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Collision Of Steamers With Sailing Vessels.
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Sir.—When the Elder Brethren of the Trinity-House issued this " law of the road," in October last, they half did what they ought to have done, and the late accident in the case of the Governor Fenner proves it. In how many pages of your Nautical, Mr. Editor, for years has the necessity been shewn of the proper lighting of steamers? It has been said and proved that a single light may be taken<for a floating or beadland light, and it was clearly such a mistake that caused the Gil Bias to be run down,—mistaking a steamer's light for that of the South.Sand Head.
But to come to the melancholy affair of the Governor Fenner, that ship had just sailed from Liverpool,—was standing out in a rather dark night, with a stiff breeze at south,—consequently on the larboard tack. A sail is seen at a distance on the weather-bow: no suspicion seems to have been entertained that this was a steamer. A light was observed, and from all that can be gathered from the Newspapers, that light seems to have been shewn as it would be from a sailing vessel. On the approach of this vessel under canvas, it appears, that recollecting the law laid down by the Trinity-House, the steamer attempted to give way to the sailing vessel, by passing to leeward pf her, and that the Governor Fenner taking the steamer for a sailing vessel, very properly, according to established usuages, bore up also to go to leeward, and in consequence the awful collision, whereby above 120 lives were lost!
Now, is it not clear, that if the steamer had been properly lighted, so as to put it beyond question that she was a steamer, that this dreadful accident would not have taken place. The Governor Fenner would have kept her luff, and the steamer would have passed to leeward of her.
It has required the collective wisdom of that usef jl body of gentlemen on Tower Hill, to witness about a quarter of a century of continual accidents amongst steamers, before they could bestir themselves to do what common sense has been calling so loudly for, viz. the establishment of the rule in question,—and probably, after another lapse of years shall have doubled these dreadful losses, it may be found out, that in fact without going further, and insisting upon the proper lighting of these vessels, the rule now promulgated, has accomplished more harm than good I . •■'
I have occupied a good many of your pages in remarks on the subject of steam navigation, and I would now most seriously call the attention of those who have the power of remedying the evil, to the necessity of doing so without loss of time; and there seems to be no way so effectual as to insist upon the adoption of three lights—one under the crosstrees of the foremost, and one on each paddle-box,—forming an equilateral triangle. No one could mistake a vessel carrying such lights for any thing but what she is, and if the light at the masthead was a pale one, that in the larboard paddle-box the same, and the one on the starboard side a deep red; they would readily indicate every change of the steamer's motion, by altering the nature of the triangle.
A further strict prohibition should exist against a steamer carrying sail in the Channel, or on the coast of England, during night; it is the very height of folly, in respect to the very questionable amount of speed gained by it, and madness when the great increase of danger is considered. In the case of the late accident referred to in this paper, I think it is pretty clear, that had it not been for her own sails, the steamer would have seen the Governor Fenner, and being, as stated, well to windward, would, most likely, have gone away so far more to windward as to have avoided all chance of collision; but with sail set, and going rather free, luffing up endangers the loss of topmasts; and bearing away sufficiently may even have lieen influenced by fear of bringing her by the lee, and all the sails aback! In fact, steamers are not under command when their sails are set, and had it not been for the sails of the steamer, putting lights even out of the question, the Governor Feuner would undoubtedly have kept her course, and thus the accVent would not have occurred.
I am, &c.
[We understand that Capt, Taylor of H.M.S. San Josef has lately directed liis attention to this subject, aiid published his views relating to it. A correspondent of the Hants Telegraph suggests that " Steamers, when running down on a sailing vessel, should, by a general understanding among all nations, always steer, so as to make it clear to the vessel to leeward, that she was going astern of her, and, that there might be no mistake, should bring her broad on the how; and to insure this arrangement being complied with, let her insurance be affected should an accident occur. This of course is supposing a c ise where one vessel must necessarily give way." All this may he very well, but while a bad look oat is kept, no rules will keep vessels clear of each other.—Ed.]
