Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mary Catherine - Kaipara 1846

The Mary Catherine was a barque of some 400 tons commanded by Captain Howlett. She stranded on one of the many sand bars that criss crossed the entrance to the Kaipara Harbour. Declared a total loss the Mary Catherine was put up for auction in Auckland. She was refloated then returned to Auckland where she was rebuilt then renamed the Charles (Article Nelson Examiner & NZ Chronicle 23rd October 1847) . The Charles sailed for London from the Port of Auckland on 16th September 1847.

An account from The New Zealander 23rd May 1846 gave an account of the Mary Catherine's ordeal


New Zealander 23rd May 1846

On the 25th April, the fine barque Mary Catherine, Capt. Howlett, 400 tons, left Auckland for the Port of Kaipara on the western coast, to take in a valuable cargo of spars for England. It is with regret, we have to announce that advices were received last Sunday, overland, with account of the Mary Catherine having being driven on a sand-bank in the harbour of the Kaipara, after parting from the chain and warps, in that most tremendous gale which occurred during the night of Saturday, the 9th May. It is most satisfactory to state, that no lives were lost, and that what cargo there was on board of copper, oil, flax, and kauri gum, will be saved.

The Mary Catherine arrived off the harbour of Kaipara, on the afternoon of the 5th May, when she lay to until the following morning, Wednesday, the 6th; - when she entered the heads, with a north-east breeze, and work in, beautifully, between the shoals.

The Tory shoal was weathered at 5 p.m., and she anchored at 7 p.m., in nine fathoms water, off Point Dawson; she remained at this anchorage until Saturday, the 9th, when, at 3 p.m., as the barometer was rapidly falling and the weather bore a very threatening aspect, the barque got underweigh, blowing hard at south-west, under double reefed topsails; but at the first cast of the lead the water shoaled from six to two fathoms, and she immediately struck.

However, the stream anchor was immediately got out ahead, with 140 fathoms of good warps, and she was hove off to six fathoms water; but the breeze increasing to a perfect gale, it was found impossible to get her into deep water, and the larboard chain veered out, until her heel was in three fathoms water, and still holding onto the warps.

The gale during the night increased to a prefect hurricane, and continued until the following Wednesday, with increasing violence. On Monday, the 11th, the ship parted from both warps and chain, and was driven height on the sand-bank. It then being the full moon, the spring tides, added to the force of the gale, forced the vessel higher on the bank.

A survey has been held on board the vessel by the captains of other ships in the harbour of the Kaipara, where there are so few facilities as well as inhabitants, will be so great, that it will be more to the interest of the underwriters and all parties concerned, that the vessel should be publicly sold as she now lies.

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