Barge, French fishing boat and other craft leaving Harwich Harbour. [DW]
A mixture of craft at Harwich regatta, 1938. One of R. and W. Paul's Ipswich sailing barges turns to seaward in a light air, amongst the yachts, deep loaded and with her bowsprit still topped up. Her white 'staysail' as bargement term a jib topsail, is set to the stem head. The white cross in her topsail was her owner's insignia; useful for identification when large numbers of sailing barges were in use on the coast and, in a more limited sense, an advertisement of the extent of the companies trade. Similar devices were carried on the sails of many barges. She is passing a ketch rigged, pointed-stern, cruising yacht and a yacht's launch hovers in the left foreground, observing the racing and probably keeping an eye on the owner's 12 metre or J class racer, in case the wind falls lighter and she needs a tow into harbour or to take him and his guests back to the parent cruising yacht or the club when the race is finished, leaving the racer's skipper and crew to bring her to anchor, stow up and prepare for the next days racing or passage making.
Sir William Burton's 115ft, clipper bowed motor yacht CALETA lies dressed overall in the background. As commodore of the Royal Harwich Yacht Club he was racing in his 12 metre MARINA, with a Colne crew under Captain George Francis of Brightlingsea. CALETA followed the fleet around the coast as her owner's summer floating home. Built at Dartmouth by Philip and Son in 1930, she had a crew from Rowhedge under Captain James Barnard and was the first yacht on which, as a child, I voyaged any distance and where I first learnt to respect yacht customs, including not marking well scrubbed teak decks and to always descend facing a ship's ladder. I have the happiest memories of her crew of seven, all of whome had served in large racing yachts before joining the more comfortable berth on board a motor yacht. Their criticism of the racing fleet's tactics and handling was crisp and expert. The CALETA served with the navy during the war and is still in use as a yacht, much altered in appearance and renamed ATLANTIDE. All hands were very proud of the smart CALETA and were greatly upset when, by an accident, she fell over on the slipway at Rowhedge shipyard, where she had been hauled up for repairs. I remember seeing this seemingly large vessel heeled over with her funnel appearing likely to push in the roof of a house; a sight leaving a lifelong impression on my young mind of the need for care handling craft out of their natural element. [JL]
Plate.25 in SWW.
Used in The Sailor's Coast, page 59.