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Famous wooden yacht repaired in Deltaville

“Coastal Queen” sits on the rails at Chesapeake Marine Railway on Fishing Bay. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry S. Chowning

The wooden boat-building tradition in Deltaville continued recently as the 65-foot wooden “Coastal Queen” was put on the rails at Chesapeake Marine Railway on Fishing Bay for extensive repairs.

The vessel had portions of her starboard side replaced along with eight new white oak frames. The side also received new fir planking. 

The vessel was built in 1928 in Maryland by boatbuilder A.G. Price. She was originally named “A.G. Price” after the builder.

She was used as an oyster buyboat until 1958 when she was purchased by boatbuilder Slade Dale, who converted her into a double-deck yacht and changed her name to “Coastal Queen.”

The vessel received national acclaim in 1965 when the book “The Inside Passage” by Anthony Bailey was published. “The Inside Passage” was about a trip down the inland waterways aboard “Coastal Queen.” A copy of the book sits on a bookshelf inside the boat’s pilot house today.

Bailey is a British author who was born in 1933 and moved to the United States in 1940 during World War II. For many years, he was a writer for “The New Yorker” magazine.

“She makes the same run every year,” said project manager Billy Earman at Chesapeake Marine Railway. “They take her north in the summer and south in the winter, and she stops here every year for annual maintenance.”

The “Coastal Queen” is such a steady and reliable customer of the yard that wood was stored for about a year awaiting her arrival.

The boat left several weeks ago to travel down the Intracoastal Waterway bound for Florida.

Chesapeake Marine Railway is on the same location of the former Deagle & Son Railway run by father and son, Lee and Ed Deagle, from 1935 through the 1990s. Prior to that, the railway belonged to Linwood Price and was known as Price’s Railway.

There has been a railway on the site for nearly 90 years and “Lord only knows” how many wooden boats over the years have ridden the rails on Fishing Bay.

posted 12.24.2008

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