Skipjack Martha Lewis

Overview

MARTHA LEWIS is a V-bottom, two sail bateau (skipjack). She is one of the few remaining working dredge boats, that make up the Chesapeake Bay oyster fleet — the last to fish commercially, under sail, in the United States of America.

Built in 1955 by Bronza Parks in Wingate, MD, MARTHA LEWIS was restored during the winter of 1994 under the direction of Shipbuilder, and master shipwright, Allen C. Rawl, in alliance with the City of Havre de Grace & Havre de Grace Maritime Museum.

A valuable “window of history”, MARTHA LEWIS is a glimpse of our unique Bay heritage, an instrument adeptly able to communicate a tradition that is vanishing before our eyes. We believe that MARTHA LEWIS provides an alluring classroom for estuarine studies and environmental exploration.

Specifications

  • Length on deck 49’5″
  • Beam 16’7″
  • Gross Tons 8 tons
  • Length at Water Line 46’2″
  • Draft 3’8″
  • Port of Call Havre de Grace, Maryland
  • Berth Tydings Park

History

In the 1990s it is estimated that less than 20 skipjacks remained. In 1994, the Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, the City of Havre de Grace, and the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum worked together to restore and put forth a program around the Skipjack MARTHA LEWIS, who was donated by Dr. Randy George of Birmingham, Alabama.

These organizations, volunteers, teachers, ship building professionals
(especially master shipwright Allen Rawl) worked hard to put the MARTHA LEWIS back into the oyster fleet and help keep the heritage alive. Within her mission she was also to serve as an environmental “classroom.”

The MARTHA LEWIS was built in 1955 by Bronza Parks. Two sister ships (The Lady Katie and Rosie Parks) were in the yard alongside the MARTHA LEWIS. Mr. Parks built MARTHA for Captain James Lewis, who named the boat after his mother. Most skipjacks were named after mothers and daughters, since other relationships could always end.

Later the MARTHA LEWIS was acquired by Gene Tyler on Tilghman Island. He worked her for 21 years, finally selling her to his brother-in-law, William Rowe. Two years later, Mr. Rowe would not be able to afford the upkeep and Dr. Randy George stepped in to purchase the boat in the hopes that an organization could preserve the boat and keep it traditionally working.

Martha Lewis owners in chronological order:

  • James Lewis (deceased) Wingate, MD 1955-1962
  • George Davis Faulkner Tilghman Island 1962-1967
  • Daniel Dize Tilghman Island 1967-1986
  • Gene Tyler (deceased) Tilghman Island 1973-1991
  • William J. Roe, Jr. Tilghman Island 1991-1993
  • Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, Inc. Havre de Grace, MD 1993-present

The boat had a rich life and always did well in the oystering and racing of skipjacks. And today she still sails the Chesapeake reminding all of us of her rich heritage and of our need for stewardship toward.

Mission

Our mission is to promote and preserve historic Chesapeake Bay watercraft and to educate the public in the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay. And further, to promote and assist scientific research and to gather scientific information on preserving the plants and animals in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Membership

You can Donate Online to the CHC via PayPal or you can print this form and mail it, along with your check to:

Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, Inc.
121 N. Union Ave., Suite C
Havre de Grace, MD 21078




Benefits of Membership:

Student Membership:
Free Public Cruise passage for member
Newsletter
Advance notification of Special Programs, Events

Individual Membership:
Free Public Cruise passage for member
Quarterly Newsletter
Advance notification of Special Programs, Events

Family Membership:
Free Public Cruise passage for member
Quarterly Newsletter
Advance notification of Special Programs, Events
2 Guest passes for Public Cruises

Life Membership:
Free Public Cruise passage for member
Quarterly Newsletter
10% off merchandise
Advance notification of Special Programs, Events
4 Guest passes per year for Public Cruises
Special seating at Annual Fund-raiser
Martha Lewis lapel pin


Please make tax-deductible checks payable to:

Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy, Inc.
121 N. Union Ave., Suite C
Havre de Grace, MD 21078