Brightlingsea Hard. Fitting out the fleet. [DW]
Smacks legged up while fitting out for spratting on Brightlingsea Hard. Bottoms have been scrubbed and the hulls tarred and painted. Stout winter canvas is bent and three have the foresail hoisted up the forestay in stops, to keep the foredeck clear as work proceeds. Tompasts have been set up and a man aloft on the ELLEN CK222, slueshes down her pole mast with grease. She was built for Mr Martin, a Rowhedge fisherman, but was later owned at Brightlingsea. CK42 and CK15 have stowboat baulks sling on the starboard sides and the bowsprits run in. The smacks boat lie nearby. The lapping tide creeps up around their keels and soon the smacks will haul off, with all the hopes and disappointments of another winter's spratting before their crews.
The photograph expresses the seamanlike care the fishermen bestowed on their sailing smacks and their pride in a calling offering little financial return but breeding fine seamen. [JL]
Plate.110 in SWW.
Used in The Sailor's Coast, page 35.