Wreck of the Ten Sail

Most famous shipwreck disaster in the history of the Cayman Islands

"Breakers ahead! Close to us!"

The Wreck of the Ten Sail is the most famous shipwreck disaster in the history of the Cayman Islands. The frigate HMS Convert was charged with defending a convoy of 58 merchant ships sailing from Jamaica to Europe in February of 1794. The French Revolutionary War made armed protection necessary; in fact, Convert had recently been captured from the French. 

During the night, six or seven of the merchantmen sailed against orders ahead of Convert and wrecked on the reef. At 3 a.m. on 8 February, their distress signal was heard by Convert's crew. "Breakers ahead! Close to us!" cried a sailor from a topsail yard. John Lawford, Convert's captain, fired a warning shot to the rest of the convoy. While trying to steer clear, Convert was struck by another vessel, causing her to run onto the reef. Morning light revealed ten wrecked ships: William & Elizabeth, Moorhall, Ludlow, Britannia, Richard, Nancy, Eagle, Sally, and Fortune, along with Convert. Caymanians provided all assistance possible, saving many lives.

More than thirty ships are wrecked on the East End reef, including Cumberland (1767), Weymouth (1845), Dene (1846), Glamis (1913), Ridgefield (1962), and Rimandi Mibaju (1964). All ships wrecked in the Cayman Islands are protected under law as part of our maritime heritage.

Fine Arts Competition

The Fine Arts Competition is for students (ages 13-16) interested in revealing their artistic talents through fine art. This contest is designed to encourage students to discover our Islands’ rich maritime heritage. Students are invited to depict the Wreck of the Ten Sail as a painting, illustration, digital art or collage. By entering the competition, students give their consent for the National Museum to use submitted artwork on promotional items/material and on social media. Click here for more information or click the flyer.

Please submit all scanned/ digital high resolution artwork and email to brianwatler@museum.ky with the Student and School name in the Subject line as well as a brief description of the artwork in the body.

3 Harbour Drive, George Town

P.O. Box 2189 GT Cayman Islands, KY1-1105 

Tel: 345-949-8368  Email: info@museum.ky

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