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BETTY smacks cruising the Estuary janholthusen



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A look at those regions of the world, where certain factors come together to further the developement of the working boat with fore-and-aft rig, reveals a number of similarities, that makes you believe in 'cause and effect' relationships. Whether one looks at the Netherlands in the 17th century, the Thames Estuary and the English Channel in the Éighteenth or northern New England, Brittany or the Baltics about half a century later, closer observations show:


Here are sheltered spaces of accessible water, natural harbours, plenty of fish, timber suited for boat building, seamanship, the art of toolmaking, relative economic prosperity, a developed citizenship and maritime traditions - apparently conditions for progress in the evolution from working boats to the design of seaworthy sailing boats!


They seem follow certain patterns - which can be classified along general subjects, all of which are of special interest to the cruising sailor - forming a sort of chronology of this advancement.



factors in the evolution ascending






plant- and

animal kingdom














a moderate climate zone

sheltered spaces of accessible water:

estuaries, rivers, canals

many natural harbours

timber suited for boat building

plenty of fish & seafoods - fishery


resonably high population


advanced commerce & transport

developed banking system

relative economic prosperity

early industrial manufacturing

art of toolmaking

interest in new technology

research and inventors

developed citizenship

vacations & early tourism

maritime tradition

sailing culture

maritime books & publications

Bawley Boadicea CK213 built 1808
Northsea cutter Elfe 1868
gentlemans yacht at Mersea ca 1920
Wanderer III 1955

This page is dedicated to the many cruisers who have inspired me and who have given me confidence to be building this chapter on cruising. Trusting their advice i am going on cruises aboard my little ship again and again. Thanks goes to everyone who sent me pictures and information.  Without your help this site would not have been possible!  Please keep sending your material, and i will keep improving the pages!

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