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Mystery

PE 233: This vessel, a half-decked lugger built in Newlyn, made the most remarkable voyage in the history of fishing boats when it sailed from Penzance to Melbourne between 1854 and 1855 with seven crew.

The boat was only 33' long by 11' 6" beam drawing 6' and for navigation carried just a compass, hourglass, charts and a Cornish traverse board to record speed and direction (this also took the form of a bellows for the cabin stove). She was decked over and was zinc plated below the waterline for the voyage. 

This photograph is from a model at the Fishermens' Mission in Newlyn:-                           

Mystery

 

One of the Kelynack family had previously emigrated to Australia and had written home telling of the opportunities out there.

Times were hard and others in the family decided to emigrate by selling the family boat, the Mystery. Captain Richard Nicholls of Hayle who was a relative by marriage suggested that instead they sail the boat to Australia.

The crew were Job Kelynack, William and Richard Badcock plus Charles Boase, Philip Curnow Mathews and cook Lewis Lewis. Stores for the six crew for the initial voyage to South Africa comprised salt beef & pork & hard tack (ship's biscuits).

According to Philip Curnow Mathews, they left Mount's Bay on the morning of 18th November 1854 and sighted Madeira a week later. The Equator was crossed on 15th December and they anchored off Simonstown on 18th January 1855 averaging over 100 miles a day. They put in at the Cape of Good Hope for 7 days and hauled the boat out to clean the tanks and take on water and Royal Mail for Australia. They sailed on 24th January. The weather was favourable apart  from three gales and hurricane strength winds in the February and March when they hove to comfortably riding to a raft in the storms. They reached the pilot station off Port Philip Heads and anchored in Hobson's Bay, Melbourne on 14th March 1855, 115 days and 12,000 miles later.

A remarkable voyage with no damage and manageable even in the biggest seas!                                             

It has been said that the boat was sold immediately after this voyage and used as a pilot vessel; it is thought that it was wrecked off the Queensland coast 4-5 years later.

 

 

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