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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: A.E. Witty, 07/1984
ISLAND BLOSSOM (log canoe)
Inventory No.: T-503
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Location: Yacht Club Road , St. Michaels, Talbot County
Category: Object
Period/Date of Construction: 1892
Architect/Builder: Builder: William Sidney Covington
Related Multiple Property Record: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoe Fleet (MPD)
Description: ISLAND BLOSSOM is a 32'-7 1/2" sailing log canoe built in 1892 in Tilghman, Maryland by William Sidney Covington. She has a beam of 6'-7 1/2". Double-ended, her bow is sharp with a straight, slightly raking stem and a longhead, and she has a sharp stern. The canoe was log-built in the Tilghman fashion. The canoe is privately owned by the family of the builder and races under No. 9. Her hull is painted white. The canoe has typical log construction, with a sheer strake lapped giving the effect of a sheer rail. Hanging knees support the washboards, which form a half-deck. Overall, she exhibits a slight S-curve to her sheer and slight flare to her topsides. The bow has a straight, raking stem and a longhead. The sharp stern is overhung with an outrigger, or bumpkin; the rudder is hung outboard on pintles. A centerboard passes through the bottom log and is cased in a trunk. The canoe is rigged with two masts with adjustable rake, a bowsprit set up with a "footrope" of wood, a bobstay, and two bowsprit shrouds strutted out sideways. Sails include a dacron fore, main, and jib, all with clubs. Fore- and mainsails carry sprits. The rig is removed when the boat is not sailing. There are springboards and extra sails for racing. The hull is painted white and has recently been fiberglassed over. Coaming and rails are bright. The log bottom interior is unfinished, but the hanging knees and seats are painted white. The boat carries nameboards with ISLAND BLOSSOM in black script letters. She flies a white kite with a flower on it under some conditions. Significance: This vessel is significant as being one of the last 22 surviving traditional Chesapeake Bay racing log canoes that carry on a tradition of racing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that has existed since the 1840s. In addition, it is a surviving representative of the oldest indigenous type of boat on the Bay--the working log canoe--which was developed in the 17th century by early European settlers from the aboriginal dugout canoe. ISLAND BLOSSOM is significant as being one of the older canoes in the racing fleet--built in 1892 by noted canoe builder William S. Covington--and for today being owned by the great-grandson of the builder. ISLAND BLOSSOM was one of the noted "Island" series of canoes built by Covington in the 1880s and 1890s and along with ISLAND BIRD is the only member of the original five-canoe group to survive. She was constructed to the order of William H. Myers, Sr. of Oxford who had her logs cut from a tract of woodland near Trappe and floated to Tilghman Island. In the 1920s she was sold to Stanley Evans of Elkton who only occasionally raced her. In 1952 she was purchased by John C. North and brought back to Talbot County. Her hull was in good condition but she needed new spars and sails. The sails were cut by Downes Curtis of Oxford. ISLAND BLOSSOM has won the Governor's Cup and Covington trophies many times in the course of her racing career, first under John C. North and then under his son, the present owner.


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