Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Steam Trawler "Wyberton".

In 1923, news reached England of the safe arrival at Shanghai of the little 87 ton steam trawler "Wyberton" after an 11,000 mile voyage, for the most part through heavy seas.

The "Wyberton", pictured above, left Boston on October 25th. 1922 under the command of Captain Wallace (who knew the China coast well) and with Mr Mercer, Mr Davies, Mr Wilson and Mr Morrison, the majority of whom were Boston men. She entered Shanghai on New Years Day 1923, and as a result of her ten weeks' adventurous voyage, she underwent a refit at Yangtzepoo Dock before being handed over to her new owners.
Captain Wallace told a representative of the "North China Herald" of their experiences since leaving Boston. It was a tale of perpetual high seas, with all hands at the pump. "Our worst experience," he said, "was in the Bay of Biscay. The pumps had to be kept busily at work. The stokehold and boiler-room were flooded almost as a matter of course, and, on the fourth day out, the engine room staff were in real difficulty. The pumps were choked, and for hours the crew were baling the water by hand. The seas carried overboard 10 or 12 tons of coal."
"Even when tropical seas were reached, the weather was too rough to admit of sleeping on deck, even the skylight had to be closed in the Red Sea, and no fans were provided. But in spite of discomforts of this nature, and of being once at least on the verge of shipwreck, the crew, when they arrived at Shanghai, were in the best of spirits, for the 'Wyberton' had proved an excellent sea boat, and had behaved well on all occasions."
Captain Wallace was by no means of the opinion that the failure of previous efforts to introduce steam trawling into China would be repeated in the case of the "Wyberton." He recalled the last trawling venture out in the China Seas, and ascribed the ill-success of it to the neglect to provide the latest equipment and instruction. The 'Wyberton' had on board the latest appliances of the time he pointed out, and a very old hand in the person of the fishing master, Mr Lucas, who was to assume command of the vessel. 

Update. - Sold to Hai-Lee Steam Fishing Co. Ltd. Registered at Shanghai. Renamed "Hai-Lee".

1 comment:

  1. Helen (The Boston Old Times)8 October 2013 at 20:38

    Really interesting to read a story of Bostonians sailing to China because someone has brought me a collection of chinese coins that he found in a house in Browns Yard that he was employed to demolish in the late 40s or 50s. We came to the conclusion it was probably a sailor that had lived there.