'Shadow' 1870 November 27 2013, 0 Comments
We are pleased toannounce that Ranger has purchased the oldest vessel of the fleet. 'Shadow' was built by Frank Hitchens of Point Feock in around 1870... She needs a little work, but she will rejoin the Fal Oyster fleet sooner than 'Boy Phil'. If you are interested in sponsoring or funding some of the restorations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The annual Silver Oyster Race was held, at Mylor Yacht Club, in a bracing force-five wind from the north, but this did not deter 13 working boats from commemorating the Truro Oyster fishery’s High Court victory over Truro Corporation on November 5, 1901.
This allowed the oyster fishermen to leave their dredged oysters in bags along the foreshore free of charge, before the catch is sent to market. Since then, November 5 has been a holiday for the oystermen and the custom is for licensed and unlicensed working boats to race, hosted by Mylor Yacht Club, for two silver trophies cast from oyster shells. In the large unlicensed class of boats, two experienced racing crews in Lola and Moon had a close battle all round the course, but ultimately Lola (Sandy Creeder) won by just over a minute. Deliverance (Mike Stratton) sailed an extremely good race to win the small unlicenced class.
In the licensed boats, sailed with their everyday working sails, Alf Smythers (Chris Ranger) pulled out a five-minute lead over Ada (Jason Pascoe) to win this year's Silver Oyster. The prizes were awarded in the bar at Mylor YC by the Commodore, Alan Ramsden.
The race course took the boats through water near St Mawes Bank which, if the recommendations in the Finding Sanctuary report are adopted, may be out of bounds to them in future; this despite the fact that the oystermen themselves have for many decades maintained and, uniquely, worked under sail a successful, sustainable oyster fishery.
On Monday, I was lucky enough to go out and see how oysters are caught. We went out on the Orca Sea Safari and crossed over onto an oyster boat, the Alf Smythers. It was brilliant. I pulled up a dredge and got to sort out and measure the oysters. It's hard work being an oysterman. Sometimes they don't find many at all. The ones that they do find are often too small, or have been damaged by slipper limpets, and have to be thrown back. I had such a good time working with the Oystermen. I won't forget it. Jack P (y5)
One of my photographs appears on the Classic Boat website