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Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Brigantine MARQUES

Here’s a brief description given in the list of sailing ships in http://www.schoonerman.com/m_sailing_ships.htm

Three masted brig Marques built in 1917 lost in a freak storm in 1984.









Here’s her story given in the article entitled “Rogue Waves “in Science Frontiers http://www.science-frontiers.com/sf066/sf066g14.htm:

“Shortly before dawn on Sunday, June 3, 1984, the 117-foot, threemasted Marques sailed into a fierce squall about 75 miles north of Bermuda. Heavy rain began to pelt the ship, and a furious wind sprang up out of nowhere. Squalls were nothing new to the Marques, one of 39 tall ships participating in a transatlantic race. But as a precaution, Stuart Finlay, the seasoned 42-year-old American captain of the ship, shortened the sails. The Marques was carrying a crew of 28 - half of whom were under 25. At the helm, Philip Sefton, 22, fought the angry waves that now confronted them.

"Suddenly a heavy gust of wind pushed the Marques down on its starboard side. At the same instant 'a freakish wave of incredible force and size,' as Sefton later described it, slammed the ship broadside, pushing its masts farther beneath the surging water. A second wave pounded the ship as it went down. The Marques filled with water and sank in less than one minute. Most of the crew were trapped as they slept below deck. Only Sefton and eight shipmates survive.

And here’s more detailed story given in http://seafarer.netfirms.com/2/marques.htm

4:30 a.m. Sunday, June 3, 1984
75 miles north of Bermuda.

The storm that has buffeted the sail-training ship Marques for the last 14 hours appears to be subsiding. Most of the crews are below, sleeping peacefully...

Suddenly, a heavy gust of wind pushes Marques down on her starboard side. Then, as helmsman Philip Sefton, 22, recalls a freakish wave of incredible force and size,’ literally slams into the ship, knocking her far over, flat on her side. Water starts roaring through the open hatchway, down into the bowels of the ship. And in less than 45 seconds, the ship is gone - as she literally sails under the ocean, her cabin lights still glowing green through the water as she slides, into the depths. In under a minute, all that remains of Marques, are the few cold, shocked survivors, struggling for the liferafts. And then, the red rockets arcing through the stormy, pre-dawn sky. Of the 28 on board, there are nine survivors...

Said John Ash, 24, of the rogue wind and wave that drove the Marques into the sea: It meant to kill us. There was nothing we could do.

Marques was originally built in Valencia, Spain for the Canary Island fruit trade in 1917. Originally a polacca-rigged brig, the ship was purchased in 1971 as a rotting hulk by Robin Cecil-Wright and restored over the next five years in Britain. The ship acquired her distinctive barque rig when she was extensively refitted and modified to play the role of Charles Darwin's HMS Beagle in the 1977 BBC television series ‘The Voyage of Charles Darwin’.

So I’ll add this following item to the list as:

1984: North Atlantic. On June 3, 1984 the three-masted brig Marques encountered a freaque wave 75 miles north of Bermuda and lost in 45 seconds. Of the 28 onboard, there were only 9 survivors.

17 comments:

Pablo said...

Your blog is fantastic. I too hope that more attention can be drawn to this deadly natural phenomenon. I have done some internet research, and have a sneaking suspicion that many oil and shipping companies, as well as the firms that insure them, are not particularly enthusiastic about acknowledging the existence of freak/rogue waves.

If that assumption is correct, then it is another sad example of profiteers treating the young men who work for them as a disposable resource. Hopefully projects like MaxWave will help to bring more attention to this phenomenon, particularly with traffic increasing in the world's oceans.

saboogaloo said...

I was in one of the other ships sailing against the Marques, we went to their ship the night before we left on the next leg of the race. Little did we know what would happen next. The weather was awful that whole time and when we heard about the rogue wave that took them down we were shell shocked.

Anonymous said...

I was there within hours aboard the H.M.C.S. Assiniboine. I pray, as I have for years for the people that lost their lives on that terrible day. I have a tatoo on my forearm that states "I'm sorry Christopher", as I had his body in my arms briefly before the sea took him away.
ABBN Haley, Port Rescue Watch, HMCS Assiniboine.

Pauline said...

Hello,
My name is Pauline and I lost my brother Carl Mason (Antigua) in that fatal tragedy. I would really love to get in touch with others who would know more about this. Although it's been 27 yrs, I still have not gotten closure as information had not been forthcoming at the time. I am excited to see that there is now information out there on this. I   am available by email at juliemae2000@hotmail.com or by skype at paulinelcd. Would really love to hear from someone who is willing to share. Thanks

Jason Billingham said...

