Glenna Fay, My First Deadrise Crush!


GLENNA FAY – Just look at her simple perfection. That simple lettering. Straight bow!

Yesterday while at the Reedville Railway one of my favorite local boats showed up for a little this and that. Glenna Fay is a 38ish foot Butler Built deadrise. Rounded stern, and jaw dropping lines. Built right here on the same railway in the late 1940’s Yup. she is one of the oldest ones still working the waters of the bay. Something to be said for great stewardship and great materials and skilled building.

Back where she was born over 60 years ago! That’s George Butler, his father was George P. Butler the builder.

But her real special gift is her lines. Her proportions, her look. And out of the water, YOWZA! Take a look at the lines on her hull. And the even better part of it is. It’s pure art. I know many will laugh at my claim. BUT, our classic boats are designed on paper first, styled and mass produced. This boat was all done by eye and experience. Yup. by eye. Free style. Like a true artist working with talent and a brush, letting the artists talent take over in some sort of magical way.

Thats the Barrel Back stern of Deadrises. AHHHHHHH! Perfection, and not steam bent wood. But carved out of huge chunks of wood. Lots of waste and extra work. Art? HELL YES


The tire is my favorite detail. She is a continuum, not restored or preserved. Just works, humble and reliable. Like the watermen and people here.

Peel Rogers her caretaker trying to see who in the hell is taking his picture. This was shot while filming the film FLEETON we showed early this year.

The truth is if I said this to any of these guys here they all would laugh at me. They are artists, and there creations are art. There is no doubt there was a lot of stepping back and adding a rake here, and turn there. The height of the cabin sets a wonderful sporty look. This is one sexy Deadrise. Ahhhhhhhhhh! She originally came with a Chrysler Crown 6. She chugs along at around 7 knots with her current engine which is a Detroit diesel 4 cylinder

Home! For a family reunion and paint.. maybe a little repair. Maybe…

The Glenna Fay is a very well loved and respected boat around here. Peel Rogers uses her all the time to catch fish and catch smiles and waves from all of us here when ever we see her out there.

For those of you that missed the film we made with Wray Sinclair, here is FLEETON. Another Butler Built Boat named HIAWATHA –

And the story behind the filming. HERE

And if you really want to dig in for more history, here is a wonderful story done on the history of the boatyard by Chesapeake bay Magazine. RIGHT HERE!


14 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    Truly a treasure of the Reedville Railway. I love the boat and the boat yard that she calls home. You are fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful history!

  2. Frank@Falmouth
    Frank@Falmouth says:

    Ive always loved the simplicity and lines of the Baybuilt deadrise..My father had a 25′ Smith Island Crab Scrape that he gave away without my knowing because he thought I already had too many boats and didnt “need” anymore.. I was pretty upset at the time, having kept it covered and dry while it was stored at the family home… I hope whoever got it (some guy associated wiht the Calvert Museaum) is taking good care of it…
    He also had a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack Id like to require…

  3. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    There’s a wonderful video on U-tube done by the Mariner’s Museum about how one of these deadrise boats is built:

    Billy Moore: Chesapeake Boatbuilder (1981) – YouTube

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    I rank this among Matt’s best post EVER. Those deadrise boats are surely art in its purest form. George Butler: great guy, great craftsman. Hey, and Reedville is a super place and the Fleeton Vid was a welcome diversion. Stay safe friends…
    John in Va

  5. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Old quote about work truck design by the inventor of the Diamond T trucks (later Diamond REO) “A truck doesn’t have to be homely”. Surely pertains to work boats as well.

  6. Jeffrey Martinson
    Jeffrey Martinson says:

    One of the coolest things is to see a boat of a “peculiar” (if only in the sense of being hitherto unknown to me) design actually at work, thus demonstrating the genius of its engineering. “So that’s why it’s got that ______.”

  7. Andrew Lewis
    Andrew Lewis says:

    As a brother of her namesake, I would like to thank Roy and Walter Rogers (aka Peale) and my cousin George Butler for taking such good care of the Glenna Fay over the last 70 years. She is as beautiful in the pictures as she was when I was scraping barnacles from her hull in the 1980’s.

  8. Andrew Lewis
    Andrew Lewis says:

    Hey Peale, just sent you and email. Thanks for the birthday wishes. Hope to get back home soon so we can get together

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