Big Loafer

From Islapedia

Big Loafer (#) (-1904), a local sloop used for pleasure parties before the turn of the century. In the early 1890s she was run by Captain Brownsill, followed by others. Big Loafer was reported to be working around the islands for the Catalina Conserving Company in 1900 in search of crawfish. In August 1904 Big Loafer was wrecked at Naples, north of Santa Barbara. She was owned by Captain Nidever at the time.



In the News~

June 28, 1888 [SBMP]: “Mr. J. Snell and wife, and a party of about twelve other ladies and gentlemen sailed day before yesterday on the sloop Big Loafer for a few days’ trip to Santa Cruz Island.”


August 8, 1890 [SBMP]: “The schooner Big Loafer arrived last evening from Anacapa Island with Mr. Hosmer and family aboard. A party of eleven was left on the island where they will camp for a week or ten days.”


August 12, 1890 [SBDI]: “The following party started from this city this morning at 6:30 en route for Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands: Will Kearney, Ord Fergus, C. M. Gidney and wife, Misses May Murphy, Edith McGrath, Minnie Jennings, Josie Weaver, May Washburn, Myra Morgan, Mrs. J. A. Allen, Messrs. Theo Lilligren, Ellsworth Bates, Judson Packard, Pierce Weaver. This party embarked on the good ship Loafer, master Mark Brownsill; first mate Robert Ord. Provisions for a five days’ voyage were taken in.”


August 21, 1890 [SBDI]: “The party of nineteen, who visited the islands of Santa Cruz and Anacapa last week, speak in high terms of their trip and join in recommending a similar one to parties who desire a first class time at a very reasonable expense. The scenery on and around the islands, the wonderful arches and mysterious caves, the exquisite beauty of sky and ocean at morning and evening above all the delightful and invigorating temper of the climate, make the place of rare interest to the health or pleasure seeker. The entire party have nothing but words of highest praise for the sloop Loafer that so safely carried them, for the unwearying kindness and civility of Captain Brownsill and for the obliging manners and nautical skill of sailor Joe, and they would advise all who are contemplating a similar trip to make it in connection with the same vessel, captain and crew.”


February 5, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Marguerite wrecked. The sloop Big Loafer arrived from Anacapa Island night before last, bringing over Captain Thomas Carr, Perry Patton and Frank Messe, of the Ventura schooner Marguerite, which was wrecked on Anacapa Island on Friday of last week. During a heavy blow the Marguerite dragged her anchor and went ashore on the beach where she was badly broken up. The men got safely ashore but ran short of provisions and were glad enough to sight and signal the Big Loafer. They all returned to Ventura.”


August 27, 1891 [SBMP]: “On Monday morning, August 10th, a party of sixteen… embarked on the little vessel Big Loafer, Captain Brownsill in command…”


September 22, 1891 [SBMP]: “Captain Brownsill will sail in the sloop Big Loafer this morning with a party of Santa Barbara people to visit the islands.”


September 29, 1891 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer, Captain Brownsill, returned from a trip to Santa Cruz Island on Sunday afternoon, thus disposing of various rumors of an accident on the boat. The trip over last Tuesday was a fair one, the heavy gale which blew along the shore not extending out into the channel. The party consisted of Mrs. Boynton, Miss Noble, Dr. Batchelder, Miss Randall, William Wyles, Frank M. Whitney, and Mr. And Mrs. W. G. Kinsell.”


December 3, 1891 [SBMP]: “The Santa Barbara Islands. The Overland Monthly for December is a peculiarly Santa Barbara publication… The largest cave, called Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island, is near the northwestern curve, and was lately discovered. Captain Brownsill of the sloop Big Loafer, guided a small party of us to explore this immense cavern…”


August 11, 1892 [SBMP]: “Dr. R. J. Hall and party will leave this morning in the Big Loafer for a trip to the Channel Islands.”


August 12, 1892 [LAT/SB]: “Captain Brownsill sailed yesterday morning in the schooner Big Loafer for Santa Cruz Island, taking Dr. Hall and family. The boat will remain over there, and the party expects to be gone about ten days.”


August 18, 1892 [SBMP]: “Captain Browsill arrived from the islands yesterday in the Big Loafer. He brought over Miss Everett, one of the schooner Ruby’s party, who was suffering from consequence of a close contact with poison oak. Captain Brownell left Dr. Hall and party at Lady’s Harbor on Santa Cruz Island. They were having a splendid time and decided to remain a week or ten days more. Captain Brownell returns today with a supply of provisions.”


