The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
North Star (Parry Sound, ON), December 12, 1879

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The Secretary of the Georgian Bay Transportation Company has undertaken to vouch for the seaworthiness of the Waubuno, which was lost on the 22nd of November last in the Georgian Bay. Mr. Long's contention that the Waubuno was seaworthy would not have been necessary had no doubt existed on the point. The Company's Secretary may make himself believe this and pacify his conscience, but the widows, and orphans, and friends of those who went down in that ill-fated boat will require something more then his statements to convince them that he is right, and public opinion so very far wrong. It is true the Waubuno was built in 1865 and so constructed at first that she required false sides before she was seaworthy at all. She had never been re-built, but she has had some repairs. The same false sides were on, and the same old timber, rotten or sound, shall we ever know which? It is stated publicly that the boat was leaking badly and had to be pumped while lying at the dock the Sunday before her loss, in fact that during Saturday night the water got up to the fire hole. The Captain stated to one of our influential citizens, only a few weeks ago, that he was afraid to put her out in heavy weather as she was not fit; the engines are also said to have been in very bad condition. Now let us examine some of the circumstances of the disaster. The Waubuno is admitted to have left Collingwood at 4 a.m. on the fatal morning. Her running time to the north end of Hope Island was about five hours, and from Hope Island to Lonely Rock two hours, so that the accident must have taken place between 9 and 11 a.m., most likely about 10 o'clock, at which hour the Magnettawan, a small boat and heavily laden, left Collingwood and reached Christian Island safely at 12:00 o'clock. The wind did not rise very early on the fatal morning, but increased rapidly about 10 o'clock, and certain it is that the Magnettawan must have encountered the full and increasing force of the gale (under which the Waubuno succumbed) for nearly two hours after the later vessel had gone to the bottom. That any sea-worthy boat should not be able to run before a fair wind across sixteen mile passage will scarcely be credited. However this question cannot rest where it is. We do not wish to add anything to the heavy load of censure the owners of the Waubuno now have to bear. It is the duty of the Government to see that a thorough investigation be made into the facts, we trust the Attorney General will order this to be done when any of the bodies are found. If Mr. Long is right in his contention then the Company deserves to be freed from censure. And on the other hand if public opinion be correct the full consequences of their guilt should be visited upon those who subjected valuable lives to such fatal risks.

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December 12, 1879
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Bill Hester
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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North Star (Parry Sound, ON), December 12, 1879