1911 Skipjack At The Global HQ Makes A Picture Perfect Day


Skipjack Claud W. Sommers At Reedville Marine Railway

Forget setting your clocks back…. We set the decades back yesterday at Global HQ, and wow! I mean WOW WOW WOW! Yesterday was a magical day in so many ways. Warm, low light, and it all became some sort of spontaneous boat event at HQ. I love things that happen like that. Sometimes they are a mixed bag, but yesterday was one of those sorts of days where you just stop, and think. Is time really a man made thing? Can we just suspend it all?

Arriving at 10 AM

Heading into the Rail area

Her crew helping line her up.

Photo op, I took WECATCHEM to work yesterday, it was a car free day and yes, It was good!

George Butler showed up in one of his Skiffs.

Here she comes.

A little to the left, no right, I mean Port, or is is starboard? THAT WAY

On the rail

Lets getter done!

The Claud W. Sommers is an amazing 1911 Virginia built Skipjack. Skipjacks on the Chesapeake Bay are a special sailing vessel used for Oyster dredging, and now the subject of every painting of the Chesapeake Bay area. You can take rides on the Claud W. Sommers, and this week she is getting her Coast Guard test here at the Railway so she can do it safely.

ALL HANDS on deck. Literally! I have photo proof..

Toss me that line!

And of course while she is up here, she makes it all so much more picture perfect, and, and, and. I have no more badly spelled words.. But I do have some great pictures of time stopped.

Note her flat bottom. Not a deep V, these are work boats and the Bay can be rather shallow, especially Oyster reefs

Bow! WOW!

The history here is amazing, and all still being used as designed. The only thing obsolete here is..well, wanting the day to end.

The View from the office.

Later in the day, she sat for her photo ops.

The small boat on the davits is SPAT II, a Push boat, a small boat with an engine in it. She just pushes her around when not under sail

Spats are baby Oysters BTW.

Another day in Woodyboaterville.

STAY TUNED we have some amazing photos from the day, Sweet Pea going back in the water. and some amazing sunrise splendor. Mr B, and Wayne Bomb all make special appearances.

A teaser! The light at 7:30 AM was INSANE

FOR MORE INFO ON THE CLAUD W.SOMMERS at the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. CLICK HERE

13 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Damn it Matt, you live in a boater’s dream world. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day!
    Please explain why Spat ll would “push” and not tow the skipjack. That is what I would have expected.

    • Lydia Haynie
      Lydia Haynie says:

      Well Greg, When the skipjack puts her sails up and is under sail she would run over that small little pushboat aptly called a pushboat.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Thats a great question, I think, Push boats allow better steering in inland water ways. Also I am guessing, the smaller prop allows it to be able to be in shallower waters. Where as a tow boat has a larger prop, and possibly is used in more open waters. But my guess is maneuverability

    • Gary W Van Tassel
      Gary W Van Tassel says:

      Back in the day there were Strick limits on oyster dredging under power. So the skipjacks worked under sail to void the banned days. The pushers allowed them to also take advantage of power dredging days. As with all things they evolved. As can be seen they are relatively small and not terribly stable, they would not survive towing. Tou will notice big propeller and no rudder. They also operate unmanned, controlled from the skipjack by the helmsman. Crew are valuable assets dedicated to dredging not running tow boats.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:


    I agree with maneuverability, just like a Barge Tug. (some do pull, but most push)

  4. Shep on Lake Shafer
    Shep on Lake Shafer says:

    The railway is awesome! Beautiful pictures of amazing boats! History is great to.
    You are living the dream brother!
    I noticed while reading the latest channel marker ! (FYI Michigan chapter magazine)this ad from Algonac marine.
    Looks like a GarWood anchor cleat on the table?
    If that’s not one I sure they could make them.

  5. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    Picture perfect Chesapeake Bay time capsule! Almost worth a day trip down there to take it in , in person… the skipjack on the railway brings back fond (?) memories when we (2 of us) would haul my fathers Skipjack on a neighbors Southern Maryland railway. I was the one to get in the water to align the chine blocks, in the cold water…. Not often to see a Skipjack on the rails.. Lots of photo ops! Promo shots for RMR! You should produce a calendar for 2023… Id buy a couple!..

  6. Cliff
    Cliff says:

    So what’s the story why she is there? Certainly no to visit you for your paint and color skills …. Or is she? Can you get some pictures of the rest of her? Decks rigging the works?

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