Sunday, February 17, 2008

Captain Ramsey - Trouble with a capital T

Captain George Ramsey must have wondered, quietly to himself, what on earth he'd done in a past life to always end up in trouble during his present incarnation.

He was captain of the ship Kitty when it left England for Australia in 1792 but it sprung a leak and turned back to England where eight convicts did a bunk.

Then he got stuck with Lt Daniel Woodriff on the second sailing attempt and he was a stickybeaking, pedantic bugger.
Woodriff ranted and nagged throughout the voyage and when they finally hit old Sydney town he whined that Captain Ramsey had defied his orders to increase sail and that he'd wasted time in Rio and Cape Town.
The jaunt had taken a lengthy 33 weeks, the cargo of flour had been destroyed in bad weather and 3 female convicts had popped their clogs.
Not a good start.

The ship Kitty was hired to take troops to Norfolk Island but Ramsey found more strife - the crew refused and nicked off for the bright lights of Sydney where they got other jobs, some joining the NSW Corps.
After having a word to Lt-Gov Grose the main troublemaker was given 100 lashes and the others soon pulled their fingers out again.

In May 1793 Ramsey thought it was all calm sailing ahead of him with the return home to England about to commence when several of the crew nicked off again and the rest refused to ship out.
On the eve of the planned departure Ramsey found the ringleader hadn't learned his lesson from his 100 lashes and was, in fact, as drunk as a lord and rather rude on board the ship.
After a bit of argy-bargy the poor captain found himself dumped overboard, the crew hoping he couldn't swim and would drown.
Fortunately for Ramsey he could swim and another crew member tossed him a rope and hauled him back on board.
In the morning the crew still refused to do as they were told; passengers had to raise the anchor and Lt-Gov Grose popped over to give the trouble makers between 100-150 lashes each.

But poor old Ramsey still had trouble as the trip home took a very lengthy 8 months due to running into every bad weather patch they could possibly find.
I know of some fishing rods going cheap if he wanted to take a break from sailing!


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