Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe

We’re heading south to the Chesapeake Bay for the holiday weekend where I plan to get out on the water at long last. My parents have a house near St. Michaels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. For those not familiar with the area, it’s a true blue sailor’s haven. When the weather is warm, sailboats of every stripe disembark from port towns like Oxford and St Michaels. From a culture perspective there’s a special class of dinghy, the “Chesapeake Bay Log Canoe”, equal part rightful terror and delight. So wildly unstable you need to run a plank to weather and move bodies out to keep the boat upright – makes short tacking a nightmare. All of these vintage boats have a solid history – check out the Chesapeake Bay Log Sailing Canoe Association and the links to biographies and pictures of the fleet. Silver Heel, for example, was built in 1902 by Eugene Thompson on Kent Island, Maryland as a workboat for John Wesley Dickerson. Island Bird, the smallest of all log canoes now racing, was built in 1882 at Tilghman's Island, Maryland by "Captain Sid", a man of many talents. Not only did he build log canoes, but he also operated a canning factory, acted as an agent for the steamboats that regularly called at Tilghman, served as the local magistrate and taught Sunday School .

No comments: