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July 21st to August 2nd 1900       September 29th to October 17th 1900


Taken from the Cleveland Plain Dealer



Picture of the yacht Idler


Captain's Negligence Responsible, It is Said
for Loss of the Boat and Nearly
All Her Passengers.



The Craft Went Down Off Cleveland During
a Frightful Gale-- Every Member of
the Crew Escaped.



The Victims of the Terrible Disaster Members
of the Families of Capts. James
and John Corrigan.




    Mrs. James Corrigan, wife of the owner of the yacht Idler, residence Willson avenue, aged forty-eight years.

                 Mrs.Charles Riley, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan, aged twenty-two years

                 Miss Jane Corrigan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan, residence Willson avenue. aged twenty years
                 Miss Ida May Corrigan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs, James Corrigan, residence Willson avenue, aged fifteen years.
                 Miss Etta Corrigan, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Corrigan, residence Cutler street, aged eighteen years.
                 Baby Riley, daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Charles Riley, aged one year. 


                 Mrs. John Corrigan, the only passenger saved.

                 C. H. Holmes, captain of the Idler.
                 Samuel Biggan, the mate.
                 Charles Johnson, Olaf Neilsen, Silcein Neilsen and Jake Antonson, sailors.
                 George Welch and Charles Hackett, cooks.
                  Will Summers, ship carpenter.
                  The schooner yacht Idler was capsized in the storm that swept over the lake and city soon after 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon and six lives went down to a watery graves.

                  The yacht, which was owned by Capt. James Corrigan, was struck by the sixty mile gale about sixteen miles out in the lake and within ten minutes went down.

                  Mrs. James Corrigan, her three daughters, an infant granddaughter and a daughter of Mr. John Corrigan were drowned.  The only one of the passengers that escaped was Mrs. John Corrigan. All of the crew were saved. The ladies aboard the boat were in the cabin, with the exception of Mrs. John Corrigan, the only survivor, and Miss Ida May Corrigan.

                  When the boat sank the passengers except those on the deck were imprisoned in a death trap.

                  The Idler, with the family pleasure party aboard, was returning from the St. Clair flats. As the vessel got almost in sight of Cleveland the storm which had been gathering in the west struck the vessel. The wind blew at the rate of sixty miles an hour, and in an instant the yacht keeled over and nearly capsized. C. H. Holmes, captain of the vessel, who was at the wheel, called one of the crew to take his place and rushed to the cabin to warn his passengers of their danger and to request them to put on life preservers and come upon the deck. The women were terror stricken, according to the statements of the crew and refused to leave the cabin. About three minutes after the storm struck the boat another blast of wind came, harder that the first. The stanch vessel quivered in the sea, which had been lashed to fury, and keeled upon her side. After the storm struck the boat the crew tried to cut away the sails, but without success.

                  The Idler turned over on her side, throwing the crew out into the water. Mrs John Corrigan clung to a couch that was upon the deck, and was finally rescued. Miss Ida May Corrigan held to the side of the boat for an instant, but was soon dashed off by the waves.

                   It is charged that the capsizing of the boat was due entirely to carelessness in  handling the vessel. The storm was



Charges Criminal Negligence

                  Capt. James Corrigan was seen at 9 o'clock last night after his return from the scene of the accident. He said:

                   "I consider criminal negligence on the part of Capt. Holmes as being the cause of the disaster."

                   When asked on what he based this statement he said:

                   "When we arrived at the scene of the accident we saw the mainsail and foresail in a position indicating that they had not been taken in, as they should have been under the circumstances."


some time in coming up, and the crew had plenty of time to shorten sail and make ready for it, but, according to witnesses of the catastrophe upon the rescuing boats, nearly all the sails were up when the squall struck the vessel. Members of the crew, however, declare that nearly all the sails were furled.

                  Capt. James Corrigan, who went out to the foundered vessel yesterday afternoon on his return declared that the capsizing was due to criminal negligence on the part of Capt. Holmes. He found the masts of the Idler standing above the water, and nearly all the sails set.

                  Capt. Holmes is regarded as a reckless sailor and although a young man has been quite a wanderer around the world. He was master of the Wilson steamer Wallula, that went aground at Fairport a year ago.

                  The crew of the Idler were all Norwegians brought up on the sea from birth and were regarded as experienced sailors so that the terrible loss of life cannot be attributed to their experience.

