There were twenty entries in the 5th Pin Mill Smack Race and six retired. The wind started light SW and freshened so much that the leaders stormed up to the finish above Parkeston Quay.
The first home was the smack Primrose, which also won on corrected time, followed by Maria. With Gus Curds’ newly rebuilt 34ft bawley Gladys racing for the first time there was a record five bawleys taking part. Andy Harman sailed Lucy Harris’ 36ft bawley Helen & Violet and just managed to finish before Bona, the first time she has been beaten in recent decades.
Helen & Violet was built by Cann in 1906 and her flax mainsail was made in 1978 when she was rigged out again to sail. The bawleys Bona and the Gladys, built by Aldous at Brightlingsea in 1904 are said to have been built for two Leighon- Sea fishermen-brothers. The Gladys was fishing from Leigh-on-Sea until 1937 and was then sold to become a yacht. She was an abandoned wreck, with the stern missing, when Gus Curtis took on rebuilding her. The Gladys has a much smaller sail plan than lan Smith’s successful racing bawley Bona.
In the Victorian terminology, because they were decked cutter rigged fishing boats, the bawleys were technically smacks, but because they were fitted with boilers to cook shrimps in coppers, they were called ‘boiler boats’ and eventually this was corrupted to bawley.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - November 2010 Issue
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