The Target 15 Wreck
A small wooden wreck was found in 10m water depth during the last dive on the targets found during the geophysical survey. When first seen the wreck appeared as a dark, shapeless, weed covered lump lying on lighter sand. On getting closer the details of the ship became apparent; frames, planking, an anchor.
The length of the ship was approximately 18m with a width of 6m and she lies with her bows to the north-east. The vessel is built of timber with a sturdy construction, the frames were 160mm x 120mm and the ship is held together by wooden trenails (pins). The lower part of the hull survives but it is splayed open, the port side of the ship is still standing upright but the starboard has collaped open and now lies flat on the seabed. The wood of the hull is eroded and well covered with weed which suggests that this ship has been exposed above the seabed for some time. Also visible is an area of deck planking which is lying in the middle of the wreck, what remains under the deck planks is not yet known.
The stem post at the bow of the ship is in place and stands proud of the seabed about 1.5m in a small depression in the sand caused by the scouring effect of the tide. Also at the bow an anchor can be found, this is over 1.9m long and 100mm square with arms 1.15m long and 150mm square. The stern has collapsed and the stern post is no longer visible, this is a jumbled area which is wrapped in ropes and lobster pots. Local fishermen have known there was a wreck in the area as their keep pots and lines would get snagged in something on the seabed, the remains on the stern are a testament to this.
Cast iron ballast blocks can be seen towards the stern as well as water-smoothed shingle ballast; perhaps its this iron ballast that made for such a large magnetometer target. Chain plates surviving on the seabed suggest that this ship carried masts and sails and the few bricks to be found may have come from the galley. The 81mm thick outer planking was searched for signs of copper sheating but none was found. No guns, deck winches or machinery were visible either.
Samples of timber were cut from the frames and a trenail to be taken back for analysis as it may be possible to find out where the ship was made from the type of timber used. The timber has since been identified as pine.
A brick assumed to be from the galley was also recovered in case it carried a maker's mark, but when cleaned no marks were visible.
The next stage in this project will be to re-visit this wreck to undertake a pre-disturbance survey. This will produce a detailed plan of the surviving structure and will include the recording of diagnostic features that may help identify the ship.