Two Boats and Three Stories
The Loss of the Skipjack Annie Lee by James Dawson Collectibles often come with stories, and the two Chesapeake Bay boat models I bought last year were no exception. But who would have guessed that the innocent-looking skipjack would lead to one of the worst oyster dredging disasters on the Chesapeake Bay? Actually, I had resisted acquiring a skipjack or any boat model for years, figuring it was a fragile dust catcher that I didnâ€™t need. Or did I?
There it was, and there I was. It was attractive, and I was immediately hooked because I guess that I had secretly wanted a skipjack model, so the purchase was made. The skipjack is a sail-powered oyster dredge boat developed in the late 1800s. Native to the Chesapeake Bay, it is the state boat of Maryland. Once there were many hundreds, but now there are only about 10 working skipjacks left.
Elmer Riggin with a skipjack model he made. Photo courtesy of Brice Stump. 65
Tidewater Times March 2020