Wednesday, 12 February 2014


"If he did the latter, naturally his instincts,
developed by long experience on
sailing vessels, would be to put as
much blue water between him and the coast
as possible."

 "Thus, when he was due at Port
Elizabeth it was possible for him to be
60 miles from the coast. At this time the gale
was exceptionally severe, and it raged for
upwards of three days."

"Assuming that he
had not been able to effect repairs to the
engine there would be an unusual strain on
the one in use, and also on the rudder."

"A ship has to meet a heavy sea with a certain
amount of caution, and is not able to maintain her speed
against head seas, because they would break over her."

Waratah was under powered compared with other similarly sized steamers of the time. This would have been tested in storm conditions and 'seas breaking over her' and...

...the possibility of waves breaching the foredeck of the Waratah, potentially smashing in the wooden hatch. Captain Pidgeon remarked that if this were the case, she would have gone down very fast.

"It is possible that Captain Ilbery found himself in a dilemma.
He would have to continue going
full speed with one engine in order to get
steering way and the vessel would ship
much water."

'"The rudder under these circumstances
would be subjected to an unusual strain."

"The extraordinary conditions
encountered may have caused it or the engine which was working to break down, and
then the ship would become practically a

A large steamer 'derelict' in a gale force storm at sea would have been prone to meeting oncoming waves broadside, turned turtle and foundered.


Graham Clayton said...

From which ship is the propeller in the picture from, and where is it located?

andrew van rensburg said...

I don't know, Graham. One of many in the public domain.