Over the years, we get many varied and interesting boats into the yard for winter overhauls, or longer, for restoration. Some have great historical significance and are full of history often dating back to well over a century. Maria, a beautiful fishing smack, is just such a boat. Built by Harris Bros at Rowhedge, in 1866 for a Mr Gunn of Wivenhoe, she had a reputation for speed, primarily because she was narrower than the other smacks. This reputation gave her a charmed life. She has been abandoned twice to become a near-rotten hulk and she has been saved both times over the years. After 152 years’ she now lives in Brightlingsea, on the River Colne, this time with a very long career ahead of her, sailing and racing successfully in her home waters around the Thames Estuary.
She will be in the Morgan Marine yard until May, having a full re-paint, spars out and re-fit.
Interestingly, anyone can experience what it’s like to sail aboard Maria as she is owned by the Tall Ships Restoration Company, of which Paul Winter is a director, and will be available for charter work out of Brightlingsea at very reasonable rates- A day aboard will be like a step back in time, to the days of the Essex Smacksmen when in the early part of the 20th century, the year round battle of fishing and dredging for oysters was only broken crewing on the big racing yachts berthed around Brightlingsea during the summer months. Look at this clip to give you an idea! https://youtu.be/8doyGCt4RbY
Maria has her own website, a fantastic source of her history, up to date news, race results, blog and how to get on board! It really is a fascinating read. Please do take a look: http://ck21maria.co.uk
If you would like more information on our yard rates for storage, or to work on your own boat, please call Ric or Steve Morgan at Morgan Marine on 01206 302008. All yards are secured every evening and we have 24hr CCTV. There is also a toilet and shower block on site as well as ample parking.