Maryland Skipjack Kathryn Launches at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

The skipjack became the State Boat in 1985 and is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of Maryland. Skipjacks are the last working boats under sail in the United States. In winter, fleets of skipjacks are used to dredge oysters from the floor of Chesapeake Bay. "Drudgin," as watermen called this process, was hard, cold, dirty, sometimes dangerous work.

St. Michaels, MD, August 19, 2010 --( The Kathryn, a Chesapeake Bay skipjack built at Crisfield, Maryland in 1901, was launched back in the waters on August 18, 2010 after two weeks of maintenance work at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) in St. Michaels, Maryland.

Noted as one of the fastest skipjacks on the Bay, Kathryn is designated a Maritime National Historic Landmark and is currently owned by Capt. Harold "Stoney" Whitelock of Dames Quarter, Maryland.

The Kathryn is 50 feet long, 15.67 feet wide and draws 4.17 feet of water. With an unusual "soft" chine, she is fore-and-aft-planked, unlike most skipjacks, which are cross-planked. The Kathryn carries the standard skipjack rig with a raked mast, 64 feet tall and 12 inches in diameter, carrying a clubbed jib and a jib-headed mainsail.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a working boat yard, including rail facilities to haul historic boats in and out of the waters. For visitors interested in trying their hand at building a boat, CBMM offers Apprentice for a Day programs on weekends. For more information, visit or call 410-745-2916.

Find photos of the launch at

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Tracey Munson