Sail into history on `Martha Lewis'

Group operates skipjack out of Havre de Grace

April 20, 2003|By Joseph Esposito | Joseph Esposito,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Taking the children on the skipjack Martha Lewis out of the Havre de Grace City Yacht Basin provides them a hands-on way to learn about marine life on the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Heritage Conservancy is a nonprofit organization responsible for the "preservation of one vessel, nearly the last of its type, a living relic of a time when the natural balance was sounder than now," according to the conservancy's Web site, skipjackmar thalewis.org. The organization also assists in the preservation of the Chesapeake Bay.

The group's one vessel is the Martha Lewis, built in Wingate in 1955 by Bronza Parks. The 49-foot, 5-inch V-bottom two-sail bateau was later restored in the winter of 1994 under the direction of master shipwright Allen C. Rawl, in alliance with the city of Havre de Grace and Havre de Grace Maritime Museum, according to the conservancy.

The Martha Lewis is a working oyster dredger, but it is primarily used as an educational vehicle. The conservancy holds a number of events and programs throughout the year and expects this summer to be a busy time.

The biggest event of the season is the Ninth Annual Bull and Oyster Roast scheduled from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. The event will be held in downtown Havre de Grace at the foot of Congress Avenue.

The proceeds from the event will help the conservancy continue to provide educational programs for schoolchildren.

Last year, more than 900 children participated in the Discovery Classroom program, the conservancy said. This program allows students to study aquatic vegetation and marine life hands-on, for five hours.

All summer, the Martha Lewis will offer public cruises on Saturdays and Sundays. Passengers will get a guided tour in which they will learn about the history of the skipjack and the Chesapeake Bay.

The conservancy also runs summer camp programs and day camps during the summer.

The skipjack can be reserved for private charters, with a capacity of 28 passengers.

For the annual fireworks cruise at 7 p.m. July 5, a second skipjack will be used to provide room for more passengers.

For more information on events with the skipjack Martha Lewis, check out the Web site or call 410-939-4078.

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