On 26 March the John Pirie seemed to be making progress, as it finally cleared the English Channel and struck out for the Atlantic Ocean. But just west of the Bay of Biscay the weather worsened dramatically into what one of our informants described as a ‘perfect Hurricane’. All but overwhelmed by ‘a most tremendious Sea’, the little ship was literally submerged on more than one occasion. Even the captain gave it up for lost. We include here two descriptions of the same event, the first written by our anonymous diarist, the second in the words of Captain George Martin, from a letter sent one week later to George Fife Angas. They provide graphic descriptions of the horror of the experience.
The Lady Mary Pelham was also caught in the storm. It left Liverpool on 30 March, but returned to port on 1 April after it was almost overwhelmed by the heavy seas.