Name Viking Princess
Latitude 50° 17.6960 N
Longitude 004° 04.1580 W
Depth 25m
Accuracy 5m
Location Description Off Yealm Head
Reference Fairyland Wreck
Date found Unknown
Seabed type Rock
Burial extent Clear
Site energy Moderately low (sand)
Exposure Submerged
Integrity Partial
Craft type Trawler
Date built 1960s
Date of loss 1996
Period Modern (1901AD - )
Manner of loss Foundered
Outcome Abandoned
Construction Steel
Propulsion Diesel
Nationality Great Britain
Port of Registration  
Departure port Plymouth
Destination port River Dart
Hull length 20m
Hull beam  
Hull draft  
Hull displacement  
Cargo None
Armament None

Viking Princess

AKA: Black Rock Trawler, Fairyland Wreck

The wreck of the Viking Princess lies in 25m depth off Yealm Head and when she was first found by divers the origin of the wreck was not known. The ship was originally called the Renilde Maartje (RX 282) based at Rye and Newhaven, later to become the Viking Princess (PH 407). She was partially scrapped at Hooe Lake in 1993 then she was lost under tow to the River Dart.

The mystery was solved by Karen Williams:

'Following the publication of my article Hulk in Fairyland in the April issue of Diver, it seems that the mystery of the Yealm wreck has been solved. Peter Hambly, who owns the Plymouth dive charter boat Furious, read the article and was able to throw some light on the mystery. In the early 1990s he was a commercial fisherman and owned a 1960s, 65ft trawler called the Saxon Princess. With the decline in the fishing industry, his and some other Plymouth fishing vessels were to be decommissioned.

One of these was a shrimper, a beam trawler called the Viking Princess. This was similar to Peter's vessel, but older and, at 60ft long, slightly smaller. It had been used as a scalloper and had derricks fitted to the main mast. These would drop down to 25ft each side, supporting up to eight scallopers. The vessel had a 1940s steel hull of partly riveted construction and watertight crash bulkheads. It had been fitted with a welded false bow, much slimmer and prettier than the original heavy, rounded one.

In 1996 the Viking Princess was stripped of her Cummins engine, and the top of the bow was cut off. The Fisheries Commission then approved her decommissioning. That autumn she was towed by the Kinsman on her last journey, the 45-mile crossing from Plymouth to Galmpton Creek on the River Dart, to be scrapped. But with choppy sea conditions, the Viking Princess was swamped, and sank between the River Yealm and Hilsea Point. Peter was able to identify the wreck after reading the article, and from further pictures and sketches I sent him. He confirmed that the hull had been painted blue. The article shows a picture of a "prop guard", which was in fact a Kort nozzle, used to improve engine efficiency when under load, as when trawling. One further point: along with the Viking Princess, ten Plymouth trawlers between 40 and 65ft were decommissioned. Their skippers had asked if they could sink the trawlers off Whitsand Bay to make an artificial reef, but the Government would not allow this. We can only dream of what might have been!'.

This wreck is also known as the 'Black Rock Trawler' and the 'Fairyland Wreck'.

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(1) Williams K.,