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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 6 (October 2, 1933)

His First Command

His First Command.

Another memory is of two years later, the coastwise trial cruise of the Government three-masted schooner Countess of Ranfurly. This handsome little vessel, Worsley's first command, was built for the South Sea Islands trade, linking up New Zealand's tropical dependencies. She was an ideal craft for the work, square-rigged on the foremast, and fitted with auxiliary motor-engine and screw. Worsley's delight in his white schooner knew no bounds, and he showed the Island folk and his passengers what he could do under canvas. Now he had full play for the sail-handling lore of his “brassbounder” days. He cruised all over the New Zealand sector of the South Pacific, as far north as that coral-atoll outpost of ours, Penrhyn Island. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote of one of his sailor characters in “The Wrecker” that he could put his schooner through a Scotch reel. I can quite believe that Worsley could lead his pretty Countess just as neat a dance.

In a few years the Government schooner was sold out of the service and Captain Worsley had perforce to look round for a new job. He was a thoroughly well-qualified master mariner and was not likely to be long without a post, and he decided to seek his luck outside the Dominion. Physically, too, he was fit for anything; hardtrained, compact and muscular of build, all steel and india-rubber, as one of his comrades described him. He went to England, and for some years he was in perhaps the most trying sea-service in the world, the North Atlantic, the region of hard weather, fog and icebergs.