The Bangor S-Class Archive

In the summer of 1951 Martin Imrie was asked to deliver the newly-launched Sandera to Southampton. He was accompanied by a crew consisting of Terry McGimpsey (only as far as Milford Haven), cook and First Mate Elisabeth Imrie, Christine aged 5, and Martyn, aged 4. This brief log was recorded by Martin, and some comments have been added by his wife Elisabeth, in bold type. Thanks are due to Mrs Elisabeth Ferguson for permission to reproduce the log here.

Saturday 30/6/51

1805 Slipped and proceeded under engine. Inshore route to Ardglass. Spoke to Seaquester.

Sunday 1/7/51

0055 Anchored Ardglass. Tidied up in a.m.

1345 Away under engine. 1427 St. John’s Point abeam. Head sea and poor wind.

1930 Target Carlingford.

2100 Greenore and Customs.

2130 Anchored Steamer berth, supper and bunks.

Monday 2/7/51

1100 Away under engine, then under sail when petrol done.

1700 Skerries abeam.

1940 Howth abeam. Wind light and variable. Supper.

2300 Anchored Dunlaoghaire.

Tuesday 3/7/51

Fuelled, shopped, postcards, phone calls and telegrams a.m.

1300 Lunch.

1405 Away under power.

1410 Picked up Oceana, rudderless and towed him into harbour.

1440 Away again under engine and red rig.

1510 Sail only

1930 Wicklow abeam. Engine.

2300 No wind from Mizzen Head. Arklow entrance hard to find in semi-darkness and no lights on it. The moored row of boats in river turned out to be bushes growing in river bed! Full astern! Swing bridge a menace to operator.

Wednesday 4/7/51

0900 Ashore to shop - and did we shop!

1020 Off under power, setting sail as we went.

1230 Arklow Light Vessel abeam. Streamed log. Checking compasses. Saw Tusker, Rosslare roofs. Trouble with exhaust and cooling system. Found ourselves well to north of rhumb line when South Bishop came on. Came in a bearing of Skokham Light and hoped to clear Grassholm (unlit). Light sky to north and dark to south. Eventually saw Grassholm against Smalls Light. Drove past Skokholm and tide with engine and fresh wee air from the north. Entered Milford Haven first light.

Thursday 5/7/51

0525 Anchored off west jetty near two French crabbers. Customs and ashore in a.m. Lunch at Lord Nelson. Saw D. Pomeroy and were overwhelmed when served such huge specimens that their heads and tails hung over the rims of the plates. Delicious!

1430 To Dale and tidying ship.

1830 Off to sea. Had to turn back after a while owing to unpleasant sea and forecast.

E produced a great fry but couldn’t appreciate it herself!

The sea was so rough that I had to wedge myself in the galley and the bacon and eggs swished back and forward on the pan. The others managed to eat their platefuls as soon as they got them, with no

ill effect but I had lost my appetite.

1900 Back in Dale and anchored. Peace!

Friday 6/7/51

Saw Terry off in a.m. with much regret. Lovely sun inside but fresh wind outside. Wandered ashore and shopped. Lovely country, flowers and birds especially chiff-chaff.

Saturday 7/7/51

a.m. got milk, etc. Good nursery ashore. p.m. snoozes all round then a walk ashore. Saw buzzard over towards St. Ann’s Head. Still fresh westerly outside and fog. Frenchman and refined fisherman (solo) from Saundersfoot.

Sunday 8/7/51

Sandera and crew at Milford Haven

1910 Off under engine and then sail. Bit of a roll.

A gross understatement! There was a horrid tumble.

Christine’s flowers in vase of water upset into bedding.

1335 St. Governs Light Vessel abeam.

1925 Anchored off landing Lundy Islands - memories! West wind fresh off north of island, very interesting.

Approaching the Island, not far from the landing steps, Martin went forward to lower the jib but lost his footing on the pitching ship and fell overboard on the starboard side. I was at the tiller and froze with shock. The children were asleep below, strapped (in special wide canvas straps which allowed them to turn freely) into their bunks. I thought with horror what on earth could I do on my own. The boat was too heavy for me to handle in the increasing sea and would I be able to pick Martin up and haul him aboard and if I lost him how would I manage to anchor by myself and get the children safely ashore. All this went fleetingly through my head before Martin swung back aboard with the next rocking of Sandera to port; he had had the presence of mind to hold on to the jib sheets. Relief flooded over me, but I felt distinctly wobbly and weak for some time and all these years later I still recall vividly the dreadful scene. I suppose the note about ‘memories’ is referring to that awful episode. Ashore to the widow’s later - up seemingly endless stone steps.

Very interesting. Relics of wrecks. Local characters.

Monday 9/7/51

Very stormy today. Wind S. and E. to SW. force 5/6/7 in puffs, very roll but fairly sheltered in anchorage. Fog signal annoying. Met Morris and crew. Trawler in to shelter. Campbell’s steamer in. Local lobsterman’s boat dragged. Very unpleasant day.

