In the last quarter of the 20th century St. Mary’s County Maryland still had outhouses, tobacco farms, fishing villages and plantations. One of the last live radio stations in America carried the only available daily news. There were a couple of traffic signals, a couple of dress shops, small community grocery stores and a Navy base that most military personnel considered a hardship posting.

Still, just as the first English settlers had determined 350 years before, there were always some who saw the remote and marshy peninsulas for what it is: a marketable paradise.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cutting-Up A Skipjack

June, 2010

It started out as simply a good idea to replace the dredge chocks, as long as first class shipwrights were on-site and something as extreme as a keel was being replaced. And of course railing. It is always a good idea to update railing. That led to some decking. Then some more decking. Then the decking around the fore cabin. Then the hull.

By the time the U.S. Coast Guard arrived last week for inspection and endorsement there were holes in the skipjack where a captain never wants to see holes.

But it started so simply, with the chocks:

And that led to this:

The starboard side doesn't look much different.

Hull replacement work is limited to primarily these planks at the bow, seen below from port and starboard.

Among the volunteers working to keep the vessel readied for the next day's shipwrights are Dave Cronce of Bainbridge, Pa. and Matthew Clements of Roanoke, Va. Both men are from the Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at the Paul Hall Center of the Seafarer's International Union -- a generous and long-term supporter of the Chesapeake Bay Field Lab, Inc., the 501(c)3 that owns and operates the Dee of St. Mary's.

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