                  When the Idler capsized the vessel's gig was cut in two leaving only a small row boat on the yacht. A sailor cut the row boat loose and he and a companion succeeded in saving Mrs. John Corrigan.

                  At the time of the accident there were two fish tugs, the Effie B. and H. E. Smith about three miles behind the Idler and coming to Cleveland. They arrived on the scene in about twenty minutes and took the crew and Mrs. John Corrigan aboard.

                  A heroic effort was made to save Ida May Corrigan, Capt. James Corrigan's fifteen-year-old daughter, but without success. A line was thrown from the tug F. B. Smith and Jake Antonson, one of the sailors of the Idler, succeeded in reaching the drowning girl, who had lost consciousness. He held to the apparently lifeless body with one arm and to the line with the other, but the line in some way became entangled around his arm and leg rendering him helpless, and he had to let go of the girl and her body disappeared beneath the raging waters.

                  After the Idler capsized she lay on her side a few moments and then sank to the bottom and straightened up, the hull settling into the mud in the bottom of the lake and the cross trees and topmasts extending up above the water. The boat took down with it the precious lives of five persons and an infant child clasped to its mother's breast.

                  According to the statements of the crew the ladies became panic stricken when the storm first struck the boat and refused to leave the cabin. They cried piteously for help when the boat keeled over and fainted away from fright.







Vessel men Say That the Yacht Could Weather
Almost Any Gale With Proper Handling.


                  The Idler, which had been in the vicinity of St. Clair flats for a week, passed Detroit yesterday morning at 12:30 in tow of the steamer F. Emory Owen, which also had the big schooner Australia in tow. The Idler was dropped at Bar point


                  Page 6





and was only about an hours sail from home when the storm struck her. When Capt. Holmes, master of the lost vessel, reached the life saving station he said he did not want to say anything about the disaster until he had seen Capt. Corrigan.

                   He was greatly excited and when one of the members of the crew said that the Idler was carrying nearly all her canvas when the storm struck her, Capt. Holmes said that was not so. He said that the yacht righted after the first squall struck her, but that he could not get her gearing clear before the second squall came and she turned turtle and went to the bottom.

                   Mrs. James Corrigan was below when the yacht went down. Capt Holmes said that he picked up Miss Jane Corrigan and held on to a fender, but she could not help herself and she went to the bottom before the members of the crew reached him with the lifeboat.

                  The tug that rescued Mrs. John Corrigan reached the life saving station about 3:30 o'clock, and Capt. Charles Motley at once notified Capt. John Corrigan, who was in his office in the Perry-Payne building, of the disaster. Capt. James Corrigan was not in his office at the time and it was some time later before he learned of his great loss.

                  Capt. James Corrigan left the yacht at Port Huron and came to Cleveland by rail to consult his doctor about some trouble he had in his head and ear. He was at his office when the storm came up and was greatly alarmed. The vessel was due here about 2:30 and he kept a steady lookout for the boat from his office. He was so worried that he could not remain at his desk for any length of time and watched the entrance to the harbor from the rear window of his office.

                 Vessel men and sailors say that the Idler was in first-class condition and ought to weather most any storm with proper handling. Capt. James Corrigan bought the yacht from Chicago parties last fall. A R. Rumsey, chief shipping master of the lake Carriers association, took a crew to Chicago and brought the vessel to this port. She made a number of trips before she was laid up at Fairport. During the winter she was practically rebuilt. The repairs that were made on her cost about $8,000, or more than Capt. Corrigan paid for her.






Much Comment Among Yachtsmen Regarding the
Manner in Which the Idler Was Handled.


                  When the news of the wrecking of the yacht Idler became known among Cleveland yachtsmen there was much comment concerning the handling of the craft, not to the manner in which it was handled during yesterday's squall, because few of them knew the details regarding it, but of the general manner in which it has been handled all season.

                   There were numerous local yachtsmen who said it was notorious among men who understood canvas sailing that the Idler was being mismanaged. It was asserted that few if any of the men outside the captain of the craft knew anything about sailing, the men who manned the boat being sailors whose experience had been almost exclusively confined to steam craft.

                  One man who pays close attention to the sailing craft about Cleveland made a broad assertion that the yacht had not been cut this season without getting into some kind of a mix up. He further stated that many smaller sailing boats had been in equally as dangerous squalls as that of yesterday and come out of it without a particle of difficulty, simply because they had been properly handled.






