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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: M.C. Wootton, 10/1983
ROVER (log canoe)
Inventory No.: T-509
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Location: W. Harbor Road , St. Michaels, Talbot County
Category: Object
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1886
Architect/Builder: Builder: att. to Thompson Brothers, Chester, Maryland
Related Multiple Property Record: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoe Fleet (MPD)
Description: ROVER is a Tilghman style sailing log canoe in the racing fleet, distinctive for her dark yellow hull. She was built c. 1886, probably in Chester, Maryland by the Thompson brothers. In 1902 she was fitted with a motor, since removed. The canoe measures 28'-1 3/4" with a 6'-4 1/4" beam. She has a longhead bow, braced back to the hull, and a sharp stern. She is privately owned and races under No. 11 in Eastern Shore competition. ROVER is log built with carvel-fitted rising planks and a lapped sheer strake with a large beaded rubrail. Her construction is reinforced with a solid deck beam beneath the foredeck and sawn hanging knees support the washboards. In shape, she is double-ended. The straight, raking stem has a longhead braced back to the hull with flying wooden braces. The sharp stern has a rudder hung on pintles on the stern post. A centerboard is cased in a trunk. There is a long outrigger, or bumpkin, made of planks formed into a V with a curved metal backrest. The canoe has two masts with adjustable rake. The 42' long foremast is set into mast partners on the small foredeck. The 32' long mainmast is set into a wide midships thwart and square mast partners. The masts carry fore- and mainsails with clubs at the clews and sprits. There is also a large jib. The wooden bowsprit is squared and set up with a bobstay and two bowsprit shrouds. The hull is painted yellow, with white trim on the bowsprit braces, sheer rails and rubrails, outrigger, and washboards. The longhead carries trailboards of varnished wood with the name ROVER carved and gilded on them and surrounded by scrolled vines. The canoe was restored in 1966-1971 by her present owners who removed the motor, restored the hull, and added masts. In 1984 the hull was fiberglassed. 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. ROVER is significant as being one of the oldest of the surviving log canoes, having been built as a work boat in 1886, probably by the Thompson Bros. of Chester, Maryland. She had had a motor added by 1902 and worked steadily as an oyster-tonging canoe until 1966 when the motor was removed and the boat towed to St. Michaels where it was renovated and restored to a sailing rig. It took the Marshalls four years to restore the boat, which entered the racing fleet in 1971. Now fiberglassed, ROVER is distinctive in the racing fleet for her yellow-painted hull, as opposed to the traditional white.


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