Oregon 1890

N50 14.708 W3 56.395

The Oregon was about the same size as the Cutty Sark which is on display at Greenwich. She was  a 801 tons steel-hulled sailing ship and was built in 1875 by Mounsey and Foster of Sunderland. She was homeward-bound for Newcastle from Iquique, Chile, with a cargo of nitrate of soda when, in the dark of the evening of December 18, 1890, she struck The Books, a reef of granite almost directly off the centre of Thurlestone Sands, which shows at Low water. After striking, Captain Lowe got her off and appears to have set a course to seaward, but found his ship was now leaking badly and was forced to abandon her. The first boat lowered was swamped by the high seas, but the second was successfully launched. In the pitch dark, the boat drifted for twelve hours before making out the land. It wasn’t until 6am in the morning that “guided by the light from a labourer’s lantern on the shore”, said The Times, “the sailors succeeded in reaching the fishing village of Hope, where they were treated with great kindness.” The Oregon had sunk as soon as the second boat had been launched and is now in 30m, standing 7m proud. A large anchor is on the site near the bow and some of her blocks are of lignum vitae.

The Oregon now lies 3m proud of the seabed in 34m of water. Below is a Lignum Vitae rigging block.