The following story is based upon a real life account written by Forrest Frank based upon a story by Captain Henry Nicholson.These appeared in the Scarborough Daily Post in 1920 as part of the 'Sea Dogs' stories by Forrest Frank.
It was now the Sunday before Shrove Tuesday. We were sitting down to dinner, the ship going along with squared yards on a fair wind, when I said to the mate: "We are going to arrive at Philadelphia tonight, and have pancakes on Tuesday" when C-R-A-S-H! "What's that?" said the mate.
"It's the bottom," I replied, and ran on deck. She was only bumping slightly, and had not stopped. We "Out-boat" immediately , and in a little while with towing the ship was in deep water. Proceeding, we went to the pumps. The haze lifted, and I saw the Winter Quarter Shoal on the starboard bow. We passed it, and steered for Cape Heulopen, at the opening of the Delaware.
She kept fair, and at six o'clock I addressed the men, and said: "Look here, boys, before long I expect a tugboat alongside, and while he is there I'll stop the pumps whilst I make a bargain with him. When he gets ahead with the tow rope we'll pump again, and as soon as we anchor I'll send for men to carry on." Even whilst I was talking the wind flew to the NW. I shortened the upper topsails, but dare not keep the men to make them fast, for it was still clear water coming up, and we were blown off the land. It was pump, pump, pump, watch and watch through the night and onwards. At intervals I furled the topsails.
Next day, at Noon, I got a faint observation, and, the wind moderating, I shaped a course for Five Fathom Bank Light Vessel. I expected to see this light in the dog watch, but it was getting on to eight o'clock (last day in February), when the steward came to me and if I didn't stop the ship the men were going to stop the pumps. I called the mates and the men and said: "Look here, if we get in we'll save our lives, but if we're blown off again we'll lose the ship and all. We'll go on carefully and sound every hour."
We did so, and I fed them all I could, but we had been blown off further than I had anticipated, and towards four o'clock in the morning the wind began to fall light. I then told the crew: "I'm going to throw the main yard aback and stop the ship now. It will be daylight at five o'clock, and surely we'll see something then." Suddenly, we saw what we took to be a shore light. I instantly attempt to tack off shore. She came head to wind, but I felt her heel touch, and she stopped. I tried to wear her, but she refused.
Then I said to the mate: "Get out the long boat," for I knew that our voyage was over. We made signals; vessels were passing us, but none took notice of us, which seemed to me strange. Suddenly, I found that we were answered from the beach, and shortly afterwards a whale boat came alongside. We found it belonged to the Lifeboat service, which on that coast is a regular one, with a constant patrol, watchers meeting each other at the ends of a two miles' beat from September to April.
The coxswain of the whaleboat said he was prepared to take the crew but no clothes, as at the station there was everything that we wanted, but that he was rather short of sugar. Of sugar we were of course full to the hatches, but he was very punctilious, and would have none from the cargo. It so happened I had a bag of my own, and I gave him that, and I said to the second mate, Tom Worsnop, and an A.B. McNally: "Put all the men's gear in the long boat and beach her." Worsnop was a ready, active fellow, though we were all wearied out, and said: "That's alright sir," and carried out the order. All others but the carpenter and myself went ashore.