The Mystery Ship is Flying Cloud, as originally named, which was built by the Orlando Naval Shipyard in Livorno, Italy. She was completed for the Duke of Westminster and launched in 1927. In 1932 the Duke sold her and she changed hands several more times and was renamed Fantome. She was laid up at the start of World War II and remained so until 1956, when she was purchased by Aristotle Onassis.

He had her towed to Kiel, Germany, where she stayed until 1969, when she came into the hands of Mike Burke of Windjammer Barefoot Cruises fame. He had her sailed to Miami, where she was refitted to join the Windjammer fleet in the West Indies.

Fantome mainly operated in the Bahamas, where I joined her in 1975 as second mate. I sailed on different ships of the fleet for the next three years, but Fantome sailed round the Caribbean.

In October 1998 she was trying to outmanoeuvre Hurricane Mitch, and after the passengers and non-essential crew were landed, she sailed into the Gulf of Honduras, only to founder with all crew lost on 28 October 1998.

John Adamson, Laguna Beach, USA


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