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Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm


Post by Jeff Thorpe » Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:58 pm


© Jeff Thorpe 08 May 2020

Furneaux Islands Group in Bass Strait has form in maiming ships,
in cricket parlance, Farsund in nineteen twelve caught in slips.
A fourteen-forty ton steel barque, Farsund was Sydney bound from Argentina,
off course by twenty-six miles not thought as misdemeanour,
but in essence, no correction underwrote her plight
in an east/nor/east gale on the March 09 night.

Under command of Captain Abrahamsen with a crew of sixteen,
Vansittart Shoals, Cape Barren Island in the night were unseen,
Farsund carried no cargo, 600 ton of ballast aiding stability
though conditions she faced bore no hint of tranquility,
by morning of the tenth the ship was stranded on a sandbank
and refloating attempts regrettably drew a blank.

Farsund was stuck and although she was not leaking
wind foiled crewmen reaching the rigging they were seeking,
many of the sails were rendered useless and blown out
and despite unloading ballast the ship would not come about.
High tide only caused the bow to swing to face the shore,
the crew thus landed in the boats as they could do no more.

On 13 March, steamship Warrentinna arrived at the location
however, being short of coal, it offered no salvation,
it did though take on Abrahamsen, sailing to Launceston
to tell Farsund’s owners of fate they’d not predestine.
Coaled once more Warrentinna returned to the site
but again adverse winds prevented any refloat might.

Tug Wybia almost shifed Farsund on March 21
only to see a heavy nor/easter negate the work she’d done,
this blew Farsund a further quarter mile inshore
grounding again the hapless vessel to the core.
At this, all attempts at recovery were suspended
Farsund left to the elements unattended.

An inquiry on 29 March exonerated the master from all blame
noting failure to measure prevailing winds made Farsund fair game,
hence, the barque was auctioned, reaching 155 pounds on sale.
The purchaser though had no plans to move it from the shale,
removing gear and fittings which he later sold for profit,
reselling the wreck for five pounds, losing nothing out of pocket.

And there the Farsund sat, and still is there today,
never has she heard the strains of “Anchors Away”,
as late as twenty-seventeen the rusting wreck was visible,
time ensuring all that’s left is ever the more miserable,
yet, Farsund is testament to that which all sailors agree
by no means underestimate the vagaries of the sea.

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Shelley Hansen
Posts: 2026
Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 5:39 pm
Location: Maryborough, Queensland


Post by Shelley Hansen » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:01 pm

Another rollicking story, Jeff! So much undiscovered history out there!
Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

Jeff Thorpe
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:54 pm


Post by Jeff Thorpe » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:01 pm

Thanks Shelley. This is the third poem I've written about Bass Strait shipwrecks and could do plenty more. I'm visiting Flinders Island in February and may collect further material there.

Cheers, Jeff

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