By the Capsizing of the Idler Almost His Entire
Family Was Wiped Out.


                By the capsizing of the yacht Idler almost the entire family of Mr. James Corrigan, one of the most prominent in the city, was wiped from the face of the earth. The family of Mr. Corrigan and that of his brother John Corrigan, started a week ago for a week's outing, and it is a safe prediction that hat the party remained intact no accident would have occurred, as the two brothers are old sailors, and their wisdom and judgment would undoubtedly have averted the accident. Both, however, were called away, one on a business engagement, and the other on account of a slight indisposition

                 Mr. James Corrigan's wife and three daughters and a granddaughter are now engulfed in the waters of Lake Erie about sixteen miles northwest of this city, and the youngest daughter of  Mr. John Corrigan lies with them. Mr. James Corrigan and his son, James Jr., twenty-two years old, and a student at Adelbert college, survive.

                  The wife of Capt. John Corrigan was the only survivor among those of the pleasure party. Capt and Mrs John Corrigan lost their youngest daughter, Miss Etta. Another daughter is left to them, Mrs. Edward Gilbert of No. 58 West Clinton street.

                 The lives that were so suddenly snuffed out yesterday were all young ones. Mrs. James Corrigan, aged forty-eight,  was the oldest of the six unfortunates who went down with the ill-fated yacht. Mrs. Nettie Riley, aged twenty-two, was the oldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan and the wife of Mr. Charles Riley. They were married about two years ago and have one child, a little girl, one year old, who was lost with her mother. Mr. Riley is not in the east on business. Miss Jane and Miss Ida May Corrigan were also victims of the disaster. The former was twenty years old and a graduate of Miss brown's school in this city. Miss Ida May Corrigan was fifteen years of age. Miss Etta Corrigan is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Corrigan. She was eighteen years of age. She has been attending Vassar college and would have graduated with the class of 1902. She had only been home from school a couple of weeks.

                The city residence of Mr. James Corrigan is at No. 321 Willson avenue, but the family has been sojourning at the country home in Wickliff since the middle of June.






Captain of the Tug F. E. Smith Says That the Idler
Had a Cloud of Canvas Up Before She
Keeled Over.


                  George Normand of No. 78 Birch street was captain of the F. E. Smith, one of the fishing tugs that went to the rescue of the Idler. He told a different story from members of the crew regarding the taking down of the canvas when the storm came up.

              "We were behind the Idler coming in," said Capt. Normand, "Before she keeled over I remarked that she had a cloud of canvas up. The yacht seemed to have all her standing canvas set when the wind struck her. The crew tried to cut the halyards, but couldn't get in the sails. It was quite dark at the time and there was a heavy sea running.

                  "The Effie B, was coming in at the same time and was not far from our boat. The Idler was about three miles ahead of us and it took us about twenty minutes to reach her. When we got there the boat was on its starboard side and the crew were on the port side, hanging on. About the time we arrived some of the crew got the small boat off. We picked this boat up.

                  "We saw a girl floating in the water and threw a line to a sailor. He got hold of the rope and of the girl and started to pull her in. Our boat was jerking the rope and he had to loose his hold. Then we threw the line to him again. He seemed to get the line tangled up in his arm and leg so that he could not use them, and had to let go of the girl. She appeared lifeless when he was holding her, and when he let go she sank and we did not see her again." 






Member of the Idler's Crew Declares All but the
Mainsail and the Staysail Were Taken in
Before the Squall Struck.


                  Charles Johnson, a member of the crew told the following story of the catastrophe.

                   "The accident happened about sixteen miles from Cleveland. We had watched the storm coming  up for nearly an hour and had prepared for it. We had been sailing under light canvas but when we saw the storm coming we took en everything but the main sail and stay sail. The wind struck us on the after quarter when it was on the port tack. The vessel went over pretty well when the wind first struck it, but it righted again. About three minutes later it keeled over on the starboard side and sank. After the boat keeled over the first time we tried to free the sheets. The wind was blowing straight from the northwest. We tried to heave her to but she wouldn't answer. Antonson was at the wheel at the time. Some of the women were in the  companionway when the boat went over and the rest were in the cabin, except Mrs. John Corrigan and one of the girls. One of  the girls, Ida May Corrigan, whom we knew as "Toots," was on the weather side of the boat and begged us to save her.

