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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, March 21, 1900, Image 1

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Captain Stone saw that . the . Alert . was
heading for him he ordered the sail taken
in . and -.Just kept ¦ steerage way on the
boat. After some .maneuvering the.life
boat was got alongside the tug and in a
few minutes sixteen of the men | were
transferred • to .the Alert, the , remainder
being left in the: boat- to steer and : take
care of- her while «he was -being 'towed
Into San Francisco. The only man ~ who
had to be helped aboard the j tug was
Chief Officer Fyfe. who was on the sick
list, having injured his arm about three
weeks aeo.
Rescued Ten. More.
As soon as the lifeboat was safely tow-
Ing astern Captain Trewren turned the
Alert's head for the pinnace and. In a
very short space of time Mate Mold arid
six of his men were on" the tug's deck.
The others were left aboard vto " steer
the pinnace as she" towed behind the life
boat. - * ' ¦ . '••-.. .-¦
."During the run. from Point Pedro to
San Francisco Captain Stone gave the fol
lowing account of the voyage: •
¦ "We left Iquique on February 2 with a
cargo of niter consigned to Balfour, Guth
rie & C 0.,". said he. . VWe started with a
southerly wind, which soon turned into
the southeast trades. These were moder
ate throughout, but carried us along at
a fair, rate and we crossed the equator
on February 21 in longitude UO west. We
lost the southeast trades the following
day and did not get the northeast trades
until February 21 in latitude' s degrees
north, longitude 112 degrees 30 minutes
west. These were light throughout and
we lost them on March 9 in . latitude 29
degrees 30 minutes north, longitude 12S
degrees 30 minutes west.
"We had light variable winds and 'calms
up to, the 18th inst.. but the next day—
the day of our misfortune— we had a
strong northwest breeze up to 8 p. m.
The wind then fell light and I put the
ship under easy canvas as I was ex
pecting every minute to see the Farallones
light. Although there had -been a good
breeze throughout the day the weather
was clear and I was able to make good
observations at noon and 4 p. m. I had
and have still every confidence that .my
chronometer was correct, so . the only
reason I can give for the loss of my "ship
is that there must have ' been a : strong
current setting south of which I, was not
aware. Judging from my noon observa
tion the ship was at least twenty: miles
out of her course .when she T struck.
How the Wreck Occurred.
"Chief Officer ' Fyf e \ had - been i'slck for
three weeks and i approaching the coast!
was on duty all the time. I had been on
watch forty-eight ¦ hours at a stretch and
on Mondayj night; Third ( Officer .Thompson
was on the . bridge with me. \ I expressed
:. (Continued • on<. Page - Two.)
The City of : Florence^ Just. Befo^;GbingVon Montara Reef.
{From, a Description Furnished by Captain Stone.] '
crpra KOTHER vessel has laid her bones
//\ bes!de the remains of those
If- — A which have gone to destruction in
H y>the vicinity of • Half moon Bay.
The strong southerlj' current and
deadly inset that makes for Pigeon Point
is responsible for many a disaster and
now it has to answer for the loss of the
gx>od ship City of Florence, which, was
wrecked on Montara reef last Monday
eight at 9:30 o'clock.
The captain thought his vessel was off
the Farallones and sent the third mate
aloft to see if be could see the light. The
mate reported "no light In sight," but
eald be thought he saw breakers ahead.
He was ordered to co aloft and make^
sure, but before he was half way to the
masthead the lookout on the forecastle
head gave the warning, "breakers
ahead." The helm was at once put up,
the yards squared and the ship rapidly
paid off toward the cast. Almost" Immedi
ately she struck, but came off. but In an
other minute or so she struck again and
stuck fast. The carpenter sounded the
pumps and found six feet of water In the
hold. The pumps were manned and an at
tempt made to stem the inrushing flood.
Tie carpenter made another sounding and
found ten feet of water in the hold. The
ehlp at this time began to careen to star
board and Captain Stone ¦ ordered the
boats lowered. • -
Lowered the Boats.
The port lifeboat and the plnnac»» were
launched, the former being , occupied by
Captain Stone and eighteen of the crew,
while in the latter were Mate Mojd and
eight men. The men . all saved their
belongings, but the officers got away
with only what they stood In when the
ehlp struck.
Although the City of Florence went
aehore on Monday night it was not until
yesterday about Ip. m. that. the news of
the disaster reached the city. From Half
moon Bay came the news that the vessel
was rapidly going to pieces and that prob
ably all tlie crew had escaped, as two
boats had been seen heading north. As
soon as John D. Epreckels. proprietor of
The Call, was informed of the state of
affairs he at once ordered out ,the tug
Alert and gave Captain "Joe" Trewren
Instructions to 2nd the shipwrecked men
and bring them into port. About two
miles north of Point Pedro the ship
wrecked men were sighted and the tug
at once bore down toward the lifeboat.