Trial Of The Mermaid Iron Steamer, with Mr. Galloways new Engine, and Mr. Smith's Screw-propeller. On Saturday the 14th, a trial of the above steamer took place on the river between Baltersea and Sotithwark bridges. Her dimensions are, length 130 feet, breadth 19 feet, depth 9 feet, tonnage 164, and she was built by Mr. Ditchburn. The engine, a rotary one, made by Messrs. Rennie and Co., under the direction of Mr. Galloway, is constructed on an entirely new principle. The boiler is on the locomotive principle with brass tube, and is equivalent to fifty or sixty horse-power. The weight of the engine and boiler is only eighteen tons, and the shaft with a brass screw at the end is the only machinery about it." There are no wheels, nor geer of any kind. The result of these experiments was a velocity of ten to eleven miles per hour, through still water; and it seems likely that when the whole is completed, a greater velocity will be attained. Should this engine entirely answer the expectations of the ingenious inventor, a great revolution seems more than likely in steam navigation. We understand that Mr. Galloway's engine will occupy but a sixth part of the space filled by the present marine steam engine.
The Brio F.lton.—Reward.—We understand that the master and crew of the Mermaid, a fishing smack of Ostend have been rewarded ENLARCED SER1E8.—NO. 4.—VOL. FOR 1841. 2 N
by Government with Twenty Pounds for their exertions in saving the crew of the brig Elton, of Stockton, wrecked off the coast of Norfolk.
It appears that they were found drifting towards the Flemish coast in an open boat, with nothing but one oar and a bucket,—the vessel having struck on Hasbro' sands, and immediately gone to pieces. The boat was without a rudder, and was kept head to sea with their only oar, and the bucket was continually employed in baling her out. They were without food or water, and were perfectly helpless from cold and hunger. The cabin boy had already died, and one man was drowned as he attempted to get into the boat. The Elton was wrecked on the evening of the 22d of January, and the crew were in that awful situation till the morning of the 25th. The vessel appears in our Table of Wrecks, page 271.
French Tribute Of Respect For The Humane Conduct Of An EnGlishman.—Thomas Rock Jones, master of the brig Sovereign, of North Shields, in April last, fell in with the French schooner La Providence, in the Gulf of Lyons, at a moment when the latter vessel was on the point of sinking from the effects of damages suffered in recent tempestuous weather. Capt. Jones exerted himself to remove the crew, in which he succeeded; he afterwards treated them with great humanity, and in the end landed them at Barcelona in safety. Grateful for the kindness he had experienced, the master of the lost schooner, Mons. J. F. Reynaud, made declaration of the facts before the French consulate at that place. Thus the story of Capt. Jones's conduct reached Paris, and he has since been honoured by the presentation of a splendid gold medal, having on the obverse the head of the King of the French, and on the reverse the following inscription—" From the Minister of Marine of France to Thomas Rock Jones, of an English vessel, for his generous aid in rescuing the crew of a French vessel from destruction."
Survf.y Of Tub NoiiTii Sea.—We perceive that the officer selected for carrying on tho important survey of the North Sea, begun by the lute Captain Hewett in the Fairy, is Commander Washington, who lias commissioned the Shearwater for that purpose at Woolwich, to which vessel a tender will be attached. The energy of character and scientific attainments of Commander Washington are such as to lead us to expect the best results from this appointment.
Survey Of Portsmouth Harbour.—A most minute survey of the harbour of this our chief naval Arsenal has been made during the latter part of last summer bv Lieutenant Sheriughain and the officers attached to his party, which for the fullness of its detail, the elegance of its execution, and the general masterly slvle in which it has been turned out of hand, is unrivalled by any work of the kind that we have seen. Among other pleasing reflections which an examination of it affords is the fact that, during the last fifty years since the onlv former survey was made on which dependence can be placed, the depth of the harbour in its important pnrts, has not undergone the smallest change whatever, shewing that no deposit has taken place from the vast mass of sea water which covers it daily. We understand that Lieutenant Sheringham is rb continue his survey over Spithead and Langstuti harbours.
