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Author Topic: This Day In 'Boating' History  (Read 188691 times)


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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 21st
« Reply #375 on: June 21, 2013, 07:51:21 pm »

June 21st...

533: A Byzantine expeditionary fleet under Belisarius sails in 500 transports escorted by 92 war vessels (dromons) manned by 20,000 seamen from Constantinople to attack the Vandals in Africa, via Greece and Sicily.
The fleet carries 10,000 infantry, about half Byzantine and half foederati, and 5,000 cavalry, consisting of 3,000 Byzantine horseman, 1,000 foreign allies (Huns and Heruli) and 1,500 of Belisarius' retainers (bucellarii).

1521: Magellan's Voyage around the World (1519-1522): The casualties suffered in the Philippines, including the death of Magellan on 27th April 1521, had left the expedition with too few men to sail all three of the remaining ships - consequently, they abandoned and burned 'Concepción'. The fleet, reduced to the 'Trinidad' and 'Victoria', fled westward to Palawan where they remained for several weeks.
Leaving the the island on 21st June, they were guided towards Brunei, Borneo by Moro pilots who could navigate the shallow seas. They anchored off the Brunei breakwater for 35 days, where Pigafetta, an Italian from Vicenza, recorded the splendour of Rajah Siripada's court (gold, two pearls the size of hens' eggs, etc.). In addition, Brunei boasted tame elephants and an armament of 62 cannons, more than 5 times the armament of Magellan's ships.

1631: Admiral of New England, John Smith, died in London, aged 51. An English soldier, explorer, author and associate of Pocahontas, Smith was was considered to have played an important part in the establishment of the first permanent English settlement in North America. He was a leader of the Virginia Colony (based at Jamestown) between September 1608 and August 1609, and led an exploration along the rivers of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. He was the first English explorer to map the Chesapeake Bay area and New England.
Smith is buried in the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate, the largest parish church in the City of London, where there is a handsome window designed by Francis Skeat and installed in 1968.

John Smith (c.January 1580 - 21st June 1631).

1652: Inigo Jones, aged 78, died at Somerset House, London, and was subsequently buried with his parents at St Benet Paul's Wharf, the Welsh church of the City of London. Inigo Jones was the first significant British architect of the early modern period, and the first to employ Vitruvian rules of proportion and symmetry in his buildings.
Appointed Surveyor-General of the King’s Works, Jones built the Queen's House at Greenwich, the first strictly classical building in England, employing ideas found in the architecture of Palladio and ancient Rome. Queen's House is Jones' earliest surviving work, and now forms part of the National Maritime Museum.

Inigo Jones, (15th July 1573 - 21st June 1652), and the Queen's House, Greenwich, England.

1749: Halifax, Nova Scotia is founded by Edward Cornwallis. Arriving with 1,176 settlers aboard 13 transports and a sloop of war, the outpost was named in honour of George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, who was the President of the British Board of Trade. Halifax was ideal for a military base, with the vast Halifax Harbour, among the largest natural harbours in the world, which could be well protected with several strategically placed batteries.

1781: Robert Napier is born in Dumbarton at the height of the Industrial Revolution, to James and Jean Napier. James was of a line of esteemed bell-wrights, blacksmiths, and engineers with a brother who served as blacksmith for the Duke of Argyll at Inveraray Castle. Robert would develop an interest in the family business, and go on to become an engineer of some repute, often being called "The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding."

1854: The first Victoria Cross was won for an action by Charles Davis Lucas on board H.M.S. 'Hecla', during the bombardment of Bomarsund (a fort in the Åland Islands off Finland) by 'Hecla' and two other British ships.
When fire was returned from the fort, a live artillery shell landed on 'Hecla's upper deck - its fuse still hissing. All hands were ordered to fling themselves flat on the deck, but  with great presence of mind, Charles Davis Lucas ran forward and hurled the shell overboard, where it exploded before hitting the water. Thanks to Lucas's action no one on board was killed or seriously wounded by the shell, and accordingly he was immediately promoted to lieutenant by his CO.
Lucas received his Victoria Cross at an investiture in 1857.

British bombardment of the fortress Bomarsund (Aland Islands) during the Crimean war. Drawing from 1854.

1911: The first in a new class of superliners, R.M.S. 'Olympic' completes her maiden voyage, reaching New York on 21st June. The maiden voyage of the largest ship in the world attracted considerable worldwide attention from the press and public. Following her arrival in New York, 'Olympic' was opened up to the public and received over 8,000 visitors.

R.M.S. 'Olympic' arrives in New York. Note the slight damage to her lower hull after clipping the pier.

1915: As the inbound transatlantic passenger steamship 'Cameronia' reached the mouth of the River Mersey, she came under attack from a U-Boat. Captain Kinnaird turned the 'Cameronia' to ram  the U-Boat which was forced to dive and then broke off her attack.

SS 'Cameronia'

1919: Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet at the Royal Navy's base at Scapa Flow, Orkney. After the end of the First World War, the High Seas Fleet was interned there (under the terms of the Armistice) whilst negotiations took place over the fate of the ships. Fearing that all of the ships would be seized and divided amongst the allied powers, the German commander decided to scuttle the fleet. 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. Many of the wrecks were salvaged over the next few years and were towed away for scrapping. Those that remain are popular diving sites.

A tug alongside scuttled German destroyer G.102 at Scapa Flow.

1936: First flight of the Handley Page Hampden - Designed to the same specification as the Vickers Wellington (Air Ministry Specification B.9/32) for a twin-engined day bomber. One prototype HP.52 (Serial K4240) was ordered which first flew on 21st June 1936. The first production batch of 180 Mk I Hampdens was built to a production Spec. 30/36 with the first aircraft flying on 24th May 1938. Lady Katharine Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, Viscountess Hampden, christened the first flight at Radlett aerodrome in 1938

A Handley Page Hampden Mk.I, of No. 455 Sqdn RAAF based at Leuchars, Scotland, May 1942.

1942: During the evening of 21st June, Japanese submarine I-25 followed a fleet of fishing vessels to avoid minefields near the mouth of the Columbia River, in Oregon, thus enabling her to fire seventeen 5.5-inch shells at Battery Russell, a small coastal army installation within Fort Stevens - making it the only military installation in the continental United States to receive hostile fire during World War II.
The attack caused no damage to the fort itself, with the backstop for the baseball field and some power and telephone lines being the only targets struck.

2008: MV 'Princess of the Stars', a ferry owned by Filipino shipping company Sulpicio Lines, capsized and sank after being struck by Typhoon Fengshen, off the coast of San Fernando, Romblon, in the Philippines. The ship had sailed believing that it was large enough to contend with the conditions in the periphery of the storm, however when the storm unexpectedly changed course later that day, the ferry was overwhelmed by the conditions and sank.

First reports of the tragedy confirmed that the ferry had a hole in the hull and was partially submerged, and that several bodies had been found nearby. Later reports revealed that the hole in the hull was actually the ship's bow thruster. Also, that of an estimated 860 on board at the time of the accident, there was less than 60 survivors.

The recovery operation around 'Princess of the Stars', August 2008.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 22nd
« Reply #376 on: June 22, 2013, 07:29:28 pm »

June 22rd...

1633: The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.

1675: The Royal Greenwich Observatory dates its foundation from two warrants issued under the name of Charles II. In March 1675 John Flamsteed was appointed 'Royal Observator' to the King, and on the 22nd June another warrant authorised the construction of 'a small observatory within our royal park at Greenwich'.
Contemporary copies of both documents are preserved in the Royal Greenwich Observatory archives. The first warrant stated that Flamsteed was ' apply as to find out the so much desired longitude of places...' and the second gave the purpose of the construction of the observatory to be ' order to find out the longitude of places...'

The Royal Observatory, Greenwich, England.

1757: George Vancouver is born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. He would go on to become an English officer of the British Royal Navy, exploring and charting North America's northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of contemporary Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon as well as the Hawaiian Islands and the southwest coast of Australia.

1807: In early 1807, a handful of British sailors (some of American birth) deserted their respective ships, then blockading French ships in Chesapeake Bay, and joined the crew of the U.S.S. 'Chesapeake', a 38-gun wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate.
On 22nd June, in an attempt to recover the British deserters, Captain Salusbury Pryce Humphreys, commanding H.M.S. 'Leopard', a 50-gun Portland-class fourth rate, hailed the 'Chesapeake' and requested permission to search her. Commodore James Barron of the 'Chesapeake' refused, and the 'Leopard' opened fire.
Caught unprepared, Barron surrendered, and Humphreys sent boarders to search for the deserters. The boarding party seized four deserters from the Royal Navy (three Americans and one British-born sailor) and took them to Halifax, where the British sailor, Jenkin Ratford, was hanged for desertion.
Commodore James Barron, was subsequently court martialed and convicted for not being prepared for action.

The incident between U.S.S. 'Chesapeake' (left) and H.M.S. 'Leopard' (right), sparked the 'Chesapeake-Leopard Affair', contributing to the war of 1812.

1893: During the annual British Mediterranean Fleet exercises, off Tripoli in Syria (now part of Lebanon), the Admiral-classbattle ship H.M.S. 'Camperdown' accidentally rammed the fleet flagship, H.M.S. 'Victoria', when the commander of the fleet, Vice-Admiral Sir George Tryon ordererd two parallel lines of ships to turn toward each other. Following the collision with 'Camperdown', 'Victoria' sank quickly, taking 358 crew with her, including Vice-Admiral Tryon. Amongst the 357 survivors, was second-in-command, John Jellicoe, later commander-in-chief of the British Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland.

Royal Navy battleship H.M.S. 'Victoria' being towed down the River Tyne from the Armstrong, Mitchell & Co. shipyard at Elswick, c.1888.

1940: Flt. Lt. George Burge of the Royal Air Force, flying a Gloster Sea Gladiator nicknamed 'Faith', claims the first Italian bomber aircraft destroyed over Malta. 'Faith' is one of three crated Sea Gladiators left on Malta by the Fleet Air Arm, which are hurriedly assembled at the outbreak of hostilities with Italy. For some time they represent the only fighter defence of the naval dockyard and the island. They are quickly nicknamed 'Faith', 'Hope' and 'Charity'.

1973: Skylab 2 (aka SL-2 and SLM-1), the first manned mission to Skylab, the first U.S. orbital space station. After 28 days in space the mission ended successfully on June 22nd when the Skylab 2 astronauts splashed down in the Pacific Ocean about 835 miles southwest of San Diego, Calif., just a few mils from the primary recovery ship, U.S.S. 'Ticonderoga' (CVS-14).
The manned Skylab missions were officially designated Skylab 2, 3, and 4. Miscommunication about the numbering resulted in the mission emblems reading Skylab I, Skylab II, and Skylab 3 respectively (a simple mistake that anyone could make - it's hardly rocket-science!).

he 'Skylab 2' Command Module, with astronauts Charles Conrad Jr., Joseph P. Kerwin and Paul J. Weitz still inside, is hoisted aboard the prime recovery ship, U.S.S. 'Ticonderoga', 22nd June, 1973.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 23rd
« Reply #377 on: June 23, 2013, 10:45:08 am »

June 23rd...

1565: The commander of the Ottoman navy, Turgut Reis (aka Dragut), dies from injuries sustained several days earlier whilst attacking the recently-built Fort St. Elmo (which controlled the entrance of the Grand Harbour) during the Siege of Malta.
The end of the Tigne promontory (Malta), where Turgut established his first battery for the bombardment of Fort St. Elmo in 1565, is now called Dragut Point.
Several warships of the Turkish Navy and passenger ships have been named after Turgut Reis.

TCG 'Turgut Reis' (F-241), a Yavuz class frigate of the Turkish Navy, in Cartagena, Spain (2010).

