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Latitude 50° 19.645 N
Longitude 004° 07.515 W
Depth 6m
Accuracy 10m
Location Description Andurn Point
Reference NMR 1070097
Craft type Collier
Date built 1877
Year of loss 1912
Manner of loss Wrecked
Outcome Abandoned
Construction Iron
Propulsion Steam
Nationality British
Departure port Plymouth
Destination port Swansea
Hull length 64.8m
Hull beam 9.3m
Hull displacement 4.9m
Armament None
Cargo Ballast
Crew 16
Built J. Laing
Master Captain Hurst
Owners John Hill

Vectis

The S.S. Vectis was a 950 ton two-masted steamship built by J. Laing in Sunderland in 1877, yard number 226.  She was 64.8m long with a beam of 9.3m, a draft of 4.9m and was fitted with a 90hp two cylinder composite steam engine driving a single screw.  The ship was owned by John Hill of Sunderland.  The Vectis ran ashore on Monday the 5th February 1912 on Andurn Point shortly after unloading her coal cargo in the Cattewater, she was making for Swansea in ballast.

The circumstances surrounding her grounding are the matter of conjecture. Captain Hurst; when interviewed stated “that the steering gear was inoperative or broken and incorrect”, whereas crewman Matthews gives an entirely different account.  According to Matthews, he took the wheel at 7pm on the night of the 5th and shortly after passing the Breakwater the officer on watch ordered a heading change ½ point to starboard.  Later on a further order was given to hard starboard; soon after this the lookout called out that there were rocks ahead, the engines were put into full astern but it was too late and she grounded at high tide.  Rocks on the port and starboard sides of the forehold had penetrated the bottom plates of the Vectis and the vessel was taking on water; on seeing this fifteen of the crew put to the lifeboats and headed to Sutton Harbour leaving the first mate on board. On their arrival at the Sailor’s Home, one observer commented ‘the men had evidently received a soaking, for the majority were in a sodden condition’.

It was hoped that the Vectis would be able to floated off and the remaining crew member was quite content to stay on board waiting for this to happen; though he did request that a steel cable be attached to the shore if he felt he needed to clamber down. The Vectis was stuck fast and, some weeks later, eventually abandoned; she would be smashed to pieces during the Christmas hurricane of 1912.

Diving the Vectis

Today the scattered wreckage can be seen along the shore from the edge of Bovisand Bay round to Renney rocks. It is also possible to do a shallow shore dive on the remains. The site is largely protected by Renney Rocks, but large waves can make entry and exit difficult; access to the shore is through narrow gullies which can be difficult to relocate at the end of the dive. The dive itself is shallow reaching around 6 metres maximum.

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Images

The Vectis ashore, taken from the Shagstone (PCMAG)