Mystery wreck hands harbour a big headache
MYSTERY surrounds the identity of a wreck off Padstow which resurfaced briefly during a high tide.
Some people believe it could be the remains of the Antoinette, the largest ship ever to go down on the Doom Bar.
Shifting sands in the Camel Estuary have exposed this wreck that's posing a threat to boats. 1002id03301wreck
Others say it may be the fishing ketch Triumph which sunk in 1912. But local resident Peter Ward, who captured what is left of the wreck on his digital camera, is convinced it is the Antoinette.
Either way, Padstow harbour commissioners are to take action as the remains of the ship are a danger to navigation.
If it is the Antoinette, then it has a vivid history, not least when it was originally blown up to clear the channel.
Padstonians at the time certainly knew about the explosion – it blew out every window in the port. The square rigger sunk off Pentire Point in 1895, but that was only part of the story, as Mr Ward explained.
" The Padstow and Port Isaac lifeboats saved 14 crew that night, plus two local pilots and two from South Wales.
"She was the biggest wreck that ever went down on the bar, weighing 1,118 tonnes.
"A local miner called Pope was later called in, and he brought a very large quantity of gelignite with him.
"When he blew the ship up, you could see the sand and smoke as far as Wadebridge, and every house window in Padstow was blown out.
"I doubt if it's been seen for 100 years until it surfaced again the other day.'' The Antoinette had sailed from Canada to Newport before loading 830 tonnes of coal bound for Brazil.
She got into difficulty off Lundy during a severe Christmas gale, losing her main sail.
The ship struggled on with pilots towing her, but the tow broke off near Pentire Point and she was lost.
Mr Ward added: "Some people in Padstow can remember their grandparents telling them the story of the Antoinette, but it took a very big tide for her to be seen again.''
Padstow harbour master Rob Atkinson said something now had to be done to make the wreck safe for other boats.
"Either some of what remains of the wreck will have to be removed or a buoy needs to go there,'' he said.