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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

30 October 2014

❖ Square Rigger GREAT ADMIRAL ❖ Lost

Eric A. Pousard, Winslow, Bainbridge Island.
Survivor of the wreck of the full rigged ship

lost 6 December 1906.
original '49 photo from  archives of the S. P. H. S.©
"The story of the loss of the GREAT ADMIRAL, square-rigger, which linked world ports in the days of sail, was told yesterday by Eric A. Pousard, Winslow, business man, a member of the famous vessel, who clung to wreckage until rescued.
      In the office of McGinitie & McDonald, marine surveyors, Pousard saw a picture of the GREAT ADMIRAL on the wall.
      'That's my old ship,' he said as his face lighted up and his eyes sparkled. 'That picture takes me back more than 40 years to 6 December 1906, when the GREAT ADMIRAL foundered 175 miles southwest of Cape Flattery.
      'Capt. E. R. Sterling of Seattle, famous sailing ship skipper, was master and owner of the GREAT ADMIRAL. We had sailed the square-rigger to South Africa, Australia, Hawaii, Mexico, and Alaska, but she was lost while bound from Mukilteo for San Pedro with a cargo of lumber.
      It was in November 1906. We towed from Mukilteo to Pt. Townsend, cleared at the custom house and left in the evening of 30 November for sea.
      Arriving at Cape Flattery 1 December in the afternoon, we passed out in light southwest winds and fine weather. Approximately 150 miles southwest of the Cape, we sighted the British sailing ship BARCORE. After we had shown the lime-juicer our heels, the barometer dropped rapidly and we were in for a dusting. As the gale came up, Capt. Sterling ordered the canvas shortened and soon we were down to three sails.
      As the wind reached high velocity, huge seas swept over the ship as if she were a submerged rock. Water came in under the forecastle head and under the terrific pounding the GREAT ADMIRAL began to break up. The masts were lifted out of the ship and the poop deck went overboard, with Captain Sterling and the crew, 18 men all told, clinging to it.
      Then the poop deck broke in two, the two pieces drifting apart and then drifting together again. We clung to the piece we thought would last the longest.
      For two days we were adrift on the wreckage. The cook and the cabin boy became so exhausted that they were unable to cling to the wreckage and were washed away.
      Finally the BARCORE, the British ship we had passed, hove in sight and took us aboard. She was bound for Honolulu, so when we sighted the ship ANDREW WELLS, off the CA coast, we asked to be transferred to that vessel. The WELLS landed up in San Francisco 9 December 1906.
      Wreckage from the GREAT ADMIRAL drifted ashore at Queen Charlotte Island, [B.C.] two years later.'
      The GREAT ADMIRAL was built in 1869 by Robert E. Jackson at East Boston for William F. Weld & Co., who at that time had the largest sailing fleet under the American flag. Her figurehead was a life-sized image of Admiral Farragut and still is preserved on the Weld estate near Boston."
The Seattle Times, 5 June 1949

According to his obituary, Mr. Pousard, a native of Sweden, came to the US in 1906. He was a dockmaster at Hall Bros. Shipyard for many years, passing away in 1960. 


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