In 1857 a new company commenced running from Weymouth to the Channel Islands and France, the Weymouth and Channel Islands Steam Packet Company, mainly financed by the Great Western Railway Company, who commenced with two vessels Cygnus and Aquila.
The almost identical ship to the Cygnus, the Aquila, followed six days later, built the same year and by the same company. She was originally intended for the North of Europe Steam Navigation Company for the Antwerp-Harwich service, which had proved unsuccessful. The two vessels were purchased by the Weymouth and Channel Islands Steam Packet Company in 1857. Cygnus and Aquila continued on the Weymouth-Channel Island station for many years until sold in 1889.
Aquila rescues the Agnes Brown
A record of a rescue in 1880 from Facebook group Maritime Jersey
17 February 1880:
Report Of Captain Thomas Painter, Master of the Aquila steamer, a passenger and goods ship operating between the Islands and Weymouth.
- "Aquila departed Jersey at 10:05 yesterday for Weymouth. She called in at Guernsey for half an hour at 12:30 pm.
- "At 5 pm, while heading NNE on an ebb tide, in mid channel, Captain Painter spotted a vessel in distress. The wind was a fresh SSW and the sea was high. 'Three miles distant on our port side her ensign in the main rigging'.
- "Thomas Painter continued: 'We altered course and steered for her, In a quarter of an hour we reached her, found her foremast missing, along with maintopmast, and mizzentopmast. She was under sail with a small mainsail, with another small sail to assist.'
- "Capt Painter: 'Do you need assistance?' Reply: 'Yes'.
- "The Aquila steamed around the ship, and by means of a lifebuoy attached a line and drew a rope on board, taking her in tow. After ten minutes the rope broke, and with Aquila's engines stopped, the stricken Agnes Brown drew alongside her starboard quarter. Another line was heaved aboard.
- "Capt Painter: 'We put two of Aquila's ropes on board and continued our journey'.
- "By now 11 pm last night, the 7½-inch rope broke. Capt Painter reduced his speed and continued very slowly with just the other, a 6½-inch rope.
- "The Agnes Brown was towed safely into Portland at 4 this morning. The chief officer of the Aquila went aboard the Agnes Brown to make sure she was secure.
- "After an eventful night Aquila finally delivered her passengers and mail and cargo, arriving in Weymouth at 5 this morning"