PICKLE of Weymouth

Times: Monday, September 23, 1872, Issue 27489 – Two gentlemen Captain Watts, of Argyle Terrace, and Captain Stone of Hill House joint owners of a Pleasure Yacht Pickle were drowned in a gale. MMI. Inquest Issue 27490 Ship Incident

“An accident occurred in Weymouth Bay on Saturday, about noon, by which two gentlemen, named Captain Watts of Argyle Terrace and Captain Stone, of Hill House, lost their lives, it appears that the gentlemen, who were joint owners of a pleasure yacht called The Pickle, left the harbour some hour or two before with two seamen onboard named Taylor and Cook, for a fishing excursion. Through out the morning the weather had been wet and squally, the wind blowing at times a perfect gale from the west and north. About 1 o,clock there was a very heavy storm, accompanied by hail and sleet. At this time the Pickle was off a point of the coast known as Ratcliffe Head, with a trawl down. The peak of the halyards was made fast, when all of a sudden the little craft was caught in a perfect hurricane, and before anything could be done to set the sail free the craft capsized. The accident was noticed by a boatman named Henry Carter, who was on the beach at Weymouth, opposite the Burden Hotel, and he no sooner saw it than he manned a boat and proceeded to render assistance. As the distance from the shore to the spot where the Pickle capsized was about two miles, a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes elapsed before they could get there, and the first that fell in with was one of the seamen , Cook, who, being a good swimmer was making for the shore. Owing to the sea, however, being exceedingly rough, the poor fellow was nearly exhausted, and had it not been for the timely assistance rendered by Carter he must have been drowned. The accident was also noticed by the crew of the Rose of Devon yacht, belonging to Mr Edward Johnstone, who immediately launched a boat with five men. They bore down for the spot, and they were fortunate enough to rescue Taylor. He was also in a most exhausted condition. Brandy was administered to him, and he was afterwards taken onboard the yacht, where he received every attention. This boat’s crew also picked up Captain Watts, but life appeared to be extinct. With the utmost haste they rowed into Weymouth harbour, where the unfortunate gentleman was conveyed to the Sailors’ Home, and several medical men tried by artificial means to produce respiration, but , unhappily, without avail. The body of Captain Stone could not be found. At the time of the accident the gentlemen were at lunch. A sailor belonging to the Reaper yacht, Mr Adams, who was going out to his craft from the harbour, also saw the accident, and he says that the squall caught the sea and carried it higher than the mast of any ship in the port, and it is supposed to be this which caused the yacht to capsize, as her sail was made fast. The squall, he says, was like one which is only to be met with in the tropics. This lasted for about seven minutes, and it was so violent that at Portland the ships of war had orders to run in their guns and lower their ports. Mr Stone leaves a widow and nine children, Mr Watts a widow and two children. This melancholy affair has cast a great gloom over the town. Mr Watts especially being well known. It is a singular fact that exactly 12 months ago a similar accident occurred nearly at the same place, on which occasion three Coastguard men were drowned. Mr C Bernard, a young barrister, was drowned in Southampton Water on Saturday. He had come from Netley in a boat, which he took down on Friday, and it is supposed that in a sudden gale, which arose about midday, she capsized and sunk. The deceased gentleman was the only son of Mr T Bernard, JP for the borough and county of Southampton . He was called to the bar within the last year, and was about 23 years of age. The body was recovered yesterday morning.

Times: Tuesday, September 24, 1872. Pickle Inquest

Yesterday Mr Giles Symonds, coroner held an inquest on the body of Mr Edward Henry Watts, who, with a gentleman named Stone, was drowned by the capsizing of a yacht in Weymouth Bay on Saturday afternoon. From the evidence of Taylor, alias Aylesbury, a seaman onboard the Pickle, it seems that just before 1 o’clock on Saturday the two gentlemen and crew were having a bread and cheese luncheon, when Taylor said “ Here’s a squall coming” and he told his comrade Cook, to stand by and let go the peak halyard. He ran to do so, but was unable to let go the sail in consequence of a hitch which was taken over the belaying pin, and there were no knives handy to cut the rope. If the peak halyard had been let go the sail would have come down. This was the sole cause of the accident. At the time the yacht capsized she was about a mile and a half from the Preston Coastguard Station. Had a boat been launched from there all would have been saved. The Pickle had white sails, and by an ordinary lookout from the station any one could have seen her. Evidence was given to show that all the men could swim, and that, in fact, Mr Watts and Taylor supported themselves for a long time by clinging to a large chest which was washed out of the Pickle, but owing to the sloppy sea the former was first exhausted,. The whole of the men were encumbered with a great deal of clothing, one of the sailors having on three pair of trousers and two jerseys. Mr Stone was the first to die; in fact, he was drowned soon after being in the water. The jury returned a verdict of “Death by drowning”, and expressed a strong opinion that the Coastguard men at the Preston Station ought to keep a constant lookout in case of any such accidents. The Coroner said he would make the representation of the jury in the proper quarter. Not with standing vigilant search, neither the yacht nor the body of Mr Stone was been discovered.


Day of Loss: 23

Month of Loss: 9

Year of Loss: 1872


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