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BETTY CK145 - Dokument

Malcolm Goodwin about the History of the Oyster Smack BETTY CK145

Bought by my mother & stepfather Ray + Connie Riley in summer 1965 from Mr. Roy Leslie, a shellfish merchant from Southend (he had a shop on the seafront near the pier). The boat, black with red bulwaks, as you see it in the early photos, was moored at Barling(hall?) Creek. (Next to it at the time was another cockler/smack with the widest counter stern I have ever seen. The other day I saw that boat again! in a sorry state at Mersea near Dabehicks Sailing Club.) The BETTY had a large diesel and had been used for cockling by motoring out into sands and drying out on the ebb. The cockles were then raked up, loaded and taken ashore on the next tide. I understood, possibly from Mr. Leslie, that she had been built for oyster dredging at Mersea perhaps for the French family.

According to Michael Emmett she was propably owned & worked by the Len Pitt family from Maldon around 1920 - 1935.

The purchase price was £165 ! The diesel was by now rusted up and she was towed back to Wivenhoe by Any Harding, who ran the Colne Marine Yacht Company, with his tug „Nimbus“. This was during my college days training to be a craft teacher and I remember cutting dovetails at the front of the cabin. (The joints now seem to have been fitted and cleated inside?) The cabin, Morris Navigator engine and mast from „Ethel Alice“ were fitted and sometime in 1967 or 1968, when my parents were on holiday, my (now) wife Jenny and I managed to cobble together enough gear to sail the BETTY again. Later we rigged her with racing sails and topmast, but that first sail was magic! I was very busy with dinghy racing, new boatbuilding business (and children!) in 1979. My parents sold her to Germany for around £10.000 - no one in England would pay that much then!


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