Daily Event for May 11, 2011

A most bizarre incident occurred during a collision between the Norwegian cargo ship Edda and the American schooner Sagamore. The ships collided on the night on May 11, 1907 near East Chop Light at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The collision was not itself remarkable, but one strange incident that occurred makes this stand out from the rest.

Both ships were about equal in size, Sagamore, a four masted schooner, was built in Maine in 1891, she was 219' long and registered at 1,898 tons, Edda was built in Norway in 1902, she was 231' long and was registered at 1,138 tons.

When the collision happened Sagamore's bowsprit carried away the funnel and the mainmast on Edda and her master, Christopher P. Meidell, was forced to cling to the jibboom rather than be tossed overboard. When the ships parted he was still on the jibboom from where he climbed down on to the deck and introduced himself to captain Trefry, master of the Sagamore. The ship he was now on was sinking and he, along with Sagamore's crew and her master's wife, took to the lifeboats, they made land a couple of hours later.

Sagamore sank in ten minutes while Edda was grounded to avoid sinking. Fortunately there were no deaths among the 24 people involved. It was later determined that the Sagamore was at fault for changing course and crossing the bows of the Edda. Edda was repaired and sailed for almost ten more years until she came to grief under the deck gun of SMS U-70 on Dec. 30, 1916.
© 2011 Michael W. Pocock

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