MINNIE V (skipjack)
Gibsontown Road, Tilghman, Talbot County
This vessel is a 45.3' long, two-sail bateau, or V-bottomed deadrise centerboard sloop, commonly referred to as a skipjack. She is built in Bay fashion using cross-planked construction methods. She has a beam of 15.7' and a depth of 3' with a net registered tonnage of 8 tons. Originally built in 1906 in Wenona, Maryland for the oyster-dredging fleet, she was refurbished in the 1970s and rebuilt along her original lines in 1980. She carries a typical skipjack rig with a jib-headed dacron mainsail laced to the boom and carried on wood hoops at the mast, and a single large dacron jib with a club at its foot. The vessel is painted white, and has a longhead bow with a raking stem and a transom stern with a slightly rounded top. The rudder is carried outboard on pintles mounted to the transom and enclosed by a box. The vessel has slightly flaring bows. Her wooden hull is sheathed with metal and painted below the waterline with copper bottom paint. The single mast is raked aft about 15 degrees, and set up with double shrouds and deadeyes on port and starboard rails. Other rigging includes a forestay, jibstay, topping lift, and lazyjacks for both jib and mainsail. The bowsprit is octagonal forward of the stem and tapers towards its end; it is set up with one chain and one chain-and-cable bobstay and two bowsprit stays. The vessel's original boom was replaced with a new boom in the fall of 1983. In addition to her pushboat, this vessel is motorized with a Gray inboard auxiliary engine (conforming to Coast Guard regulations for the carrying of passengers). Decorations include trailboards on the longhead with the name MINNIE V in gold, American flags, and gold-leaf vines. There is also an eagle billet-head on her longhead.
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. MINNIE V is of special interest as being owned by the City of Baltimore and operated both in the working oyster fleet and as a summer passenger and educational vessel in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Originally built in 1906 in Wenona, Maryland, the MINNIE V was rebuilt in 1980-81 at Baltimore's Inner Harbor along her original lines and she rejoined the oyster fleet in 1982 after a 10+ year hiatus. Her rebuilding was supervised by noted marine artist and designer Melbourne Smith, designer of the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE, built on the same Inner Harbor site, and using many of the same shipwrights, as the MINNIE V. At the same time MINNIE V was rebuilt, a new skipjack based on her lines was built, the ANNA McGARVEY. Both are now active in the oyster fleet, based at Tilghman Island.