On 29 September 1875 three Padstow smacks were beating down channel with coal cargoes loaded at Newport. They were the Clyde, Sylph and Telegraph. The Clyde was bound for Malpas near Truro.

In the early afternoon, when off Nash Point, the crews of the Sylph and Telegraph saw the Clyde heel over on the top of a large sea, capsize, and founder. The Sylph was two miles from the spot where the Clyde went down and the Telegraph three miles to the south.

Both vessels altered course for the scene. The Sylph arrived first but overshot the spot. Her master had put two of his crew in the rigging and they saw what they thought was a hat floating but no wreckage. By chance the Telegraph ran right over the spot and found the mate, John Haynes, of the Clyde. He was swimming boldly and was picked up. On catching his breath he said that two others were nearby but he was sure that Charles Neale, master of the Clyde, had gone down. Tacking about, the Telegraph then picked up John Prideaux.

It was now an hour since the Clyde had sunk and, hearing that the third man could not swim, it was thought there was little point in looking for him. However John Brown, master of the Telegraph, was determined not to give up until a thorough search had been made. Eventually one of his lookouts spotted something a long way off on the crest of a breaking wave. Making for the spot they found William Simms (a native of Witney, Oxfordshire) clinging to a section of gangway rail. With some difficulty he was picked up almost lifeless. Dry clothes and massage restored him.

The Telegraph put back and landed the men at Cardiff.