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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Charity V. Davidson, 04/1999
ELSWORTH (skipjack)
Inventory No.: QA-488
Date Listed: 5/16/1985
Location: Truslow Road, Chestertown, Queen Annes County
Category: Object
Period/Date of Construction: 1901
Architect/Builder: Builder: Mitchell Hubbard
Description: This vessel is a 39.9' long, two-sail bateau, or V-bottom deadrise centerboard sloop, commonly referred to as a skipjack. She has a beam of 14.3', a depth of 3.1', and a gross registered tonnage of 8 tons. She was built in 1901 in Hudson, Maryland, for the oyster dredge fleet. She carries a typical skipjack rig--a single, slightly raking mast with a boom jawed to it and a jib-headed mainsail laced to the boom and carried on wood hoops at the mast, and a club-footed jib, rigged to a long bowsprit. The wooden hull is painted white. In shape the vessel has a raking, longhead bow and a well-tucked transom stern with little rake and a slightly curved top. The rudder is carried inboard, entirely below the waterline. The hull shows more freeboard than some. It has metal sheathing at the waterline and a dark sheer strip below the sheer-level rubrail on the hull. The vessel is flush-decked, with several deck structures. From the stern forward, these include: a box over the steering gear; a main trunk cabin topped with a "doghouse" with three large windows (added to the original trunk cabin for the skipper's ease in steering and comfort); a small hatch; a tall box over the winders; a main cargo hatch; a cuddy with a slide on the foredeck. The deck is surrounded by a short taffrail except at the mid-ships dredge-roller area; this rail is surmounted by a pipe safety rail around the stern quarter and forward of the work area. Other fittings include iron-pipe davits for the pushboat, which hangs suspended over the stern; and a sampson post with a capstan on the foredeck. The single mast is set up with triple shrouds and deadeyes, with a topping lift to the end of the boom and lazyjacks for furling the mainsail. The squared-off bowsprit has a double chain bobstay and chain bowsprit shrouds. Rigged to it are a forestay, jibstay, and lazyjacks for jib. Decorations include the name ELSWORTH in large black letters on the sheer at the bow, and trailboards mounted on the longhead. These have the vessel's name in gilded letters on a black ground, with green leaves and vines. There is a small red-painted sphere at the masthead. Significance: This vessel is significant as being one of the 35 surviving traditional Chesapeake Bay skipjacks and a member of the last commercial sailing fleet in the United States. Out of a fleet of hundreds of skipjacks that worked Bay waters in the early years of this century, today only this small number remain to carry on the tradition of working sail. ELSWORTH is of interest as being one of the older skipjacks still dredging in the Chesapeake fleet. She was built in 1901 in Hudson, Maryland by Mitchell Hubbard, assisted by Robert Thomas and William Seward, following traditional Bay-area design and construction methods. The vessel was commissioned by Hilary Wingate and named for Joseph Elsworth Wingate, his son. ELSWORTH was skippered for a time by the "boy captain," Darryl Larrimore, who when he became skipper in 1978 was the youngest on the Bay and in his mid-20s. ELSWORTH is one of the 19 surviving working skipjacks to have been built previous to 1912, although, like the other members of the fleet, she has been much repaired over the years.
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