southern papers recently,page 38referring to this ocean race, credited the Rangitiki with being in the race. It stated: "An interesting race between the Crusader (Captain Davies) and the Rangitiki (Captain Scotland) from Lyttelton to London took place in 1877. Both vessels were renowned for their fast sailing performances. The ships left Lyttelton together on March 10, 1877, much public interest being manifested and heavy betting taking place. The vessels kept together until leaving the coast, and the next thing heard was the arrival of the Crusader in London after a splendid run of 65 days. She was the first sailing ship to perform this feat." This paragraph was copied in other New Zealand papers, and is misleading.