Fly MN17 is a 36ft ex Police smack built in 1875.

Date of building and builder unknown but probably built in the 1850s as a transom sterned bawley. In 1888 she was re-planked at Tollesbury and the counter stern was added.

Colne Match results;

Fly at the Colne Match.
©Tim Bees.

Until May 1900 she was owned by William Jones and Alfred Drake of Tollesbury and used for fishing for winkles, herrings etc. From 1910 to 1926 she was registered with the fishing no. CK232. From 1926 to 1933, fishing as HH97 out of Harwich under the name Violet Bella then in 1933 she was bought by Mr. Pitt of Maldon and registered MN17.

In 1959 she was bought by Mr Clarkson as Fly of Maldon. Michael Thomas of Bishop Stortford who bought her in 1974 from T Denny of Pin Mill who owned her since 1971. She competed in the 1974 OGA East Coast Race. Afterwards she laid at West Mersea and after two weeks her counter was severely damaged by an unknown boat. The repair cost £1,000, the work was done by Frost & Drake of Tollesbury.

Fly is still sailing and remains in good all-round condition cruising French west coasts, between North Spain and French Brittany.

Smacks at Maldon. MN17 FLY.
©Mersea Museum.
Smack FLY on Wyatt’s Slip, West Mersea.
©Mersea Museum.
©Mersea Museum.
Woodrope, Tollesbury. Smacks on the Hard. CK231 and CK232. CK231 the EXPRESS which was mined in the War.
232CK is possibly the FLY, first registered 1880, no longer fishing February 1926. c1919 owned by J. Drake.
Date: Before 1940     
©Mersea Museum.