                 "The large gig on the yacht was cut completely in two when the vessel went over. I launched the dingy as soon as I could cut it away. I fell into the water while launching the boat but succeeded in boarding it. John Antonson got in the boat with me and we picked up Capt. Holmes and Mrs. John Corrigan. There was a lot of wreckage floating around at the time. The captain was clinging to the tender. Mrs Corrigan was on a couch that had been upon the deck. We went around to the lee side of the boat and tried to save Ida Corrigan, but a line got tangled and we could not save her. There were tow fishing tugs in sight and they saw us before we tipped over. Capt. Holmes was at the wheel when the storm struck us, but called Antonson to the wheel and went down to the cabin to try and quiet the women who had become panic-stricken. He wanted them to put on life preservers and come on deck but they wouldn't leave the cabin."

                   Will Summers, who was on the boat said that he was not a sailor or one of the crew, but had been doing some carpenter and other work on the yacht.

                  "I could not swim," said Summers last night, "and when the boat went over I grabbed something and the mate saved me. Mrs John Corrigan stayed out of the cabin and was saved. As soon as the yacht keeled over the first time we began cutting everything loose upon the deck and the mate and steward went down to tell the women to put life preservers on and came on deck and not be drowned. Mrs. John Corrigan floated off the boat on a couch and stuck to that. Alaf Neilson tried to save "Toot" Corrigan. The F. E. Smith threw him a line. Neilson was swimming in the water. He got hold of the girl, who appeared dead at the time, but I don't know how he lost her. Capt. Holmes was also trying to save the girl. No one saw Capt. John Corrigan's daughter Etta after the storm struck the boat. I think that she went down into her berth. After we capsized we did all we could to save the passengers and to attract the fish tugs.

                  "The Idler had entirely too small a crew. There were only four sailors and there should have been eight or nine. Six tons of ballast was put into the boat two weeks ago. I think that nearly all the women fainted away after the first blow struck the vessel.

                   "I don't know what direction the wind came from, but it came from about a quarter around from the direction of the rain. We didn't think from the clouds that it was going to blow very hard.

                    " When the boat went over the women were panic-stricken and called loudly for help." 






Mate of the Ill Fated Yacht Tells of Efforts to
Save the Passengers.


                  "It was about 2:15 o'clock that the squall hit us," said Samuel Biggam, the mate of the Ill fated yacht. He was relating his version of the affair to a sympathetic crowd in the office of the Lake Carriers association.  "The yacht laid down on her beams ends."  he continued, "and the water rushed through the deadlights and companionways and in three minutes she sank.

                  "Mrs. James Corrigan, Miss Ida Corrigan, Miss Jane Corrigan, Mrs. Charles Riley and the infant daughter of Mrs. Riley were all in the cabin below when the storm come on us. Capt. Holmes gave me orders to take in sail, and I transmitted the order to the men. They obeyed quickly. The captain, myself and the crew made efforts to save the women, but without success. We told them the yacht was sinking, but they could not or would not come on deck. I waded into the cabin when the water was up to my neck, but Mrs. James Corrigan would not come out. She may have been rendered incapable of action by fear and knowledge of impending doom. An effort was made to take the infant daughter of Mrs. Riley out. but Mrs. Riley would not let the child go." 

                  The mate said it was realized that nothing could be done to save those in the cabin, and their attention was turned to saving those on deck. The latter, outside of the captain, mate and crew, were Mrs. John Corrigan and her daughter, Miss Ida May Corrigan.

                   "The captain, myself and some of the crew tried to get Mrs. Corrigan and her daughter up on the cross trees in the rigging, but the heavy sea washed us all overboard. "For God's sake, Mrs. Corrigan, you and your daughter deep a tight hold on the rigging, we called to them. Even as we yelled the sea swept them and us overboard. Fortunately Mrs. Corrigan had succeeded in taking hold of a cork lounge. She clung to it and was saved. I heard later that the sea turned her over three times."

                  According to the mate a sailor deserves great credit for his gallant efforts to save Mrs. Corrigan and others. He had, according to the mate, been successful in launching a dingy. He encountered great difficulty in doing so, and came near losing his life in the attempt. Upon getting into it, he made for Mrs. Corrigan. Upon his advice she took hold of the edge of the dingy, but was instructed not to attempt to clamber into it for fear of capsizing it. Some of the sailors also got hold of the dingy and thus kept themselves from drowning, he said.

                  "The tugs Effie B. and F. B. Smith appeared in about five minutes and picked us up."