t be a tendency to increased action ?* As the er is, to maintain its level, so in the fluid air
to be at rest; and this state in either, we all >.n often be only fully accomplished by a violent
wind, although generally occurring, is not an I the tidal operation, it must be presumed that . in action at the time, or preceding it, to proit an increase of strength of the westerly winds, sture, is generally coincident with the rise of rally subsides again with the ebb, is too remarkVVe need not, therefore, be at a loss to account les so commonly experienced in the locality of such periods. It may be well for those mariners
■ of the sea to study the subject with care; for, 1 to predict the coming and probable duration [itage not to be despised near coasts so full of
the subject might he extended to the wide ocean,
■ .portioned to the difference of rise, may happen advances along the Atlantic, modified, of course, •ather, and principally regulated by the hygro
. a movement of the air in the direction of the ider any parallel, would probably be the result. « blowing, it would, perhaps, in like manner, i breeze, and so on to a gale. In this way we ■ those sudden but temporary increases of wind t sea. The great extent of the wave may, in up for the want of elevation, and the effect, -o considerable when compared with that which rs become fluent, and the vertical rise augI less certain. At all events, the suggestion is obable causes of a sudden increase and short ocean, as whatever disturbs the equilibrium of -ale a movement of the air. ■xtremely reasonable, under certain conditions, ( to mind the compressive action of a bellows 1 to reconcile the observed effect with the given
igation of the subject, the following inferences lions already made. When the wind is at any l and west of whatever strength it may be preJly be found to increase with the spring flood iltcnded with moisture, and to subside again e of the wind commencing some hours before
litted, is going on over the water, the heat and
would increase the expansibility of the air as it
the violent gusts which are experienced at such weather, to be seen when two and a half geographical miles distant, or more, from a vessel, whose deck is ten feet above the water.
0.—VOL. FOR 1841.
"2. That, instead of the former coal beacon at Tandsort, outside the one entrance to Stockholm, a revolving light has been erected, consisting of a triangle with tliree reflectors on each side, which, similar to the one at Utklippon, will give three strong flames, with equally long intervals of darkness, within a period of six minutes. The tower, which has been partially altered, is sixty-four feet high, and the light being 147 feet above the level of the sea, ought in clear weather to be visible four geographical miles distant, or more, from a ship's deck ten feet above the sea.
"The above-mentioned two lights will be exhibited on the 15th of November, and continue at the same time of day and night as at the other light houses in the kingdom.''
"I have the honor, &c,
"To W. Dohson, Esq., Secretary of Lloyd's:'
Plum Island, Feb. 1.—The light-houses at the entrance of Newburyport harbour, on l'liim Island, are now arranged in such order that vessels may run in over the bar at two-thirds flood, night or day, by keeping them in range— which course should be continued till within two hundred yards of the Eastern light, when if in the night time you must haul to the north about a cable's length and anchor, or proceed up the river if you can; but all vessels of a moderate draught will be safe at an anchor when the eastern light bears S.E. i mile distant.
1'iusr.As George, Keeper of the Lights.
Hamburgh, Jfvj. 23.—On the part of the Navigation and Harbour Deputies an arrangement has been made, that upon re-opening the navigation a small craft shall he placed beneath Schulaw, oetween the black buoys Nos. 9 aud 10, on the southern side of the river, where some time ago two ships have been lost; and that the said craft during the day time shall carry a signal, and during the night a lanthorn, and that she shall remain there until the many vessels which are at present lying at Cuxhaven have come up to town, and sufficient warnings will have been fastened to the wrecks, which is hereby notified.
Signed The Deputies Of Navigation.
Notice To Mariners.—Extract from n letter dated St. Petersburg}), 18th February, 1841, addressed to Thomas Cope, Esq., Secretary to the.Russia Company, London.
"The hydrographical department of the Ministry of Marine has published that, of the two lighthouses on Felsand, (on the western coast of the island of Vesel,) one built of stone and the other of wood, the latter is so decayed that during the present year 1811, it will be entirely rebuilt; that, in lieu of there being, as hitherto, two fixed lights on this point, the stone lighthouse alone will he lighted; that in every three minutes the light will be visible for two minutes and invisible during one minute. This change will show the difference between the lights on the island of Dago and Swafaat, (on the south-west point of the island of Vesel,) both these being continual lights. At St. Petersburgh the weather continues very steady; a decided thaw has not yet taken place; when the weather changes it is expected to be succeeded by an early spring."
Ligiit-hourf. On The Breakwater, Plymouth.—The foundation-stone of a light-house, to be built on the west end of the Plymouth Breakwater, has been laid.