9780884482659

Sea Struck

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780884482659

  • ISBN10:

    0884482650

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2004-09-15
  • Publisher: Tilbury House Pub
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Summary

Some people seem to be born with salt water running in their veins. As soon as they are able, they "go to sea." For certain young men at the turn of the last century, this was as much a rite of passage as making the grand tour. In most cases the experience was a transitory adventure; for a few it was a life-shaping experience. Sea Struckis about the final decades of American square-rigged sail, as recorded in firsthand accounts of voyages made by three well-born young men from Massachusetts. The city of New Bedford looms large here-two young men, Frank Besse and Rodman Swift, came from families prominent in the whaling industry, and old whaling money financed the construction of two ships, the William J. Rotch and the Guy C. Goss, both built in Bath, Maine, under the direction of Captain William Besse of New Bedford (and cousin of young Frank). Young Tod Swift, scion of the prominent Rotch and Swift families of New Bedford and just graduated from Harvard, chose to go to sea as an ordinary seaman, much to the distress of his mother, who was particularly upset that he hadn't packed his pajamas! Frank Besse, and a third young man, Carleton Allen, each sailed as paying passengers aboard their ships; even from that more sheltered vantage point, their accounts are fascinating. But Tod Swift's journal, kept in secret aboard the steel four-masted bark Astral,relates the reality of a prolonged, hungry, and difficult voyage from Philadelphia to Japan and San Francisco. His account is made even more compelling by interspersed excerpts fromAstral's official log-which makes no mention of the fire that nearly doomed the ship, or that the hated cook was always armed with a cleaver, or that the crew went on strike (and the captain called it mutiny).

Table of Contents

FOREWORD ix
INTRODUCTION xiii
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xvii
PART ONE THE SETTING AND THE SHIPS
1 New Bedford, and the Swifts, Rotches, Rodmans, Etc.
2(11)
2 Young Tod the Sailor
13(11)
3 When Young Frank First Went to Sea
24(7)
4 Captain Besse and His Fleet
31(13)
5 Besse Ships at Sea and in Port, 1883
44(13)
6 Captain Frank Stone
57(15)
PART TWO FRANK BESSE
7 Frank Besse Goes to Sea
72(9)
8 Passage to Japan, 1881
81(13)
9 On to Hong Kong
94(17)
10 Hong Kong to Victoria
111(10)
11 Frank's West Coast Tour
121(7)
12 To Ireland with Wheat
128(20)
PART THREE CARLETON ALLEN
13 Carleton Allen and Captain Walter Mallett
148(14)
14 Carletons Wish
162(19)
15 A Roaring Forties Passage
181(22)
16 Australia to Hawaii
203(21)
PART FOUR TOD SWIFT
17 Tod Swift Finds a Ship
224(19)
18 Astral, October November 1904
243(18)
19 Astral, December 1904 January 1905
261(15)
20 Astral, February-March 1905
276(10)
21 Kobe, April and Part of May
286(9)
22 Astral, May 13 to June 30, 1905
295(19)
23 An Engineer on Two Coasts
314(12)
24 In the Wake of Jag
326(12)
APPENDIX 338(23)
INDEX 361

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