1611: The mutinous crew of Henry Hudson's fourth voyage allegedly set Henry, his teenage son John, and seven crewmen (men who were either sick and infirm or loyal to Hudson) adrift from the 'Discovery' in a small shallop, an open boat, effectively marooning them in what is now Hudson Bay.
The mutineer's journal reports that they provided the castaways with clothing, powder and shot, some pikes, an iron pot, some meal, and other miscellaneous items.
The only record of the 'mutiny' is from the mutineers themselves. Henry Hudson and his companions aboard the shallop were never seen again, and their fate remains unknown.

Henry Hudson, his son and seven companions, cast adrift in Hudson Bay (maybe?)...

1876: Robert Napier, aged 85, died at West Shandon. The Scottish engineer, often called 'The Father of Clyde Shipbuilding', had fallen ill shortly after the loss of his wife the previous year, and never fully recovered. He was buried in the family vault in the Parish Churchyard of Dumbarton.

During his lifetime, Robert Napier put Glasgow to the forefront of iron shipbuilding by winning valuable and influential ship orders and investment for construction and engineering improvements.
With the Canadian shipping tycoon Samuel Cunard, he planned steam-powered vessels for transatlantic service and helped set up the company to run them. He also proved the economy and versatility of steam-powered vessels to the Admiralty.

Former employees of Napier, including James and George Thomson, Charles Randolph and John Elder, established their own firms and continued to build on the reputation of the Clyde as a centre for quality marine engineering and the most important centre for iron shipbuilding in Britain.

Robert Napier (21st June 1791 - 23rd June 1876).

1940: Under the command of Sergeant Henry A. Larsen, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police vessel 'St. Roch', a wooden schooner powered by sails and an auxiliary engine, departs from Vancouver, British Columbia, at the beginning of the first successful west-to-east navigation of Northwest Passage.
However, taking a treacherous southerly route through the arctic islands, 'St. Roch' would become trapped in the ice for two winters, eventually completing the feat in October 1942.

R.C.M.P. 'St Roch' sailing the Northwest Passage 1940.

1955: Striking seamen failed to delay the departure of the 'Queen Elizabeth' ocean liner which left Southampton for New York at 13:58 BST. The 83,673 ton Cunard liner sailed with a full crew and 1,300 passengers despite last minute attempts to persuade her staff to join the industrial action.
The unofficial strike, which began on 31st May in Liverpool, had seen sailings cancelled from Southampton and Liverpool, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

Stern view of the 'Queen Elizabeth'.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 24th
« Reply #378 on: June 24, 2013, 06:29:15 am »

June 24th...

1340: The Battle of Sluys, also called Battle of l'Ecluse, was fought on 24th June 1340 as one of the opening conflicts of the Hundred Years' War.
Taking place in front of the town of Newmarket or Sluis, (French Écluse), on the inlet between West Flanders and Zeeland, the French fleet under the command of the Breton knight Hugues Quiéret (admiral for the king of France) was virtually destroyed by the English Fleet commanded in person by King Edward III, giving the English fleet complete mastery over the channel.

A miniature of the battle from Jean Froissart's Chronicles, 15th century.

1667: The Raid on the Medway comes to an end on this day. Taking place from 19th to 24th June (9th to 14th 1667 O.S.), the Dutch had successfully bombarded and captured the town of Sheerness, sailed up the River Thames to Gravesend, and then up the River Medway to Chatham, where they burned three capital ships and ten lesser naval vessels and towed away H.M.S. 'Unity' and H.M.S. 'Royal Charles', pride and normal flagship of the English fleet.

The raid led to a quick end to the Second Anglo-Dutch War and a favourable peace for the Dutch. It was the worst defeat in the Royal Navy's history, and one of the worst suffered by the British military.

Dutch Attack on the Medway, June 1667, by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest, painted c.1667.
The captured ship Royal Charles is right of centre.

1777: (Sir) John Ross (CB) is born. The son of the Rev. Andrew Ross of Balsarroch, minister of Inch, near Stranraer, and Elizabeth Corsane, daughter of Robert Corsane, the Provost of Dumfries. In 1786, aged only nine, he would join the Royal Navy as an apprentice. He would serve in the Mediterranean and the English Channel and with the Swedish Navy, eventually becoming known as an Arctic explorer.

1779: Spanish & French forces begin the Great Siege of Gibraltar during the American War of Independence. Combined Franco-Spanish fleets blockaded the garrisoned 5,382 British troops from the sea, while on land, an enormous army was engaged in constructing forts, redoubts, entrenchments, and batteries from which to attack the Rock - with expectations that the capture of Gibraltar would be relatively quick.
In reality, the siege would be the largest action fought during the war in terms of numbers, and at three years and seven months, it is the longest siege endured by the British Armed Forces.

One of the many guns and embrasures within The Rock of Gibraltar.

1944: Consolidated 'Canso' 9754 'P' of No.162 Sqdn. R.C.A.F., operating from Wick, Scotland, with Flt. Lt. D.E. Hornell and crew, was on sea patrol near the Faroes in the North Atlantic, when it was attacked and badly damaged by the German U-boat U-1225.
Flt. Lt. Hornell succeeded in counter-attacking the U-1225 (which sank with all 56 crew-members), before bringing his blazing aircraft down on the heavy swell. The one serviceable dinghy could not hold all the crew so they took it in turns in the water. When the survivors were rescued 21 hours later, two crew members had died and Flt. Lt. Hornell was blinded & weak from exposure & cold - he died shortly after being picked up, and posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for inspiring leadership, valour and devotion to duty.

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Consolidated PBY-5A 'Canso', painted in the colours and markings of 9754 'P' of No.162 Sqdn RCAF, and dedicated to Flt. Lt. David Hornell, VC.

1981: The Humber Bridge, near Kingston upon Hull, England, is opened to traffic, three weeks ahead of it's official opening by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.
Spanning the Humber (the estuary formed by the rivers Trent and Ouse), the 2,220 metre single-span suspension bridge, connecting Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, would hold the title for the world's longest single-span suspension bridge for 17 years.

Dutch registered cargo vessel 'Lady Helene' passing beneath the Humber Bridge on her way up the estuary, bound for Goole.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 25th
« Reply #379 on: June 25, 2013, 10:55:16 am »

June 25th...

1610: On 25th June, Henry Hudson's ill-fated fourth voyage reached what is now the Hudson Strait at the northern tip of Labrador. Believing they may have finally found the elusive Northwest Passage, the explorers on board 'Discovery' would follow the southern coast of the strait, entering Hudson Bay at the beginning of August.

A full-size replica of Henry Hudson's 'Discovery'. The original ship had previously been used in the 1607 founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in what was to become the United States of America.

1658: The Battle of Rio Nuevo began on the island of Jamaica, between Spanish forces under the former Spanish governor of Jamaica, Don Cristóbal Arnaldo Isasi, and English forces under governor Edward D'Oyley during the Anglo-Spanish War (1654 - 1660).
The invading Spanish were hoping to retake the island (lost in 1655) for the Spanish crown, but instead, they were repulsed and routed by the English defenders in a pitched battle lasting two days. The Battle of Rio Nuevo is the largest battle to be fought on Jamaica.
The island would eventually be ceded to England by Spain in full in 1670 at the Treaty of Madrid.

1786: Russian navigator Gavriil Pribylov discovers St. George Island of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, during a search for the breeding grounds of northern fur seals. St. George Island was the first of the Pribilofs to be discovered. It was named after Pribylov's ship, the 'St. George'.

1900: His Serene Highness Prince Louis of Battenberg is born. The youngest child and the second son of Prince Louis of Battenberg and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. In June 1917, when the Royal Family stopped using their German names and titles and adopted the more British-sounding "Windsor", he would acquire the courtesy title by which he would become familiar - Lord Louis Mountbatten.

1944: U.S. Navy and Royal Navy ships bombard Cherbourg to support United States Army units engaged in the Battle of Cherbourg. The Allied force attacked German fortifications and engaged in a series of duels with coastal batteries, providing close infantry support, which General J. Lawton Collins extended for an hour.

Allied reports agreed that the most effective naval gunnery was small ship direct fire support of infantry. While the bombardment force's heavy guns neutralised twenty-two of twenty-four assigned navy targets, none were destroyed. German batteries were eliminated as a threat when the infantry captured them.

U.S.S. 'Texas' (BB-35) in San Jacinto State Park, October 2006. Shown above in her 1945 paint scheme, 'Texas' was the flagship of the 2nd Task Group at the Battle of Cherbourg.

1960: Two cryptographers working for the United States National Security Agency left the U.S. for a vacation in Mexico, from where they would defect to the Soviet Union (via Havana) on board a Russian freighter.
On 5th August, the Pentagon announced that the former U.S. Navy servicemen had not returned from vacation and said "there is a likelihood that they have gone behind the Iron Curtain." In September 1960, the defectors appeared at a news conference in Moscow and announced they had requested asylum and Soviet citizenship.

1997: Jacques-Yves Cousteau died of a heart attack on 25th June 1997 in Paris, aged 87. Following a Roman Catholic Christian funeral, he was laid to rest in the family vault at Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France.

The former French naval officer, was an explorer, conservationist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française.
Possibly best known for his television series 'The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau' featuring his work on board the research vessel 'Calypso', his legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau,
(11th June 1910 - 25th June 1997).

2013: June 25th marks the third international 'Day of the Seafarer', an official United Nations observance day.
This year's theme for Day of the Seafarer is 'Faces of the Sea', which the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is celebrating with a social media campaign, calling on all supply chain partners, including those beyond the maritime sector, to help highlight the sheer diversity and scale of products used in everyday life that travel by sea, and to recognise the importance of the people that deliver them; more than 1.5 million seafarers.

The IMO 'Day of the Seafarer' logo & campaign banner. For further information, see
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 26th
« Reply #380 on: June 26, 2013, 05:40:36 pm »

June 26th...

1857: Queen Victoria presents the first Victoria Cross medals to 62 of the 111 Crimean recipients at an investiture ceremony on Friday, 26th June 1857, in Hyde Park, London.
The first presentation was made in order of the Services. The Senior Service, the Royal Navy, including the Naval Brigade, Royal Marines, followed by the various Regiments of the Army.

Due to his superior rank, Commander Henry Raby was the first man to physically receive the Cross at the inaugural investiture, however the first person ever to be awarded a VC for his actions (but fourth in line at the ceremony) was Lieutenant Charles Lucas RN.

Royal Navy
1.   Commander Henry James RABY RN (Naval Brigade)
2.   Commander John BYTHESEA. RN.
3.   Commander Hugh Talbot BURGOYNE. RN.
4.   Lieutenant Charles Davis LUCAS. RN. (The first person to actually win the VC)
5.   Lieutenant William Nathan Wrighte HEWETT. RN. (Naval Brigade)
6.   Gunner John ROBARTS RN.
7.   Boatswain Joseph KELLAWAY. RN.
8.   Boatswain Henry COOPER. RN.
9.   Seaman Joseph TREWAVAS. RN.
10. Seaman Thomas REEVES. RN. (Naval Brigade).
11. Boatswain's Mate Henry CURTIS. RN. (Naval Brigade).
12. Captain of the Mast George INGOUVILLE. RN.

Royal Marines
13. Lieutenant George Dare DOWELL. RM Artillery
14. Bombardier Thomas WILKINSON. RM Artillery.

A painting of the first Victoria Cross investiture by George H. Thomas (1824-1868).

1942: The maiden flight of the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The first prototype, XF6F-1 (02981) was powered by a Wright Cyclone radial engine when it took off on 26th June 1942. Towards the end of July, the second prototype, XF6F-3 (02982), would be tested with a more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp.

