Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brig Tyrrel ~ 3 July 1759


The brig Tyrrel, Captain Coghlan, sailed from New York, 28th June 1759. She was bound for Antigua.

When they set out, the weather was very stormy, and the vessel heeled greatly, being deficient in ballast. In the afternoon the weather became more moderate; and the captain employed himself in painting the boat, with its appurtenances of oars, helm, and tiller. On the 30th, at four in the afternoon, a hard gale blew from N.N.E., and they felt much alarm, exhorting the captain to return to New York, as the vessel did not seem in a fit condition for the voyage. The top-gallant sails were taken in, and the top-sail close reefed in the evening; but the sea again turning calmer, more sail was made. The gale increased til the 2d July – they took in an additional reef in each top-sail, and brought down the top-gallant yard. There was water then in the hold, but not more than could be pumped out by each watch; and they brought forward the two after-guns, in order to make the wind shift to her head. This it did at four in the morning, without any probability of its abating. The captain now finding that the vessel was crank, and should have had more ballast, agreed to stand for Bacon Island Road, in North Carolina. While in the act of wearing her for this purpose, a sudden squall laid her on her beam ends, never to rise again. She was completely overset; sails, masts, and rigging lying in the water.

At the time of the accident, Purnell, the chief mate, who had never undressed from the time he left New York, lay on a chest in the cabin. He was rolled off by the ship going over, and with difficulty reached the round-house door, where he was instantly knocked down against the companion by the step ladder, which led from the quarter-deck to the poop. A fortunate circumstance this – for the ladder made for them a communication to the windward; and they could get through the aftermost gun-port on the quarter-deck. As the ship was completely on her broadside, every article rolled down as she went over; among these was the boat, the lashings of which having been cut by the captain’s order, she turned bottom upwards. A prompt effort was necessary, and Purnell, the cabin-boy, and two others, being good swimmers, plunged into the sea. At length they righted the boat, but she remained brimful, and washed with the water’s edge. By means of the painter or rope, they lifted her a little out of the water, so that she swam about two or three inches free, though almost full within. The cabin-boy and another were put in her, with buckets which chanced to float by. They commenced baling her, and in short time got the water out. Two long oars were next put into the boat, and they rowed right to windward; the mate and two men put off from the wreck, and succeeded in getting the oars, rudder, and tiller. Their return gave much joy to their companions, who had given them up for lost.

From: THE DEEP: A Series of Interesting Narratives of Naval Adventure and Suffering

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