Barges windbound off the Promenade [Brightlingsea] [DW]
Barges windbound in Colne during a south-westerly gale. Prolonged bad weather meant loss of earnings for the crews and occasionally led to barges getting under weigh in conditions unfit for their ability as shallow draught coasters, sometimes with disasterous results. The crews were alert on board. Skipper or mate asleep in the snug cabin aft, but the other occasionally looking out of the hatch slide at the board-stiff 'bob' fluttering from the topmast head, sniffing the wind and noting the speed of the clouds, state of the tide and sea and relating the blustering panorama to the store of weather lore in his mind for sign of it fining away.
If one skipper shook out his topsail and shipped his windlass handles, a head appeared at every hatch slide and whether his judgment was right or wrong, others would follow him in the fierce unspoken pride of not letting another skipper steal a march on them. [JL]
Plate.9 in SWW.
Used in The Sailor's Coast, page 84.
This image is part of the Mersea Island Museum Collection.