The unpainted Grumman Hellcat XF6F-1 (02981) prior to its first flight.

1959: Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally opened the St. Lawrence Seaway with a short cruise aboard Royal Yacht 'Britannia', after addressing the crowds in St. Lambert, Quebec.
Comprising of a system of locks, canals and channels to link the North American Great Lakes & St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean, the 2,300-mile St Lawrence Seaway (aka the Great Lakes Waterway), had opened to commercial traffic several weeks earlier, on 25th April 1959. 

On board image from H.M.Y. 'Britannia' as she negotiates part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, 1959.

1986: Entrepreneur Richard Branson begins his second attempt to claim the transatlantic crossing record for Britain. He and his team left New York at dawn on board their 72 ft powerboat Virgin Challenger II, for the 3,000-mile voyage.
Hoping to recapture the Blue Riband for the UK - (at the time) held by liner SS 'United States' since 1952 for a crossing in three days and 10 hours - the team must reach Bishop's Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, by 21:00 BST on 29th June.

Richard Branson piloting 'Virgin Atlantic Challenger II' in New York Harbour, 1986.

1994: The 'BOS 400', a French Derrick/Lay Barge was being towed from Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo to Cape Town, South Africa, by the Russian tugboat 'Tigr'. During a storm on 26th June 1994, the tow-rope broke loose causing the 'BOS 400' to run aground off Duiker Point near Sandy Bay.
At the time of the stranding, the 'BOS 400' was one of the most powerful crane barges in the world capable of lifting 1200 tons and valued at over $70 million. Despite several towage attempts, the shipwreck was considered a total loss as salvors were able to recover little from the wreck.

The wrecked 'BOS 400' on the rocks at Duicker Point, South Africa.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 27th
« Reply #381 on: June 27, 2013, 10:14:34 pm »

June 27th...

1745: A chance naval encounter on 27th June (15th June, Old Style) at Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, probably affected the outcome of the Siege of Louisbourg, New France, during King George's War.

In the harbour at Tatamagouche, 'Resolution' (12 guns, 50 crew), under the command of Captain David Donahew of New England, later supported by Captain Daniel Fones in the 'Tartar' (14 guns, 100 crew); and Captain Robert Becket in the 'Bonetta' (six guns), surprised a French convoy led by Paul Marin de la Malgue, comprised of 4 ships and 50 Indian war canoes (A combined force of 1200 men) en route from Annapolis Royal to Louisbourg.

After a fierce two-hour battle, the French ships withdrew and the surviving Indians were driven ashore. The British reported there was a "considerable slaughter" of the French and natives.
Without the relief of the convoy, Duchambon surrendered Louisbourg to New England the following day.

1834: Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle (1831-36): Mr. George Rowlett, the Purser, died on 27th June  after a long illness and was buried at sea. He was 38 years old.

1898: More than three years after his departure, Joshua Slocum returned to Newport, Rhode Island on 27th June, having completed the first solo-circumnavigation, covering a distance of more than 46,000 miles with his rebuilt 36' 9" rigged sloop oyster boat, 'Spray'.
Slocum's return went almost unnoticed. The Spanish-American War which had begun two months earlier dominated the headlines. After the end of major hostilities, many American newspapers published articles describing Slocum's amazing adventure.

In 1899 he published his account of the epic voyage in his now famous book, 'Sailing Alone Around the World'.

A static model of Joshua Slocum's boat, 'Spray'.

1905: During a break from gunnery practice, near Tendra Island off the Ukrainian coast, sailors start an uprising aboard the pre-dreadnought battleship 'Potemkin', when the ship's second in command (allegedly) threatened to shoot crew members for their refusal to eat the rotten and infested food they had been served. The rebellion by the crew against their oppressive officers (during the Russian Revolution of 1905), later came to be viewed as an initial step towards the Russian Revolution of 1917, and was the basis of Sergei Eisenstein's silent film 'The Battleship Potemkin' (1925).

1917: On a voyage from New York to London with general cargo, the Cunard-owned British passenger steamer 'Ultonia', (built by C. S. Swan & Hunter, Ltd., Newcastle in 1898), was 190 miles southwest of Fastnet when she was sunk by the German submarine U-53. 1 person was lost in the incident.

The SS 'Ultonia'.

1918: Canadian hospital ship H.M.H.S. 'Llandovery Castle', built in 1914 in Glasgow as R.M.S. 'Llandovery Castle'  for the Union-Castle Line, was a  on a voyage from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England when she was torpedoed off southern Ireland by German submarine U-86, in violation of international law.
When the crew took to the lifeboats, U-86, surfaced, ran down all the lifeboats except one, and shot at the people in the water. Only the 24 people in the remaining lifeboat survived. They were rescued shortly afterwards and testified as to what had happened. Among those lost were fourteen nursing sisters from Canada.

1959: The day after Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the St. Lawrence Seaway with President Eisenhower, she attended dedication ceremonies in Massena, New York, with U.S. Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.

1988: On 27th June, U.S. Navy guided-missile frigate, U.S.S. 'Samuel B. Roberts' (crippled by a mine in the Persian Gulf during April 1988) was loaded onto the 'Mighty Servant 2', a semi-submersible heavy lift ship owned by Dutch shipping firm Wijsmuller Transport and carried back to Newport, costing $1.3 million.
Arriving at the BAth Irin Works yard on 6th October 1988, the repair job was unique: the entire engine room was cut out of the hull, and a 315-ton replacement module was jacked up and welded into place. She undocked 1st April 1989 for sea trials.

U.S.S. 'Samuel B. Roberts' being transported by MV 'Mighty Servant 2' from Dubai to Newport, Rhode Island.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 28th
« Reply #382 on: June 28, 2013, 09:06:48 pm »

June 28th...

1491: Henry VIII of England is born at the Palace of Placentia (Greenwich Palace), Greenwich, on the banks of the River Thames, downstream from London. The Palace was demolished in the seventeenth century and replaced with the Greenwich Hospital (now The Old Royal Naval College).
As King, Henry is traditionally cited as (one of) the founders of the Royal Navy. He would also develop a somewhat disturbing addiction to wedding cake...

1598: Abraham Ortelius died on 28th June 1598. His death, and burial, in St Michael’s Præmonstratensian Abbey church in Antwerp, were marked by public mourning.
The Flemish cartographer and geographer, generally recognised as the creator of the first modern atlas, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), is also believed to be the first person to imagine that the continents were joined together before drifting to their present positions.

Abraham Ortelius (14th April 1527 - 28th June 1598),
Painting by Peter Paul Rubens.

A New England colonial army captures Louisbourg, New France, after a forty-seven-day siege (New Style).

1745: Occurring between 11th May - 28th June 1745 (30th April - 16th June, Old Style), the New Englanders' landward siege of Louisbourg (present-day Cape Breton Island), supported by Commodore Warren's fleet, comes to an end when the French capitulate following 47 days (6 weeks and 5 days) of siege and bombardment.
News of the victory reached Governor Shirley in Boston on 3rd July which, coincidentally, was commencement day at Harvard (usually a day of celebration in itself). All of New England celebrated the taking of France's mighty fortress on the Atlantic.
Louisbourg was returned, over the objections of the victorious colonists, to French control after the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

The Capture of Louisburg, 28th June 1745.

1902: The U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Act, authorizing President Theodore Roosevelt to acquire rights from Colombia for the Panama Canal.

1904: Built by Alex Stephen & Sons Ltd of Linthouse, Glasgow, SS 'Norge', a Danish passenger liner sailing from Copenhagen, Oslo and Kristiansand to New York, mainly with emigrants, ran aground on Hasselwood Rock, close to Rockall, and sank in 1904. It remained the biggest civilian maritime disaster in the Atlantic Ocean until the sinking of the R.M.S. 'Titanic' eight years later.

The final death toll was 635, among them 225 Norwegians. The 160 survivors spent up to eight days in open lifeboats before rescue. Several more people died in the days that followed rescue as a result of their exposure to the elements and drinking the salt water.

The SS 'Norge'. The wreck of 'Norge' was located off Rockall in July 2003.

1919: The Treaty of Versailles is signed in Paris, bringing fighting to an end in between Germany and the Allies of World War I.

1956: With extensive damage to her bow, following a collision with U.S.S. 'Eaton' during May, U.S.S. Wisconsin (BB-64) immediately put in at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard the for repairs.
The repair process was accelerated because their was a 'spare' 120-ton, 68-foot bow section available for the uncompleted Iowa-class battleship 'Kentucky'.
Once the 'new' bow arrived by barge from Newport News Shipyard in Virginia, the Norfolk shipyard personnel worked around the clock to complete the repair operation in 16 days, grafting the new bow onto the old battleship.
On 28th June 1956, the ship was ready for sea and able to carry out her midshipman training cruise as scheduled.

The bow of U.S.S. Wisconsin (BB-64) after her 'nose-job'.

1958: The adventure film 'The Vikings' is released. Based on the novel The Viking by Edison Marshall, based in its turn on legendary material from the sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons. The film was directed by Richard Fleischer, produced by and starring Kirk Douglas, with Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Ernest Borgnine.

Theatrical poster for 'The Vikings' (1958).
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 29th
« Reply #383 on: June 29, 2013, 02:18:59 pm »

June 29th...

1502: On 29th June, with a hurricane brewing, Christopher Columbus arrived at Santo Domingo hoping to find shelter, but was denied port, and the new governor refused to listen to his storm prediction. Instead, while Columbus's ships sheltered at the mouth of the Rio Jaina, the first Spanish treasure fleet sailed into the hurricane.
Columbus's ships survived with only minor damage, while 29 of the 30 ships in the governor's fleet were lost to the 1st July storm. In addition to the ships, 500 lives (including that of the governor, Francisco de Bobadilla) and an immense cargo of gold were surrendered to the sea.

1534: During his first voyage to the New World (1534), French navigator and explorer Jacques Cartier becomes the first European to reach the island now known as Prince Edward Island - located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, west of Cape Breton Island, north of the Nova Scotia peninsula, and east of New Brunswick. As part of the French colony of Acadia, the island was called Île Saint-Jean.

1776: First privateer battle of the American Revolutionary War is fought at Turtle Gut Inlet near Cape May, New Jersey, resulting in an important, early naval victory for the Continental Navy, and the future "Father of the American Navy", Captain John Barry. The battle also marked the first American casualty of the war in New Jersey, Lieutenant Richard Wickes, brother of Captain Lambert Wickes. It was the only revolutionary war battle fought in Cape May County.

1793: Joseph Ludwig Franz Ressel is born in Chrudim, Bohemia, Austrian Empire. His father was a native German speaker, while his mother was a native Czech. After completing his education, Ressel would go on to become an inventor and a forester for the Austrian government, supplying quality wood for the Navy. He would design and test one of the first working ship's propellers (for which he was granted a patent in 1827), and would become involved in the development of steam-powered boats to such a degree that a monument to him in a park in Vienna commemorates him as “the one and only inventor of the screw propeller and steam shipping”.

Ressel's patent application described his invention as a “never-ending screw which can be used to drive ships both on sea and rivers.”

1890: Alexander Parkes, a chemist, metallurgist and inventor from Birmingham, England, died on this day, aged 76 years. The son of a brass lock manufacturer, Parkes was apprenticed to Messenger and Sons, brass founders of Birmingham, before going to work for George and Henry Elkington, who patented the electroplating process.
In the 1850's Parkes's experiments with cellulose fibers and nitric acid led to the discovery of cellulose nitrate. This led to his invention of Parkesine, the world's first man-made plastic. Patented in 1855, Parkesine (later known as xylonite) was used in the production of (amongst other things) ornaments, knife handles, and fishing reels.

