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Essex Life - - COUNTY LIFE - Wil­liam Lo­ram Via email

CEL­E­BRAT­ING SAIL­ING BARGES

Blessed by weather more ap­pro­pri­ate to the Mediter­ranean than the muddy shores of Es­sex, the fleet for the Colne Smack & Barge Race sailed out of Brightlingsea for another friendly con­test and dis­play of liv­ing his­tory for lo­cal fish­ing and trad­ing boats. With a turn out of 10 sail­ing barges and 10 sail­ing smacks, start­ing at 7.30am and 8am re­spec­tively, they glided across the start line from Bate­man’s Tower on the Brightlingsea front and gave spec­ta­tors a close up view as they hugged the shore on Stone Point on Mersea Is­land, be­fore head­ing out on a course turn­ing at Clac­ton Pier. Steve Hep­pell’s 1907 Brightlingsea built smack CK348 My Alice was the first of the smacks, and won 1st prize over­all, with the St Osyth based EDME lead­ing the barges home.

The race is run by Colne Smack Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety (col­nes­mack.co.uk) which was set up in 1972 to pro­mote an in­ter­est in sail­ing, and rac­ing, smacks in and around the River Colne, and to pre­serve what was left of the once large fleet of sail­ing smacks from the River Colne. From this small begin­ning, the fu­ture of the smacks is now as­sured, with the fleet that is sail­ing in­creas­ing ev­ery year as more smacks are be­ing re­stored and re­built.

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