Type: Wreck Tonnage: 1366 tonnes Length: 140ft Cargo:
Date Lost: September 1st 1691 How Lost: Unknown
The Coronation is truly one of the UK’s historic wreck sites. As such she commands respect from divers who understand the importance of this wreck. The Coronation was launched in 1685 and was 140 feet long, weighed 1366 tons and was commanded by Captain Charles Skelton. The Coronation had a ships company of 660 officers and men.
In 1691 the Coronation was on blockade duty off the French ports. On Sept 1st the Fleet was off Ushant when the weather turned foul and the English fleet made for the safety of Plymouth Sound. In 1691 the breakwater was still 120 years from being built! Any gale from the South or Southwest would make Plymouth sound dangerous to shipping. The Fleet had two choices 1) Anchor off Penlee or Rame Head and risk dragging onto a lee shore 2) Risk the passage into the Sound.
The ships of the Fleet that elected to run into the sound were decimated with a horrific loss of life. The Coronation elected to anchor between Rame Head and Penlee Point. She was by reports “Dismasted with only an ensign flying from her stern”. From there on historians can only guess at what series of events took place. Whatever the cause, the Coronation sank with over 500 officers and men. In that one night over a thousand men were killed.
The Coronation is a protected wreck with remnants scattered over a wide area, and can only be dived under licsense. There is however a series of reefs around the protectd area and make for an interesting dive with diverse marine life supported by the reef structures.