In total Parkes held at least 66 patents on processes and products mostly related to electroplating and plastic development.
He is buried in West Norwood Cemetery although his memorial was removed in the 1970's.

Alexander Parkes (29th December 1813 - 29th June 1890).

1986: Richard Branson's 72-ft powerboat, 'Virgin Atlantic Challenger II', smashed the world record for the fastest surface crossing of the Atlantic when it reached the Bishop Rock, off the Isles of Scilly, just after 19:30 BST.
Although the voyage was completed more than two hours faster than the previous record-holder, SS 'United States', Branson was denied the Blue Riband by the trustees of the award because he had broken two rules of the competition - he had stopped to refuel en route and his vessel did not have a commercial maritime purpose.
However, as the Blue Riband is only awarded for westbound crossings, cynics speculated whether this was part of a 'plan' to maximise publicity for the relatively new Virgin Atlantic Airline, with the Virgin boss playing the role of "the valiant but hard done-by Brit".

Travelling eastbound, 'Virgin Atlantic Challenger II' sets a new transatlantic crossing record, 29th June 1986.

2002: The so-called Second Battle of Yeonpyeong occurs between North Korean and South Korean patrol boats along a disputed maritime boundary near Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea in 2002. Following a similar confrontation in 1999, two North Korean patrol boats crossed the contested border and engaged two South Korean patrol boats.

Both the North Korean and South Korean flotillas took casualties from the action. Thirteen North Koreans were killed and twenty five wounded, while four South Korean sailors died and nineteen were injured. A damaged South Korean craft later sank while under tow, while a damaged North Korean vessel was able to limp its way back to port.
Both sides laid blame on each other and South Korea demanded an apology from North Korea.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - June 30th
« Reply #384 on: June 30, 2013, 10:31:50 am »

June 30th...

1704: Captain John Quelch was an English pirate who had a lucrative but very brief career of about one year. His chief claim to historical significance is that he was the first person to be tried for piracy outside of England under Admiralty Law and thus without a jury. These Admiralty courts had been instituted to tackle the rise of piracy in colonial ports where civil and criminal courts had proved ineffective.

On Friday, 30th June 1704, John Quelch (and his mutinous pirate crew of the 'Charles') were marched on foot through Boston to Scarlet's Wharf accompanied by a guard of musketeers, various officials, and two ministers, while in front was carried a silver oar, the emblem of the Lord High Admiral. Upon reaching the gallows, the minister gave the pirates a long and fervent sermon.
All of the pirates showed repentance on their faces except Captain Quelch. Before he was hanged, Quelch stepped up while holding his hat and bowed to the spectators. He also gave a short address and warned them, "They should take care how they brought money into New England to be hanged for it."

1944: Fought immediately after the successful Allied landings from 6th June 1944, The Battle of Cherbourg ends with the surrender of the strategically valuable port to American forces. A few German troops cut off outside the harbour defences held out until 1st July.
The Germans had so thoroughly wrecked and mined Cherbourg that the port was not brought into limited use until the middle of August; although the first ships were able to use the harbour in late July.

Aerial photograph of Cherbourg, France, 1944.

1954: First adopted as the war flag on 15th May 1870 but falling into disuse at the end of WW2, the Japanese 'Rising Sun' flag with a red circle close to the middle (offset to the lanyard) and 16 red rays in a Siemens star formation was re-adopted on 30th June 1954, as the war flag and naval ensign of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
The JMSDF also employs the use of a masthead pennant. First adopted in 1914 and readopted in 1965, the masthead pennant contains a simplified version of the naval ensign at the hoist end, with the rest of the pennant colored white. The ratio of the pennant is between 1:40 and 1:90.

The flag is considered offensive in countries which were victims of Japanese aggression (especifically in China and the Koreas) where it is considered to be associated with Japanese militarism and imperialism.

Naval ensign, flown by ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy (1889–1945) and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. (1954–present)

1969: The RAF's 'V-force' relinquish the 'Quick Reaction Alert' role and responsibility for Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent passes to the Polaris missile submarines of the Royal Navy.

1997: At 23:30 hrs (local time) the Hong Kong handover ceremony officially began with the Prince of Wales reading a farewell speech on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II. Moments before midnight the British national flag and Hong Kong colonial national flag were slowly lowered to the British national anthem, symbolising the end of British colonial rule in Hong Kong.
At midnght, British sovereignty of Hong Kong was officially transferred from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China. The Chinese national flag and new Hong Kong regional flag were simultaneously raised to the Chinese national anthem.
Shortly afterwards, Prince Charles and Mr Patten boarded the Royal Yacht 'Britannia' and waved a final farewell to the strains of 'Rule Britannia' and 'Land of Hope and Glory'.

2009: MV 'Demas Victory', a Dubai-based supply ship servicing offshore oil and gas platforms, sank in rough seas, 10 nautical miles off the coast of the Qatari capital city of Doha at around 06:30 hrs (local time).
The captain had put in a request to re-enter Doha Port, however, officials advised that the ship remain at anchor due to the conditions. The ship capsized three minutes later after it was hit by a huge wave.
At the time of its sinking, the MV 'Demas Victory' was carrying 9 crew and 26 others, with most of them asleep in their cabins. Only five people were rescued (they were on deck or in the wheelhouse at the time of the accident) and six bodies recovered.

Offshore supply vessel 'Demas Victory' (now 'Etihad') in 2007.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 1st
« Reply #385 on: July 01, 2013, 11:50:38 am »

July 1st...

1762: The British launch a combined land and naval attack on the Morro during the Siege of Havana. The fleet detached 4 ships of the line for this purpose: H.M. ships, 'Stirling Castle', 'Dragon', 'Marlborough' and 'Cambridge'.
Naval and land artilleries simultaneously opened fire, however, naval guns were ineffective, the fort being located too high. Counter-fire from 30 guns of the Morro inflicted 192 casualties and seriously damaged the ships, three of which later sank, forcing them to withdraw.
Meanwhile, the bombardment by the land artillery was far more effective. By the end of the day, only 3 Spanish guns were still effective on the side of the Morro facing the British batteries.

Bombardment of the Morro Castle, Havana, 1st July 1762, by Richard Paton.
Left to right: H.M.S. 'Marlborough', H.M.S. 'Dragon', H.M.S. 'Cambridge'.

1782: The Raid on Lunenburg (aka the Sack of Lunenburg) occurs on the morning of 1st July 1782 (during the American Revolution) when the famous American Privateer Captain Noah Stoddard of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, leading approximately 170 American privateers in four heavily armed vessels, attacks the British settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
The privateers looted the settlement and kept the militia at bay with the threat of destroying the entire town. When the American privateers left, they took three prisoners who were later released (from Boston) without a ransom having been paid.

The Sack of Lunenburg 1782, by A. J. Wright.

1810: The 'Méduse', a 40-gun Pallas-class frigate of the French Navy, is launched on this day in 1810. Six years later, she would strike the Bank of Arguin and became a total loss. In the immediate aftermath of the wreck, a story would unfold to make 'Méduse' one of the most infamous shipwrecks of the Age of Sail.

1872: Louis Charles Joseph Blériot is born at No.17 rue de l'Arbre à Poires (now rue Sadi-Carnot) in Cambrai, France. The first of five children born to Clémence and Charles Blériot, he would go on to be an inventor, engineer and aviator, developing the first practical headlamp for cars before becoming internationally known for making the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier than air aircraft.

1908: S.O.S. becomes effective as the international distress signal. It was first adopted by the German government in radio regulations effective 1st April 1905, and became the worldwide standard under the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, which was signed on 3rd November 1906, becoming effective on this day in 1908.
S.O.S. remained the maritime radio distress signal until 1999, when it was replaced by the 'Global Maritime Distress Safety System'. S.O.S. is still recognised as a visual distress signal.

1911: Germany despatches the Iltis-class gunboat SMS 'Panther' to Morocco, sparking the Agadir Crisis (aka the Second Moroccan Crisis, or the Panthersprung). The incident spawned the term "gunboat diplomacy" (referring to diplomatic demands backed up by a show of force), and contributed to the international tensions that would lead to the First World War.

The notorious gunboat, SMS 'Panther'.

1940: RAF Bomber Command sends 38 aircraft to attack targets in Germany in daylight, including the German battlecruiser 'Scharnhorst' whilst undergoing repair at Kiel. They send another 73 aircraft to attack targets in Germany overnight, including Kiel, where 'Prinz Eugen' is damaged and the RAF drops its first 2,000 lb bomb on 'Scharnhorst'.

1942: After the fall of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea a week or so earlier, the Japanese ordered 845 Australian (prisoners of war (POWs) and 208 civilian internees to board the Japanese steam-ship 'Montevideo Maru' for transport to Japan. The 'Montevideo Maru' was not marked as a POW ship.
On 1st July, the United States submarine U.S.S. 'Sturgeon' attacked and sank the ship near the northern Philippine coast. Of the 1,140 people aboard, including 88 crew, reportedly only 18 crew members survived.

SS 'Montevideo Maru', c.1941.

1972: The Canadian ketch 'Vega', flying the Greenpeace III banner in protest against French nuclear weapon tests in the South Pacific, is rammed by the French naval minesweeper 'La Paimpolaise' while in international waters. No longer in any condition to sail, 'Vega' put out an emergency flag although the French ignored it for over two hours - only responding when 'Vega' lit disaster flares.
Eventually the captain of the minesweeper zipped across to the 'Vega' in a Zodiac, to offer assistance, apologising profusely for their 'earlier encounter.

1989: The music video for "If I Could Turn Back Time" by Cher, is filmed on board the battleship U.S.S. 'Missouri' (BB-63) while the ship is stationed at the former Long Beach Naval Shipyard at Pier D along with the crew.
When the finished video aired, Cher is shown performing with many of the ship's enthusiastic crew, whilst the band plays on the foredeck of 'Missouri', which is completely rigged with speakers, spotlights, light racks and strobes.

The U.S. Navy had hoped the video would be a useful promotional tool, attracting potential recruits in the 18-24 years age range. However, a wave of complaints, especially regarding Cher's 'inappropriate' costume, and a subsequent daytime ban by MTV, caused much controversy and projected an image other than what the Navy wanted for itself.

It is believed that very few complaints were received from the Navy's target audience!

Cher singing 'If I Could Turn Back Time" on the foredeck of U.S.S. 'Missouri'.
One is an American icon, the other is an old battleship full of seamen.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 2nd
« Reply #386 on: July 02, 2013, 10:05:20 pm »

July 2nd...

1494: The Treaty of Tordesillas is ratified by Spain (at the time, the Crowns of Castile and Aragon). The treaty, dividing the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands, had been signed on 7th June 1494.
The other side of the world would be divided a few decades later by the Treaty of Zaragoza or Saragossa, which specified the antimeridian to the line of demarcation specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas.

1609: Aboard the Dutch vlieboot* 'Halve Maen' ('Half Moon), English sea explorer and navigator Henry Hudson reaches Grand Banks, south of Newfoundland whilst searching for the North West Passage for Dutch East India Company.

* vlieboot (fly boat) - A small, inexpensive and manoeuvrable boat resembling a small carrack. With two or at most three masts, a high board and a shallow enough draught to be able to navigate a shallow vlie or river estuary, such as the 'Vlie'.

A static model of the Dutch vlieboot 'Halve Maen' from 1:50 scale kit by Corel.

1679: Europeans first visit Minnesota and see the headwaters of the Mississippi River near Grand Rapids, in an expedition led by French soldier and explorer Daniel Greysolon de Du Luth.