November 2, 1892 [SBMP]: “The fishing smacks Big Loafer and Genova left for the islands yesterday on a fishing cruise.”


November 3, 1892 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer has been thoroughly overhauled at San Pedro and made as staunch as any craft in Santa Barbara, and the undersigned are prepared to furnish the public daily with fresh fish from the islands during the winter. P. Marincovitch & Co. Chapala Street near Beach.”


April 7, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “…The sloop Big Loafer left here this morning for San Miguel Island to search for one of the seamen from the King James who is reported to have landed from Captain Drummond’s boat on April 3. The mate and fifteen men of the King James arrived here at 11:00 o’clock, being driven in from Point Conception, leaving there at 11:30 this morning. The men were all well.”


April 7, 1893 [SFCall]: “Santa Barbara, April 6. A telegram received by F. A. Blake in this city from J. White Mortimer, Vice-Counsel at Los Angeles, says: ‘A seaman from the King James was landed at first island, south of Point Conception, on the west side of the island, about the center, on the morning of the 31st inst. He is without food. Send for him.’ Mr. Blake made arrangements with the boat Big Loafer, a small sailing vessel, to go over, and she sailed at 10 o’clock this morning. The island is supposed to be San Miguel, just south of Point Conception, and forty-five miles from this place. The sloop Liberty, which left San Miguel on the morning of the 4th inst., arrived this morning, and the captain said nothing had been seen of the man, but it may be that he is on one end, not frequented, or on some rock in the vicinity… The Big Loafer started out with a strong head wind and cannot make much time. How the man got there is not explained, but he is supposed to be one of the captain’s party…”


April 9, 1893 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer, with captains Julius and Fetler, came in about 11 o’clock last night.


April 10, 1893 [LAT/SB]: “The sloop Big Loafer returned last night from San Miguel Island where she went in search of William Spence, the seaman of the King James, who landed on one of the islands from the captain’s lifeboat last Monday. The sloop did not stop at Santa Rosa Island where it has since been determined the man landed. When the sloop left Santa Barbara, it was supposed from Captain Drummond’s description that San Miguel was the island on which the man was left, and the Loafer had no orders to go to Santa Rosa Island. The steamer Bonita went to Santa Rosa Island last night, and if the man has not reached some settlement searching parties will be sent out. The survivors of the crew of the King James leave tonight on the steamer Corona for San Francisco, with the exception of the captain and mate, who will remain here for a few days.”


April 10, 1893 [SFMC]: “Santa Barbara, April 9. FINISH


April 16, 1893 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer returned yesterday from the islands where it has been in search of a lost sailor.”


May 9, 1894 [SBMP]: “A complaint was sworn to by Frank Marincovitch against R. C. Ord, Captain Julius and two others, charging them with grand larceny for having taken from the harbor his sloop, Big Loafer. The boat was taken last Thursday night, and nothing has since been seen of Mr. Ord or his men, who have presumably gone to the islands. An officer left in search of them yesterday.”


May 14, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “The case of grand larceny against R. C. Ord has been dismissed on motion of the prosecution. He was charged with stealing a boat, the Big Loafer, and sailing for the islands. It appears now that he took the boat supposing it was understood by the owner, Mr. Marincovich, that he was to have the use of it for a stipulated amount of money. There is another charge against Ord of petty larceny, which will probably also be dismissed.”


May 20, 1894 [LAT/SB]: “Captain Ed Stevens of the sloop San Mateo related a tale of a lonely fisherman, known here only as “’Fatty,’ whom he discovered on Flea Island, a rock a little to the west of San Miguel Island. ‘Fatty’ was one of the Ord party, who left here on a sealing expedition in the Big Loafer, and was left on Flea Island, while the rest of the party came back here. They intended to return for him immediately, but were detained here by the charge of larceny of the Big Loafer, and ‘Fatty’ had to suffer all sorts of hardships, which Captain Stevens tells in a thrilling manner.”


April 10, 1896 [SBDN]: “Recently an order from New York for five seals was received by Mr. Rogers. The schooner Big Loafer went over to the islands yesterday and caught three, but owing to the rough weather no more could be captured. The schooner left again for San Miguel this morning.”


May 8, 1896 [LAT]: “Recently an order from New York for five seals was received by Mr. Rogers. The schooner Big Loafer went over to the islands yesterday and caught three, but owing to the rough weather, no more could be captured. The schooner left again for San Miguel Island this morning.”


