Record of a Fishing Disaster in 1811
OBJECTS of great interest sometimes come into the Museum by strange and unusual means. The other day a Liverpool gentleman, Mr. Wm. Eaves, who has Manx family connections, came across, in an out-of-the way place in that city, a coloured sketch of a fishing disaster which occurred off the south coast of the Island as far back as 1811. He immediately secured the sketch and personally brought it to the Museum as a gift. The sketch illustrates a very violent storm, the brig 'Lively' being tossed about in a west-nor-west gale, and a little punt belonging to the wrecked fishing smack ' Tartar' of Derbyhaven, in which are eight sailors enveloped in the trough of the, sea, and about to be picked up. In addition to the picture, which is full of spirit, there is, in neat script, a long, but concisely-written, account of the disaster. The story, is so thrilling and so well illustrates the courage of the men, tltat a place for it ought to be found in the ' Journal.'
The text of the story is as follows:-
Document No. 180.
A representation of the miraculous preservation of eight Manx Fishermen belonging to Derby Haven whose vessel sunk at sea on the 23rd July, 1811. on the morning of the 23rd July, as the fishing smack 'Tartar' of Derby Haven was drifting in the Channel with her net shot W N W from Peel, a heavy gale of wind came on with a rough sea which caused them to haul their train of net on board : and, in the act of hauling, she drifted down on a boat ahead of her, and with the scud of the sea took the point of her boom into, her fore huddings. Before the crew perceived any damage the water was over the ballast; the leak increasing fast in less than ten minutes she went down, the crew eight in number providentially escaped in the punt.
The other boats crew, judging the boat and men went down together, made the best of their way home with the lamentable news of their fate to their families. But providence still had them in tow. They lay in the small boat comparatively like a tub, eight feet keel and five feet beam; and to prevent the sea from breaking in, they ranged their arms alongside the gunwales. At daylight the brig 'Lively' of and from Greenock (Capn. R. McKenzie) for Gibraltar hove in sight to leeward, and under reefed topsails close hauled, bearing to windward the punt drifting in her headway.
When within gunshot the men one and all gave a shout. The sailors were astonished not seeing any vessel near them, and on the third shout one of the sailors, running up the rigging, perceived a number of men in the water to his great astonishment not seeing anything under them, as the state they lay in with their arms near the wateredge prevented him.
With the greatest difficulty they were pulled on board one by one. When on board the Capt. made this remark, Such a miracle was almost equal to walking on the water. Some time after, the Prince of Wales cutter (Capt. Wallace) hove in sight, and by a signal from the brig was soon alongside. Capt. Wallace immediately steered direct for the Isle of Man and landed them safe in Derby Haven to the inexpressible joy of their despairing families.
Names of the men above mentioned: Charles Preston, Will Preston, Thomas Cubbon, John Cubbon, Quaily Stole, John Naile, John Stephenson, Barney Cain.
Painted by Thomas Preston, Oct., 1827.