Friday, 17 August 2012

Belfast Fishing Smack

A smack was a traditional fishing boat used off the coast of England and the Atlantic coast of America for most of the 19th century, and even in small numbers up to the Second World War. It was originally a cutter rigged sailing boat until about 1865, when smacks had become so large that cutter main booms were unhandy. From then on, cutters were lengthened and re-rigged and new ketch-rigged smacks were built, but boats varied from port to port. Some boats had a topsail on the mizzen mast, while others had a bowsprit carrying a jib. Large numbers of these boats could be seen operating in fleets from places such as Brixham, Grimsby and Lowestoft. Read more on Wikipedia

Lowry refers to a smack on the River Mersey in his novel Ultramarine; "A dirty Belfast fishing smack , very low in this tide and under a modest spread of brown sail, suddenly careens as she slips through the lapping choppiness of the viscuous Mersey, her patched brown sail bellying slightly out to leeward, leaning, leaning, till her curved gunwale is almost under. 'Oh, look, Dana look, its going right over, its going to capsize, look!' 'Good lord, no,' he gently reassures her with the pressure of his arm. 'It's intended to do that...' But what does anything matter except their love? The fishing smack continues merrily and confidently upon her course down the Mersey." (Pg. 131)

No comments:

Post a Comment