Clyde 1884

Clyde 1884

CLYDE, barque : On November 6, 1884, the barque was totally wrecked at Snuffle Nose, in Horseshoe Bay, four miles south-west of Akaroa South Head, with the loss of 18 lives, there being only one survivor, an apprentice named Gibson. The master, his wife, and three children were among those who perished. The wreck broke up very quickly.

From the account of the apprentice Gibson it appeared that the Clyde was steering a NE. b N. half N. course, and nothing was visible to leeward. The morning was foggy and the sea rather heavy, and about 4 a.m. the man on lookout called out that he could see land on the lee bow. All hands were called to put the ship about, but she missed stays. The master then tried to wear the vessel, but she struck amidships. A boat was lowered, and the master ordered Gibson and another boy to place his wife and children in it. The lee rail of the ship was then low down, and the stem of the boat was caught under it and swamped. The woman and children were dragged on board. Gibson, seeing the mainmast was falling, dived overboard and reached the spanker boom, and then clambered on board again. He saw the captain, stunned and bleeding, floating about the deck, which was under water. Gibson secured the children, and they, with the boatswain’s mate and others, embarked in another boat, which was swamped among the wreckage. The apprentice again reached the spanker boom and saw the captain’s body and that of the nine-year-old girl float by. He seized the child, but a heavy sea swept over him and he lost his hold of her. Gibson then reached a deckhouse drifting by, and was carried into a small bay, from where he managed to reach the shore. He walked several miles to a house near Duvauchelles Bay, from where news of the disaster was sent to Akaroa and Christchurch. On receipt of the news several small steamers were despatched from Akaroa and Lyttelton to the scene of the wreck, and all that could be seen of the Clyde was the top of a mast.

The Clyde, No. 70,792, was a wooden barque of 562 tons register, built on the Williams River, N.S.W., in 1874, and her dimensions were : length, 152.8 ft., beam 29.2 ft., depth 16.8 ft. She was built for Mr. J. Brown, of Newcastle, who sold her to her then owner, Mr. J. C. Ellis, M.L.A., of Newcastle. The Clyde was under the command of Captain’ Edward S. Culmer.

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