Navigational tips and beauty spots around the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight.
If any warning were needed of the danger posed by these notorious ship killing ledges, perhaps the most infamous example is the steel-hulled full rigged ship Sirenia, bound for Dunkirk from San Francisco, via Cape Horn under the command of Capt MacIntyre, with a cargo of wheat. On the afternoon of 9 March 1888, in a flat calm, heavy fog and under full sail, the 1,588-ton ship was washed onto Atherfield Ledge by a heavy swell.
Eventually all the crew were rescued from the ship after heroic efforts by the crew of the Brighstone lifeboat The Worcester Cadet, and the Brook lifeboat, The William Slaney Lewis. During a capsize on their second of three rescue attempts, The Worcester Cadet’s first and second coxswains, Moses Munt and Thomas Cotton, were lost, one of the Sirenia’s crew was found dead when the boat righted and a second also lost. Rufus Cotton was chosen as the new coxswain and he assembled a scratch crew of locals to complete the third rescue. The bodies of Munt and Cotton were washed ashore that evening and they are remembered, along with Leonard Dozier, the Sirenia crew who died in the capsize, in Brighstone church.