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‘F.D. Crockett’ open for tours at Oyster Festival

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The home port of the F.D. Crockett is on Mill Creek at the Deltaville Maritime Museum/Holly Point Nature Park. The vessel was designated a Virginia Historic Landmark and named to the National Register of Historic Places during the summer of 2012. (Photo by David Moran)

by Bill Powell
Events Director
Maritime Museum

The classic log-hulled buyboat “F.D. Crockett” will be on display and available for tours this weekend at the 55th annual Urbanna Oyster Festival. The 63-foot, 88-year-old, nine-log bottom buyboat, one of only three log-hulled buyboats still floating, will be open for tours at Urbanna’s Upton Point Marina this Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Crockett will have aboard information and handouts about the Deltaville Maritime Museum, her preliminary 2013 schedule, and signup information for the Museum’s 2013 Family Boat Building Week.
A seven-year labor of love by the Deltaville Maritime Museum, John England, and volunteers from the museum boat shop, the Crockett has begun her mission of bringing the history of bay watermen to ports around the Chesapeake.

The pilot house and forepeak cabin are finished, bringing the Crockett very close to her “working years” configuration. The captain occupied the pilot house, the command center of the boat, while the forepeak cabin housed the berths for the two or three crew members who were the entire working crew of the Crockett.

Accepted by the museum in 2005 as a donation from Ron Turner of Poquoson, the Crockett was a long way from its original condition. Her mast, windows and doors, hardware, and various original fittings and equipment were incorporated into a complete restoration from the log hull up. An all-volunteer effort (over 8,500 work hours) have gone into the restoration, and the materials have been paid for completely by donations. During the summer of 2012 F.D. Crockett was designated a Virginia Historic Landmark and named to the National Landmarks Register.

Even though F.D. Crockett is called a “buyboat” because of her large decks, pilot house location, and forward mast and boom, she was actually built by her original owner to carry freight, another typical use for these bay beauties. She was later converted to an oyster and crabbing dredge boat.

“We have taken a lot of time and care to restore the F.D. Crockett to the way she was when her captain and crew were working her full time. We have been very true to the history and have added no frills. We want everyone to be able to experience the Crockett as she was when she was a workboat,” said Crockett project manager John England.

“We are pretty much down to the details now. We hope to outfit the boat with equipment that would have been used during her working years so that we can show the public how important these boats were to the seafood industry and the bay,” continued England. “Most of our time is now spent on painting and maintenance to get ready for our outreach programs on the bay. If there are any good painters out there who would like to help, we could sure use them.

This past summer Crockett completed voyages to Opsail 2012 in Norfolk and Poquoson’s Seafood Festival Workboat Races. She spent 14 days on the Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Reunion Tour, which included Tangier, Crisfield, Calvert Maritime Museum in Solomons, Annapolis and Baltimore, as well as other ports on the upper bay. Outreach programs are assisted by a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund and the purchase of Chesapeake Bay License Plates.

For those of you interested in the complete restoration history, access the F.D. Crockett blog at http://www.fdcrockett.wordpress.com. For more information about the Deltaville Maritime Museum and all the things it does, including the Crockett, access http://www.deltavillemuseum.com.

To find out more, visit http://www.deltavillemuseum.com, email or call 776-7200. The museum mailing address is P.O. Box 466, Deltaville, VA 23043.

posted 10.31.2012

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