July 7, 1897 [SBDI]: “Capturing seals. The first installment of a big shipment east. Fourteen barking sea lions lie confined in cages in the water beneath the wharf and the Restless has returned to Santa Cruz Island for another lot. The seals are for Captain Mullett and will be shipped to New York as soon as the balance of the consignment of forty arrives. Colis Vasquez arrived from the island Monday in the Big Loafer with ten seals, and he returned last night with Captain Burtis in the Restless. His party remained on the island, but may return with the Restless.”


April 4, 1899 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer left for Santa Cruz Island on a crawfish expedition yesterday morning.”


April 15, 1899 [SBMP]: “Captain Preston, of the Big Loafer, in commenting upon the recent article in the Press on the crawfish industry, says that vessels run direct from the islands to San Pedro, loaded with the fish, but that in recent years none have been taken direct to San Francisco. He does not know how many tons are taken weekly.”


August 4, 1899 [SBMP]: “The Big Loafer yesterday left for the islands on a crawfishing expedition.”


August 24, 1899 [SBMP]: “The Big Loafer yesterday left for the islands on a crawfishing expedition.”


August 29, 1899 [SBDI]: “The sloop Big Loafer arrived from the islands today with a cargo of crawfish for the Catalina Conserving Company.”


November 7, 1899 [SBMP]: “The schooner Big Loafer returned from the islands with a party in search of crawfish.”


December 12, 1899 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Big Loafer left here this afternoon to go to San Pedro where she will undergo repairs.”


December 28, 1899 [LAT/SB]: “The schooner Big Loafer left this morning to take a party to the Channel Islands.”


January 4, 1900 [SBMP]: “The schooner Big Loafer will leave for the islands tomorrow morning in search of crawfish for the Catalina Conserving Company.”


January 19, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Big Loafer left for the islands this morning.”


January 20, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Big Loafer left for the islands yesterday for a cargo of crawfish.”


February 1, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Dawn left port this morning for the islands to load up crawfish. Big Loafer likewise went for the same destination and purpose.”


February 17, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Big Loafer has sailed for the islands on a seal capturing expedition.”


March 22, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooner Big Loafer arrived this morning from the islands with a cargo of crawfish and rock cod for the Catalina Conserving Company.”


April 17, 1900 [SBMP]: “The Big Loafer and the Genoa, belonging to Captain Larco, sailed yesterday under the command of fishermen skippers for a cruise of several days in the neighborhood of the islands.”


June 15, 1900 [SBDI]: “The schooners Dawn and Big Loafer are expected here today from the islands with sheep shearers who have been working for about three months.”


August 17, 1900 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer returned yesterday from the islands with a load of crawfish.”


March 20, 1901 [SBMP]: “The Petrel, Captain Frank Nidever, and the Big Loafer, Captain Marincovitch, came in from the islands yesterday with large cargoes of fish.”


May 12, 1901 [SBMP]: “Captain Vasquez, with the Big Loafer took a number of Chinamen to Santa Cruz Island yesterday. They will establish an abalone fishing camp.”


October 20, 1901 [SBMP]: “The schooner Big Loafer sailed yesterday afternoon for San Pedro in command of Joe Arabas. The Big Loafer will be painted and remodeled at the southern port.”


January 22, 1902 [SBMP]: “Captain Frank Marincovich, with the Big Loafer, returned from Santa Cruz Island yesterday with a story of mishaps. Between wind, water and fire, the sloop had a lively time of it, and those on board had the experience of their lives. The northwest gale that raged down the channel Sunday found the Big Loafer anchored in Scorpion Harbor, but the wind was of such severity that this shelter was of no avail. The Loafer dragged anchor, and soon was at the mercy of the sea. Driven by the wind, the sloop followed the coarse of the shore for about a mile and then was approaching a chain of rocks. Dire disaster seemed imminent when Captain Marincovitch as a last resort, spread out a piece of canvas and steered out of danger. This left the Loafer further out in the channel, and she had a choppy time for the next few hours. As darkness came on, a lantern was brought from below, but was overturned in the disorder, the oil spilled on the deck, and in the hold. This caught fire and the crew forgot the storm for a few minutes while fighting the flames. The Big Loafer finally reached a safe anchorage in Smugglers Cove, after splitting the mainsail in the effort.”


