[Footnote 1: The centre of the island of Socoro, or Guayteca, on the western coast of Patagonia, is in lat. 43 deg. 10’ S. and long. 73 deg. 40’ W. from Greenwich.—E.]
Under these orders, the squadron sailed from St Catharines on Sunday the 18th of January, 1741. Next day we had very squally weather, attended with rain, lightning, and thunder; but it soon cleared up again, with light breezes, and continued so to the evening of the 21st, when it again blew fresh, and, increasing all night, it became a most violent storm by next morning, accompanied by so thick a fog that it was impossible for us to see to the distance of two ships lengths, and we consequently lost sight of all the squadron. On this a signal was made, by firing guns, to bring to with the larboard tacks, the wind being due east. We in the Centurion handed the top-sails, bunted the main-sail, and lay to under a reefed-mizen till noon, when the fog dispersed, and we soon discovered all the ships of the squadron, except the Pearl, which did not join till near a month afterwards. The Tryal was a great way to leeward, having lost her main-mast in the squall, and having been obliged to cut away the wreck, for fear of bilging. We therefore bore down with the squadron to her relief, and the Gloucester was ordered to take her in tow, as the weather did not entirely abate till next day, and even then a great swell continued from the eastward, in consequence of the preceding storm. After this accident we continued to the southward with little interruption, finding the same setting of the current we had observed before our arrival at St Catharines; that is, we generally found ourselves about twenty miles to the southward of our reckoning by the log every day. This, with some inequality, lasted till we had passed the latitude of the Rio Plata, and even then the same current, however difficult to be accounted for, undoubtedly continued; for we were not satisfied in attributing this appearance to any error in our reckoning, but tried it more than once, when a calm rendered it practicable.