[Chesapeake Quarterly masthead]
2003
Volume 2, Number 1
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A SKIPJACK RISES AGAIN
TRANSCRIPT

The boatyard at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Art Daniels' skipjack, City of Crisfield, sits on an outdoor cradle. Boat builders are working on her hull.

RICH SCHOFIELD
She was in horrendous shape. She had sunk in Cambridge at the dock.

Mike Vlahovich measures and saws a piece of wood for the bow staving.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
Skipjacks, they are built to dredge oysters, to drag dredges across the bottom -- awfully hard on a hull.

Richard Schofield, head rigger for the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum: on-camera interview.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
Skipjacks, you can see, they are a V-bottom . . .

Close-up of the bow, showing the V-bottom shape of the hull.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
. . . what we call a deadrise hull. Very easy to build.

Workmen sawing and nailing on the hull.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
And they completely rebuilt the hull: all new bottom, chine logs, half a new transom, stem, new strongbacks, centerboard trunk.

Mike Vlahovich under the bow hammers a nail in. Then drills the transom.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
Mike Vlahovich runs the program with a couple of interns. Amazing amount of work.

Mike Vlahovich, manager of the Skipjack Restoration Program.

MIKE VLAHOVICH
(continuing)
The basic idea behind the Skipjack Restoration Program is to provide repair services to the 13 remaining commercially licensed skipjacks in a time when they are having difficulties meeting the expenses of their boat repair because of the decline in the oyster industry.

Riggers holding rope attached to bow of skipjack.

RICH SCHOFIELD
They started appearing in the 1890s. That's the first record we have of the skipjack, and by 1910 they were the dominant boat on the Bay.

Rich Schofield and apprentices and workmen tighten the bowsprit rigging for the skipjack.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
All told we think there were between 700 and 800 skipjacks built. And they were built for dredging oysters. That's the only purpose they had. It's the last working sailboat fleet in North America.

Rich Schofield: on camera interview.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
As a boat builder I think it's worth saving the boats. You can build a new skipjack, that's fine, but if a man has a boat, and that's his boat, and he's trying to save it -- and if we can help do it, . . .

Wide shot of riggers working on bowsprit.

RICH SCHOFIELD
(continuing)
. . . you are preserving a way of life that's been going on for generations. Which is important.

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