Last of the Chesapeake Skipjacks

Over the course of a Chesapeake Bay waterman’s life, big memories tend to swallow smaller ones. So when seventy-two-year-old Harold “Stoney” Whitelock looks back on his childhood now, it’s all misty images of water and boats, and little else. “That’s all my family talked about at Sunday dinner,” he says. “Boat this and boat that.”  Whitelock is one of the bay’s last skipjack captains. Long, shallow wooden boats with tall, wide sails, skipjacks survive as the only commercial sailing vessels left in North America. The nine or so (by Whitelock’s estimate) still used to dredge for oysters all concentrate here on Maryland’s toothy Eastern Shore, kept afloat by a couple of dozen people who speak with a distinctive brogue that’s fading by the generation, too. >click to read< 09:27

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