HIPPALOS, barque: Foundered and became a total loss off Bluemine Island, Queen Charlotte Sound, on November 27, 1909. The barque sailed from Timaru, in ballast, for Kaipara on November 17. Nearing Cape Campbell, a north-west gale hampered progress, and it took four hours to reach Cloudy Bay. Here she anchored, and reported to headquarters, resuming her passage on November 25, but again put back on the 26th, owing to stress of weather. She sailed the same day at 8 p.m., and arrived off The Brothers Islands at 1.30 a.m. on November 27. After passing Cook Rock, the guiding beacon at Cape Jackson lighthouse was not visible. This caused uneasiness, and at 2.25 a.m. the man on the lookout cried “Hard up”. The helmsman responded, but the barque did not pay off quickly enough, and she struck heavily on Walkers Rock. The ship was under easy sail at the time. All hands were called on deck, and the boats were got in readiness. The master went below and found the vessel making water freely at the bow. The barque was then steered for Guards Bank, and came to anchor in 10 fathoms of water. The vessel had a big list to starboard, and all hands went ashore in the boats, landing at Titirangi Bay. Later they were picked up by the steamer Elsie and landed at Picton.
The steamer Takapuna, bound from Nelson to Wellington, picked up the abandoned Hippalos at 3 p.m. on November 27, on the Cape Jackson side of the French Pass. She was flying distress signals for “Immediate assistance”. The barque was taken in tow, but after five hours the water gained rapidly on the ship’s pumps. The Hippalos then gave an ugly lurch, which warned the skeleton crew from the Takapuna. Captain Stewart, master of the steamer, severed the tow line just as the Hippalos took her final plunge. The barque disappeared, bow first, in 35 fathoms of water, within three-quarter of an hour’s run to Picton.
The Court of Inquiry delivered judgement without retiring. The master had exercised the utmost care. The striking on Walkers Rock was not due or contributed to by any negligence or carelessness. After striking, the master adopted the best means for the safety of the barque and crew. The captain of the Takapuna acted properly in taking the barque in tow and endeavouring to reach Picton instead of beaching her.
The Hippalos, No. 121,161, was a wooden barque of 299 tons register (Lloyd’s Register gives her tonnage as 363 tons gross and 329 tons net register), built at Lillesand, Norway, in 1892, by A. Reinertsen, and her dimensions were : length 127 ft., beam 29.2 ft., depth 12.9 ft. She was owned by Messrs. F. W. Whitton,’ A. Guthrey and R. Whitton, of Sydney, and was under the command of Captain Thomas Norris. She carried a crew of 11, all told. On March 9, 1909, the Hippalos sustained damage amounting to about Â£200 when her sails, yards and rigging of the fore and main masts caught fire from sparks from a â€¢ burning shed on the railway wharf at Wellington. The barque was then commanded by Captain F. W. Whitton. (See plate 61.)