Where has the summer gone? About this time of year many of us start to ask ourselves that question. This summer seems like the first more or less “normal” one since 2019. Boatshops are busy, supply chain issues are easing somewhat, and even the spike in fuel prices shows some signs of slacking off. The price of fuel is like the price of crabs. It goes up and comes down, but never as much as it went up. Last month we characterized the mood in the industry as cautiously optimistic and we think that is still true.
Mark Wilkins, curator of maritime history at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, MD, sends us this update from the all-volunteer Patuxent Small Craft Guild’s boat shop. “We are timbering out the Lighthouse Keeper’s boat using green, white oak that is one and a quarter inch thick by one and a half inches wide. We steam it for 40 minutes, and have about 30 seconds to get it on the bending jig and bent/clamped into position. We tack a spall on the head and heel of the frame and unclamp after about 15 minutes and get it in the boat imparting any twist needed. The frames are being set 12 inches on center. We should be finished with the framing by the end of July.”
For the past few years, we have checked in occasionally with the new Maryland Dove project at the Shipyard at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD. The Dove is now complete and is undergoing sea trials, inspections, and training prior to her delivery to her owners. Her commissioning ceremony was held August 27 in Historic St. Mary's City.
The celebration will continue throughout the year as the new Maryland Dove will embark on a tour of the Chesapeake Bay, sharing the exhibit with Marylanders at different ports of call.
In 2018, HSMC announced that CBMM had been selected to build a brand-new Maryland Dove for Historic St. Mary’s City. The ship, a representation of the late 17th-century trading ship that accompanied the first English settlers to what is now Maryland, is owned by the state of Maryland, and operated and maintained by the Historic St. Mary’s City Commission. An earlier version of the ship, built in the 1970s by Cambridge’s Jim Richardson, was nearing the end of its useful life, and decades of new research meant that a new ship could be designed to be a more historically accurate representation of the original Maryland Dove.”
Higgins Yacht Yard in St Michaels, MD, sends us this lighthearted mid-summer report. “The Classic Motor Museum put on its annual Fourth of July Parade through Talbot Street on Saturday, July 2, with Higgins Yacht Yard participating in the historic log canoe Magic. Being the only boat in the parade, Magic surely took the prize for being the oldest participant, being built in 1894.”
Back in July, this column reported on the plan to relocate Hartge’s Yacht Yard back to its original Church Lane location in Galesville, MD. The Yacht Yard has been operating out of the former Woodfield Seafood property on the other side of Galesville on Woodfield Road. The move is scheduled for September 1. Alex Schlegel of Hartge Yacht Yard reports that he and his staff are gearing up for the move and starting to address the myriad details like how to move the tent and the travelift across town without disassembling them. The Hartge Yacht Yard will become the service operation for Hartge Yacht Harbor. The Yacht Harbor, now owned by Hamilton Chaney and his team, will continue to operate and offer full marina services and amenities to slip holders. The renovations and upgrades being carried out at the Yacht Harbor and the inclusion of the Yacht Yard’s service expertise should offer what Hamilton Chaney described as “… A high quality full-service marina experience.”
One of the most enjoyable things about visiting the annual Antique and Classic Boat Society show is you always learn something new. I was admiring a trim little outboard runabout when I realized it had the Chris-Craft logo on its quarter. Like most people, I associate the Chris-Craft marque with mahogany inboard runabouts and cruisers, but not outboards. It turns out that, in the 1950s, Chris-Craft not only produced outboards, but they built a lot of them. They were kit boats.
The following quote from a 2006 Soundings Magazine article about kit boats is attributed to Chris Smith, the grandson and namesake of the Chris-Craft founder. “In 1950 the company was seeking a way to use up leftover scrap mahogany from building large powerboats. They decided to build toy boxes and gun cases and a little eight-foot pram. That led to the kit boats. The kit boats lasted about eight years. It got so popular we had to build a factory in Missouri. We sold about 93,000 kits.” You learn something new every day!
Weaver Boatworks in Tracys Landing, MD, is reporting a busy summer. A recently completed Weaver 64 was delivered to her happy owner in June. Another Weaver 64 is in the fitting out shop for engine installation and other final interior work. And two new boats began construction this year: a Weaver 70 in January, and a Weaver 45 in March.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, MD, hosted its annual Charity Boat Auction on Saturday, August 27. More than 60 donated boats and watercraft—ranging in size and performance from cruising boats to dinghies—were in the water and on land to be auctioned off to the highest bidders.
The event also included a flea market-style tag sale where guests could purchase a variety of used boating gear, including ground tackle, electrical equipment, hardware, rope, chain, oars, life jackets, fishing tackle, motors, and more.
Proceeds from the rain-or-shine event benefit the children and adults served by CBMM’s education, restoration, and exhibition programming.
So, enjoy the last days of summer on the water and make plans to attend this year’s United States Powerboat Show October 6-9 in Annapolis. It is the 50th anniversary show, so lots of good things are being planned. See you there.