Originally Posted by BruceB
I am absolutely amazed that a wreck sunk in 1947, so well known and well charted seems to be catching folk out.
If it was a rock would it be "blasted"?
As with BassBoy, I've been inside the Varvassi many times on the RTIR and am always somewhat on edge as we approach. I'll also admit to having very 'lightly scuffed' Varvassi on one occasion - not something I'm aiming to repeat.
Don't forget there is also Goose rock nearer into the lighthouse ledge that is also 'a problem'.
On occasion, when the water is clear, the wreck (boilers and steam engine) are clearly visible as you pass.
One of the reasons for the 'catch out' is that yachts on the race are picking a fine line SSE approaching the Needles but the tide is usually sweeping out SW under you. As you pass Goose rock you often have to gybe to about a ESE / E heading and hit the slot inside of the wreck. It's very easy to get swept by the SW tide down onto the wreck - in a yacht it's a bit like skidding round a hairpin bend to make the turn. If you look at the pictures in Solent Hazards, you will see what I mean. To be safe on this turn you not only need to know where the hazards are here but also the effect of the tide and know how you are going to make the turn.
Apparently, according to Peter Bruce (Solent Hazards) it's not been 'blasted' or marked by Trinity House because they only mark hazards in passages used for "general navigation". There have been many schemes to remove but these have been discounted as too costly / impractical. PB notes there are many thick files up at TH!
Some years ago, the wreck was often marked by a rib but they stopped doing this a few years back. I'm not entirely sure why unless there was the potential liability to the race organisers if something subsequently goes wrong. If it's left unmarked then it's the skipper's decision alone.
The only time we ever go inside is on round the island races - no excuse on other occasions for going in that close in a yacht to marked hazards.
In the rib it's different and this summer I went and had a good look around. Still a bit hair raising seeing the depth jump up under you as we passed over though!