MAGGIE LEE (skipjack)
Gibsontown Road, Tilghman, Talbot County
This vessel is a 51' long two sail bateau, or V-bottomed deadrise centerboard sloop, commonly referred to as a skipjack. She was built in 1903 in Pocomoke City, Maryland, for the oyster dredging fleet. She has a beam of 16', a depth of 3.8', and a net tonnage of 8 register tons. She carries a typical skipjack rig, with a jib-headed mainsail laced to the boom and carried on wood hoops at the mast, and a single large jib with a club on its foot. The vessel is painted white, as are her spars. The vessel has a straight stem with little rake and a modified longhead bow. The transom stern has a steep rake, quite low to the water, with a very slight, straight tumblehome to the sheer. There is a long, shallow tuck to the stern--the transom and chine meet just above the waterline. The boat is beamiest at the work area amidships. The horizontal rudder is carried inboard. A jig for the pushboat is centered on the transom, while the pushboat is carried on davits over the stern. The vessel is flush-decked, with several deck structures. From the stern forward, these include: a tall cabin with three windows fitted with a slide, a full door, and a ventilator cap; a small deck hatch; a plywood box over the winders; and a large deck hatch with a plywood cover. Other fittings are a taffrail, carried around the stern and also at the bow (the boat is open amidships), and a gear box, mounted on the after-wall of the cabin, which controls the pushboat. A "horse," or bar for the self-tending jib, is mounted athwartships on the foredeck. The winder boxes are painted green. The single mast is well-raked aft (about 15 to 20 degrees), and is set up with triple shrouds and deadeyes. A forestay, jibstay, topping lift, and lazyjacks make up the rest of the rigging. The boom is jawed to the mast. The bowsprit is hexagonal, with runners of wood added along its length for grip. It is set up with double chain bobstays and chain bowsprit shrouds. Decorations include trailboards on the longhead with the name MAGGIE LEE carved and gilded on a blue background. The boards are green with gilt scrolls, vines, and flag shields with cannon.
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. MAGGIE LEE is of interest as being one of the older skipjacks still dredging in the Chesapeake fleet. She was built in 1903 in Pocomoke City, Maryland, following traditional Bay-area design and construction methods. She has worked in the oyster-dredging fleet since her building. The vessel is one of the 21 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.