CAPTAIN JOHN MaCGREGOR SKINNER (1760 – 1832)
(Pilot Boat ‘Captain Skinner' – historical facts behind her name.)
Built in 1970 by Cheverton , Isle of Wight .
Captain John MacGregor Skinner dominated the Holyhead maritime scene for 30 years, and his memorial obelisk overlooks the new harbour. Skinner was born In 1760 at Perth Amboy New Jersey, where his father was attorney general.
He was commissioned into the Royal Navy, aboard HMS Phoenix in 1776 and lost an arm fighting his fellow colonists in the War of Independence. He later lost an eye, but despite this, he arrived In Holyhead In 1779 to take command of one of the Post Office sailing packets.
Skinner took charge of a new ship, the Lightning, In June 1821. In August of 1822, King George IV, having been stranded for five days by unfavourable winds, abandoned his own ship, the Royal George and took passage on board the Lighting to put in to Holyhead. He was so delighted with the trip that he renamed the 8 knot paddle steamer ‘The Royal Sovereign King George IV' , later shortened to the ‘Royal Sovereign' .
Captain Skinner was offered a knighthood, but settled for the more lucrative title 'Captain Royal Navy (retired)' with appropriate pension.
Captain Skinner was 72 years old when he was swept overboard and drowned whilst bringing the Paddle Steamer ‘Escape' Into Holyhead on 13 October 1832. Five years later the Royal Sovereign was transferred to the Admiralty and renamed the Monkey.
In 1970, the Anglesey Aluminium Company ordered a new pilot launch for service at Holyhead and they named her after Captain John MacGregor Skinner. The present owner bought her in 1980, when the company sold her by tender. She has now been extensively modified and re-equipped for diving and survey operations.
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