1698: Thomas Savery patents the first steam engine - "A new invention for raising of water and occasioning motion to all sorts of mill work by the impellent force of fire, which will be of great use and advantage for drayning mines, serveing townes with water, and for the working of all sorts of mills where they have not the benefitt of water nor constant windes." [sic]
He demonstrated his engine to the Royal Society on 14th June 1699.

1839: Twenty miles off the coast of Cuba, 53 rebelling Mende captives originally kidnapped in Sierra Leone, Africa (led by Joseph Cinqué), take over the slave ship 'La Amistad', a 19th-century two-masted schooner built and owned by a Spaniard living in Cuba. 'La Amistad' was subsequently captured off the coast of Long Island by the Revenue Cutter U.S.S. 'Washington'.

The Mende and 'LA Amistad' were interned while court proceedings were undertaken for their disposition. The case, United States v. The Amistad (1841) was finally decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in favour of the Mende, restoring their freedom. It became a symbol in the movement to abolish slavery.

The story was the basis for the 1997 historical drama film 'Amistad', directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Morgan Freeman, Nigel Hawthorne, Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey.

Full-size replica of 'La Amistad'.

1942: A German BV 138 seaplane shadowed Allied convoy PQ-17 in the Barents Sea from a distance, reporting in the convoy's position throughout the day. Seven He.115 seaplanes made a unsuccessful torpedo attack on the convoy, while German battleship 'Tirpitz', cruiser 'Admiral Hipper', four destroyers, and two torpedo boats departed Trondheim, Norway to intercept  - 'Operation Rösselsprung'. The German ships were spotted by Soviet submarine K21, which attacked and reported a hit, but in actuality the torpedo had missed. On 5th July, 'Operation Rösselsprung' was canceled and 'Tirpitz' reversed course for Bogen near Narvik, Norway, arriving the following day.

1961: Ernest Miller Hemingway, aged 61 years, died as a result of a "self-inflicted wound to the head", in Ketchum, Idaho.
The American author and journalist published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Three novels, four collections of short stories, and three non-fiction works were published posthumously.
Producing most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, his economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations.

Ernest Hemingway (21st July 1899 – 2nd July 1961)
The Nobel Prize-winning author aboard his Yacht 'Pilar', around 1950.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 3rd
« Reply #387 on: July 03, 2013, 11:41:32 am »

July 3rd...
1608: Québec City is founded by French explorer and diplomat Samuel de Champlain. After landing at the "point of Quebec" on 3rd July 1608, he set about fortifying the area by the erection of three two-storey wooden buildings, that he collectively called the "Habitation". Surrounding them with a wooden stockade and a moat 12 feet wide, this was the very beginning of Quebec City.

The arrival of Samuel de Champlain on the future site of Quebec City, 1608.
 Painting by George Agnew Reid, c.1909.

1767: Pitcairn Island in the Pacific Ocean is sighted from H.M.S. 'Swallow' by 15-year-old Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on a British Royal Navy expeditionary voyage commanded by Philip Carteret, the first definite European sighting.
1844: The last definitely recorded pair of Great Auks are killed on the Icelandic island of Eldey. Unfortunately, the Great Auk's last refuge was accessible to man on one side...

The tiny Icelandic island of Eldey, in July 2010.

1882: A Parliamentary Act is passed approving the construction of docks by the East and West India Dock Company on the River Thames at Tilbury in Essex, England. Construction begins two weeks later.
1886: Raymond Ames Spruance is born in Baltimore, Maryland to Alexander and Annie Spruance. He would go on to become a U.S. Navy admiral in World War II, and command U.S. naval forces during two of the most significant naval battles that took place in the Pacific theatre, the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
1895: Having sailed from Boston, Massachusetts on 24th April 1895, at the start of his solo circumnavigation of the globe, Joshua Slocum stopped off at his boyhood home at Brier Island. After an extended visit to his old haunts on the coast of Nova Scotia, Slocum took his departure from North America at Sambro Island Lighthouse near Halifax, Nova Scotia on 3rd July 1895.

Sambro Island Lighthouse - The oldest surviving lighthouse in North and South America. Cannons in the foreground were once used as fog warnings.

1898: The Spanish Caribbean Squadron (aka the Flota de Ultramar), led by Spanish Admiral Pascual Cervera y Topete, is destroyed by the U.S. Navy at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on 3rd July 1898.
Following a two-month stand-off, the largest naval engagement of the Spanish-American War occurred when the Spanish squadron finally attempted to leave the harbour at Santiago. The American forces destroyed or grounded five of the six ships, with only the new armored cruiser 'Cristobal Colon', surviving. However, when the Americans finally caught up with the 'Cristobal Colon', her captain hauled down her flag and scuttled her.

1940: For the first time, the targets attacked by R.A.F. Bomber Command during this day include invasion barges being massed for a possible invasion of Britain.
1952: At 12:07 hrs the SS 'United States' sailed out of New York, bound for Southampton on her much anticipated maiden voyage. Commodore Manning would not comment on whether America's flagship was going to make a transatlantic record attempt, saying only "I've been instructed to keep to schedule. After all, the main thing is a safe passage."
When the 'United States' passed the Ambrose Light at 14:36 hrs, the starting point for all east-bound record attempts, passengers aboard immediately noticed an increase in speed as the vessel settled noticeably at the stern...

SS 'United States' sailing out from New York and past the Statue of Liberty.

1988: On patrol in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy cruiser U.S.S. 'Vincennes' shot down Iran Air Flight 655 killing all 290 passengers and crew on board. The American government claimed that that the 'Vincennes' was in international waters at the time (which was later proven to be untrue), that the civilian airliner had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and the 'Vincennes' feared that it was under attack.
The Iranians maintained that the 'Vincennes' was in Iranian waters, and that the passenger jet (an Airbus A300 making a routine flight from Bandar Abbas, in Iran, to Dubai in the UAE), was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off.

U.S. Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted on Nightline that the 'Vincennes' was in Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles, but claimed that the Iranian plane did not identify itself and sent no response to warning signals he had sent.
In February 1996, the United States agreed to pay Iran US$131.8 million in settlement to discontinue a case brought by Iran in 1989 against the U.S. in the International Court of Justice relating to this incident.

Ticonderoga-Class Cruiser U.S.S. 'Vincennes' (CG-49) launching a Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) Medium Range (MR) in 1987.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 4th
« Reply #388 on: July 04, 2013, 10:06:01 pm »

July 4th...

American Independance Day

1456: The Siege of Belgrade (or Battle of Belgrade or Siege of Nándorfehérvár) began on 4th July (continuing to 22nd July 1456). After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II was rallying his resources in order to subjugate the Kingdom of Hungary. His immediate objective was the border fort (Hungarian végvár) of the town of Belgrade. Mehmed set up his siege on the neck of the headland with a force of 60,000 - 70,000 men, and a fleet of some 200 river vessels blockading access from the Danube.

1634: The city of Trois-Rivières is founded in New France (Quebec, Canada). The French explorer Jacques Cartier described the site while on his second journey to the New World in 1535. The name "Trois-Rivières", however, was given only in 1599, by Captain Dupont-Gravé, and first appeared on maps of the area in 1601. In 1603, while surveying the Saint-Lawrence River, Samuel de Champlain recommended establishing a permanent settlement in the area, which was finally done on July 4th, 1634, by the Sieur of Laviolette.

1776: American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

1817: Construction on the Erie Canal begins at Rome, New York, United States on 4th July 1817. The first 15 miles, from Rome to Utica, opened in 1819. At that rate the canal would not be finished for thirty years.
The canal was actually completed in October 1825. Running about 363 miles from Albany, New York, on the Hudson River to Buffalo, New York, at Lake Erie, it's completion provided a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes and fostered a population surge in western New York State; opening regions farther west to settlement; and helped New York City become the chief U.S. port.

A view east of eastbound Lockport on the Erie Canal by W.H. Bartlett, c.1839.

1840: Built at the yard of Robert Duncan & Company in Greenock, Scotland, the new 700-ton wooden paddlewheel steamer, R.M.S. 'Britannia', an ocean liner of the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company (later known as Cunard Steamship Company), begins her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England, bound for Halifax, Nova Scotia on the first steam transatlantic passenger mail service.
The funding and first crossing of the 'Britannia' were key plot elements in a Warner Brothers film released in 1941 as Atlantic Ferry in the U.K., and 'Sons of the Sea' in the U.S.

R.M.S. 'Britannia.

1883: Reuben Garrett Lucius "Rube" Goldberg is born in San Francisco California to Jewish parents Max and Hannah Goldberg. He would go on to become an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complex gadgets and contrptions that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways - Similar to Heath Robinson devices in the UK.

1960: The current 50-star version of the Stars and Stripes is adopted by Congress as the Flag of the United States.

National flag and ensign of the United States of America.

1968: Yachtsman Alec Rose sailed into Portsmouth, escorted by 400 motor-boats, yachts, catamarans and canoes, after completing a 354-day round-the-world trip.
A crowd of more than 250,000 people had gathered to congratulate the 59-year-old Portsmouth nursery owner and fruit merchant on his 28,500-mile solo trip around the globe.
A gun was fired as Mr Rose crossed the finishing line in his 36ft pale blue ketch 'Lively Lady' at the Royal Albert Yacht Club, Southsea, at 11:52 BST.
As the weary sea-farer stepped ashore (at 12:33 BST) the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth presented him with a telegram from the Queen;
"Warmest congratulations on your magnificent voyage. Welcome home Queen Elizabeth II"

Alec Rose on board 'Lively Lady' sailing into Southsea, 4th July 1968.

2004: The keel of the R.M.S. 'Queen Mary 2' is laid down in the Louis Joubert Lock on 4th July 2002, in Saint-Nazaire, France, with the hull number G32. The 'QM2' was the first ship to use the huge drydocks since the shipyard built large tankers in the 1970s, such as the MV 'Gastor'.

Remembering the birthday of Mayhem member and legend, 'DickyD' ~
"Happy Birthday matey, wherever you are!"

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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 5th
« Reply #389 on: July 05, 2013, 11:07:13 pm »

July 5th...

1770: The naval Battle of Chesma took place from 5th to 7th July 1770 (N.S.) near and in Çeşme (Chesme or Chesma) Bay, in the area between the western tip of Anatolia and the island of Chios, which was the site of a number of past naval battles between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Venice. It was a part of the Orlov Revolt of 1769, a precursor to the later Greek War of Independence (1821–29), and the first of a number of disastrous fleet battles for the Ottomans against Russia.

Battle of Chios on 24th June, 1770 (Old Style), by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky(1848)

1805: Robert FitzRoy is born at Ampton Hall, Ampton, Suffolk, England, His father was General Lord Charles FitzRoy, and his mother was the daughter of the first Marquess of Londonderry and the half-sister of Viscount Castlereagh, who became Foreign Secretary.
Robert FitzRoy would go on to become a Vice-Admiral of the Royal Navy, achieving lasting fame as the captain of H.M.S. 'Beagle' during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, and as a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate weather forecasting a reality.

1819: Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis GCB, died on this day in 1819, aged 75 years. The Royal Navy officer who fought in the Napoleonic Wars, was the brother of Charles Cornwallis, the 1st Marquess Cornwallis, British commander at the siege of Yorktown.
Cornwallis took part in a number of decisive battles including the Siege of Louisbourg in 1758 and the Battle of the Saintes but is best known as a friend to Nelson and as the Commander-in-chief of the Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic war. He is depicted in the Horatio Hornblower novel, Hornblower and the Hotspur.

Admiral the Honourable Sir William Cornwallis GCB,
(10th February 1744 - 5th July 1819).