Tuesday 10/7/51

a.m. Looks better but still unpleasant. E and kids played on beach. Daddy tidying.

p.m. Ashore and shopped. Visited South Light, very clean and neat. Made re-aquaintance of bee-keeping man. Returned borrowed shirt. Trinity boat, Vestal, in.

Wednesday 11/7/51

1210 Weather better. Off under red sail.

1315 On course after clearing race.

1700 Wind fresh and sea big but boat going well between the holes.

2400 Trevose Head abeam. Wind less and sea a little smoother.

0100 Pendeen Light looming ahead.

Thursday 12/7/51

0715 St. Ives abeam. Wind light and sea confused. Up white sails. Good hot breakfast

by E - to her great credit. Sea Otter overhead. Plenty of ships.

1330 Longships abeam. Sun and more sun. Wind N.W. force 6.

1710 Alongside Lutin, French trader in Newlyn. Most attractive coast, small boats

fishing mackerel and St. Michael’s Mount looking like a fairy tale castle. Frenchmen

most kind to E and kids. Walked ashore. Lovely place.

Friday 13/7/51

Milked, provisioned, watered. Fuelled and cleaned ship. Entertained bearded single-hander on way to Thames Estuary from St. Ives, who threw bars of chocolate for the kids- which Pa ate as no one else liked dark chocolate.

1200 Shipped and proceeded, Fair wind N.N.W. and later W. force 4-6. Air Arm activity. Fun with fuel.

1548 Lizard Light abeam. Foul tide so engine and full sail. Some shipping.

1730 Manacles abeam.

2000 In mooring in Falmouth RC.Y.C. looked after us well.

2015 Ashore for a walk. Lona seen at Flushing off Burt’s Yard.

2100 Supper and to bed.

Saturday 14/7/51

Baths at Royal Cornwall. Some Sunbeams coming in to race. Lovely slim boats.

1220 Off via Flushing and a look at Lona. Many big tankers in docks and roads. Little wind and overcast, cool. Stuart Turner does his stuff. Local One Designs sailing and N. wind. Engine rested. Wind N.N.W. force 4. Passed Plymouth rather sadly.

2300 Down sails and on engine for Bolt Head and Salcombe.

2400 Engine stalled, up sail and off for Dartmouth.

Sunday 15/7/51

0115 Start Light abeam. In sheets for Dartmouth. Wind northerly force 3-6.

0530 Entered Dartmouth under engine. Lovely morning.

0600 Anchored Warfleet.

0730 Customs crash landed and all awake. Very unpopular.

Martin and I had just got to our bunks after a long passage when Customs arrived and woke the children.

However, we managed to sleep again until 0930. Lovely day. Milk run and tidying.

1430 found M.T.B. 630

The Sea Ranger Training Ship where E. later went every year to teach Guiders to sail.

1500 Motored out in flat calm. Stacks of pleasure boats and yachts. Torbay lovely as

pictures by day and by light.

1730 Caught mackerel as directed by Junior.

1830 Tea off Fishcombe.

2130 Anchored Torquay. Customs again. Rigged anchor light. Good day.

Monday 16/7/51

0545 Skipper awoke and made breakfast.

0630 Weighed and proceeded for Portland.

0745 Ore Stone abeam - more memories.

1745 Portland Light abeam.

2020 St. Alban’s Head abeam.

2145 Anchored on mooring in Swanage, being invited to do so by a local with a gorgeous Dorset dialect! Portland Race no worse that Strangford Bar or Rathlin, or even some of Foyle entrances. Wind N. first then S. then W. force 2-4. Hot. Porpoises played round us and one delighted the kids by performing round the ship. E identified Lyme Buoy - which turned out later to be ketch-rigged! Christine steered for about one hour this morning and quite accurately.

Tuesday 17/7/51

0930 E and kids ashore to shop. Fuelled, etc. Ferrying by Poles from nearby cruiser; very kind and charming. Swanage noted down for return sometime. Lovely place and beach. Sun marvellous. Christine and Martyn at Salcombe. Peveril Point is a really nasty-looking place with tide over rocks.

1100 On way. Sail and motor. Wind W. force 4-5. Quick trip up Solent. Very hot in Solent.

Had to rig an awning to keep us from ‘frying’ and strip to shorts or nude to keep cool.

E had to dress occasionally!

When I saw another boat coming nearer as I was in my ‘birthday suit’!

1830 Berthed Camper and Nicholson’s alongside Flame.

1930 Ashore for supper and a wander round Pompey: memories again. Saw ‘sixes’ coming in for B.A. cup-races on an American Line ship. Saw old friend Isle of Sark in Needles Channel. Lots of navy ships in for night. Kids greatly taken with the ferries. Good trip.

Martin pulled the dinghy up the slip above the water and tied the painter to a ring on the slip. When we returned the tide was coming in and Martin had to wade in to untie the painter. Much embarrassment ...

Sandera Log

Captain and crew in Milford Haven, 1951

Christine and Martyn at Salcombe