January 25, 1902 [LAT/SB]: “Fisherman‘s perils by fire and storm. A sloop’s narrow escape in the Santa Barbara Channel. After dragging her anchor and barely missing a reef, the Big Loafer is nearly burned by an overturned lantern. Captain Frank Marincovich returned from Santa Cruz Island Thursday with a story of mishaps…”


January 23, 1902 [SBWP]: “Rough weather about islands. Captain Marincovich caught in rough seas. Schooner Big Loafer on fire for a time and at the mercy of the waves. Captain Frank Marincovitch [sic], with the Big Loafer, returned from Santa Cruz Island yesterday with a story of mishaps. Between wind, water and fire the sloop had a lively tome of it, and those aboard had the experience of their lives. The Nor'west gale that raged down the channel Sunday found the Big Loafer anchored in Scorpion Harbor, but the wind was of such severity that this shelter was of no avail. The Loafer dragger her anchor, and was soon at the mercy of the sea. Driven by the wind, the sloop followed the coarse of the shore for about a mile and was then approaching a chain of rocks. Dire disaster seemed imminent when Capt. Marincovitch ([sic], as a last resort spread a piece of canvas and steered the craft out of the dangerous position. This left the Loafer further out in the channel, and she had a choppy time for the next few hours. As darkness came on, a lantern was brought from below, but overturned in the disorder, the oil spilled on the deck and in the hold. This caught fire and the crew forgot the storm for a few minutes while fighting the flames. The Big Loafer finally reached a safe anchorage in Smuggler's Cove, after splitting the mainsail in the effort.”


February 28, 1903 [SBI]: “The island sloop Big Loafer started for Santa Rosa Island this morning under the propelling power of three pairs of cars, owing to a temporary strike on the part of Boreas. It is unnecessary to state that the progress of the clumsy craft was very slow, and it is presumable that the crew did some hard work in the line of praying for wind before they had been long at their discouraging task.”


April 19, 1903 [SBMP]: “Yesterday the anxiety [of Captain Henry Short's delayed return] became so intense that his friend, Lucien Higgins, started for the islands with the Big Loafer to make a search for him.”


April 9, 1904 [SBI]: “The sloop Big Loafer sailed for Santa Cruz Island this morning with a fishing crew, and it is expected that they will return within a few days with another cargo of fine fish for the local market.”


May 20, 1904 [OC]: “The fate of Jack King and Arthur Peters, the two Hueneme boys who started for the islands in an open boat a few weeks ago, has been settled beyond a doubt… The finding of their wrecked boat on the south side of Santa Cruz Island Tuesday by Captain Romo of the sloop Big Loafer removes the last ray of hope and settles beyond question that they went down to watery graves…”


August 6, 1904 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer came over from Santa Cruz Island yesterday with a cargo of 95 sacks of sea grass, a species of kelp gathered by the Chinese on the west end of the island where they maintain a camp. This particular kind of kelp is considered a great delicacy by the Chinese and it is shipped to China where it brings a good price.”


August 12, 1904 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer brought in a cargo of sea weed and other merchandise from Santa Cruz Island yesterday which was turned over to the Sun Lung Company of this city.”


August 13, 1904 [SBMP]: “The sloop Big Loafer now lies a wreck on the beach near Naples. The boat is the property of Frank Nidever, who was in charge of it when she went ashore last Thursday night. The Big Loafer has been doing a good business carrying cargoes of seaweed and other native products from the islands. She came in Thursday with a cargo from San Miguel Island and started back in the afternoon for another load. When about 12 miles out she sprang a leak and the crew put up a hard fight to bale her out without success. Mr. Nidever ran her into the kelp near Naples and another attempt to save her was made without avail. He then ran her ashore as a last resort in order to save as much of the boat and his personal property as he could. She is now stranded on the sand, and the waves are doing their best to beat her to pieces. It is without doubt the last of the sturdy little boat. Mr. Nidever came in on the train yesterday morning.”


August 14, 1904 [LAT/SB]: “The sloop Big Loafer, Captain Nidever, is lying on the beach near Naples, fifteen miles north of this city. She was run ashore by her owner as a last resort, having sprung a heavy leak when in the channel, which the crew was unable to fight. The Big Loafer has been doing a good business carrying seaweed and other native products to and from the Channel Islands. A couple of days ago she arrived in this port from San Miguel, and started on the return trip almost immediately. When about twelve miles out the leak started. Captain Nidever than ran the boat into the kelp, but this did not help matters, and in order to save as much of the boat as possible, and also his personal belongings, the skipper ran her ashore, where the waves are doing their best to break her up.”