CHATHAM, Mass. – The wreck of the largest wooden sailing vessel built to carry cargo has been found nearly 80 years after it went down in a storm off Cape Cod.
The wreck of the Wyoming, a 3291/2-foot, six-masted cargo carrier launched in 1909, was found Monday off Monomoy Island by American Underwater Search and Survey Ltd, the Cape Cod Times reported. The Wyoming sank in 65 to 70 feet of water during a gale in 1924.
The ship could carry more than 6,000 tons of cargo and was so big that iron straps were wrapped around the outside of the vessel to reinforce the hull.
The ship, carrying a full load of coal, might have struck bottom in a trough between huge storm waves and broke its back, said John Fish, vice president of American Underwater Search and Survey.
The ship was shattered amidships, supporting the theory that it struck bottom and sank.
The wreck was found using the company’s sophisticated underwater side-scan sonar and magnetometer, Fish said. The company was able to locate the vessel and confirm its discovery both by the vessel’s length and the presence of the iron strapping.
The company will study the wreck in more detail and map it, Fish said. But because it went down with all 13 hands, the wreck is a grave site, and Fish said he and his colleagues will treat it accordingly.
Fish did not identify the precise location of the wreck, but said it was a few miles northeast of Pollock Rip, a section of rough water to the southeast of Monomoy Island. It’s an area filled with the wrecks of many ships, some of which American Underwater Search and Survey have identified.
In 1989, the company confirmed location of the steamship Portland, which went down with a loss of 192 lives during a November 1898 storm off Cape Ann.