Both boats were under sail. The life
boat had a "lusr" set. while four men la
bored at the oars. The pinnace carried
a jib and mainsail and two men were at
work rowing. The pinnace held the bet
ter position and was making good head
way, while the lifeboat was closer -in-,
chore and was slowly but surely being*
carried in toward the beach. As soon as
my: surprise to him that we did not pick
.up the Farallones light and sent him aloft
i to; see ; lf ' he could get \a ' sight of It. *It
.was then 'about 9:30 p. m. and a clear
night: The moon was about half. an hour
above the horizon and all seemed.' calm
and .peaceful.* There ; was just'enough
wind to 1 keepthe upper and lower topsails
and ; the. fore topmast-staysails filled- and
.steerage, way, on ..the. ship. . ". -
.'"When the mate came downrhe iold.me
there was not a lights in -sight, but that
he/ thought ; ! he 'saw" breakers- ahead
through the haze.'-' I * ordered him- aloft
again, to. make. sure, but he had not -.got
as -far as -the foremast head when"".D^ck
McKeever, the man on* the lookout, yelled,
: 'Breakers ". on 'the' port bow.' " -I. at once,
ordered .. th'el helm'up \ and j the Rafter yards
squared. i Almost: at once the ship began
to pay 'off- tdward the east,' .but.- in* a] few
seconds \ she.'. struck. ; Judging from '¦¦; the 1
sound. she, must have gone on a rock but
slipped off; into ideep water." again. ; There
must have been, over twenty, feet of .water
there, as -we were drawing that Lznuch*
In ; two minutes we again and I
thought . the ship would go . <^own I bodily;
I called j the. carpenter j aft , and? told*; him
to sound " the well. ; He j reported 4 six " feet
of ; water -in*, the hold. -By." 1 this* time; a
number* of "the crew - had ¦ begun • to ; get
their, kits together, but I at once ordered
them to the ; pumps. ..'. "¦/:',"/.,'
Water Gained on Them Too Fast.
''We might as, well have tried. to} pump
out the ocean. In about two minutes from
the, time the carpenter first reported there
was ten feet of water in. the hold and she
had taken on a decided list.: , : _ : i;^,fTi'-
"When I saw there was no hope for the
ship "I ordered, the boats -lowered and wo
ail got into them. Everything- was] afloat
In the cabin, so the officers could not' save
anything, ; but the men '.secured their ief
fects and gotjthem Into the boats." ¦? After
getting away, from"; the ship's side Cwe
found | ourselves in a sea of j breakers.
were surrounded . by them 'and ¦ every; mo
ment we were, in ; danger ; of '- being* en
gulfed.;. After some very hard^ rowing we
got clear of.the brokenj 4 water f and;out to
sea.'.::' : .. . ;. ; . ," .;- ',•,-'- ' '-' : '-'\ : •- '¦¦-¦';.
'. "In-the morning there" was no sign**. of
the ship, and figuring that we were south
of San - Francisco .weTstarted' to Jsail and
row to the north. .About noon time we were
off Point Pedro,«but there^was- nothing, to,
Indicate that] we were^ anywhere f near; the
Golden '< Gate.i,,. I • have { only * been twice .' to
this ,f port-T^nce 7 twenty-seven^ years ; ago
and again ; to-day-^o": I *doj not \ know J the
coast line .very iwell^i. 'All; my /charts f,were
aboard ' the . ship, and .' having nothing ',. to
go by ' I came ; « to 1 the conclusion that \ I
must be north of San Francisco Instead of
south, so I started; back over r n»y .; course
again.'- : i .'».*; f.""-'"«..*.-"'C. '-",';/ "';¦-' ¦¦ '.
'fi ; v, Overhauled; by" the. Boiolta.^ ; ~
"Luckily the steamer Bonita, bound for
Santa. Cruz, -overhauled^us, and Captain
Nicholson gave me . our .position. * He . of- 1
fered to take us all to Santa Crux,. but I
wanted to get j to ' San Fmnclsco, ? and 'de- "
cidedto come ''on*' here.::'-' -.We had. nothing,
to eat or drink in the boats, as we had'tb
cut* away - from the ! ship when l she : ap
.peared to be) foundering.' Captain Nlchol
rson gave ,us a'. three ' days' supply,, and. l
can tell you. it J tasted good. That> put
fresh heart into everybody and' we; were
making fair headway for San '. Francisco
when the ¦ tug se'4t out by Mr. ' Spreckels
came along and" brought us into port.' It
was a mighty good thing for us that the
Alert came , along, ' for. Judging by the
progress we made during the morning, .we
would not -have reached port last night."
