The Sad Tale of 'Blue Thunda'


From the notice board shown in the photograph above:

 Blue Thunda Ex. M. V. Charlotte.

"This grand old lady was constructed locally around the middle years of the last century.  Timbers used in her construction are reputed to have been salvaged from the wreck of the barge that carried Admiral Sir Clowdesley Shovell to temporary safety here at Porth Hellick after the loss of his fleet in the Western Rocks in 1707.  She had a varied and distinguished history.  Scillonian tradition insists that at one time she carried Sir Winston Churchill during his tenure as First Lord of the Admiralty whilst on his tour of British ports prior to the First World War.  It is further rumoured that inspiration for the future Potsdam and Yalta conferences came from his sighting of the Pillbox high on the western bank of the beach.

In temporary retirement between the Wars, tradition has it that her graceful lines came to the attention of the holidaying Sir Acton Carrruther's Wright, a close fried and confident of R. J. Mitchell.  It is thought that her distinctive shape inspired the slender profile of the Schneider-trophy-winning Super Marine S6, forerunner of the famous Spitfire, and further documents recently released tend to show that her humble appearance belied a vessel of further national importance.  The explosion of the leisure industry in Great Britain found the vessel far from idle.  Her unusual hydro-dynamic characteristics, revolutionary lightweight construction and extreme stability made her a perfect test platform for the newly developed high-powered outboard motor.  In a cloud of spray and with a howl of powerful engines, she was a regular, if mythical traveller of the unforgiving seas between Scilly and the Cumbrian coast for Lake Windermere

Her Captain and sponsor at this time, an anonymous Italian Prince, so regularly achieved speeds phenomenal in their day, that the vessel's speedometer became incapable of registering speeds below 60 knots.  This is still visible today on the vessels surviving instrument cluster.  This Prince, for so many years a dedicated water sportsman met a tragic end when devoured by his menagerie of unusual animals, leaving only his right-hand still clutching the log of records speeds.  In recent years, she again answered the siren call of speed, when she was put back to sail using her original rigging, and given the more contemporary name of Blue Thunda.  These sails were luckily discovered by a visiting maritime historian, and had been used as a stage curtain in the local theatre for as long as anyone can remember.  During the 2003 Round the Island Race, her crew upheld her proud reputation for swiftness and ingenuity, defying the prescriptive race orders to cross the finish line first.

Moored again at Porth Hellick and back dropped by the bays rugged granite scenery, she has been the focal point for many holiday photographs.  In the summer of 2004 she provided a floating VIP suite and chill-out zone for the annual Camel Rock music festival - Scilly's own Woodstock.  Sadly it would appear that during the terrible storm of November 2004, an ancient curse was fulfilled.  As the greedy waves toppled the monument to the old Admiral, the Blue Thunda broke her moorings and, watched by a huge crowd of helpless onlookers, drifted ashore to be pounded by the merciless and relentless seas.  Those timbers that were taken from the Admiral's barge that fateful day in 1707 once again littered the Porth Hellick shore.

Funding from various sources is being sought, and it is hoped that sometime in the future this once proud vessel will rise Phoenix-like to take to the Scillonian seas once again"

Written by an unidentified Scilly historian.

Footnote: 01-04-2010

Sadly the notice was displayed too late, recession hit and no money was given to this needy Scilly cause.  We have it on good authority that it was decided to tow Blue Thunda to Valhalla to rest with other fragment of our heritage.  Unfortunately some of the three hundred year old timbers appear to have failed and she sank en-route.  The whereabouts of the wreck are being kept secret for fear of Scilly divers trying to recover trophies from what must now be one of Scilly's most historic shipwrecks.


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