The last and biggest smack built by Collar Bros, Whitstable, ROSA & ADA (F 105) was launched in 1908 for the Seasalter and Ham Oyster Company, at Whitstable, with whom she worked until 1963. Edgar March (Inshore Craft of Great Britain, 1970) gave details of her specification. Her hold was 25’ 6” long with two hatches; a companionway to port gave access to the cabin which extended from the mast to the stem, with locker seats along each side, and a coal stove. On deck was a wooden windlass, and the 26ft long bowsprit was set to starboard of the stem. The deck was protected by sheathing boards to save the planking being scoured by oyster shells. Her mast was 27’ 8” from deck to hounds, topmast 27’ 3”, gaff 25’ 6”, and boom 33’ 6”. The sail plan included a mainsail with three lines of reef points, a jib-headed topsail, a foresail and three jibs (balloon, working and storm). Three shrouds a side were set up with deadeyes and had a pinrail across.
In 1921 a petrol-paraffin engine was installed. During the Second World War she was requisitioned as a supply tender in the Thames, where she serviced vessels searching for magnetic mines. In 1958 ROSA & ADA was run down on her mooring by a coaster in thick fog. She sank, but was then refloated and repaired, and continued to work until 1963, when she was laid up.
A few years later ROSA & ADA was bought privately and restored. She was used for racing and kept at Hollowshore, Kent, until 1981, when she was purchased by the current owner and sailed to west Scotland. A BMC 2.5 litre engine was installed by Crouch Engineering prior to the voyage.
The smack has continued to sail, with restoration projects carried out during the winter. Extensive work has been undertaken at Troon Marina by Peter Jenson, a Danish shipwright, with a replacement deck of 2” larch, covering boards in iroko, new elm beams, a rebuilt stern (in elm and iroko), and larch top strakes. A new mast was made by Corpach Boatbuilders from a Scottish Douglas fir and the old mast was reworked into a new bowsprit. In 2000 a Ford Mermaid engine replaced the BMC unit. An old windlass was restored and converted to hydraulic power. Based at Troon, ROSA & ADA offers charters on the Ayrshire coast, sleeping eight, and takes passengers for cruises, diving, publicity tours or film and TV work.
Source: Historic Sail, Britain's surviving working craft, Paul Brown, the History Press.
Classic Boat: Charter UK Destinations - Wish you were here?, February 2011
A Sustainability Grant of £1000 towards new sails was made from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships UK
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