                   A number of times during his recital Biggam was overcome by emotion which caused him to suspect his account. The listeners were also observed to be crying. The mate said that when the last attempt to rescue Mrs. James Corrigan was made he heard her praying.

                    Biggam said that Mrs. James Corrigan seemed to have a premonition of disaster when the yacht left Port Huron.

                    "Biggam," she said to me, "I feel as though something were going to happen, and I wish I were at home."

                    A. R. Rumsey, the shipping master of the Lake Carriers association, and in whose office the sorrowful tidings were told, interrupted the mate's tale several times by convulsive sobbing.

                    Rumsey said that it was upon his advice that Capt. James Corrigan purchased the yacht last year from John Cudahy of Chicago.

                    "My God," he said, rocking to and fro, "I wish the captain had not bought the yacht. I can't forgive myself." Rumsey acted almost like an insane man, and talked of getting a tug and some divers to go to the scene of the wreck, but abandoned the project for the reason that a tug bearing Capt. Holmes and John Corrigan was soon expected back.

                     The accident was naturally the solo topic of conversation on the river. Riverman stood in groups here and there discussing the affair with hushed voices. It was the consensus of opinion that the accident was due to carelessness on someone's part. It was intimated and broadly that all the sail that should have been taken in had not been taken in when the storm broke. This the mate denies. However, several sailors admitted in the presence of Capt. Benham and Mr. Rumsey that the foresail, mainsail and jib were still set when the storm broke in its fury. The foregaff, they said, was torn away by the wind.

                      "Isn't it true?" asked Rumsey of the sailors, "that if the canvas had been sufficiently reduced the yacht would have weathered the gale?" The sailors shifted their feet and replied, hesitantly, "Perhaps, but accidents will happen."

                       As soon as the news was known that the boat had gone down the tugs Kennedy and Lutz were dispatched to the scene. On board was Capt. James Corrigan.   






The Life of Mrs. John Corrigan, the Surviving
Passenger, Saved as Though by a Miracle.


                  It was indeed a sad home coming yesterday afternoon for Mrs. John Corrigan, the only surviving member of  a happy company of relatives that left this city just a week ago on a pleasure trip in the private yacht of her husband's brother. Her life was saved as though by miracle but she left behind her in the waters of great Lake Erie a beloved daughter and five others dear to her.

                  After battling with the angry waves for a half hour or more on a piece of the yacht's cabin furniture she, together with the nine members of the crew, were picked up by the fishing tugs Effie B. and F. B. Smith, and brought to the life saving station in this city.

                  Mr. James Corrigan and Mr. John Corrigan were both notified of the terrible disaster at their offices in the Perry Payne building, by telephone as soon as the life savers brought the survivors to this city. They hastened to the life saving station and there learned the details of the horrible catastrophe. Mr. James Corrigan left the station with a party who started for the scene of the accident in search of the bodies on the Ill-fated yacht.

                   Capt. John Corrigan remained with his wife, and when she was sufficiently revived to be removed she was taken to her home on Cutler street in a closed carriage accompanied by her husband and son-in-law, Mr. Edward Gilbert. The home has been closed for a week and none of the neighbors knew of the terrible disaster until Mrs. Corrigan was brought home. Loving hands were soon at work doing all in their power to make her comfortable.

                     Mrs. Corrigan was in a complete state of collapse and had to be carried into the house a physician was quickly summoned and she was made as comfortable as it is possible for human aid to do. Mr. Corrigan stood the ordeal bravely though at times he seemed like a person stunned by a terrific body blow.

                     Mr. John Corrigan, who left the yachting party with his brother and daughter Thursday, went direct to Buffalo. He returned home only yesterday morning. When he reached the life saving station in the afternoon after being notified of the disaster he was unable to control himself and fainted. He was soon revived but again fainted when Mrs. Corrigan was being taken from the rescuing tug.






Tug Went to Scene of Disaster Yesterday Afternoon
but Could Do Nothing.


                  The tugs Kennedy and Lutz reached the spot where the Idler lies about 5:45 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Capt. Eldredge, who accompanied the party on the Lutz, said that the yacht was discovered to be about fourteen miles out from Cleveland to the northwest. She is on an even keel in about fifty-three feet of water. Her bottom, which is sharp, cut into the mud, and this accounts for her upright position, he said.