1833: The Battle of Cape St Vincent (1833), fought on 5th July, is a decisive encounter in Portugal's Liberal Wars. A naval squadron of 6 ships (mounting 176 guns), commanded by the British officer Charles Napier, on behalf of Dom Pedro IV, regent for the rightful Queen Maria II, defeated the navy of the usurper Dom Miguel, commanding 10 ships (including 3 ships of the line), mounting altogether 372 guns.

The 1833 Battle of Cape St Vincent.

1894: On 5th July, 'Valkyrie II', a British racing yacht, built in 1893 for owner Lord Dunraven of the Royal Yacht Squadron, collided with A. D. Clarke’s cutter yacht 'Satanita' at the Mud Hook Regatta on the Firth of Clyde, killing one crewman. 'Valkyrie II' broke up and sank nine minutes later.

'Valkyrie II' (George Lennox Watson design, 1893), was the Royal Yacht Squadron's challenger for the 1893 America's Cup, which she lost to the defending sloop 'Vigilant'.

1946: The modern bikini is introduced at an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, by French mechanical engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim.
Réard named his swimsuit the "bikini", taking the name from the Bikini Atoll, one of a series of islands in the South Pacific where testing on the new atomic bomb was occurring that summer.
It is assumed that Reard chose the name "bikini" because he believed its revealing style would create extreme reactions among people, similar to those created by America’s atomic bomb in Japan just one summer earlier.

A 1:32 scale female figure wearing a bikini, from a white-metal 'Summer Vacation' kit by Aurora.

1968: After completing a solo-circumnavigation of the globe with his arrival in Southsea (4th July 1968, yachtsman Alec Rose is knighted on 5th July 1968 by Queen Elizabeth II.
He was also given the Freedom of Portsmouth in 1968 and made Freeman of the City of London in 1969.
Alec Rose's voyages are detailed in his book "My Lively Lady". In addition he wrote a children's version called "Around the world with Lively Lady" (1968) and further book titled "My favourite tales of the sea" (1969).

1993: The children's television series 'Theodore Tugboat' begins it's original run. The stories, about a tugboat named Theodore, who lives in the Big Harbour with all of his friends, originated and was set, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The series was filmed on a model set using radio controlled tugboats, ships, and machinery.
Although production of the show ended in 2001, Theodore Tugboat has now appeared in eighty different countries.

Theodore Tugboat.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 6th
« Reply #390 on: July 06, 2013, 08:31:34 am »

July 6th...

1411: Ming Dynasty Admiral Zheng He returned to Nanjing after his second voyage and presented the Sinhalese king, captured during the Ming–Kotte War, to the Yongle Emperor.

A model of Zheng He's (Ming Dynasty) treasure ship compared to one of Columbus's ships.
Photograph of the display in the China Court of the Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai.

1630: Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War begins when King Gustav Adolf of Sweden, leading an army of several thousand on the protestant side, makes landfall at Peenemünde, Pomerania, on the south shore of the Baltic Sea.

1747: John Paul (Jones)* is born on the estate of Arbigland near Kirkbean in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright on the southwest coast of Scotland. The son of John Paul (Sr.), a gardener at Arbigland, and Jean Duff. John Paul would start his maritime career at 13 years of age, going on to fight against the British and become the United States's first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolution.
*John Paul adopted the surname 'Jones' sometime around 1773-74.

1781: Thomas Stamford Raffles is born on the ship 'Ann' off the coast of Port Morant, Jamaica, to Captain Benjamin Raffles and Anne Raffles (née Lyde). His father was a Yorkshireman who had a burgeoning family and little luck in the West Indies trade during the American Revolution, sending the family into debt. The little money the family had went into schooling Raffles.
In time he would go on to become a British statesman, best known for his founding of the city of Singapore, and become heavily involved in the conquest of Java from Dutch and French military forces during the Napoleonic Wars and contribute to the expansion of the British Empire.

1779: The Battle of Grenada takes place on 6th July 1779 during the American War of Independence in the West Indies between the British Royal Navy and the French Navy, just off the coast of Grenada.
Incorrectly believing he had numerical superiority, Admiral Jack Byron had sailed in an attempt to relieve Grenada, which the French forces of the Comte D'Estaing had just captured. Consequently, the British fleet was badly mauled in the encounter, although no ships were lost.
Despite the French victory, d'Estaing did not follow up with further attacks, squandering any tactical advantage the battle gave him.

Battle of Grenada, by Jean-François Hue.

1809: H.M.S. 'Bonne Citoyenne', a 20-gun sloop commanded by Commander William Mounsey, happened upon 'Furieuse', a 38-gun frigate of the French Navy, in the process of taking possession of a large English merchant vessel.
'Furieuse' abandoned her prize and began to flee northwards, with 'the smaller Bonne Citoyenne' in pursuit. Following an 18-hour chase and a seven hour exchange of broadside, 'Furieuse' surrendered and Mounsey took possession. 'Furieuse' was subsequently taken into service as the fifth rate H.M.S.  'Furieuse'.

'Furieuse' taken in tow after capture by H.M.S. 'Bonne Citoyenne'.

1917: The Battle of Aqaba is fought for the Jordanian port of Aqaba. With offshore fire support provided by a small group of British naval vessels, Arabian troops led by T. E. Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') and Auda ibu Tayi capture Aqaba from the Ottoman Empire during the Arab Revolt.

1936: A major breach of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal near Nob End, close to the junction of the canal's three arms, caused millions of gallons of water to cascade 300 feet into the River Irwell, carrying down hundreds of tons of earth and stones.
Although the breach was never repaired, the canal saw continued use between Ladyshore Colliery and Bury, eventually closing in 1961.

The 1936 breach of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal viewed from the north bank.

1940: The first depth charge is used by a Royal Air Force anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The weapon in question was the 450-pound Mk.VII depth charge, which gradually replaced the earlier, ineffective anti-submarine bombs used by RAF Coastal Command.

1967: On 6th July 1967, the manned DSV 'Alvin' (Deep Submergence Vehicle) was attacked by a swordfish during dive No.202. The swordfish became trapped in the skin of the 'Alvin', which was forced to make an emergency surface. The attack took place at 2,000 feet (610 m) below the surface. The fish was recovered at the surface and cooked for dinner.

DSV 'Alvin' and the result of Dive No.202 - Swordfish supper!

1988: Twenty-five years ago, during the late evening of 6th July, the fixed North Sea drilling platform 'Piper Alpha' (originally installed as an oil platform but later converted to gas production), was devastated by explosions and the resulting oil and gas fires.
Engulfed in a massive fireball, 'Piper Alpha', machinery and steelwork melted and evacuation by safety vessels and helicopters became impossible. The futility of the situation turned to horror when the the platform slid into the sea with workers trapped inside fireproofed accommodation block.

Of the 226 people on the platform, 165 died. The explosion also killed two crewmen on a fast rescue boat launched from the standby vessel 'Sandhaven' and the six 'Piper Alpha' crewmen they had rescued from the water. 'Piper Alpha' was - and still is - the world’s worst offshore oil disaster.

A 'Piper Alpha' memorial sculpture can be seen in the Rose Garden in Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen. The oil industry Chapel, St. Nicholas' Kirk, Aberdeen, includes a stained-glass 'Piper Alpha' Memorial Window.

The blazing 'Piper Alpha' platform, 120 miles off the north-east coast of Scotland, 1988.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 7th
« Reply #391 on: July 07, 2013, 06:52:04 pm »

July 7th...

1923: Carrying 373 passengers, the 1,505-ton mailboat, SS 'Caesarea', struck rocks off Corbiére as she was sailing out from the Channel Island of Jersey in thick fog. Although she managed to turn around, she wasn't quite able to make it back to St Helier Harbour before sinking just outside the pierheads.
Fortunately nobody was injured in the incident and 'Caesarea' was refloated on 20th July, prior to being towed to England for repairs. After which, she was sold to the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company and renamed 'Manx Maid'.

'Caesarea'/'Manx Maid'.

1952: On 7th July 1952, during her maiden voyage, ocean-'superliner' SS 'United States' broke the transatlantic speed record held by Queen Mary for the previous 14 years by over 10 hours, making the maiden crossing from the Ambrose lightship at New York Harbour to Bishop Rock off Cornwall, UK in 3 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes at an average speed of 35.59 knots (65.91 km/h; 40.96 mph).

SS 'United States'.

1967: Francis Chichester is knighted at Greenwich by Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for "individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft."
For the ceremony, the Queen used the sword that was used by  Queen Elizabeth I to knight the adventurer Sir Francis Drake (the first Englishman with his crew to complete a circumnavigation).

1977: The James Bond thriller movie, 'The Spy Who Loved Me', is premiered in London, U.K., on 07.07.77.
The tenth film in the series featuring the British secret service agent starred Roger Moore, Barbara Bach, Caroline Munro, Curt Jurgens, and the first of Richard Kiel's two appearances as 'Jaws'. 

The film was shot on location in Egypt and Italy, with underwater scenes filmed at the Bahamas, and a whole new soundstage being built at Pinewood Studios for a massive set which depicted the interior of a supertanker.
With much of the action occurring at sea, the film featured a variety of watercraft, including a Wet-Bike; Naomi's Intermarine 40 Speed-boat; Allied & Soviet submarines; The 'Liparus' Supertanker; Stromberg's base, 'Atlantis'; and James Bond's iconic Lotus Esprit/Submarine.

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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 8th
« Reply #392 on: July 08, 2013, 12:13:49 pm »

July 8th...

1283: The Battle of Malta took place on 8th July 1283 in the entrance to the Grand Harbour, the principal harbour of Malta, when a Aragonese galley fleet commanded by Roger of Lauria defeated a fleet of Angevin galleys (sent to help put down a rebellion on Malta) commanded by William Cornut and Bartholomew Bonvin. Cornut was killed.

A view of Fort St Angelo in Birgu, Malta, right at the centre of Grand Harbour.

1497: Vasco da Gama departs from Lisbon, leading a fleet of four ships with a crew of 170 men on the first direct European voyage to India. The navigators included Portugal's most experienced, Pero de Alenquer, Pedro Escobar, João de Coimbra, and Afonso Gonçalves.

The four ships were:
The 'São Gabriel', commanded by Vasco da Gama; a carrack of 178 tons, length 27 m, width 8.5 m, draft 2.3 m, sails of 372 m².
The 'São Rafael', whose commander was his brother Paulo da Gama; similar dimensions to the São Gabriel.
The caravel 'Berrio', slightly smaller than the former two (later renamed 'São Miguel'), commanded by Nicolau Coelho.
A storage ship of unknown name, commanded by Gonçalo Nunes (later lost near the Bay of São Brás, along the east coast of Africa).

The expedition would follow the route pioneered by earlier explorers along the coast of Africa via Tenerife and the Cape Verde Islands. After reaching the coast of present day Sierra Leone, it would take a course south into the open ocean, crossing the Equator and seeking the South Atlantic westerlies that Bartolomeu Dias had discovered in 1487.

Map showing the various outward and return legs of the Portuguese 'Carreira da India' ('India Run') in the 16th century.

1695: Christiaan Huygens FRS, aged 66, died in The Hague on 8th July 1695, and was buried in the Grote Kerk.
Born into a rich and influential Dutch family at The Hague, in the Dutch Republic, Christiaan Huygens was a prominent Dutch mathematician and natural philosopher. Known particularly as an astronomer, physicist, probabilist and horologist, he also published major studies of mechanics and optics, and a pioneer work on games of chance.
A leading natural philosopher of his time, his work included early telescopic studies of the rings of Saturn and the discovery of its moon Titan, the invention of the pendulum clock and other investigations in timekeeping - including a timepiece suitable for navigational use (longitude by chronometer).

