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Crest (#) (-1895)

In the News~

June 4, 1895 [SFCall]: “Sloop reported ashore on San Clemente. Los Angeles, June 3. — it is reported that a sloop in command of Captain Harlow has gone ashore on the Island of San Clemente, about forty miles south of San Pedro. The name of the sloop is not known and no details are obtainable.”

June 5, 1895 [LAH]: “They ate the ship's dog. Rough trip of the crew of a little craft. Loss of the sloop Crest. Terrible hardships endured by three sailor men. After weathering a gale the Captain lost his bearings and the vessel was wrecked on San Clemente. San Pedro, Cal., June 4. — Captain Harlow of the wrecked sloop Crest is at present at the marine hospital here slowly recovering from the effects of starvation and thirst and with feet poisoned with cactus and swollen to twice their natural size and cruelly burned by the sun and the awful story of their sufferings as told by the captain is as follows: On April 19th the sloop Crest was brought round here from her winter quarters, Alamitos Bay, and was thoroughly overhauled and refitted on the 13th of May, when the craft sailed for Pismo beach, near Port Harford, the intent being to fish and run excursions during the summer. The crew of three consisted of Captain Harlow, Harry Wilkinson and W. Warren and the ship's bulldog called Jim Corbett. They arrived all well at Santa Barbara on the 15th, where they purchased provisions and refilled their water casks. They sailed again that afternoon but it blew so hard off Point Concepcion that they ran into Coho and laid there for twenty-four hours weather bound. On Friday, the 17th at 6:00 P.M. they sailed once more and rounded Point Concepcion, steering a course for Point Arguello, with a light northwest breeze. At 9 P.M. a nice breeze opened up from the north which the captain thought would carry him fairly on his course during the night, but no preparations were made for stormy weather. As the wind increased they reefed the main sail, but before they could stow the jib it was blown away. By this time the wind was blowing a gale and the sea was running high. As nothing more could be done, the tiller was lashed and the vessel hove to for the wind to go down. The weather not abating, and being unable to wear ship, they were compelled to remain as they were for four nights and three days, or until Tuesday morning. They they got under way and steered a course E.N.E. until they sighted San Clemente Island, which they took to be Santa Rosa Island. The provisions being exhausted and the water all gone, by Thursday evening they were compelled to kill the captain's dog, drinking the blood and cooking and eating a portion of its flesh and throwing the remainder overboard on sighting land. Anchoring the sloop they went ashore in the small boat on Friday, and the captain being the only man able to walk, hunted for water. He found some and carried a two-quart can to his crew, whom he found in a deplorable condition, they having drank salt water during his absence. It was then decided to sail for the mainland, and the sloop was once more manned, but the centerboard would not work, and the little craft fouled in the kelp, struck a rock and began to break up. Warren and Wilkinson landed and the captain passed the compass, gaff, boom and mainsail, a blanket and some loose clothes ashore and then landed himself. The last seen of the ill-fated craft she was slowly settling down. This is where their greatest hardship commenced. For two days the men roamed the island, still thinking they were on Santa Rosa. Harry Wilkinson was so ill, they had to leave him by the water until they could secure help. The captain eventually reached Judge Hubbell's ranch, where he was given the kindest care and attention. The men were soon put aboard the yacht Keywee and brought to San Pedro. Harry Wilkinson recovered enough to go on to San Francisco on the St. Paul's last trip. Warren is in Los Angeles, and Captain Harlow is slowly recovering his health under the care of Dr. Hill and Steward Duffy at the Marine hospital.”

June 17, 1895 [LAT]: “Honorable S. C. Hubbell returned from San Clemente Island yesterday, bringing full confirmation of the wreck of the sloop, Crest, and the sufferings of her unlucky crew… They also found an eagle’s nest, and killed and ate raw two young birds which they found in it. The Crest had sailed from San Pedro for Pismo, a small seaport on the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Her crew consisted of Captain W. A. Harlow and two seamen, Wafton Warren and Harry Wilkerson, and a small white bulldog. They took with them a small quantity of provisions, and only ten gallons of water, as they had anticipated smooth sailing and a quick passage. Off Point Dume they encountered a northwester which raged with such a fury that it carried away the rigging, tore off the rudder and drove the small craft far out to sea… they drifted ashore at the lower end of San Clemente Island… As soon as the castaways had recovered somewhat from their sufferings they were sent to San Pedro on the company’s sloop in care of Captain Pete…”