I was also on another boat in the race of 1984 called Canada Maritime, Chay Blythes 1971 round the world boat. I was a complete novice, and was asleep in my bunk until our boat was broached. We all had to go on deck and attach safety harnesses.There was something like 23 or 24 crew on deck looking in complete disbelief, not really scared at the awesome seascape that we were confronted with. It was like watching a fluid mountain range all about us, swell so huge that it took your breath away. I lost a friend called Ben Bryant on the Marques that day. His memory will always be with me. I'm so sorry for others that lost loved ones that day.

FreaqueWaves said...

To Jason Billingham: Thank you so much for your comment. It is exciting to hear from someone who was really there and your description: "It was like watching a fluid mountain range all about us." I have a nagging question I wish you could kindly recall: "Were the waves making a lot of noises that day?"

Dee said...

Is there a list of Marques survivors?

I sailed on it earlier.

Anonymous said...

Another anniversary of the day I will never forget, Those I barely knew have lasted in my thoughts for a life time. Rest well!

Rob Finlay said...

I am the son of Stuart Finlay, the captain and with the 30th yr anniversary of the disaster approaching I'd like to send my best wishes our to all the families and survivors of the tragedy. I lost a dad, and step mother and half brother that I will never meet because of the event. My heart goes out to all that were also impacted.
Rob Finlay
robert.r.finlay@gmail.com

m-powered said...

I sailed on the Marques and the Inca, her sister ship in the years before this disaster. I sailed with some of those who drowned and I remember some of those who survived but I lost contact after Pete Messer Bennett's memorial in Cornwall.
I left the boat the year before to go to college. Sailing on these incredible boats shaped my life in so many ways.
Miranda Gomperts

Anonymous said...

I too was on HMCS Assiniboine that day with the air detachment. That day was my 23rd birthday, and I pause to remember those that perished each year. I remember sharing drinks with several Marques crew members in a bar in Hamilton the day before we sailed for Halifax, and how they tried to convince me to sail with them for a few days. I fondly remember how we as Assiniboine shipmates made a survivor as one of our own, and how we all cheered as he walked off our ship in Halifax to his waiting family.

Anonymous said...

I was on board Marques that night. As she heeled to starboard and accelerated, she plunged her bows in and under the oncoming wave/swell, she slowed, lurched further to starboard and the bow drove deeper under. Very quickly the fore coarse filled with water and held her down, preventing a recovery, I believe the fore hatch breeched allowing the fore peak to flood and she started to go down like a dinner plate being slid into a sink full of water. As she went down, I ran up the starboard side as the companionway hatch went underwater too helping 2 to escape before she went over all the way. I was trapped in the starboard rigging as she went down. I got lucky and mannaged to free myself, and swam for the surface.

random blogger said...

I am friends with the brother of one of those lost on this ship. he too is an experienced sailor, and captain i believe. All this time on and the pain is still evident. my heart goes out to all touched by this tragedy.

Pauline Christopher said...

Thank you everyone for sharing..although it has been 30 years, I often think of my brother and the others and wonder what it was like that fateful morning..may their memories live on..I still get chills at the thought of it..
Pauline (sister of Carl Mason who a crew member on board that ship)..

Andrew Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I was on the Australian yacht GOONDOOLOO moored close to MARQUES in Bermuda - we headed out towards the Azores a day or so before the race left for Newport. I was 12. We heard the whole sinking and rescue of survivors on the radio as were about 100 miles or so away...

Jason Billingham said...

I've been brought back to this blog by the previous thread, but I was asked by FreaqueWaves sometime ago, sorry, whether the waves were making a lot of noise in the storm that day. I described the sea like a fluid mountain range. Having slept through the storm until our boat was broached I can say there weren't crashing waves and people weren't hanging on for dear life once on deck, it was more of a huge swell lifting and dropping the boat but not in a fair ground way. Its very strange reminiscing from that time, I've got grown up kids now and the thought of losing a child would be horrendous. Actually my niece and her boyfriend have just sailed over to the caribbean on a 38 foot boat as part of the Arc race which caused a lot of anxiety to her parents, my sister. But I wouldn't have missed the Tall Ships trip for anything. The Marques was a tragic accident waiting to happen, by all accounts. A merchant ship which was badly converted to a training vessel. I still feel great sadness for the loss of life that day and always will.