July 22, 1909 – San Francisco – The British bark Poltalloch, Captain Evans, which arrived yesterday 173 days from Antwerp, was mercilessly battered by gales on the other side of the Horn, spent 45 days battling with hurricanes off the Horn, and in the Pacific, wallowed her northerly way through weary weeks of light winds and dead calms.
The Poltalloch brought 3,800 tons’ of general cargo, of which 1,200 tons is for Portland. The Poltalloch left Antwerp January 26 and had fine weather until February 8, when a heavy northwester came along.
Water poured over the sides fore and aft. One ambitious wave tore loose from their lashings and carried overboard two barrels of beef, each weighing 500 pounds. In the general mix-up that followed the arrival on board of this particular wave, the mate was knocked down and injured so badly that be kept to his bunk for a week.
The next day the wind moderated, but the sea still ran high and kept the decks awash. The mizzenmast was found to have started and the cargo took a sudden shift, heeling the ship over to port. It was not until March 15 that a chance offered to trim the cargo and get the ship on an even keel again. The Poltalloch was scudding along before another northwester when the wind suddenly shifted to the southwest. So sudden was the change and so fierce the tempest from the new direction that the ship was taken aback and within a few seconds was being blown astern at a speed almost as great as the former headway.
As ships are not rigged to stand pressure from the front, the Poltalloch was in grave peril of losing sails and spars. As it was; many of the sails were blown to ribbons before they could be secured and a great sea tumbled over the poop, which for the time being was taking the part of the forecastle head. This sea broke the cabin skylights, flooded the cabins, gutted the galley and made a fairly complete wreck of the afterguard’s living quarters.
The unusual strain aloft caused the running pear to chafe so badly that the crew became panic stricken and for a time the Poltalloch was at the mercy of the elements. Seas poured over from every direction. The heavy glasses in the port and starboard lighthouses were smashed in. Boats were washed away as if they had been made of paper. Accommodation ladders and everything else that could be torn loose were swept away, and when the gale moderated the Poltalloch was nearly all in.
Heavy weather was encountered off the Horn. There were no more gales after getting into the Pacific, but before the ship sighted the Golden Gate all hands were praying for even a Cape Horn hurricane to relieve the monotony of a too pacific ocean. (San Francisco Call)