National Geographic : 1933 Jan
THE CAPE HORN GRAIN-SHIP RACE © A. J. Villiers THE MORNING AFTER TIHE GREAT STORM The blowing out of the foresail, the rags of which flap from the foreyard, helped materially in saving the ship on April 5, when the Parma was beset in a hurricane and broached to. If this sail had not blown out, the ship would probably have gone right over. The foresail was sewn of the very best hemp canvas (see text, page 20). We safely reached the entrance of Bass Strait and were then becalmed. Later, try ing to get out by way of Banks Strait, a narrow passage between the northeastern coast of Tasmania and the Furneaux group of islands (Flinders, Cape Barren Island, and others), lying at the eastern end of Bass Strait, we were astonished to see another sailing ship ahead. At first we thought it was a coastal topsail schooner bound from Melbourne to Hobart; but as we drew up we made the stranger out to be a big Cape Horn four-masted bark like ourselves. "PARMA" AND "C. B. PEDERSEN" AT GRIPS At this there was great excitement among our crew, especially as we knew most of the other ships avoided going near the land as much as possible and would sel dom be found using such a congested and narrow strait. We had indeed been think ing to ourselves that this was our own pri vate "short cut" out into the Tasman Sea, and it was a surprise to see another vessel. The wind was dead ahead, coming right out of the strait instead of blowing into it, and all day we beat there with the other ship for company. Soon, as we came closer, we made her out to be the Swedish school ship C. B. Pedersen, whose master was a good friend of ours. She had short ened down in the head wind and was beat ing about, waiting for a "slant," or a favor able shift of wind, to get through the strait. We kept every stitch on our vessel, deter mined that we would lead her through, whether we had a slant or not. In this way we gradually closed on her, to the excitement and intense gratification of our crew, and when, in the evening, a fair wind came we were already ahead of our Swedish rival. The rising moon, blood red, found the two four-masted barks within two miles of each other, making a fair wind of it through Banks Strait, with the Pedersen now crowding on all sail to pick up her lost distance. All night we sailed so, and all the next day out in the gray, open waters of the Tasman Sea, with our rival going along bravely, away on our weather quarter, a cloud of spume and wet canvas.