. Dick ' McKeever, who was on : the " ldok
.out when the City . . of Florence ft went
ashore, said' when talking about 'the dis
aster: ; "The -.mystery -to me is- how the
old ship floated , as long as i she • did. ¦ She
is now over thirty years old, and in those
daysthey put the proper kind of material
into ''a"> vessel.' Had, we been in one of the
' new-fangled steel clippers not a man of
.us. would have. been left to tell the, tale. .
~ , I A Delrisiye. Fog. '' ?§
•"There was a haze, on . the water : that
: wpuld fool the deVil himself.. It. was . a
thin ( kind > of,, film. 1 that "one j minute '-would'
make ybu' r think", there was; a; fog. aiidthe
nextvmake^you.rub' your_ eyes, to-.wpnder
whether, youjsaw anythlng-.or, not.?' Once
or.', twice I . l' fancied) If saw, land- and, was
: going • to ; so ; report to , the . bridge . when , I
saw i the l breakers. < When ; the ship.»truck
I thought ; her whole bottom' had .been' torn
•out .of ;her.')Then,.she v struck .again,, and
I thought .tho mainmast would [ come out
.of heir. ' " . *' - ¦¦¦>¦ "'¦'¦ ¦ J;' ; :
; * "There is ; only /one \ cargo iworse j I than
nitre when you- are on the rocks, and that
is.pigiron.'^ All of the crew, knew this and
made sure the boat would go from! under
l us $In j a few minutes,. • I j can I tell: you we
Icmt *¦- no tlme'lnvgettlng. theij boats* " over
when. the old man gave, the wprdV^We had
a hard time of it until picked up by The
Call's '¦ boat," but * I - can" tell ? you - It -•' was
heavenly' compared ? with. being | aboard a
nitrate-laden' ship pounding on the rocks."
: , Third Officer. 1 . Thompson , • who ? was *, on
watch fWith'CaptainiThbmpson,' said:
got ?two" £ goodi .observations"^ during, ? the
day] and \ according : to all our/ calculations
should* have -been /on!/" the . Farallones.
When'l went t aloft the first time' l got; as
faJTi; as th*e\ foreyard and, happening jj to
Idok i out , under j the^lower • foretopsail, I
saw the , breakers. " I got to the deck In a
hu rry and rreporterd r to ? the captain/- when
he sent me aloft .to make sure. Just as I
got to the f oretopmast head 'I j heard ' the
cry of 'Breakers -¦ ahead !", \ and [ almost \ be
fore ¦ I got to" the" deck : again • tne "*¦ ship
struck; >¦ "-¦:-''.' '^"v ::-'--': :-'--' ; [ ¦ •.. • ¦^ / ->*" ..
The Captain Wonderfully Cool.
'•'' "Thecaptaln was wonderfully; cool and
collected throughout, - and only gave ; the
order,^ to *j lower * the boats when 5j every
chance of saving the ship was gone. We
all " had ; a' dose call/ and ~ It Ha ' wonderful
that there ; was not! a: mishap. \v ?;t'i-' : .
: It was Second -Mate Inold's watch be
low, and Chief Officer F^fe was laid up be
low , with >a - broken l arm.'; he ] having been
washed j from ; the poop j into ' the waist of
the [ship during a gale about three : weeks
ago. . .They .have. no knowledge as ,to how.
the "disaster .' happened : and can only/ cor
roborate **,' the": • captain's y report ,'.:' of ..- v - the
weather.' -> , , < ,v, v :¦•,'' :-t: -t •;¦ -- J'l. -¦ -, ¦'¦ ¦ . * '^-{z- ;,.«."¦•
ff The. following : description of the ¦ wreck
comes ' from .The Call's correspondent at
Half moon Bay. Captain 1 Stone' s account
!of ¦ the disaster, explains I what so mis ; a
great mystery Ito ¦ the^ people / (Sown ;-the
'coast.'/When^the City of Florence. struck
etie must; haired torn 'a great 'retit* in .her
bottom/, and the}' wonder Is that she did
not go- down, at, once. , - .... .'. . ' .._
.", Two hundred yards to -th« .north ; of the , re
mains of " the i 111-fated ' City of ' New : York.
•WTeck'ed' here Jn March, ,1898. how lies all that
la '.left 'of th« English ship. City of : Florence.' .
j Early ' this morning ' a* dismantled vess.el was
seen"' about a': mile ? off j shore, . and .InV short
time It had drifted . so . far In . as .to become
recognized as the City, of t Florence, bound from.
Iqulque to San .Francisco. | No" living persons^
were to.be seen on the vessel. wreck Is '
so complete that It Is not now possible to tell
with what' tho ' vessel ' was loaded,'' as ' not a" yes-
The San Francisco Call
GdptaiQ and Xrew Tak^e to the
Boats arjd Are Rescued by J\)z
Gdll-sJTiig After Having Aln)ost
kost Their* Bearings.
British Ship City of Florence Goes
oq Montara Reef ir) Halfmoon
Bay, Tearing a Great Y\o\z in
Her Side.

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