Annie Smale


Wreck Of The Annie Smale


By James Donahue


The four-masted schooner Annie E. Smale was laden with 1400 tons of coal, sailing from Australia to a Pacific coastal port in the United State when it grounded on the rocks off Point Reyes, California.


The accident happened while the ship was picking its way through heavy fog at about 2 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, 1910.


According to newspaper accounts, the Smale had been at sea for 100 days and was just completing its long journey across the Pacific. A fog horn at Point Reyes was sounding that morning, and Captain J. E. Anderson said the crew had just started to hear it only moments before the wreck.


Anderson said there was too little wind for him to successfully change course. Realizing the ship was dangerously close to shore, he said he ordered the anchors dropped to hold the vessel in deep water.


The anchors failed to hold and the rolling seas drove the Smale into the rocks. The schooner struck broadside and the force of the impact opened the hull. Anderson had the life boats lowered and gave the order to abandon ship.


Aboard of Smale were First Mate H. Kroger; the cook, J. Goki; R. Van Gordon, steward; seamen E. Cerb, J. Wenner, A. Ltensa, C. Heinz, P. Utilik and W. Richards. Second Mate C. W. Erickson chose to stay aboard the wreck. The captain also had his wife and a nephew, E. C. Gardiner, aboard as passengers.


The wreck was close enough to shore that he said he believed he could get ashore more safely by climbing over the rocks.


Help was quick to arrive. The fog lifted enough that the lookout at the Point Reyes lighthouse saw the wreck and sounded emergency blasts on the horn. The steamer M. F. Plant was in the area and heard the signal. The skipper of the Plant, Capt. S. H. Burtis, and stopped to take everybody aboard.


A rescue boat also was sent to the wreck to save Erickson, who was still on the poop deck. They said the Smale was breaking up under his feet as he left.


The Annie E. Smale was declared a total loss.


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