SEA GULL (skipjack)
Lower Thorofare, Wenona, Somerset County
This vessel is a 46.6' long two-sail bateau, or V-bottomed deadrise type of centerboard sloop, commonly referred to as a skipjack. She was built in 1924 in Crisfield, Maryland, using typical Bay area cross-planked construction methods. She has a beam of 15.9', a depth of 4.3', and a net register tonnage of 10. She carries a typical skipjack rig consisting of jib-headed mainsail and large jib. She has a longhead bow and a square, or transom, stern. The wooden hull is painted the traditional white. SEA GULL has an almost plumb, straight stem with a longhead beneath the bowsprit. She has a flat transom stern, slightly raked. There are guards along the sides of the hull to protect it from the bumping of the dredges. The single mast is set up with double shrouds and deadeyes, as well as a forestay and jibstay. A topping lift leads to the end of the boom, which is jawed to the mast. The mainsail is laced to the boom and carried on wooden hoops at the mast. The large jib, with a club along its foot, is rigged out to the bowsprit, which is painted white. The bowsprit is set up with double chain-and-cable bobstays and chain-and-cable bowsprit shrouds. In addition to her sail rig the vessel carries a motorized pushboat suspended on davits over the stern. The pushboat is painted white and decorated with red stripes. The skipjack is flush-decked with several deck structures including a wheelbox, cabin trunk, and winders. The decks are surrounded by a lograil forward and a short pinrail aft, with dredge rollers amidships. Dredging gear is carried in season.
This vessel is significant as being one of the 36 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 the 20th century, today only this small number remain to carry on the tradition of working sail. SEA GULL is of interest as being the one surviving skipjack built in the years between the two World Wars. She was built in 1924 in Crisfield, Maryland, following traditional Bay-area design and construction methods. She has worked in the oyster-dredging fleet since her building and is presently based at Deal Island. Her captain for many years has been Jesse Thomas, who skippered her during a famous Chesapeake Appreciation Days' workboat race in 1969 when the SEA GULL was involved in a three-way collision with the AMY MISTER and SIGSBEE.