Acting as a punishment ship to which troublemakers from other ships were transferred, Friendship had its own share of trouble with drunkenness and fighting between marines and sailors, and seamen discovered in bed with the female convicts.
From the outset Francis Walton, captain of Friendship, failed to stop the ‘connections’ between his crew and the convict women. According to the young and very moralistic Lieutenant Ralph Clark who travelled on board, the men broke through the bulkhead while they were still anchored at Portsmouth. On 16 May 1787, three days after their departure, Clark wrote scathingly of the convict women:
‘I never could have thought that there wair so many abandond wretches in England, the[y] are ten thousand time worse than the men convicts, and I am afraid that we will have a great dele more trouble with them’.