Eamont (schooner)

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Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Eamont
Owner: Dent & Co
Builder: White, Cowes
Launched: 1854
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 120 tons
Length: 87 ft.
Beam: 20 ft.
Draught: 12 ft.
Sail plan: Schooner

Eamont was an opium clipper built in Cowes.[1] It was the subject of an 1891 book, A cruise in an opium clipper, by Captain Lindsay Anderson.[2]

Eamont was involved in the opening of Japan to foreigners in 1858, serving as a dispatch boat between Nagasaki and Shanghai,[3] and was one of the first vessels to open up a trade with Formosa.

Construction[edit]

The Eamont and Wild Dayrell were both built by White, of Cowes. The Eamont was constructed of teak and mahogany, measured a little over 200 tons and had a mainboom 110 feet long. She was a very powerful vessel and carried 200 tons of iron kentledge fitted into her as a stationary ballast. She was armed with four 18-pounders a side and two pivot guns, like the Zephyr, the two vessels belonging to Dent & Co.

Career[edit]

During the Taiping Rebellion the Eamont ran up to the threatened city of Ningpo, passing right through the Battle of Chinhae, which was being waged not only on the banks but in the river itself. At Ningpo she found the Zephyr. The two schooners loaded up with fugitive celestials, and raced each other back to Woosung. But in the smooth sheltered water of the river, and with a fresh whole sail breeze, the Zephyr more than a match for the more strongly built Cowes schooner. However, the Eamont had her revenge in weather more to her choice. The two vessels met this time in half a gale of wind with a heavy sea running, and the Eamont sailed right dead to windward of the Zephyr, and left her out of sight in twelve hours.

The Eamont was sent on some very dangerous trips. She was one of the first vessels to open up a trade with Formosa, and made the first survey of the port of Taku, which she entered by bumping over the reef in spite of a tremendous surf beating upon it at the time, a most daring performance. And in her efforts to trade with the Formosans she had to withstand the attack of hundreds of armed natives right on top of a typhoon, which she succeeded in riding out on her moorings. But the captain of the Eamont was a famous fighting man, as the Chinese pirates knew to their cost. In his constant encounters with piratical lorchas Captain Gulliver made use of a drag sail, with which he would suddenly deaden the way of his schooner, and so out-manoeuvre these "Invincibles," as they called themselves.

The Eamont was also employed in the negotiations for the first commercial treaty with Japan. On this occasion she ran into Nagasaki and quietly dropped anchor, in spite of the fact that opposition to the proposed commercial treaty was very strong at the time. On the following morning 150 boat-loads of Japanese attempted to tow her to sea, being evidently ignorant of an anchor's raison d'être. But though they attempted several similar methods to get rid of her they refrained from any armed attack, and, eventually, her mission was completely successful. This was in 1858, and the Eamont's crew saw many wonderful sights in that tierra incognita.

Typhoon of 1858[edit]

Double Haven, Double Island, in 2011

The September Typhoon of 1858 destroyed several well-known opium clippers, including the Anonyma, Gazelle, Pantaloon, and Mazeppa. Eamont was anchored off Double Island, with "150 fathoms of chain out and a second anchor backed on it at 60 fathoms." The waves in the anchorage were estimated to be as large as 40 feet, and the Eamont’s crew had to cut away her masts. Eamont was one of only two ships in that anchorage to survive the night, the other being the Hazard. [4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lubbock, Basil (1933). The Opium Clippers. Boston, MA: Charles E. Lauriat Co. pp. 339, 341, 347, 351–2, 364–8, 384. 
  2. ^ Captain Lindsay Anderson (1891). A cruise in an opium clipper. London: Chapman and Hall, Limited. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  3. ^ Lubbock (1933), p. 351-352
  4. ^ Lubbock (1933), p. 384

This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Lubbock, Basil (1914). The China clippers (2nd ed.). Glasgow: James Brown & Son. Retrieved 2013-03-21. 

Further reading[edit]