Christiaan Huygens FRS,
(14th April 1629 - 8th July 1695)

1716: The naval Battle of Dynekilen took place in Dynekilen fjord, just north of Strömstad, on the west coast of Sweden during the Great Northern War. The Danish-Norwegian flotilla under Peter Tordenskjold defeated the Swedes, who had arranged their ships and boats defensively, and destroyed a small island fort equipped with six 12-pounder guns. The largest Swedish ship, 'Stenbock, surrendered, after which the lighter vessels were run aground and abandoned. A Swedish land force then arrived, forcing Tordenskjold to quickly leave, taking with him some of the captured Swedish ships. The rest was destroyed. The Dano-Norwegian force suffered 76 casualties.

1855: Sir William Edward Parry died on 8th or 9th July at the baths at Ems, near Koblenz (Federal Republic of Germany), while undergoing treatment after suffering an attack of Asiatic cholera. He was interred in the mausoleum of the Greenwich Hospital on 19th July.
The English rear-admiral and Arctic explorer, known for his 1819 voyage through the Parry Channel - probably the most successful in the long quest for the Northwest Passage. Also for attempting one of the earliest expeditions to the North Pole in 1827. Reaching 82°45′ North latitude, he set a record for human exploration farthest North that stood for nearly five decades before being surpassed at 83°20′26″ by Albert Hastings Markham in 1875-1876.

Rear-Admiral Sir William Edward Parry,
(19th December 1790 - 8th or 9th July 1855).

1879: Under the command of Lt Commander George W. DeLong, a veteran Arctic explorer, U.S.S. Jeannette (formerly H.M.S. 'Pandora', a Philomel-class gunvessel of the Royal Navy) departs from San Francisco carrying an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole.
Although privately owned, 'Jeannette' was to sailing under orders of the Navy, subject to naval laws and discipline. The crew consisted of 30 officers and men, and three civilians. The ship contained the latest in scientific equipment, and had been refitted for Arctic exploration with new boilers and a massively reinforced hull, enabling her to navigate the Arctic icepack.

Hull section of the exploration steamer 'Jeannette' showing bracing added for ice navigation.

2011: On Friday 8th July, Space Shuttle 'Atlantis' (OV-104) successfully launches from pad 39A of NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, beginning her last flight and the final mission of the U.S. Shuttle program.

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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 9th
« Reply #393 on: July 09, 2013, 07:08:27 pm »

July 9th...

1522: Magellan's Voyage around the World (1519-1522): With only rice for rations since they rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 6th May, twenty crewmen had died of starvation before the last surviving ship of Magellan's fleet - the 'Victoria' - put into Cape Verde (a Portuguese holding) on 9th July 1522. In fear of losing his cargo of 26 tons of spices (cloves and cinnamon), Elcano abandoned another 13 members of the crew before embarking on the final leg of the three-year voyage, which would take them back home to Spain.

1764: In Newport, Rhode Island, H.M.S. 'St. John', an 8-gun schooner of the British Royal Navy, is attacked by American colonists opposed to the passage of the Sugar Act (1764) and the subsequent strict imposition of taxes.
As the colony's main industry was producing rum from 'smuggled' molasses, matters came to a head after British crew members allegedly stole goods from some Newport merchants.
On 9th July, under orders from local officials, a group of Rhode Islanders retaliated. Taking control of Fort George on Goat Island in Newport harbour, they fired thirteen 18lb cannon shots at the British ship, which successfully fled the harbour.
The shots were one of the first open acts of rebellion against the British government in America.

1790: The second naval Battle of Svensksund is fought in the Gulf of Finland outside the present day city of Kotka on 9th July 1790 (28th June Old Style), with minor exchanges continuing until 09:00 hrs the following morning.
The Swedish naval forces dealt the Russians a devastating defeat (claiming to have captured and/or destroyed up to 40 percent of the Russian coastal fleet) resulting in an end to the Russo-Swedish War of 1788–90.

The battle of Svensksund is the biggest naval battle ever fought in the Baltic sea, and qualifies among the largest naval battles in history in terms of the number of vessels involved: 500 ships (including supply ships and other ships not involved in combat), over 30,000 men and several thousand cannons.
The victory has been named the biggest Swedish naval victory of all time.

Painting of the Battle of Svensksund by Johan Tietrich Schoultz

1917: At Scapa Flow, just before midnight of 9th July, the St. Vincent-class battleship H.M.S. 'Vanguard' suffered an tremendous explosion, probably caused by an unnoticed stokehold fire heating cordite stored against an adjacent bulkhead in one of the two magazines which served the amidships gun turrets "P" and "Q". She sank almost instantly, killing an estimated 843 men. There were only two survivors.

H.M.S. 'Vanguard'.

1943: In poor weather, the Allied invasion of Sicily, codenamed 'Operation Husky', opens on the night of 9th-10th July when the first elements of a large scale airborne and amphibious invasion force begin to land on the Italian island. The landings would be followed by six weeks of combat, on, around, and over Sicily, as the Axis defenders sought to prevent the Allies from reaching their (now) obvious goal; the invasion of Italy.

Just after dawn, men of the Highland Division up to their waists in water unloading stores on a landing beach on the opening day of the invasion of Sicily, July 1943.

1944: Almost a month after the preparatory naval barrage began, the Battle of Saipan reached it's conclusion at 16:15 hrs on 9 th July, when U.S. Admiral Richmond K. Turner was able to announce that the Mariana Island of Saipan was officially secured by American forces.
Many Japanese committed suicide towards, or at the end of the battle. Amongst them was Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo - the naval commander who led the Japanese carriers at Pearl Harbor and Midway - who had been assigned to Saipan to direct the Japanese naval air forces based there.

Divers survey a sunken Japanese auxiliary vessel on the 'Maritime Heritage Trail - Battle of Saipan', Tanapag Lagoon.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 10th
« Reply #394 on: July 10, 2013, 07:26:01 pm »

July 10th...

1499: Two years after lsailing from Lisbon as part of Vasco Da Gama's fleet to India, Nicolau Coelho is first to arrive back on board the 'Berrio'. Meanwhile, in Cape Verde, Vasco's brother, Paulo da Gama had fallen grievously ill, so Vasco elected to stay by his side on Santiago island, and handed the São Gabriel over to his clerk, João de Sá, to take home.

1690: The Battle of Beachy Head (aka Battle of Bévéziers) was a naval engagement fought on 10th July 1690 (30th June O.S.) during the Nine Years' War. The battle was the greatest French tactical naval victory over their English and Dutch opponents during the war. The English and Dutch lost some 11 ships in total (sources vary), whereas the French did not lose a single vessel; but although control of the English Channel temporarily fell into French hands, Admiral Tourville failed to pursue the Allied fleet with sufficient ardour, allowing it to escape to the river Thames.

Tourville was heavily criticised for not following up his victory and was relieved of his command. English admiral Torrington – who had advised against engaging the superior French fleet but had been overruled by Queen Mary and her ministers – was court-martialled for his performance during the battle. Although he was acquitted, King William dismissed him from the service.

The Battle of Beachy Head.

1906: U.S.S. 'Dewey' (YFD-1) was a floating dry dock built for the United States Navy in 1905, and named for American Admiral George Dewey. On 28th December 1905, 'Dewey' began a journey to serve as repair base in the Philippines under tow by colliers 'Caesar' and 'Brutus', stores ship 'Glacier', and tug 'Potomac'. Leaving the Solomons, Maryland on the Patuxent River, the convoy sailed to Olongapo, Philippines, via Las Palmas in the Canary Islands; Port Said, Egypt; the Suez Canal; and Singapore. This, the longest towing job ever, was accomplished when they arrived at their destination on 10th July 1906.

1940: The German Air Force begins a series of attacks on shipping convoys in the English Channel and the ports along England southern coast. 
The Kanalkampf, or Channel battle, is the first major assault by the Luftwaffe and is being seen as what the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, dubbed in a speech three weeks ago as the preliminary phase of the "Battle of Britain".

1942: An American PBY-pilot spots a downed, intact Imperial Japanese Navy Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter on Akutan Island, Alaska Territory . After recovery and minor repairs, the U.S. Navy uses it to learn the aircraft's flight characteristics.

The 'Akutan Zero' being loaded onto a barge for shipment to the continental U.S. in July 1942.

1943: In support of the Operation Husky (The invasion of Sicily), Operation Narcissus was a raid by forty members of the Special Air Service on a lighthouse on the southeast coast of Sicily. The team landed on 10th July 1943 with the mission of capturing the lighthouse and the surrounding high ground.
Despite intelligence reports, the area was deserted, and so the position was no threat to the nearby 'Husky' landings. The troopers withdrew without a shot being fired.

1985:  In Auckland harbour, two explosions ripped through the stern of the Greenpeace vessel 'Rainbow Warrior' at 23:45 local time (12:45 BST), sinking the 417-tonne, 40m-long vessel in four minutes and killing one of the 11 crew members on board; Portuguese photographer Fernando Pereira.
A hole measuring six feet by eight feet was found in the former North Sea fishing trawler and divers recovered remnants of limpet mines unavailable in New Zealand.
A couple were charged with arson and murder and further investigation revealed that both the accused - Major Alain Mafart and Captain Dominique Prieur - were French DGSE agents.
The French Government tried to deny their involvement and a major cover-up ensued. By September the French defence minister Charles Hernu had resigned and France paid New Zealand $7m compensation.

2011: Whilst sailing from the town of Bolgar to the regional capital, Kazan, 'Bulgaria', a class 785/OL800 Russian river cruise ship (built in Komárno, Czechoslovakia), sank in the Kuybyshev Reservoir of the Volga River near Syukeyevo, Kamsko-Ustyinsky District, Tatarstan, Russia.
After encountering a storm, survivors reported that 'Bulgaria' listed sharply to starboard, this was apparently compounded by the captain trying to turn the boat around, and from water rushing in through the vessel portholes (opened because the ship had no air conditioning). The boat sank within minutes, plunging nearly 66 feet (20 metres) to the river bed.

At the time of the incident, 'Bulgaria' passenger's count is estimated to have been at 201, though she was only rated to carry 120. The catastrophe led to 122 confirmed deaths.

The 'Bulgaria' in 2010.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 11th
« Reply #395 on: July 11, 2013, 04:26:40 pm »

July 11th...

1405: Ming Dynasty fleet commander Admiral Zheng He sets sail from Suzhou to explore the world on the first of seven Ming-era maritime voyages of the Imperial Chinese treasure fleet. In 1403, the Yongle Emperor initiated this project of grand proportions, resulting in seven far-reaching ocean voyages occurring between 1405 to 1433, to the coastal territories and islands in and around the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, and beyond.

1882: The British Mediterranean fleet begins the Bombardment of Alexandria in Egypt as part of the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War. Under the command of Sir Frederick Beauchamp Seymour, a fleet of fifteen Royal Navy ironclad ships commenced the bonbardment which lasted 10 and a half hours. This was followed up on 12th & 13th July with a handful of concentrated attacks on selected targets before the British proceeded to a land invasion as their next step.

H.M.S. 'Condor' during the Bombardment of Alexandria, 1882.

1914: U.S.S. 'Nevada' (BB-36), the lead ship of the two Nevada-class battleships (her sister ship was .Oklahoma) was launched on 11th July 1914 at the Fore River Shipbuilding Company, Mass.; she was sponsored by Miss Eleanor Anne Seibert, 10-year old niece of Governor Tasker Oddie of Nevada and a descendant of the first Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert.

'Nevada' was a leap forward in dreadnought technology; three of her new features would be included on almost every subsequent U.S. battleship: gun turrets with three guns, oil in place of coal for fuel, and the "all or nothing" armour principle. These features made 'Nevada' the first US Navy "super-dreadnought".

The U.S.S. 'Nevada' (BB-36) during her running trials, circa early 1916.

