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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: A.E. Witty, 07/1984
SANDY (log canoe)
Inventory No.: T-510
Date Listed: 9/18/1985
Location: Sherwood Road , Sherwood, Talbot County
Category: Object
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1860?
Related Multiple Property Record: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoe Fleet (MPD)
Description: SANDY is a 28'-1 1/4" long sailing log canoe with two masts and a racing rig. Log-built, with carvel-fitted rising planks, the boat has a beam of 6'-8 1/4". She is double-ended, with a longhead bow and a sharp stern. Her exact provenance is unknown, but she has been racing in the St. Michaels area since 1938. She may have been built on the western shore. The canoe has a racing rig (refurbished in 1971), a centerboard, and her original log hull, which is painted white. Racing under No. 7, SANDY shows typical Tilghman-style log construction, with carvel-fitted rising planks. She has little freeboard. The bow has an almost plumb stem and a longhead. A rudder is hung outboard on the sharp stern. An outrigger, or bumpkin, overhangs the stern. The bowsprit is long and set up with heavy standing rigging (bowsprit shrouds and bobstay). The rig consists of two masts with adjustable rake. The foremast is stayed with two shrouds and a forestay, on which the jib is laced. The masts were new in 1971, as were the sails. The foremast is 44' high and the mainmast 32' high. The sails are rigged with sprits and clubs at the clew. Without auxiliary power, the canoe is towed to and from races. Racing gear includes springboards and extra sails. The boat is open, with fittings including a centerboard trunk, mast-steps, and slanted washboards forming a half-deck. The hull is painted white and remains unglassed. Trailboards carried on the longhead and nameboards on the hull have the name SANDY painted on them. In 1965 the vessel was rebuilt from the hull up by the late Capt. Louie Zang of Galesville, Maryland, and Joe Dawson of Annapolis. The new masts were made by Sam McQuay of Tilghman Island. SANDY was built as a working canoe, of three logs and heavy construction, particularly broad in the stern for her length. While the boat's history can only be traced back to the 1930s, the growth rings on her logs indicate 150 years of growth on them--logs that would have been rare after the late 19th century. Because of the age of her logs, the fact that only three logs were used, and the original fitting together of the logs with butterfly plates, as well as the use of natural crooks or knees as deck supports, it has been guessed that SANDY may date to c. 1860. If so, she is the oldest canoe in the racing fleet today. 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. SANDY is significant for having been part of the racing canoe fleet since 1938 although her previous history is unknown, including her date and place of building and her builder. She also is of interest for being one of the few canoes whose original log hull has not been fiberglassed. Tradition has it that SANDY was built and owned on the Western Shore where she is called by old-timers the "store bill boat," referring to the story of a boat that was traded to a general store in payment for grocery bills then resold by the store owner, then traded back to him for someone else's grocery bill. In any case the vessel was purchased in 1938 by the late Walter Tyler of Arundel on the Bay and raced at St. Michaels. In 1955 she was purchased by Bill Hanlon who has raced her ever since. The Hanlons made extensive repairs to the hull in 1965 and replaced the masts in 1991.


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