M/V Priscilla built 1921, converted sail to power for Abaco run in 1923, replaced S/V Albertine Adoue

M/V Priscilla working cargo and passengers, probably off Abaco in the 1930’s

Source: Photo courtesy of the Wyannie Malone Historical Society, Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Abaco – from the blog of Mr. Evan Lowe, “Out Island Boy”, April 2014, http://outislandboy.wordpress.com/

PAST NAMES: not known
DIMENSIONS: 100 feet long, sailboat converted to diesel, official # 151257, registered to Nassau,

CONSTRUCTION: steel, powered by a 115-horsepower Fairbanks Morse diesel engine 
BUILDER: not known – likely in Abaco or Harbour Island
EARLY CAREER: served Abaco from 1923, replacing the S/V Albertine Adoue
BAHAMAS CAREER: served Abaco from 1923 to after 1932
CAPTAINS: Captain Hartley Roberts, Master. Mate Mr. Howard Lowe from Green Turtle Cay Abaco, Cook was Mr. Osgood Lowe, per Evan Lowe, descendant of Mr. Lowe, posted in May 2014.
FATE: August 1932 destroyed by a hurricane, “blown ashore and destroyed” – see below citation
NOTES: R. W. Sawyer of Nassau owned a sailing vessel Priscilla Maude, may have been same?

Steve Dodge in his 1982 book “Abaco, a History of an Out Island and its Cays,” White Sound Press, page 89, writes that in 1923 when she began service “…there were no power boats except for the Priscilla, which , it was soon discovered, was no panacea. In 1926 the Priscilla omitted stopping at East Marsh Harbour when it was behind schedule and fruit was left on the dock there to rot.” The source was the Hope Town Commissioner’s Report of 1926.

As for the possible connection between the Priscilla and the America’s Cup, he cites Haziel Albury’s book “Man-O-War: My Island Home,” page 89, and “The ‘Treasure Islands’ of the Bahamas, (Nassau: Development Board, no date). he adds: “If the Priscilla was a converted cup defender, the only one she could possibly have been was the Mayflower which defended the cup in 1886.”

Alas, this is hopeful fiction – the Mayflower which raced in the America’s Cup was sunk off Jamaica in 1908: “In 1905 Lady Eva Barker bought the vessel and outfitted it with an engine. She chartered it to adventurer Guy Hamilton Scull in 1908 on an expedition seeking the treasure of a sunk Spanish galleon off Jamaica. Mayflower was sunk itself off Cuba in a hurricane during this expedition, and the crew rescued by passing steamers.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayflower_(yacht), and more reading at http://www.vallejogallery.com/showall.php

Several references to the Priscilla and the Hurricane of 1932 in The Great Bahamian Hurricanes of 1899 and 1932: The Story of Two of the Greatest and Deadliest Hurricanes to Impact the Bahamas, By Wayne Neely. This is copyright Harper’s Magazine, an article by Terrence Keogh, May 1933:

“On the morning of August 31, 1932…. I had arranged to take passage the following day for Abaco Island in the diesel mail boat Priscilla. At ten o’clock the following morning – Saturday, September 3rd the Priscilla came to anchor at Green Turtle Cay.” (page 184)

Describing the Great Abaco Hurricane of 1932 he continues: “…boats of all kind[s], including the mailboat Priscilla were blown ashore and destroyed.  …Commander R. Langdon-Jones, D.S.O., Inspector of the Lighthouses, heard from Mr. J. O’Brien, who went to Abaco on the Lady Cordeaux reported that the Imperial Lighthouse at Hole-in-the-Wall was undamaged by the hurricane. The lighthouse at Elbow Cay, according to a message received from the Patricia K. received only minor damage.” (page 170)