left to right :- Steve Watsham - co-owner; Andrew Balfe - shipwright;
Mark Watsham - co-owner; Alan Williams - shipwright; Ben Harman
Boys on the slip at St. Osyth Boatyard on her launch day.
BOYS CK 92 , Built by Shuttlewoods 1911 of oak on oak
It was a day not without some regret that the late Chris
Watsham could not be there to see his Smack being launched at
St Osyth yard. Our Boy’s which is now ‘appropriately’ named after
the brothers and family who vowed to see Chris Watsham’s smack
rebuilt as he would wish at the St Osyth yard where he spent a
lot of his time with the sailing barge Edme.
Chris had become a very familiar sight at the yard where he would
help get ready and sail the barge with Andrew Harman and family.
I also had the pleasure of his company on my own sailing smack
Ellen, where he became a very enthusiastic crew member and a delight
to have aboard .
His life revolved around these vessels, so much so that he purchased
Our Boys with the thought that one day he could have his own smack
and become owner/skipper of her and I have no doubt if he had
lived he would have achieved this goal.
He must also be given the credit of saving the sailing smack Betsan,
which he single handedly dug her out of the mud and raised from
her watery grave. She is now being restored in the CSPS smack
dock. So we have Chris to thank for saving two very fine smacks.
The Launching took place on Sunday the 17th of September 2000
on the afternoon tide, a crowd of over 100 people gathered to
see her launched, helped with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale
as she went down the slip.
I can’t tell you what I felt as she touched the water but a shiver
went down my back and I could feel from the crowd that had turned
out for her that this was no ordinary launch and I for one just
hoped that Chris was watching her as well. With emotions charged
it was with great courage that Steve Watsham gave a short speech
thanking every one who attended the launching.
This was also quite an extraordinary day for the St Osyth Boatyard
because they had launched ADC CK 431 a fortnight earlier so it
was a kind of dual celebration of two smacks. I think they may
have achieved some sort of record because I do not know of any
other yard that can boast two class 2 smacks launched within a
fortnight of each other (apart from Robert Aldous a 100 years
ago). So we must also congratulate the yard for producing such
fine vessels and a special thanks to Alan Williams and Andrew
Balfe for their skill, hard work and fine workmanship.
The CSPS wish the Watsham family every success now in getting
her under sail and look forward to her sailing the Colne and Blackwater
where she belongs.
News letter Editor: Andy Rule