1927 Signal Station Movement of Ships

The Signal Station JUNE 1927

It is proposed to give each month, as many of the reports of movement of sailing ships as can be ascertained, together with a few remarks of their records. Readers can assist by supplying such information as comes to their notice, particularly interesting details of rigging, passages made, etc.

Peculiar interest attaches to this year’s Australian Grain Fleet as it is very unlikely that such a large number of ships will again be under way for Europe at one time, there being no less than seventeen cargoes afloat at the moment.

Every effort was to be made by the various captains In making the long run round Cape Horn a notable event.

The honour of being the first ship home belongs to the four-masted barque Herzogin Cecilie, under the command of Captain R. de Cloux, who has the proud distinction of making an 88 days’ passage from Port Lincoln to Queenstown, where she arrived 2nd May, and sailed again two day later for Hamburg.

Such a passage would have been an enviable one in the palmy days of the wool clippers, when the slogan was – “Home under 90 days.”

The Herzogin Cecilie is owned by Mr. Gustaf Erikson, Mariehamn, Finland, who, with some fifteen big sailers flying his house flag, is one of the largest sailing ship owners operating to-day. No less than seven of the grain fleet under review (marked *) belong to him.

Hougomont*, the second vessel to arrive, occupied 120 days from Port Lincoln to Falmouth, where she arrived 4th May, was ordered to London and arrived there 15th May.

The Archibald Russell*-with whom she was in company for days on several occasions – took 124 days from Geelong to Queenstown, reaching there 15th May, when she was ordered to Antwerp. Both ships were turned out by Scotts, of Greenock, and formerly belonged to John Hardie and Co., of Glasgow, so they are still fleet companions.

Captain I. Hagerstrand, of the Hougomont, stated there was a ding-dong struggle between the two crews for victory, which ultimately fell to his ship.

Ponape, ex Bellhouse, 117 days out, arrived at Falmouth from Melbourne, 10th May, and was ordered to Danzig.

Other movements are:

Favell – Port Germein, 3rd January. Spoken 19th April, 2 deg. S., 20 deg. W.

  1. B. Pedersen – Sydney, 15th January. Spoken 29th April, 9 deg. N . 28 deg. W.

*Killoran – Port Lincoln, 22nd January.

Greif – Ex Wiscombe Park, Port Pirie, 1st February.

Gustav – Ex Austrasia, Sydney, 1st February. Spoken 24th April, 3 deg. N., 30 deg. W.

*Grace Harwar – Port Augusta, 3rd February.

*Lawhill – Geelong, 8th February.

Kobenhavn – (Aux.), Thevenard, 16th February. Spoken 10th May, 5 deg. S., 30 deg. W.

Mozart – Port Lincoln, 17th February.

Lisbeth – Ex Pendragon Castle, Sydney, 8th March.

Garthpool – Ex Juteopolis, Adelaide, 11th April.

*Olivebank – Port Lincoln, 11th April.

  1. R. Sterling – Ex Lord Wolseley, Adelaide, 16th April.

All bound to U.K. for orders.


L’ Avenir -River Plate, 17th March, for Antwerp. Passed up English Channel, 18th May.

Peking – San Antonio, 7th March, for Dublin.

Pamir – Talcahuano, 12th April, Channel, f/o. Spoken 27th April, 54 deg. S., 59 deg. W.

Tovarisch – Ex Lauriston, Buenos Aires, 20th April, for Leningrad.

Penang – Arrived Ilo, 6th May, from London.

Oldenburg – Hamburg, 7th February, W.C.S.A. Spoken 12th April, 49 deg. S., 64 deg. W.

Birkdale – Hull, 19th February, Callao.

Fennia – Ex Champigny, Cardiff, 10th February, for Valparaiso. Lost main and mizzen masts off Cape Horn, proceeded to Port Stanley (F.I.), and arrived 13th May.

Parma – Hamburg, 26th March, for Chile. Spoken 23rd April, 16 deg. N., 26 deg. W.

Pinnas – Hamburg, 14th April, Valparaiso. Passed Canary Islands, 10th May.

The Signal Station JULY 1927

It is proposed to give, each month, as many of the reports of movements of sailing ships as can be ascertained, together with a remarks upon their records. Readers can assist by supplying such information as comes to their notice, particularly interesting details of rigging, passages made, etc.


The ships of the Australian Grain Fleet are gradually arriving; pride of place, however, still belongs to Herzogin Cecilie, whose run of 88 days is not likely to be beaten this season. Garthpool and Olivebank are now her only rivals for the honour, but there is little prospect of either excelling the passage of Herzogin Cecilie. Mozart and E. R. Sterling, owing to their paucity of square sail—being barquentine rigged, four and six masts respectively—will probably make tedious passages.

Gustave — German four-mast barque, ex Austrasia. Sydney, 1st February, arrived Queenstown, 4th June. 123 days out, and received orders for London.

Greif — German ship, ex Wiscombe Park. Port Pirie, 1st February, arrived Falmouth, 7th June, 126 days out ; sailed again 10th June for Belfast, into which port she was towed after grounding on the Twin Rocks.

During the early part of the voyage the Greif encountered a hurricane in which the decks were swept, when two seamen, all the boats and everything moveable were washed overboard. Last October-December. Greif made a remarkably quick passage of 69 days from Valencia (Spain) to Adelaide.

Lawhill — Finnish four-mast barque. Melbourne, 7th February, reached Queenstown 5th June, after a passage of 121 days.

