Herbert Stewart-Obit-Moyana

methc
3rd April 2009, 17:41
Whilst sorting some papers,clearing the decks more like, I came across this cutting.I did a search of the forum but couldn't find a reference to Captain Stewart, the Moyana and the heroics.
So I thought you might like to see it.
Edit, I've just realised the text is not very clear so I'll rescan the page and add it.
HERBERT STEWART, who has died aged 90, won the first Tall Ships Race in 1956 as master of the ketch Moyana; but on the voyage home, he was forced to send out a Mayday call as the ship began to break up in a freak storm.
Stewart had skippered the Moyana since 1942, when the Southampton School of Navigation bought it to train “ pre-sea" cadets.
Before the first Torbay to Lisbon handicap race for square-rigged tall ships in 1956, the school's director, Captain George Wakeford, told Stewart that they should go in for it. Stewart was less enthusiastic recording in his diary that he was not keen on ocean racing - but he duly set about preparing the Moyana.
The ship - 95 ft long and weighing 103 tons - had been built in 1899. Because of its age, Stewart took the precaution of strengthening the hull and fitting a new engine and sails.
The choice of crew presented a problem. The five-week race would coincide with the run-up to the senior cadets' final exams, so Stewart decided to make do with 15 intermediate and junior cadets, aged between 15 and 17. Only one of these had ever been to sea before.
After recruiting his brother John, an experienced ocean racer, as a fellow officer, he trained his crew with three days' sailing in the Solent.
During the race Moyana found better winds than most of its competitors and reached Lisbon in fourth place. Moyana was declared the overall winner after handicapping was taken into account. She also won the large class (over 100 tons), and the trophy for the fastest genuine training vessel.
Stewart was presented with the trophies by the President of Portugal, before heading for home. Sailing north, however, the Moyana began to encounter ominously strong winds.
Near the Scillies, a head wind sprang up from the east, blowing the ship off course. When the wind increased. Stewart ordered most of the sails to be furled.
At this point, his brother John went along the bowsprit to release the jib and was washed overboard. His lifeline passed under the keel, and it was a worryingly long time before he came to the surface. Stewart recorded in his diary his intense relief "when I managed to get hold of his wrist until others came to help". By this time it was blowing a force eight gale and the Moyana was starting to leak badly. They were completely out of radio contact. and had insufficient fuel left to use their engine. Stewart decided to head for Cork in southern Ireland. but then, when the wind dropped, turned for Falmouth.
The next day the wind rose again, making a landfall impossible. They turned back out to sea as the wind rose to force 10, causing them to heave to, with the helmsman lashed fast. The leaks increased and the wind then rose to force 11, with gusts up to 80 mph.
When there was just 30 minutes of fuel left for the generator, and the ship had started to break up, Stewart decided to put out a Mayday call. The distress signal was answered by the Admiralty motor vessel Robert Dundas, which informed the coastguard at Land's End and Lloyd's of London. Eventually, the Moyana was sighted by an RAF Shackleton of Coastal Command, which used flares to direct two ships in the area towards it.
While the Peruvian Reefer lay upwind, the steamer Clan Maclean came alongside with scrambling nets and pilots' ladders. The cadets leapt for the ladders and nets, and all reached the rescue ship's deck unharmed, followed by the petty officers and officers.
The whole rescue took just seven minutes. The master of the Clan Maclean, Harry Cater, later recalled how Stewart had shown great concern for his boys and that all the cadets were in "great spirits".
The Moyana was taken in tow by the frigate Orwell but sank when 60 miles due south of Plymouth, taking with it two of the trophies won in the Tall Ships Race, (the main trophy had beet brought home separately, Moyana's crew later all landed safely at Fowey. to loud cheers.
Stewart was appointed MBE in 1957 for his achievement in the race, and his conduct during the rescue.
Herbert Stewart was born at Alverstoke, Hampshire on July 24 1910. His grand father had drowned after being swept from a square
rigged ship in a storm oft Cape Trafalgar in the 1890s In order to keep the family', his son Arthur. Herbert. father, went to sea aged 14. "before the mast" in a
square-rigger. Arthur Stewart took his mate's ticket, and later became a successful racing-yacht skipper and yacht dealer
Herbert left Portsmouth Grammar School at 16 to become a merchant navy officer cadet with the Shaw Savill & Albion shipping line. He spent several years on passenger ships sailing between Southampton and Australia and New Zealand.
'art (left) and his teenage crew on hoard the ( la 11 1a(lean at ut iit)ahl(l(ilt1ii ship
Between 1926 and 1937, he served on steam ships, rising to third officer.
On one trip, in 1934, he met his future wife Anne West. the daughter of a City of London clergyman. They were married in 1938.
In 1937, Stewart tame ashore to study for his Board of Trade' extra master's ticket, winning the Gold Medal. lie then joined the School of Navigation at
Swaythling as a lecturer in navigation and seamanship.
lie was an excellent lecturer - especially in nautical astronomy - and at times a fierce taskmaster. He always commanded great respect among his cadets.
After the Second World War. Stewart helped organise the school's move to Warsash. After many years as deputy director under Captain Wakeford, he
became director in 1969. After retiring in 1974, he returned to his boyhood home town Lee-on-the-Solent, where he pursued his interests in cabinet-making, painting and gardening.
Herbert Stewart was a shy, intelligent man, by no means the hearty sea dog he was painted at the time of the Moyana adventure.
His wife Anne died in 1998.

Jim MacIntyre
6th April 2009, 04:35
methc
Please visit the Warsash Association web-site at <www.allhandsonline.co.uk>
We are collecting memorabilia for a new interactive web-site and accounts such as this are invaluable as part of the SoN history, especially the photos. If you would, please get in touch with Chris Clarke or John Downs.
Regards
Jim MacIntyre
(Warsash 1959)