Friday, January 6, 2012

Schooner Savannah ~ 27 December 1912

Annual Report of the Operations of the United States Life-Saving Service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1913:

The 584-ton, 4-masted schooner Savannah, bound from Jacksonville, FL, to Portland, ME, with a cargo of pine lumber, and carrying a crew of 9 men all told, stranded about noon of this date on the western edge of Frying Pan Shoals, coast of North Carolina, in a westerly gale and thick weather. Vessel and cargo, valued, together, at almost $40,000, were totally lost. The ship’s crew, however, were saved by the crew of the Cape Fear and Oak Island Stations.
     As the schooner lay on the shoals, with the mountainous seas smashing against and over her, she was discovered by keeper Brinkman of the station first named. To make sure that she was aground the keeper climbed the Cape Fear light tower to get a look at her through a spyglass. On leaving the tower he asked the light keeper to set a signal, which, according to a previous understanding, would convey to the station crew at Oak Island and to the revenue cutter Seminole the information that a vessel was in trouble offshore.
     The Cape Fear crew put off the beach in their surfboat without loss of time, and covered the 8 miles to the schooner in two and a half hours. The Oak Island crew also appeared about the same time in their power lifeboat. It was agreed that keeper Brinkman should undertake the work of the rescue, a boat under oars being more readily and safely handled than a power boat in broken water about a wreck. This arrangement was duly carried out, the Oak Island crew standing by, ready to assist their comrades should the surfboat meet with misfortune while alongside. “After a hard battle with wind and sea,” says keeper Brinkman in his report, “we took the captain and eight men off.”
     The ship’s crew were cared for at the Oak Island Station until the following morning, when they were placed aboard the Seminole, which had appeared off the station during the night. The cutter and two tugs attempted to float the schooner, but without success.
Schooner Savannah (Inset: Capt. W. N. Gould)

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