                   On board of the Lutz were Capt. James Corrigan and his nephew. The Lutz's crew consisted of Capt. John Moffott, Thomas beers, engineer, and Bill Ryan and John Bown, firemen. They were the first to sight the wreck. The tug Kennedy reached the spot about the same time. On board the Kennedy were Capt. Holmes, Capt. Motley of the life saving crew, one of his men and the regular crew of the Kennedy, consisting of Sam McKanugh, captain, Ralph King, engineer, and Clint Randall and Thomas L. Menell, fireman.

                    It was seen that nothing towards recovering the bodies could be done, and in order to warn passing vessels of the proximity of the wreck lights were placed on boards, making a raft, was also anchored near the yacht. On the raft were also placed lights. In the event that the water disturbs boat or that she sinks deeper, which, however is not probable. It will be easy to determine the location of the yacht because of the raft.

                    Capt. Eldredge said that the masts on the Ill fated vessel project about twenty or twenty-five feet out of the water. He said that the rigging was visible, but did not say whether or not the sails were in the position claimed by Capt. Corrigan. It is supposed, however, that they are judging from the remarks of criticism heaped on Capt. Holmes.

                     The tugs Kennedy  and Lutz arrived back in the city shortly after 7 o'clock. Capt. James Corrigan alighted from the boat with considerable difficulty and appeared, as he is, in fact, almost prostrated by the blow. He wept bitterly and long.

                      Late last night a tug, with Submarine Diver Metcalf and several of the life saving crew, together with others, left for the place where the yacht is submerged. An effort will be made the first thing this morning by the diver to recover the bodies.





Captain of the Idler Says the "Usual Preparations"
Were Made to Weather the Storm.


                   It was only after a long search and diligent inquiry that a Plain Dealer reporter succeeded in locating Capt. Holmes. He was found lying in the pilot house of the tug Kennedy. He lay on a bunk apparently very weary. He had no hesitancy whatever in relating his account of the disaster. He said it was only about twenty minutes or less after the squall was first sighted that it struck the boat.

                    "We made all the usual preparations for the squall," he said. "We were running before the wind, but it shifted and the boat veered around. The water rushed in through the deadlights and soon through the companion ways and skylights and the yacht began to sink. We on board were washed into the lake. Miss. Jane Corrigan said to us. "Please save my mother."  The squall had then become a cyclone, and it was a case of everyone looking out for himself. I saw no possibility of saving Mr. Corrigan and replied: "Let us save ourselves." A sailor whose feet became entangled in some rigging passed Miss. Jane Corrigan over to me. I held her in one arm and tried to keep her afloat.

                      "Two or three heavy seas struck us and tore her away from me. We both went under water for a moment. When I got my head above water I looked for her and pulled her head above water by the hair. We both got hold of a fender and clung to it. Sea after sea beat down on us and even while I was looking at her she released her hold and sank. I could not help her, for I also was forced by a momentary weakness to release my hold of the fender and came near drowning."

                        Capt. Holmes said Miss. Corrigan had grasped him so tight about the neck several times that he could hardly breathe.

                        Capt. Holmes in response to a question again reiterated his statement that every precaution usual in the case of a storm had been taken. He said all the "kites" had been taken in.

                         He was unstinted in his praise of the crew, who, he said, were all brave men and cool headed during the entire trying ordeal.

                         Al Rumsey took Capt. Homes to task for not having the yacht towed from Port Huron. Mr. Rumsey claimed Capt. Corrigan expressly stated to Capt. Holmes when he left Port Huron that this was to be done.

                          Capt. Corrigan said Capt. Holmes had been in charge of the yacht ever since it was purchased last year. He added that he had always considered him to be a good man for the position, owing to the fact that he came to him well recommended. "He had some experience on salt water, I believe," said Capt. Corrigan.






Capt. John Corrigan Attributed the
Loss of the Idler to Mismanagement.


                    The capsizing of the sailing yacht Idler was the fateful ending of a happy party of relatives who left their homes in this city just a week previous for an outing up the Detroit and St. Clair rivers and about St. Clair flats.

                    The party that left this city a week ago yesterday was made up of Mr. and Mrs. James Corrigan, Mrs. Charles Riley and daughter, the Misses Jane and Ida Corrigan, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Corrigan, Mr. and Mrs. John Corrigan, Mrs. Edward Gilbert and Miss Etta Corrigan, their daughters. The party spent several days fishing and cruising abut the flats although the weather for sailing was very poor on account of the calm that prevailed.

