Thursday, 20 August 2015

Past famous wrecks...

HMS Resolution by Willem van de Velde
The wind settled overnight and we left Brighton marina at slack water (around 8am) without further embarrassment or loss of paint. We had a long run in light SW winds past Beachy head and on towards Dungeness. On the East side of Beachy head, in Pevensey Bay there are numerous wrecks marked on the chart. One of these is thought to be HMS Resolution, the famous subject of a painting by Willem van de Velde the younger of her making to windward in a gale, with everything in perfect order. 

The Resolution was a victim of the great gale of 1703, one of the worst storms to strike the UK in recorded history and an event that caused widespread devastation ashore and afloat along the south coast. Many ships were wrecked on the Goodwin Sands.

The Resolution was anchored at Spithead protected by the Isle of Wight when the storm struck. Her anchor cables parted, as did those of the spare anchors that the crew dropped.They tried to set sail to gain control of the ship, but she was driven onto the Owers reef where she pounded and started leaking. Eventually she was driven past Beachy head and sank in Pevensey Bay. There is evidence for all this in the testimony of the crew members that survived.  

The wrecks in this area include victims of various battles with the French and Dutch. However in the last few years underwater wreckage and cannon have been found which seem likely to have come from the Resolution.  Even if it is her, the difficulties of making any worthwhile exploration on this exposed coastline would be immense.

At present we are running in much quieter weather passing the Advanced Gas Cooled reactor at Dungeness B nuclear power station.