The Ketch ‘Pride of the Ocean’

Written by S. Ablott
First Published


The Pride of the Ocean was a ketch rigged fishing smack built at John Wray & Son's yard in 1885 for George William Parker of 96 Freeman Street, Grimsby.1 She was registered at Grimsby as GY995.2


In 1890 the smack became the property of William Thomas Guy of Grimsby1 and in September 1891 reported the loss of an apprentice, Charles Lewis of 20 Grafton Street. On the morning of Wednesday the 6th, the smack was passing Spurn Point, on their way out to the fishing grounds. The crew, including 16 year old were reefing the mainsail when he lost his hold and fell overboard. He drowned before any assistance could reach him.3

On the 28th of March 1895, the Pride of the Ocean arrived in Grimsby dismasted. After suffering this injury, the smack sustained further damage in collision with the Water Witch of Portsmouth.4 She was damaged in another collision in January 1897, with the Gertrude GY633. The Gertrude suffered a broken mizzen mast.5 There was further damage in a great gale later that year. The smack was towed into Grimsby on the 1st of December having lost her foremast and gear.6 The following March, in 1898 an injury to the second hand was reported.7 Then in August, they again lost gear.8

Leaving Grimsby

In 1899 the register was closed when the smack was sold to Sweden, where she continued to fish for some years.1 By 1971 the Pride of the Ocean had retired from fishing, but had been converted into a pleasure yacht.

In this new role the vessel enjoyed more exotic waters than the frigid North Sea, but her luck did not improve. In the summer of 1971 she was sailing in the Bahamas. She had on board seven French nationals which included a baby boy. On the 28th of June the vessel crashed into a reef off Samana Cay becoming a total wreck. All on board survived the wreck, but were then stranded in the uninhabited island which is about 180 miles North East of Cuba. After spending a week on the island they were picked up by a missile tracking station supply ship. They were landed safely at Cape Kennedy, Florida on the 7th of July.9

Vessel Details for Pride of the Ocean

Official Number:91502
Fishing Number:GY995
Vessel Name:Pride of the Ocean
New Names:
  • Pride
  • Pride of the Ocean
  • George William Parker of New Clee 1890
  • William Thomas Guy of Grimsby 1890
  • G W Dales 1893
  • James Osborne 1888
  • J Winship 1888
  • George Little Leeming 1889
  • S M Kendall 1890
  • Wm Stockwood 1890
  • James Everett 1891
  • Henry Morris 1891
  • W Dawe 1892
  • J Lamb 1893
  • James Smith 1893
  • Grimsby
Notes:Register closed 1899, sold to Sweden 10th Mar 1899.
Trade:North Sea fishing. Pleasure yacht.
Fate:Wrecked on a reef, Samana Cay, Bahamas, 28th June 1971. The 7 on board spent a week on the uninhabited island before being picked up by a missile tracking station supply ship.


  1. The Mercantile Navy Lists.
  3. Hull Daily Mail - 11th September 1891
  4. Hull Daily Mail - 29th November 1895
  5. Hull Daily Mail - 29th January 1897
  6. Hull Daily Mail - 1st December 1897
  7. Hull Daily Mail - 28th March1898
  8. Hull Daily Mail - 30th August 1898
  9. Beckley Post-Herald - 11th July 1971

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© Background Photograph by Steve Smith.