                     Messers. James and John Corrigan and Mrs. Gilbert left the party at Detroit Thursday. Mr. John Corrigan was Called to Buffalo on business and Mr. James Corrigan, who had been having some trouble with his ear, came home to see a specialist, Mrs. Gilbert accompanied her uncle home. All three left the yachting party Thursday night.

                      It was the intention of the party to return home yesterday and they expected to leave their pleasure grounds some time Friday afternoon. Before leaving his wife and daughters, Mr. James Corrigan suggested to the captain of the Idler, on account of the calm, that they wait for the steamer J. Emery Owen, one of his vessels, and take a tow from her. They did so and kept the tow until they were some distance down the lake. The steamer and two passed Detroit Saturday morning shortly before 1 o'clock.

                       While the yacht was under tow of the steamer there was considerable jerking and lunging of that craft on account of the dipping and sudden taking up of slack in the tow line. After this had gone on for some time Mrs. James Corrigan asked Capt. Holmes of the yacht if it would not ease up that jerking motion if the tow line was cast off. The captain replied that it would, but that the yacht would probably stand over on her side considerably under her own canvas. Mrs. Corrigan then asked him to throw off the tow line and proceed under the canvas of the yacht. This was done and the boat went along nicely under its own sails for several hours before the accident occurred.

                         While he did not denounce the captain or crew of the Idler Capt. John Corrigan attributed the capsizing of the yacht to gross carelessness in the craft's management.

                          "If the boat had been properly handled" he stated to a Plain Dealer reporter at his home on Cutler street last evening, "the accident would never have happened. A person sailing a yacht should be on the lookout for trouble all the time. Squalls come up very suddenly, but you can always see them far enough away to prepare for them by dropping sail. It is no time then to be particular how sail is taken in, but time to act. I can't understand how the accident occurred; the yacht is a large craft and perfectly safe. I would not be afraid to sail across the Atlantic in her."

                            Mr. Corrigan said the yacht was provided with two lifeboats and that both were lowered. One of these, he says was capsized as soon as it struck the water, leaving only one available for the rescue.   





The Best Known Sailing Craft
on Fresh Water - - A Good Record 


                    The schooner yacht Idler is the best known sailing craft on fresh water. She was originally built in New Haven, Ct., in 1864, by one F. Colgates of New York. In those days the big steam yachts were unknown and the millionaires sailed schooners instead. The Idler was a fair representative of her class. She measured 97 feet between perpendiculars, 23 feet beam and 9 feet 8 inches depth of hold. She was a center boarder.

                      When the schooner Cambria came over from England to sail  the first race to regain the American cup, the schooner Fleet of the New York Yacht club was pitted against the Britain. The Idler beat the Cambria, as did some half dozen other boats and was well in front at the finish., although not first. When "Archie" Fisher was commodore of the Chicago Yacht club in its old days of prosperity, over twenty years ago, he went to New York for his flagship and bought the Idler. In 1888 she was fitted out to sail in a match race at Mackinaw against the Canadian schooner Oriole of Toronto. Chicago yachtsmen always said it was no day for the Idler to race, for the wind went down to a drifting match ant the Idler was no good unless the wind freshened. She was beaten

                        John Cudahy bought the boat from Mr. Fisher, as he wanted a yacht to finish out his summer home at Mackinac Island. In 1890 he had the boat rebuilt in a thorough manner. When Mr. Cudahy's little corner in pork went glimmering, he tied the yacht up in an Illinois Central slip and for several years she accumulated coal dirt and dry rot.

                         In 1896 W. D. Boyce was elected commodore of the Columbia Yacht club and he chartered the Idler for the season for his flagship. That Fourth of July the Idler was entered in a race at Milwaukee with the steel schooner Priscilla of Cleveland. The agreement was that racing sails would be barred. The Idler has a growth of sea grass and sailed like a lumber schooner so the Priscilla, with a cloud of balloon sails set, had no trouble in winning.




   The Idler is a schooner yacht, with a gross tonnage of 84. Her water line is 97 feet, she is 20 foot beam and draws 10 feet of water. She was built in 1864 at New Haven, Ct., as the America's cup defender. The yacht won the cup in the International race.


   Capt. Corrigan purchased the yacht last fall from John Cudahy and sailed her to Cleveland last spring. When she went down she was in excellent condition, much money having been spent in putting her into shape.



Before clean up

After clean up

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