A Lively Voyage
A Mid-Winter Trip Across Lake Ontario
Venturesome Canadian Sailors - Thousands of People Watch the Vessel Enter Port. The Captain's Story
Several days ago negotiations were entered into between Gaylord, Downey & Co. and parties in Kingston, Ont., to have a cargo of barley brought to this port, and as a result the schooner Ella Murton, which is owned by Saunders & Donnelly, Kingston, was chartered to carry a cargo at 4 cents per bushel, and after fitting out was loaded with 6,500 bushels.
The insurance companies would not insure either the vessel or cargo, and the perilous trip had to be taken entirely at the owner's risk. For several days the vessel had been prepared to start, but the weather was so unfavorable that it was deemed foolhardy to attempt the run across until this morning, when it was decided to start with Captain Joseph Parsons of the schooner Queen of the Lakes in command and John Saunders, who is captain and part owner of the Ella Murton, as mate.
The vessel left Kingston at half-past seven o'clock in the morning in the teeth of a gale of wind from the Northwest and accompanied by a blinding snow storm. The seas were heavy and made a clean sweep of the decks and formed into ice. It was with great difficulty that the vessel was kept on her course. The rigging became coated with ice. The vessel went well to windward, and after this port was sighted she appeared to come easily, but the crowd on shore could see her throw the spray high in the air occasionally.
When it became known that a vessel was on the lake, large numbers of people congregated along the wharves, on the vessels, and the lower bridge. None of the tugs in the harbor had made any arrangements to look after the expected schooner and consequently she was compelled to sail into the harbor without assistance. Her cargo was consigned to the Corn Exchange elevator, and after the head of the island was passed an effort was made to lower her sails, but the ice was so thick on the ropes that this could not be done quickly.
The vessel consequently maintained a good headway. Lines were flung to those on the shore, but they broke and the schooner came on toward the bridge at a lively rate. The people on the structure anticipated a repetition of the disaster of two years go, when the Lady MacDonald nearly cut the bridge in two, and they scampered in all directions. When the end of the jibboom was within ten feet of the bridge, the vessel struck bottom, but continued to forge ahead and the jibboom crashed into the bridge, tearing away the iron railing for a distance of twenty feet. This was the only damage done.
Captain Parsons says the trip was exciting. The clothing of the sailors was coated with ice. The vessel will return to Kingston as soon as the weather will permit.