Ship profile for the sailing ship: "Pioneer CK18"

Photos of the sailing ship:

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Pioneer CK18, Volker Gries, Colne Smack and Barge Match Race, Brightlingsea, GB , 09/2006

Source, location, date:
Volker Gries,
Colne Smack and Barge Match Race, Brightlingsea, GB,

Technical data of the sailing ship:

Name:Pioneer CK18
Registered port:Maldon, Essex
Type of rigging:KETSCH
Type of ship:Essex Skillinger Smack
Year built:1864
Yard:Peter Harris, Rowhedge, GBR
Overall length:21.35 m
Breadth:4.60 m
Draught:2.60 m
Ship's hull:Holz / Wood

Portrait of the sailing ship:

Last update: 30 Dec 2005

  • traditional East Coast Oyster Smack originally built in 1864 by Peter Harris of Rowhedge, GB, she carried a cutter rigg in that time.
  • worked out of Brightlingsea dredging deep sea oysters, official number 48991, Fishing number CK18.
  • lengthened by 11ft by Aldous of Brightlingsea, GB in 1889, fitted with a wet room that enabled to keep the catch alive, rigged as a ketch.
  • 1890-1939 dredging deep-sea oysters off the North Holland coast, and later dredging scallops down channel, would also sail around the British Isles collecting brood stock for cultivating back on the Colne and Blackwater oyster layings.
  • 1925 a steam capstan was fitted for hauling the dredges.
  • 1929 fitted with her first engine.
  • 1939 decommissioned from the fishery and turned into a house boat at East Mersea, GB.
  • 1942 towed to the Strood Channel at West Mersea, when the moorings broke she sank, left for years in the mud of West Mersea in Essex, GBR.
  • digged and brought ashore on Wyatts Hard at West Mersea in November/December 1998, transported to Great Totham by road to be restored in 1999.
  • set up of the Pioneer Sailing Trust in 1999 to restore the smack back to sailing condition
  • launched with great ceremony at Brightlingsea on 17th May 2003, awarded the 2003 Restoration Award Certificate of the Transport Trust in England in 2004 which acknowledges the high quality and authenticity of the restoration.
  • is available for sail training, during 2005 "Pioneer" was day sailing during the months of August and September from Brightlingsea and West Mersea, it is planned to offer a sailing programme for youth in the season 2006 in cooperation with the Ocean Youth Trust East in England.


Website (English, 01 Dec 2005):
Pioneer: website of the ship's operating organisation with her history, photos, description of her rebulding, the boat's specification, contact address

Literature for further reading:

We recommend the following references for your further research of the ship. The references marked with have been included in the generation of the ship profile on this page.

Paul Brown
"Historic Sail. Britain's Surviving Working Craft"
The History Press 2013 ISBN: 978-0-7524-8581-2
(in Association with National Historic Ships UK)
Page: 58 Source with picture Source with history Source with technical data