The Barque “Gaspee” was built in Paspebaic Canada in 1812 and weighed 243 tons. Built mainly from pine and juniper she was 94’8 long 24’11 wide and 14’6 deep. The ship was first owned by Charles Robin and Co and was sold to T. and P. Duhamel in 1825. The picture above shows her in battle with a American privateer in 1814.
With Captain Phillip Vibert at the helm she sailed from Jersey on Sunday 13th December 1829 bound for the warmer climes of Brazil, where she arrived after 31 days on the 13th January 1830. After taking on a new cargo of animal hides and sugar she sailed to via Jersey to Copenhagen where the cargo was unloaded and 1850 bags of wheat taken on board for the return journey of 10 days to Jersey.
There being no peace for the wicked, or so they say, they left Jersey on the 10th July 1830 for the chillier climate of Russia to pick up 2560 bags of wheat, and 175 coils of rope and returned to Jersey.
But Captain Phillip and his crews’ luck was running out. Later in the year on 17th November they left Jersey for Falmouth and after spending 3 days in there loading a cargo of pilchards, they sailed bound for Naples in Italy.
On Sunday the 5th December during very bad gales, the “Gaspee” was hit by heavy seas which washed overboard eight of the crew including the Captain’s beloved son Phillip Jnr. The remainder of the crew were rescued the next day by the brig “Rapid” of Penzance, after seeing several other vessels pass them by without offering any help. So much for the days of chivalry !Vive La France, that’s what I say !! Who knows how many could have been saved if the first ship passing had stopped.
Captain Vibert kept detailed log books from where the details of these voyages were originally transcribed by the late Jean Jean. One day I hope to be able to read them in full for myself, and post further details here.