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Racing the Goldplaters-theTradition Continues by John C. No rth II ohn D. William s starred it all. In 193 0 he was a middle-aged gentleman of dive rse talents and interes ts running two businesses. H e owned a late-1 800s school building located on the corner of H arrison and South Streets in Easton, Maryland, (now the Academy Art M useum), where he both sold furniture and conducted a funeral home. For reasons lost to history, M r. W illiams decided to commission the building of a log canoe. Sailing log canoes-doubleended sm all craft native to the C hesapeake-had their origins as oys termen's boats, but by 1930 no new boats had been constructed for mo re than a decade, and the few that carried a sailing rig were retired from the commercial fishery and used exclusively for racing. Undo ubtedly William s's interest had been fueled at least in part by all the publicity attendant to the

Governor's C up, newly esrablished at the Miles River Yacht Club, located on Long Haul Creek just outside the Town of St. Michaels. Mr. William s appro ac hed Talbot County's premier boatbuilder, John B. H arrison, at Tilghman's Island with his plans. The approach had to be a careful one because Captain John B., as he was known, was not one to accept a commission casually. H e was thought to be the best boatbuilder along the Eastern Shore, with an unsurpassed record fo r constructing wooden vessels of all types to the very highest standard. H e was meticulous in wo rkmanship and possessed an extraordinary ability to design boars, which we re both fas t and particularly elegant. Captain John B. was an extraordinarily intelligent, highly talented artisan who had only rudiments of a formal education. His limited time in

j ohn B. Harrison, an accomplished boatbuilder at nineteen, desigrted and built innumerable bugeyes, schooners, pleasure boats, and the log canoes John B. H arrison, Albatross, Jay D ee, and Flying Cloud. He was universally acknowledged as a genius of his craft. the schoolroom never seemed a handicap. H e was known to work out complex mathematical and geometrica l problem s seemingly by instinct. Ar this stage of his life, he wo uld only build what he wa nted to build. W illiams explained that he had been following the recent revival of interes t in log canoe racing and that he would like to have a boar of his own. What he had in mind, however, was not a racing canoe but rather a somewhat larger, more stable vessel appropriate fo r carrying friends out fo r a pleasure sail or perhaps simply to spectate at the races. H e had a traditional sail plan in mind, bur of a moderate size. As a gentlem an's pleasure craft , she should, of course, have a bit of va rnish work and her fittin gs would be brass or bronze, not galvanized iron . Captain John B. decided that this was an interesting assignment and proceeded to develop a half model indicating a length

1he first "goldplater, "Jay D ee, on a Sunday outing off Oxford, Maryland, in 193 1. Captain Buck Richardson can be seen here, standing, wearing a white hat. 22