MAST iconMaritime Archaeology Sea Trust
MFV Sanu shipwreck on a beach

MFV Sanu National Trust logo

The National Trust commissioned MAST to conduct a basic archaeological survey of the MFV Sanu, a purpose-built Royal Navy supply tender. The former Admiralty carvel-built vessel inspired Cornish author Denys Val Baker, one of the boat's subsequent owners, to pen a number of famous stories.

The Sanu, formerly MFV 29 of the MFV 1 class, was built by Frank Curtis in Looe in August 1942 for the Admiralty and remained in service until 1955. The Sanu had two previous owners before its most illustrious one. They were Dorrien D. Saqui of Buckinghamshire and then in 1960 Roger Pirie D.S.C from Hampshire. Baker bought the vessel in 1964.

Before the Sanu was broken up on October 17, 2013, sections of the vessel were removed by Kevin McCloud's Channel 4 programme, Man Made Home to build a beach hut. This was aired in September 2013.

The vessel has now been removed in pieces from the beach at Newquay on the Gannel in Cornwall. MAST was on site at the time and was able to take a complete mid section frame and the stem section where it meets the keel.

MFV Sanu Hull in 3D

MFV Sanu Frame in 3D

Racing the tide - the MFV Sanu Project

Bournemouth University study

Bournemouth University masters students have now studied these sections closely and recorded them as part of their study programme. They compared the results to the generic plans for this type of ship, 50 of which were built during a period when many materials, including timber, were scarce.

The result of this work is the report available on this page, contributing to the knowledge of the site and its significance. The vessel's importance hinges on the fact that it represents the last major phase of wooden boat construction in the UK.

Thumbnail - A surveyor overlooking a digger pulling out debris from MFV Sanu shipwreck
Thumbnail - A close-up of a digger
Thumbnail - Wooden part of MFV Sanu lying on the ground
Thumbnail - A wooden part of MFV Sanu being surveyed