Navigational tips and beauty spots around the south-west coast of the Isle of Wight.


A notorious ship killing ledge. Photo: Peter Bruce

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.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. The Needles
  3. 3. Rounding the Needles
  4. 4. Scratchell's Bay
  5. 5. Scratchell's Bay to Freshwater
  6. 6. Sir Robert Holmes
  7. 7. Frenchman's Hole
  8. 8. Watcombe Bay
  9. 9. War Knight
  10. 10. Freshwater Bay
  11. 11. Back of the Wight
  12. 12. Sirenia
  13. 13. Landslips
  14. 14. St Catherine's Point
  15. 15. Pepper Pot
  16. 16. Rocken End
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