Charleston’s maritime history – The mosquito fleet

CH-spring-12-GULLAHThey were among the best watermen in Charleston’s maritime history, their small boats a familiar and beloved sight as they sailed out each morning and returned each afternoon with their catch. From the 1860s until the 1950s, the several hundred African American fishermen who worked the sailing boats of the mosquito fleet formed the core of Charleston’s seafood industry. They fished the creeks, rivers, harbor, and, weather permitting, the offshore banks. They would often go as far out as 30 miles to catch porgy, bass, whiting and, if lucky, a “jack fish.” “One by one they shoved off, and lay in the stream while they adjusted their spritsails and rigged their full jibs abeam, like spinnakers, for the free run to the sea,” wrote Dubose Heyward, describing Charleston’s mosquito fleet in his celebrated novel, Porgy. Read the rest here 13:58

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