Franklin Belle 1874

Franklin Belle 1874

FRANKLIN BELLE, ketch : The ketch was driven ashore at Oamaru on June 20 during heavy weather and became a complete wreck. A terrific sea was rolling into the roadstead, and the vessel dragged her anchors. Only one man was on board at first, but the captain and four others put off in boats, and on getting on board hoisted sail and endeavoured to wear the vessel. A heavy sea washed over her, washed away the boats, and smashed the hatches, letting the water into the hold. The master, in order to save life, ran the ketch on to the beach, where she broke up before next morning. At the Court of Inquiry the master, Captain Henry Matheson, stated that the ketch was anchored close to the wharf, and when the anchors were being heaved up the chain of one fouled the windlass, and the vessel was driven far down the bay, the seas breaking clean over her. Several efforts were made to work the ketch to windward, but it was found that she was harried by each succeeding sea which swept the decks. The captain then found that the ketch was settling, and he decided that the only course to save life and property was to beach her, otherwise she would have foundered.’ As the result of the ketch being driven over several concrete blocks on the beach, her bottom was stove in and other damage done to the hull, and she became a complete wreck.

The Franklin Belle, No. 57,544, was a ketch of 30 tons register, built at Shipwright’s Point, Tasmania, in 1874, and her dimensions were length 59.7 ft., beam 17.1 ft., depth 4.8 ft.

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