Five Sea Scouts from the West Mersea Troop joined the 'Sallie' and Sea-Change Sailing Trust for the East Coast Old Gaffers Race on 30 July 2016.
'Sallie' is a Colchester smack built in Brightlingsea by Aldous, 1907 and rebuilt at Maldon in the 1980s. She is one of only a few remaining smacks to sail in the traditional way, without an engine.
Three participating Sea Scouts recount how they felt about their day aboard. The event was sponsored by the OGA Youth Fund and Teamac Paints.
Experiences on the smack sailing day
On Saturday 30 July, having just completed Mersea cadet week, I got up early and my parents and Buster the dog got me to East Mersea point where I met up with other sea scout members. It was chilly and a little misty but soon heard the sound of oars rowing towards us. A small dingy took us and our day kits to the beautiful smack. I was very excited as my great grandad used to work on the barges and smacks all through the war ferrying ammunition from Scotland to London. When we boarded the Smack we were taken to the Galley and told what was going to happen and what we needed to do to stay safe, join in and enjoy the experience also have a cup of tea. Tea was an important part of the whole day. The kettle was always on!! I had a go at lots of different things on the smack. Unfortunately there was no wind to start with so we didn't make a lot of progress but all the other smacks were at a stand still also. We had to wait for a big horn and then we were in a race against lots of other smacks of all different sizes. Later on in the day the wind got up and we made good progress and I think we came in second or third in the race. It was so much fun and I would love to do this again. Joe Ward
It was fun and exciting to be in the race, it was 15 miles then got chopped down to 9 miles. I got to helm which was so cool. I was nervous to start but was glad I went as I would have missed out on a great opportunity. I will remember this when I have a chance to do other things and it will remind me to have a go. Grace Phillips-Pearce
When the opportunity came up to sail on the Sallie I jumped at the chance because of the long history of the boat. It was a unique experience to race on a smack. The guys on board were very friendly and had a lot of knowledge to pass on, they soon put us at ease and put us to work! Racing as part of a team helped us all to work together to reach our goal. I would highly recommend to the other sea scouts and young leaders to take part in this sailing if it is organised again, and would look forward to going again myself if I could! Harrison Phillips Pearce