`The Crane schooner was driven on shore on Wednesday morning,
near the West Hoe,Plymouth,
and it is supposed will be totally lost. Crew saved.' (5)
The Crane was a 'Bird' class, 4 gun, schooner. This class of ship was a design copied from the Bermudan Ballahoo (fish) draughts, but built in British dockyards (3). She was ordered in 1805 and her keel was layed down in February 1806 at Custance & Stone in Yarmouth. The Crane was launched two months later and by June she had been commisioned under Lt. John Cameron bound for the North Sea (3).
By the 29th October 1808 there had been a SW gale blowing in Plymouth for three days and with it a heavy rolling sea in the Sound. The previous day the frigate Alcmene had begun to drag but managed to ride out in safety, same too for a victualling transport in Deadman's Bay. It was feared she would go on shore, but after paying out her anchor was able to weather the gale, the Crane was not so fortunate (6).
The Crane, under Lt. Tindale, had been at anchor between Drakes Island and the Hoe when it was discovered around 7:30 on Friday evening that she was driving, a second anchor was let go bringing her up. The following morning however was foung to be driving again and getting close to shore (1). Reports then become unclear as to what Tindale did next, some suggest she went out into the Sound in order to ride out the gale (1) whereas contemporary reports suggest the she attempted to move up the Hamoaze seeking shelter:
"... after weathering the gale, in trying to work up into the Hamoaze
[The Crane] unfortunately missed stays and went plump ashore
on the rocks near Rusty Anchor.."(6)
She stuck near the western end of the Hoe and soon after let off guns of distress bringing to her aid several boats from the dockyard. The Crane was able to be pulled from the rocks but soon bilged and sunk, the crew however were all saved. Her starboard gunwhale showed above the surface after she sank and was later broken up where she lay (2).
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(1) Hepper D., 1994, British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, Jean Boudriot Publications, pg 126
(2) Larn R. & Larn B., 1995, Shipwreck Index of the British Isles Vol. 1, Lloyds Register of Shipping
(3) Lyon D., 1993, The Sailing Navy List, Conway Maritime Press, pg 161
(4) Winfield, R. 2008, British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793-1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing, pg 361
(5) "LLOYD'S MARINE LIST—Oct. 28. 1808." Caledonian Mercury, 31 Oct 1808, 19th Century British Library Newspapers
(6) "PORT NEWS" Trewman's Exeter Flying Post or Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser,Thursday, November 3, 1808; Issue 2328, 19th Century British Library Newspapers