The wreck of the Quixote 1830

The Quixote, was a 120 ton brig, built in New Brunswick in 1828 and was owned by M. Pierre Duval of St Aubin. In the summer of 1830 when Francis Bailhache was her master she sailed for Newfoundland, thence Cadiz and then St Lucia (Lucar?) in Spain where she took on a cargo of oil for Liverpool. She left on the 23rd October and ran into bad weather, there were-incessant storms until December 5th when it reached hurricane force obliging them to heave-to at 48 N 9 13' W. She was attempting to scud under main topsail when at 6:30pm the brig was struck mid-ships by a tremendous sea, thrown onto her beam-ends and the cargo shifted. On deck, the two man watch cut away the lanyards of the rigging and the masts went over the side and the vessel righted herself but she was full of water as the hatches had been smashed in. When the sea struck, four men had been in the fore-cuddy but three drowned. The master and the mate managed to make their way from the aft cabin to the deck where the saw the seas sweeping the deck from stem to stern. The remainder of the crew, completely drenched and nearly exhausted, held on despite the intense cold. Two hours after the knock-down the master died and the following morning another of the crew died, worn out by cold and fatigue. The four survivors clung on to the wreck for the next four days with neither food nor drink.

On the 9th December another crewman died and the remaining men lashed his body to prevent it being washed away in order that they might feed on it. The following day, 10th December, they gnawed at an arm, on the 11th they again fed on the flesh. On the 12th the storm was abating but the body was becoming putrid. On the morning of the 13th Philip Arthur saw a sail and was able to signal it.

The French brig, Ceres of Rouen, Captain Le Rommier bound for Harfleur took them on board. Sadly on the 15th one of them died leaving Clement Noel, the mate, and Philip Arthur, both Jerseymen, the only survivors. They were landed at Harfleur where they were placed in hospital where they stayed for 17 days after which they travelled to Havre-de-Grace (Le Havre) by steam ship. The British consul had them taken to hospital in Plymouth before they arrived in the island on 24th January 1831 on board the Providence, Captain Benest.

Those who died were Captain Francis Bailhache, E Vibert, P Lemprière, P Ahier, P Arthur, J Bisson and C McKintosh

taken from the Jersey & Guernsey Magazine, Februaury 1831 - pgs 196-198


When the crew were rescued by the Frenchmen the Quixote was left as a drifting hulk. She was spotted by Captain Walker of the Susannah on 19 December at 45 N 9 W by which time she had lost half her mainmast and the foremast had gone completely. Three months later she was salvaged by Spanish fishing boats which found her drifting, She was towed into the port of Santander on 19 March 1831, minus her masts but her cargo was still in good condition.


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