Spinster Shipwreck from Victoria

The screw steamer Spinster was built at Victoria in 1893 by Captains Foot and Scroggs.  She was the first launching at the shipyard they managed together.  Reputedly the person who had ordered her backed out, leaving the builders with her.

The Spinster was 41.4 feet long, 10.4 feet wide, and 5.5 feet deep.  Her hull was wooden-framed and carvel-planked, with one deck and a deckhouse.  The engine room was 16 feet long.  She also had two masts rigged as a schooner.

On the morning of March 25, 1897, the Spinster left Victoria with six tons of general cargo for Sooke and Otter Point.  Captain Scroggs and engineer William Beltz were the only people aboard.   Winds were highly variable that day.  They started off in a light northeasterly.  Off Sooke, it was dead calm.  When they reached Otter Point at 2 pm a southeasterly wind sprang up.  There was too much surf to land any cargo on the beach.  Scroggs put about for Sooke harbour, keeping close to shore avoid the strong head tide.  Soon the wind dropped again.  Then, almost at once, it blew up into a southwest gale.

For more information on the Spinster and other shipwrecks of Southern Vancouver Island, go to: UASBC.Com. You can order the publication Historic Shipwrecks of Southern Vancouver Island from the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia publications.

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