Matilda Wattenbach (Racehorse)

Maltilda Wattenbach clipper shipRecords show that this British clipper ship was built under special Lloyd's Register of ng survey at St. Heliers, Jersey, by Frederick C. Clarke, in 1853.

She was 1,058 tons; 211.5 x 35.4 x 20.2 ft (length x,beam x depth of hold). Principal owners: J. J. Melhuish, of Liverpool, and T. H. A. Wattenbach, of London.

She first traded between Liverpool and Calcutta under Captains John Clare and James Berriman. After three years, Wattenbach became the principal of numerous part-owners, and the Matilda Wattenbach was reregistered at London.

Boarding the Maltilda WattenbachIn 1863, after trading for some years out of London to the Cape of Good Hope and to New Zealand, she was acquired by Philip Blyth, of London and the following year she was sold. Within a few days she was purchased by Alexander Fotheringham and renamed Racehorse. The "foreign" sale and the resale, within a few days, to the Englishman Alexander Fotheringham were just to change the vessel's name. Between 1786 and 1871, British vessels were forbidden by law to change names. This was to help combat smuggling. A shipowner could evade this law by selling the vessel to a foreigner, then buying it back a few days later. Upon its sale to the foreigner, the vessel was considered no longer British, so a British subject who purchased it even a few days later could rename it anything he wished.

Emigration of Eight Hundred Nonconformists to New Zealand 1862Fotheringham was joined as part owner by John Smurthwaite, a Sunderland merchant, and the next voyage of the ship, its first under its new name of Racehorse, was from Sunderland to Hong Kong. For the next few years she traded out of London, making voyages to Swan River and Madras, to Sydney and Demerara, to Auckland and Sydney.

In July 1868, 104 days out from Gravesend, she struck a hurricane with a tremendous sea which carried away her foretop-gallant, mizzen to gallant and royal yards. The mizzen top mast was sprung and much of her gear was carried away. The Captain and officers said at the time they could not imagine a more terrific storm and only the skill and determination of the crew and officers saved the ship until the weather had abated. This ship brought the first Albertland settlers to New Zealand.

In 1870, the Racehorse, ex Maltilda Wattenbach, was purchased by Thomas Ridley Oswald, Sunderland shipbuilder, and in 1872 she was sold first to William Wilkinson, of London, and within a month or two to Thomas Redway, an Exmouth shipowner. Her last voyage under the British flag was made during 1869-1871,

Masters:
1854/55-1855/56 - J. Clare
1856/57 - [not known]
1857/58-1858/59 - Berryman
1859/60-1860/61 - T. Denkin
1861/62-1863/64 - W. Goudie
1863/64-1865/66 - J. Mann
1865/66-1867/68 - Matthews
1867/68-1870/71 - W. Sewan
1870/71-1873/74 - E. Peacock

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