Porthmadog Maritime Museum, The Harbour, Porthmadog, LL49 9LU 01766 514581 / 07866633927 contact@portmm.org

Deep Sea

Deep Sea Sail

Alan Villiers in his 1971  book “The War with Cape Horn” said :-

“Take all the Lloyds, Llewelyns, Lewises, Hugheses, Davieses, Williamses, Owenses, – or only the Joneses – from the British Merchant Service and more than half of it would come to a full stop. Considerably more than half of the Cape Horn ships would not have sailed”.

The men often started their careers on the smaller schooners and brigs and then moved to the larger Cape Horn ships. This was known as “going deep sea”. Dozens of these iron and steel square rigged ships were owned in North Wales and were mostly commanded by men from Llyn and Eifionydd. The officers and many of the crew were also local men.

As a comparison – the locally built ships carried about 2-300 tons of cargo with a crew of 5 – 7 whilst the big iron and steel “Cape Horners” could carry over 2,000 tons with a crew of 20-30 men. These ships were far too big to enter Porthmadog.