Initially, our plan to move to the Bottom of the Bay included residency here primarily in the spring and fall, with long stays aboard our Bristol 41.1, Skylark, in Maine during the summer and somewhere warmer in the winter. The financial collapse of 2008 eliminated that as a retirement plan and set me on my current career as a year-round yacht broker and resident of Portsmouth, Virginia, with just a short jaunt back to Maine in the summer.
The buyboat F.D. Crockett was in sad shape. Built in 1924 by Alexander Gaines with a Lathrop gasoline engine, she began her career moving cargo along the creeks and rivers of Virginia’s Tidewater peninsula and was later adapted for use as a dredge boat, harvesting oysters and crabs on Lower Chesapeake Bay.
As you read this, I’ll be back in Tidewater after a couple of weeks “up ta Maine,” the brokers’ holiday during the summer doldrums. We will be in those hot and sticky weeks that make me wonder why I settled here, especially after a trip to Maine.
“Stand your ground, surround him and don’t let him take you,” said Capt. Whitehurst to his crew and the other oyster dredgers. And when Whitehurst refused to heave-to upon the command of Capt. Clarke of the Maryland Oyster Navy sloop Folly, the state’s sailors fired their Winchesters, shredding the sails of Whitehurst’s Nickel.
Now that I have been writing this column for more than a year, I have to check the same issue of Soundings from 2015 to make sure I don’t do what my grandchildren point out from time to time: tell the same story again.
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