Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 3 (June 1, 1940)

The Voyage Out

The Voyage Out.

The trials of the past few weeks soon disappeared, with the hills of England, which many of them were seeing for the last time. The next day running before a fair channel breeze at a steady
The meeting of the “Tory” and the “Cuba” in Cook Strait, March, 1840. (From a sketch by Charles Heaphy).

The meeting of the “Tory” and the “Cuba” in Cook Strait, March, 1840.
(From a sketch by Charles Heaphy).

eight knots the Tory began to settle to her long voyage and the passengers to the details of their life aboard. Captain Chaffers kept to the east and ran down the coast of Portugal. On the 22nd, the little party saw in the distance the hills of the island of Palma, one of the Canaries. This was the only sight of any land on the whole voyage. Captain Cook had remarked on one of his voyagers on not seeing land for 1,098 miles but the Tory did 16,000 with a faint glimpse of Palma and 14,680 without any sign of land.

On board, life was very dull, and a weekly manuscript paper and a debating club helped to pass the long hours. One interesting, if dangerous experiment, was performed by Edward Jerningham, who hypnotised Charles Heaphy. Colonel Wakefield reported the incident, giving details of Heaphy's conduct, which was apparently very violent. Some days later Heaphy was again, “magnetized” as they called it and Colonel Wakefield this time tersely dismissed the incident by reporting: “Nearly same effect as before.”

The Tory, though an excellent craft, was particularly foul in the hold, and various efforts were made to destroy the foul air which was so strong as to blacken the paint in the forecastle. The health of the crew was very bad during the voyage, but they did not appear to see any connection between this and the ship's condition. It is strange to think that to-day this would be an obvious explanation.

On 7th June, the Tory crossed the Equator, twenty-six days out of Plymouth. On 10th July the Cape of Good Hope was doubled and the run, almost direct to New Zealand, along the Roaring Forties, began. On several days, runs of over two hundred miles were registered, and finally to everybody's delight land was sighted on 16th August. This proved to be the high land on the West Coast not far south of Cape Farewell. The voyage had taken 96 days, which was a remarkably fast passage. This was the fastest passage for many years to come and certainly the fastest of any of the company's ships. I have been unable to find the date that the Tory's record was beaten, but it was certainly many years later. The speed in reaching New Zealand was very fortunate for the company as there would have been much confusion if she had taken even a moderately long voyage. The Cuba, with the surveying party aboard, took 157 days. Then the immigrants had left England well before word was received of the Tory's arrival and it can well be imagined what their plight would have been if the Tory had not made such a fast passage.