A Wivenhoe "landmark" the Cap Pilar
The Cap Pilar
John Collins (Nottage)
Adrian Seligman’s yacht the Cap Pilar had been laid up at Wivenhoe during the war. In 1939 she was at Brightlingsea for Aldous to carry out repairs and alterations, but this work was cancelled because of the outbreak of war and she was moved to make way for the new Naval base.
Built by G. Gautier at St. Malo in 1911 the Cap Pilar was a wood built barquentine of 279grt. She had been made famous as the subject of the book of the owner’s round the world cruise “The Voyage of the Cap Pilar”.
Acquired by the Palestine Maritime League in 1946, the Cap Pilar was to have been restored as a youth sail training ship in Wivenhoe dry dock, but money for the project was apparently not forthcoming and the decaying vessel was instead partly scrapped, the unsaleable material being burnt and the ashes left there. It has been suggested that the vessel was in reality intended as a training ship for the embryo Israeli Navy and for this reason completion of the conversion was blocked by the Foreign Office until she was in any case too decayed for there to be any chance of her ever being made seaworthy.
However, before her final demise, she was an interesting sight on the Wivenhoe scene. Rotten and dilapidated, with signs saying “DANGER KEEP OFF,” blocks and other bit falling down from time to time as the decayed rigging gave way, she nevertheless seemed like a ghost from the past to be gazed at with some sense of wonder.
See also Cap Pilar.