1942: The longest-range daylight raid to date is carried out by aircraft of R.A.F. Bomber Command, when they attack shipyards at Danzig in Poland.

1943: During the Allied invasion of Sicily, while carrying 421 men and a cargo of ammunition, the U.S. Liberty ship SS 'Robert Rowan' is (one of several ships) attacked in the bay at Gela, by German Junkers Ju 88 bombers. During the attack the 'Rowan' was hit by three 500 kg bombs. One bomb passed through the ship, but the other two exploded in the holds. Within twenty minutes the resultant fires reached her munitions, causing a tremendous explosion which tore the ship in half.

Incredibly, all 421 men on board safely evacuated the ship and were picked up by PT boats and transferred to nearby destroyers. The burning ship came to rest on an even keel and burned for two days. The destroyer U.S.S. 'McLanahan' (DD-615) attempted to sink the ship because the fires lit up the area during the night, but this failed as the water was too shallow. The hulk lay in the waters off Gela until 1948 when it was sold and scrapped.

The SS 'Robert Rowan' (Liberty ship K-40) explodes off the coast of Gela, Sicily, 11th July 1943.

1952: At 02:00 BST the ocean-liner SS 'United States', departed from Le Havre on her 'maiden-return' voyage to New York. At 09:17 BST, she passed Bishop Rock, beginning her attempt to set a new record for the fastest westbound transatlantic crossing - thus claiming the Blue Riband from the current holder, the 'Queen Mary' (launched in 1934).
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 12th
« Reply #396 on: July 12, 2013, 08:09:15 pm »

July 12th...

1776: Captain James Cook sets off from Plymouth, England, on board 'Resolution' to begin his third (and fatal) expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Cook got off on the late evening of 12th July - almost exactly four years after leaving on the previous successful voyage - a coincidence that some viewed as a favorable omen.
The commander of the second ship, 'Discovery', was Lieutenant Charles Clerke, who had sailed with Cook on both circumnavigations but was currently in prison for his brother’s debts; he was not released until the end of July, unwittingly having contracted tuberculosis.
Also sailing on the expedition were the talented surveyor and navigator William Bligh (of future H.M.S. 'Bounty' fame) as Cook’s sailing master; the ever-skillful American mariner John Gore as his first lieutenant; the well-educated James King as his second lieutenant; landscape painter John Webber; and the Society Islander Omai, being returned to his home.

1918: The 'Kawachi', the lead ship of the two-ship Kawachi-class of semi-dreadnought battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy was built at Yokosuka Naval Arsenal and launched in 1910 and commissioned on 31st March 1912.

During World War I, 'Kawachi' was assigned to patrol the sea lanes south of Japan, in the South China Sea and the Yellow Sea, as part of Japan’s contribution to the war effort. She was also at the Battle of Tsingtao.
However, her short operational carreer came to an abrupt end when she was sunk by an explosion caused by spontaneous ignition of unstable cordite in her ammunition magazine on 12th July, while anchored at Tokuyama Bay. 621 officers and crew out of a complement of 1,059 men were killed. Stricken on 2nd September 1918, the hulk was later salvaged and scrapped.

The Japanese battleship Kawachi, c.1911.

1934: Ole Andreassen Aaslundeie, better known as Ole Evinrude, died, aged 57 years. The engineer and inventor of the first outboard motor with practical commercial application was originally born in Hunndalen in Vardal municipality (now Gjøvik), in Oppland, Norway in 1877, he adopted the name Evinrude after his parents relocated to America.

In 1900, Evinrude co-founded the custom engine firm Clemick & Evinrude. In 1907, he invented the first practical and reliable outboard motor, which was built of steel and brass, and had a crank on the flywheel to start the two-cycle engine. In 1907 he had built his first gasoline-powered outboard motor, and two years later, Evinrude Motor Company was founded in Milwaukee. By 1912, the firm employed 300 workers; Evinrude outboards were selling all across America; and the the Evinrude name was becoming known internationally. The rest, as they say, is history.

Early Evinrude Advert.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 13th
« Reply #397 on: July 13, 2013, 08:30:04 pm »

July 13th...

1762: James Bradley FRS, aged 69, died at Skiveralls House in the Cotswold village of Chalford in Gloucestershire.
Born at Sherborne, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, Bradley was an English astronomer, succeeding Edmund Halley as Astronomer Royal from 1742, . He is best known for two fundamental discoveries in astronomy, the aberration of light (1725–1728), and the nutation of the Earth's axis (1728–1748).

These discoveries were called "the most brilliant and useful of the century" by Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre, historian of astronomy, mathematical astronomer and director of the Paris Observatory, in his history of astronomy in the 18th century, because "It is to these two discoveries by Bradley that we owe the exactness of modern astronomy..."

James Bradley FRS,
(March 1693 - 13th July 1762)

1795: The Naval Battle of Hyères Islands was fought on 13th July 1795, off the Hyères Islands, a group of islands off the French Mediterranean coast, about 18 miles east of Toulon. The battle was fought between the van of a British fleet chasing the French squadron, and the French rear. The rear-most French ship, 'Alcide', surrendered before she exploded, causing the loss of about 300 of her crew, while 300 survivors were rescued by the British squadron. After the explosion of 'Alcide', the fighting died out, with the French retreating to Toulon and the British withdrawing to Leghorn, via San-Fiorenzo.

1832: Ethnologist Henry R. Schoolcraft was the first white person to arrive at the source of the Mississippi River at Lake Itasca, Minnesota. A pioneer in Native American studies, Schoolcraft conducted ethnological research among the Ojibwa in the Great Lakes region.

1898: The San Francisco Ferry Building at foot of Market St. opens for business on 13th July 1898 when the first ferryboat and its passengers pulled into what was then called “The Union Depot and Ferry House”. At the height of its glory in the 1930s, more than 50 million passengers passed through it each year.

Despite two major earthquakes and the construction of both the San Francisco (Oakland Bay and Golden Gate) Bridges, the building with its 235 foot high clock tower - inspired by the moorish belltower in Seville -  has not only survived but become one of the most popular attractions in the city.

The Ferry Building on the San Francisco Bay. The Bay Bridge can be seen in the background.

1908: Alec Rose is born in Canterbury. During World War II he would serve in the Royal Navy as a diesel mechanic on a convoy escort, HMS Leith. Later developingI a passion for amateur single-handed sailing, for which he was ultimately knighted.

1989: The Royal World Charity Premiere of 'Licence to Kill' starring Timothy Dalton as the British agent, was held on Tuesday 13th June 1989 at the Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square, London and was attended by Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the last Bond launch they would attend together. The Gala Charity Premiere Benefit was held in aid of the charity the The Prince's Trust. The U.S. American Premiere was held in New York on Tuesday 11th July 1989 at Lowes Astor Plaza theatre near Times Square.
Amongst the vehicles featured were a Cessna 185 seaplane; U.S. Coast Guard Aerospatiale HH-65A Dauphin helicopters; a Harbour Pilot's boat; a black and yellow two-seater Shark Hunter submersible (mini wet submarine) as seen before in 'The Spy Who Loved Me'; a Wavekrest remote-control Sentinel underwater exploratory submersible; Sharkey's fishing boat 'Pa Ja Ma'; a Cigarette 1 Cafe Racer; and the WaveKrest marine research vessel.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 14th
« Reply #398 on: July 14, 2013, 08:10:00 pm »

July 14th...

1789: Spurred on by rumours from the native inhabitants, Alexander Mackenzie completes his journey by canoe to the mouth of the great river he hoped would take him to the Pacific, and thus the discovery of the Northwest Passage - instead, he finds that it flows into the Arctic Ocean. Later named after him, the Mackenzie is the second-longest river system in North America.

1867: Explosives manufacturer Alfred Nobel first demonstrated his most famous invention, dynamite, during a series of tests at the Merstham Quarry in Redhill, Surrey. These tests were to evaluate the use of dynamite in quarry blasting. .

1914: The first patent for Liquid rocket-fuel is granted to Robert H. Goddard of Worcester, Mass., USA.

1942: British aircraft carrier, H.M.S. 'Eagle', completes another delivery of aircraft for the defence of Malta on 14th July with 32 Spitfires being launched from her deck. During this operation (Operation Pinpoint) the carrier's own aircraft complement consists solely of six Sea Hurricanes of 801 Squadron.

1944: From the North Sea, the British carrier task force under Admiral Moore unsuccessfully attacked German battleship 'Tirpitz' in Kaafiord, Norway.

1959: The the first nuclear-powered surface warship in the world, the cruiser U.S.S. 'Long Beach' (CGN-9), is launched at Bethlehem Steel Co., Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Massachusetts., sponsored by the wife of Craig Hosmer, Congressman from California.
The ship had two nuclear reactors (one for each shaft) and could reach 30 knots. She was also the first American cruiser since the end of World War II to built entirely new from the keel up, and was first large combatant in the U.S. Navy with its main battery consisting of guided missiles. She was also the last warship to be fitted with teakwood decks.

The U.S.S. 'Long Beach' just fter she was launched in front of 10,000 spectators, 14th July 1959.
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This Day In 'Boating' History - July 15th
« Reply #399 on: July 15, 2013, 01:20:34 pm »

July 15th...

1536: Second voyage to New World of Jacques Cartier (1535-1536): Ready to return to France in early May 1536, Cartier decided to take Chief Donnacona back with him, so that he might personally tell the tale of a country further north, called the "Kingdom of Saguenay", said to be full of gold, rubies and other treasures.
After an arduous trip down the St. Lawrence and a three-week Atlantic crossing, Cartier and his men arrived in Saint-Malo on 15th July 1536, concluding the second, 14 month voyage, which was to be Cartier's most profitable.

1741: Russian navigator and captain Aleksei Ilyich Chirikov (who along with Bering was the first Russian to reach North-West coast of North America) sights land at Baker Island off Prince of Wales Island at the south end of the Alaska Panhandle.
Unable to find a harbour he sailed north along Baranov Island past the later Russian base at Sitka and sent out a longboat to find an anchorage. When it did not return after a week he sent out his second longboat which also failed to return. Now without any small boats Chirikov had no way of searching for the two longboats or landing on the coast to explore or replenish his supply of fresh water. On 27th July, having waited as long as possible, he abandoned the longboats to their fate and sailed west.

1815: Finding himself trapped in the French Atlantic port of Rochefort (six weeks) after defeat at Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte, with few reasonable options left open to him, embarked aboard the brig 'Épervier' and made his way out to H.M.S. 'Bellerophon' in the early morning of 15th July. At some point between 6:00 and 7:00 am, General Henri Gatien Bertrand climbed aboard the 'Bellerophon', followed by Napoleon. The marines came to attention, and Napoleon walked to the quarterdeck, took his hat off to Captain Maitland and surrendered.
With the former emperor in custody aboard a British warship, the Napoleonic Wars were over.

H.M.S. 'Bellerophon', nicknamed the "Billy Ruffian".

1862: The sailing ship 'Johanna Wagner' , a Prussian barque of 600 tons, commanded by Captain Kempe, was bound from Batavia to Amsterdam with a cargo of tobacco, sugar, coffee, India rubber, gall-nuts, gum damar and tin when she was wrecked at Strandfontein near Muizenberg, South Africa, on 15th July 1862. No lives were lost, but blame for the wreck was placed on the captain declining the services (or advice) from the harbour pilot who had come on board.

"The moral to be deduced from this is, that captains of vessels should have some consideration for pilots, who go off in all weathers, frequently at the risk of their lives. A paltry 6 pounds 6 shillings might have saved this fine vessel, and she might now be at anchor in Simon's Bay, instead of being knocked down for 300 or 400 pounds; while the pilot was all but drowned, and the poor man's boat smashed."
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