Hydrabad (ship) - was an iron cargo and passenger sailing ship, built in Scotland and launched in 1865.

HYDRABAD, ship : When bound from Lyttelton to Adelaide, the ship was driven ashore on June 24, 1878, a mile and a half north of the Horowhenua River, between Foxton and Otaki.

After leaving Lyttelton the vessel had light variable winds for a couple of days, and on the evening of Sunday, June 23, she was off the Brothers, standing a NNW. course, off and on. About midnight the wind freshened considerably, and by morning it had risen to a gale. A very heavy squall then came on, and, one after the other the sails were blown away, one of them, a perfectly new sail, exploding with a loud report. It was then blowing a furious hurricane, and it was quite impossible to carry anything.

The master had been doing all in his power to reach the island of Kapiti, but in vain, and all the canvas having been blown away-for even the sails which had been stowed were blown out of the gaskets-the doomed ship slowly but surely drifted on to a lee shore. She drifted about 35 miles in 10 hours. The lead was kept going and when the ship got into about 18 fathoms of water, both anchors were let go in the hope that they would bring the vessel’s head to wind, and hold her until such time as the gale moderated. One hundred fathoms of very heavy cable were run out with each anchor, but they did not stop the ship’s way for an instant, and both cables snapped as if they were so much packthread.

A tremendous sea was running, and as the vessel was getting closer to the breakers, the captain gave orders to head her straight for the shore, his idea being, that by doing so those on board would have a greater chance for safety. Although under bare poles, the vessel had a good deal of way on, and when she first struck the sand, she rose clear of it, and after driving in another length or so she struck again, but all the time answering her helm. The third time, however, the wheel kicked, and the steersman was tossed up in the air, striking a boom and being very badly bruised.

At the same instant, a heavy wave broke over the stern and nearly washed the crippled seaman overboard. He was only saved by his leg being caught between two iron stanchions. The same sea washed the captain against the mainmast and inflicted some nasty bruises; however, these were the only accidents. The ship’s complement totalled 33 persons, including 19 foremast hands.

There were two women on board, the master’s wife, Mrs. Holmwood, and the wife of the ship’s carpenter, who acted as stewardess, and both behaved splendidly. Mrs. Holmwood, who had made her home on board the Hydrabad for seven years, was heard to remark “poor old ship”, and refused to leave the wreck until the injured seaman was taken ashore.

Later, the ship drifted closer inshore, lunging herself deep in the sand and standing on an even keel as if in dock. On July 4 it was reported from Otaki that the wreck had driven further ashore and almost dry at low water and in not more than 10 feet at high water.

On at least two occasions, November 28 1878, and January 28, 1879, efforts to refloat the Hydrabad were almost successful, and each time a change in the weather rendered that attempt abortive.

Finally, the ship was abandoned, but so well was she constructed, that even today she still holds together in much the same condition as shown in the accompanying photograph.

Trish Smart sent me The Hydrabad - a wonderfully informative article documenting the Hydrabads history

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