Diagram of stowboating tackle. Click on image to open enlarged, detailed image in new window


Maria is the best in her class. A 47ft Essex Smack built in 1866, she was restored to her original spec in 2007 under the watchful eye of current owner Paul Winter. For his trouble he won Classic Boat Restoration of the Year 2007.

For her full history and the story of the restoration, click below to read the Classic Boat Article from December 2007

She has no modern equipment, not even an engine, and she is the fastest Smack on the East Coast.

Maria is not available for bareboat charter but there are a variety of opprtunities to sail on her

A day on Maria will be like a step back in time. You will be transported back to the glory 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 punctuated by a summer crewing on the big racing yachts such as Britannia and Valkyrie. Many a smacksman made his reputation and a small fortune in the service of the King in his battles with those upstart German cousins.

Bring a good pair of sailing gloves because if you want to get involved, there are no winches. All the halliards and sheets are hauled by hand. You'll work in pairs, one 'sweating' the other tailing.

Sailing Day
A day on Maria will be from 0900 till 1600 from her base in Brightlingsea. She can take parties up to six. The day will include lunch, tea and coffee. You will need to bring your own waterproof clothing and non marking soles, but lifejackets are provided.

Racing Day
Maria is one of the most successful smacks racing today. There are a limited number of spaces to join and race with her experienced crew. Please enquire for dates.

Dredging, Fishing and Stowboating
Maria still uses her traditional gear for fishing and oyster dredging. She is the only boat remaining the nets and equipment to stowboat. This is done by sitting at anchor in the tidal stream with a net below the boat (see left). Periodically the net is hauled aboat in sections to collect the catch.
Any catch is solely for the consumption of the crew.

Prices (per person)
Cruising £160/32 points per day
Regatta Crew £200/40 points per day
Fishing/ Dredging/Stowboating £160/32 points per day

Please enquire about dates for the above

Maria Oyster Smack CK21

Maria Oyster Smack CK21 on port tack




Getting Started is easy. Every trip, charter and berth has a points value. Find out how many points you need, then click to buy.

Don't forget, the more points you buy, the cheaper they get

Read January's Classic Boat Article



To contact us: telephone 0870 300 1066 or send an email to ian@classicsailingclub.com

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