Nov 3/34 spratting [DW]
Smacks fitting out for spratting on Brightlingsea hard in 1934. The cutter MASONIC, in the centre, has just been bored out to fit a sterntube and propeller shaft for an auxiliary engine. She has the white painted quarter boards carried by many smacks in winter to increase the height of the bulwarks in way of the helmsman. A similar sized smack lies beyond her, with a smaller one between them. Another smaller smack lies by her starboard bow with her mainsail partly hoisted and quarter boards rigged. The craft at the extreme right is probably a smack but has an unusually broad and flat sectioned counter. Such scenes were commonplace at waterside villages of the River Colne into the 1930s.
The hull form of the MASONIC is typical of the first class Colne smacks; a vessel about 60ft long overall and drawing from 6ft 6in to 7ft 6in, capable of carrying about 25 tons in her hold. She would have a crew of four. The potential for speed in the hulls and rigs of the Essex smacks is well shown by the hull form of the MASONIC. The fine entrance fills out abreast the mast where a maximum beam occurs, before commencing the long and beautifully formed run which ends in the counter, which provides deck space and enhanced sailing performance by prolonging the waterline length when heeled under sail. With craft such as this to sail for their work in the winter fisheries, Essex fishermen took naturally to sailing cruising and racing yachts, which until the 1880s were of similar hull form and rig. The development of both sailing yachts and the smacks was interactive until that time. [JL]
Of the four smacks, L to R, 1 is unidentified. 2. is MASONIC, 3. is little' ELLEN CK222 (identified by BOXB5_017_005 which was taken at the same time), 4. is unidentified.
This photograph was taken at the same time as BOXB5_017_005 - identified by the wheelbarrow and detail on ELLEN.
Plate.134 in SWW.
Date: 3 November 1934