Favell — Finnish barque. Port Germein, 3rd January, arrived Falmouth, 9th June. and sailed two days later for the Tyne. Her tardy passage of 157 days contrasts with the crack run of 82 days which she made between Copenhagen and Melbourne only last year. Favell was launched in 1895 and is the last square rigger built at Bristol.

  1. B. Pedersen – Swedish four-mast barque. Sydney. 15th January, arrived Queenstown 15th June. 151 days out and proceeded to Cork.

Killoran – Finnish barque. Port Lincoln, 22nd January, reached Falmouth 18th June, 147 days out.

Grace Harwar – Finnish ship. Port Augusta, 3rd February. Arrived Queenstown 18th June, 135 days out.

Kobenhavn – Danish five-mast barque (aux.). Thevenard, 15th February, and Adelaide, 28th February. Arrived Falmouth, 17th June, 109 days’ passage.

Mozart – Finnish four-mast barquentine. Left Port Lincoln, 17th February.

Lisbeth – German four-mast barque ex Pendragon Castle. Sydney, 8th March.

  1. R. Sterling – United States six mast barquentine, ex Lord Wolseley. Adelaide, 16th April.

Garthpool – British four-mast barque, ex Juteopolis. The only one under the Red Ensign. Left Adelaide, 11th April, channel f/o. She is making the run home via the Cape of Good Hope and was spoken 26th April in 28 deg. 10 min. S., 108 deg. 40 min. E – some 500 miles North-west of Cape Leeuwin, which she has, seemingly, weathered in good style.

It is rather unusual for sailers to take the Cape route homeward, but the Torrens and some of Devitt Moore’s favourite ships used to do so in their passenger-carrying days.

Olivebank – Finnish four-mast barque. Left Port Lincoln 11th April. It is a coincidence that just a year previously, when bound from Melbourne to Seychelles, she was unable to get round the stormy Leeuwin so turned tail and proceeded via Torres Straits—another unusual route for sailers.

Presumably, Olivebank is making the run home via Cape Horn which, two years ago, she covered in 147 days.

William Mitchell – British ship, the last of that rig flying the Red Ensign. Left Melbourne, 2nd April, for Callao (not the United Kingdom as reported in some journals), where she arrived prior to 3rd June.

Suzanne – Danish barque, ex Kylemore, 1,152 tons built Port Glasgow in 1880. Has made a commendable run of 29 days from Havre to Cayenne, and arrived 8th May.

Quite recently another Susanne, also Danish barque – both hailed from Marstal – was sold to the United States and now has Savannah as her port of registry. She was originally the Routenbeck, 860 tons, built at Whitehaven in 1875. At one time she flew the German flag and was then known as Bellas.

Don Diego – Bolivian barque, hides the identity of an old stalwart built at Liverpool some 50 years ago as the ship Knight of the Thistle. Bound from Buenos Aires to Nantes, 40 guineas were being paid on her for re-insurance when, on 22nd May, she turned up at Madeira, 128 days out. A striking contrast with the rattling run of 77 days which she made between Sydney and London when in her prime. It is unique that such a vessel should belong to an inland Republic accessible by water via the Rivers Plate and Parana only.

Pamelia – Norwegian barque. Like Don Diego, was on the overdue list, 30 guineas being paid on her when she arrived at Luderitz Bav, 120 days from Swansea. She, too. has a crack passage to her credit – 68 days from Iquique to the Channel.

Christel Vinnen – Italian four-mast barque. On 15th April she stranded on Old Providence Island after negotiating the Panama Canal on her way from Caleta Coloso to Norfolk, and has since become a total wreck. Thus passes the former California, 3.000 tons register, built at Belfast, in 1890, for the Liverpool White Star Line.

Star of Italy – United States ship. Left San Francisco 21st May (after being stripped down to her topmasts and crossing nothing above her three lower topsail yards) in tow for Buena Ventura, Colombia. On arrival she will be converted into a barge. Built at Belfast just half a century ago, Star of Italy was one of Corry’s lofty fliers and, like her sister, Star of France, put up some splendid runs in her day. Both registered 1,570 tons and were sold to ‘Frisco owners in 1898.

Cutty Sark and Foudroyant – The Falmouth Harbour Commissioners, after much controversy, have now provided berths for the two veterans on condition that they are moored fore and aft. This has been agreed to by their respective owners—Captain W. H. Dowman and Mr. Wheatly Cobb.

Other movements are:-

Oldenburg – German ship. Arrived Callao. 10th June, and sailed 14th June for Guanape Island. 260 miles northward.

Bremen – German barque 1927 July Sea Breezes magazine Maryport sailing ships. Sailed Bremen, 14th June, for Chile.

Priwall – German four-mast barque. Sailed Hamburg, 14th June, for Chile.

Passat – German four-mast barque. Sailed Caleta Guena, Channel f/o, on 25th May.

Fortuna – Argentine ship, ex Ems. Sailed South Georgia, 17th April for Liverpool.

Carl Vinnen – German five-mast schooner (aux.). Arrived Antwerp, 17th June, 51 days from Santa, Fl.

Susanne Vinnen – German five-mast schooner. Sailed Rosario, 15th June, for Antwerp.

Viking – Danish four-mast barque. Left Callao, 29th April, for Asia Island

Note, these logs record experiences before wireless was used on all sailing ships.

British Post Office engineers inspect Guglielmo Marconi’s  wireless telegraphy (radio) equipment, during a demonstration on Flat Holm Island, 13 May 1897. This was the world’s first demonstration of the transmission of radio signals over open sea, between Lavernock Point and Flat Holm Island, a distance of three miles.

History and Background of Maritime Distress Signals – ALL AT SEA