19 juin 2010
Catboat Mary (1893)
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J’ai longtemps cherché des détails sur ce joli catboat, mais peu de choses à part des résultats de régates de 1893 à 1895, des joutes nautiques avec le Almira contées par le New York Times, et le nom du propriétaire William E. Elsworth (parfois orthographié Ellsworth) qui me permettait de remonter au Indian Harbor Yacht Club et à la ville de Bayonne, New Jersey.
C’est grâce à la base de données Chronicling America de la Librairie du Congrès que j’ai pu trouver cet article du journal Sun, daté du 11 décembre 1895, qui donne des détails précieux sur ce voilier, comme son architecte et son année de construction, et aussi sa disparition en Caroline du Sud, abandonné par son équipage pendant une tempête.
Abandoned their yacht.
The Elsworth Boys and Their Cousins Gave Up In a Bad Storm.
The fast-sailing cabin catboat Mary, owned by Capt. William E. Elsworth, a son of the veteran yachtsman, Capt. Joseph Elsworth of Bayonne, was abandoned at sea by her owner and crew a week ago last Sunday. At the time the Mary was about thirty miles off the South Carolina coast, en route for a pleasure cruise as far south as the Florida Keys. She had encountered a terrific wind and rain storm, and the skipper feared she would not weather the gale. He and his cousins, William B. Elsworth and Philip E. Van Buskirk, who comprised the crew, were taken from the yacht by sailors from a passing schooner, who were sent to their rescue in a yawl boat.
When the trio left the Mary she was just as sound and tight as the day they set out for the cruise. The schooner landed them at Norfolk, Va. Skipper Elsworth remained there to investigate the fate of his yacht, and his cousins sailed for home on the steamship Jamestown. Yesterday William B. Elsworth told this story of the unfortunate cruise:
“We left New York Bay on the 29th of October with all arrangements for the cruise complete. We sailed leisurely along the coast making stops at Annapolis, Hampden, Norfolk, and Beaufort where Phil Van Buskirk joined us. When we left Beaufort we had pretty fair weather which lasted until the 30th of November. When passing Frying Pan Lightship, off Cape Fear, we encountered very heavy winds, which finally turned into a gale. At 2 o’clock on Sunday morning the storm was at its worst, and rain was falling. The wind was northeast, and we were fighting alone under four-reefed mainsail. The gale continued until 4 o’clock that afternoon, when it died down somewhat.
“We were congratulating ourselves that everything was all right when the wind suddenly shifted, making terribly bad cross seas. We did our utmost to keep the yacht off shore, and dropped our sea anchors. The heavy wind and sea continued, and at 9 o’clock that night we sighted the lights of a schooner. We were then about 27 miles off Georgetown, S. C. The schooner was the Nellie W. Howlett of Bridgeton, N. J., Capt. Steelman. Loaded with phosphate rock, and bound for Norfolk, Va. Capt. Steelman answered our distress guns, and with great difficulty sent a boat to us. Beyond our clothing and a few trinkets we took nothing from the yacht. When we left the Mary was in good condition and had both anchors out. She may have weathered the gale, but I doubt it very much, as for fully five hours after we left her the storm raged unabated.
The deserted yacht was a cabin catboat 32 feet 6 inches over all. She was considered one of the fastest sailing yachts in these waters. Two years ago she was built by Town of Staten Island, and was designed by Capt. Philip Elsworth, uncle of the owner. She carried the colors of the Indian Harbor Yacht Club, and had won victories over the Almira, Kitty, and Onaway. The Elsworth and Van Buskirk boys keenly feel the loss of the boat.
Une erreur dans l’article, de nombreuses autres sources donnent une longueur de 28,76 pieds (28 pieds et 9 pouces, soit 8,76 m).
Dès 1896, on retrouve William E. Elsworth dans les régates, à bord du Mary II.
Mr. William E. Elsworth, 36th st. Ave. E, Bayonne, N. J.
Vous pouvez achetez un tirage de cette photo à la Galerie du Cabestan : “Cat-rigged boat Mary”.