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Smack Dock Soundings - Summer 2000 [ abridged ]
The newsletter of the Colne Smack Preservation Society, Brightlingsea, Essex, UK

¤- Our Boys CK 92 -¤- ADC CK 431 -¤- Brest 2000 -¤- CSPS 2000 Race -¤- Sail & Picnic
¤- Letters -¤- Smacks for Sale -¤- Smack Gossip

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From left to right :- Steve Watsham - co-owner; Andrew Balfe - shipwright; Mark Watsham - co-owner; Alan Williams - shipwright; Ben Harman - whipcracker;

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Our Boys on the slip at St. Osyth Boatyard on her launch day.

OUR 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
. 2001 © Roger Walker