Sailing smacks at Wivenhoe

River Colne

John Stewart

Sailing smacks lined up on Wivenhoe Quay
Wivenhoe Memories Collection

Sailing Smacks alongside Wivenhoe Quay

Some of these smacks were used for shrimping in the summer months, and some were used for stow-boating for sprats in the winter months when the men were back from the summer months of crewing on the big yachts as the Britannia and Valkerie.  One smack of note was the Elise. skippered by James (Friday) Green who would never put to sea on a Friday because it was bad luck. Those old fishermen were very superstitious.

There were several boat builders who built these smacks.  One such boatbuilder was James Barr who built several smacks behind the Greyhound pub in the High Street.  One of these was called First Fruits, and the other was the Pheasant.  Most smacks were built at Brightlingsea by the Aldous yard, although Harvey built some at their Wivenhoe Yard. Some were also built at West Mersea, Tollesbury and at Harris’s yard at Rowhedge.

A lot of smacks were built for use in the Oyster trade on the Colne and Blackwater rivers as their low freeboard making them ideal for hauling the oyster dredgers over the side.

In the summer months they were also raced for prize money and cups at the local regattas.  CK21 was originally owned by Mr. Gunn of Wivenhoe and she was built by Harris brothers of Rowhedge in 1866.  The old lady was still afloat and sailing in 2007.

This page was added on 02/12/2016.