National Geographic : 1933 Jan
THE CAPE HORN GRAIN-SHIP RACE Photograph from Nautical Photo Agency, London DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP! The grain-racing four-masted bark Hougomont, dismasted near the Australian coast, sailed into port in this condition. The photograph, taken from a passing steamer which offered assist ance (offer not accepted), shows the vessel with only three stumps of lower masts still standing. No lives were lost, though some of the crew were aloft when the masts began to go. They hastily reached the deck by sliding down backstays. Although she reached port safely, the Hlougomont will never go to sea again (see text, page 39). How splendid she looked! She hung there gamely for two days, gradually drop ping astern; and then, on the morning of the third day, she was gone. We had shaken her off and did not see her again throughout the voyage. THE "FORTIES" REFUSE TO ROAR Now the strong wind left us and we wallowed on in dull calm for a while. Instead of the westerly gales which we sought, we had fog and light wind, with little progress. The Cape Horn sailing ship is built for gales and is not afraid of storm; light winds and calm are very much more annoying. Over the whole of its length the Tasman Sea was about as windy as Long Island Sound on a day in June. The "Roaring Forties" refused flatly to roar for us, and the red - bearded mate re marked disconsolately that world eco nomic conditions had frightened even the wind until it was so depressed it wouldn't blow. "Nothing is the same since the war," he said, "not even the west winds." Our best day's run on this section was 166 miles; our worst, 71. So we came to the end of March and April began. No longer did we sigh for wind! The westerly gales found us at last, and, having found us, roared and screamed in the rig ging ceaselessly and drove us on. We had gone down to 53 south then, where the westerly storms encircle the world. THE WARNING OF THE GLASS UNHEEDED Day after day the story was the same the ship running heavily before the gale, and rolling, with rain and the strong wind crying in the rigging. We held to as much canvas as we could, determined to drive the ship, now that we had the chance. The barometer dropped and kept on dropping; the gales increased and kept on increasing; the sea rose high; and the ship, wallowing onward, began to stumble a bit in her stride, rolling both rails under as she ran on. The sky was gray and threatening; the weather daily grew colder; and the boy crew, shivering at the great wheel, was glad of the protection of the wheelhouse.