U.S. Supreme Court
The Mary Eveline, 83 U.S. 16 Wall. 348 348 (1872)
The Mary Eveline
83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 348
1. Though a sailing vessel having the wind is prima facie bound to adopt such a course as will prevent collision with other sailing vessels not having it, it is still the duty of these last in an emergency to make their
courses so as not to render it difficult for the vessel having the wind to do her duty by rendering it doubtful what movement she should make.
2. This principle applied to a case where a vessel having the wind, in order to avoid a very strong tide (that in Hell Gate), was sailing so close to a shore wall that she could not safely have lessened the distance, and where the position of the other vessels in regard to a third vessel made it dangerous for the vessel having the wind to luff.
3. Under these circumstances, the vessel having the wind held justified in having kept her course.
On the afternoon of September 20, 1868, the sloop Ethan Allen and the schooner Mary Eveline came in collision while navigating the East River near Blackwell's Island. The sloop was sunk and her cargo was lost. Her owners filed their libel against the schooner and her owners, claiming as damages the value of the sloop and her cargo. The libel was dismissed in the district court, and the decree was affirmed in the circuit court. The libellants appealed to this Court.