E.C. COLLIER (skipjack)
Gibsontown Road, Tilghman, Talbot County
This vessel is a 52' long two-sail bateau, or V-bottomed deadrise type of centerboard sloop, commonly referred to as a skipjack. She has a beam of 17.9', a depth of 4.5', and a registered net tonnage of 14 tons. She was built using traditional Bay cross-planked construction in 1910 at Deal Island, Maryland, for the oyster dredging fleet. The boat has a typical skipjack rig--a jib-headed mainsail laced to the boom and carried on wooden mast hoops, and a large jib with a club on its foot. The vessel is painted white. The E.C. COLLIER is among the larger skipjacks. She has a longhead bow and a square, or transom, stern. She has a straight, slightly raking stem with a longhead, or clipper bow, and a round bowsprit with added runners or rails for grip. Her transom stern is squared with a shallow "tuck"--in other words, the transom meets the chine just above the waterline. There is a rudder mounted on pintles on the transom and skeg. The vessel is flush-decked, with several deck structures. From the stern forward these include: a box over the steering gear on the afterdeck; a main cabin trunk with a slide; a small deck hatch; a tall plywood box over the winders; and a main hatch. The vessel is fitted out for oystering with winders, rollers, dredges, and a pushboat suspended from davits over the stern. There is a jig for the pushboat on the starboard side of the transom. The deck is surrounded by a pinrail, lower forward than at the afterdeck and open at the dredge-rollers. The mast is well raked aft, about 20 degrees, and is set up with double shrouds and turnbuckles, a forestay, and a jibstay. A topping lift leads to the end of the long boom, which is jawed to the mast. The bowsprit is rigged with double bobstays of chain and cable, and chain bowsprit shrouds. Both mainsail and jib are fitted with lazyjacks. The white-painted hull is decorated with brightwork accents on the cabin and spars, except for the bowsprit, which is painted. There is an eagle billethead, painted black, white, and tan, on the longhead. The trailboards have the name E.C. COLLIER painted in tan on a white ground surrounded by vines; red, white, and blue-painted shields, also surrounded by tan vines; and an eagle/shield/arrows motif. The vessel's name is also painted in yellow letters on varnished boards mounted on the sheer at the bow.
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. E.C. COLLIER is of interest as being one of the older skipjacks still dredging in the Chesapeake fleet. She was built in 1910 at Deal Island, Maryland, following traditional Bay-area design and construction methods. She has worked in the oyster-dredging fleet since her building and is presently housed at Tilghman Island. The vessel 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 in true Chesapeake fashion.