June 22, 2022

Skipjack Museum restores Captain Crisfield’s famous town

Skipjack Town of Crisfield takes on new life as the Skipjack Heritage Museum on Deal Island is currently involved in a full ship restoration at Scott’s Cove Marina in Chance, Maryland.

“We hope to have it in the water by Labor Day,” said Bob Shores, museum treasurer and nonprofit owner of the boat. “The boat will be part of our annual exhibition for visitors and we plan to use it as an educational boat,” he said.

“We also plan to have her work in the (Maryland) oyster dredge and carry passengers for charter to help offset maintenance and upkeep costs,” Shores said. “Our main objective, however, is to preserve it for future generations.”

the Town of Crisfield was built in 1949 by CH Rice and his son Ed in Reedville, Va. She was owned for many years by legendary Captain, Art Daniels Jr. who purchased the vessel in 1951 and owned her until his death in 2017. After his death, his son Bob Daniels donated the vessel to Skipjack Heritage , Inc.

The heritage group recently received support funding from the Choptank Electric Cooperative to cover the cost of the rebuild. “We are also accepting donations from anyone who loves boats and the heritage and culture that surrounds skipjack tuna,” Shores said.

Art Daniels had a reputation as one of the best sailors in the Bay. Tilghman Island Skipjack skipper Wade Murphy Rebecca T. Ruark can testify to that. Murphy had won the annual Deal Island Skipjack races for seven consecutive years when, in 1995, Daniels and the Town of Crisfield broke his streak with a win.

Murphy explained the loss to his crew this way: “It’s just the breaks you get, guys. Each of these captains is an expert, and the older they are, the better they are. I told you last night, Art Daniels forgot more about sailing than I will ever know.

The Maryland skipjack fleet is the last commercial sailing fleet in North America. The Maryland General Assembly has over the years passed conservation laws restricting the use of motorboats
in the state oyster drag fishery. This encouraged the sailing skipjack to sail!

Anyone interested in making a donation for the preservation of Town of Crisfield can contact the museum at Skipjack Heritage, Inc. 23529 Deal Island Rd. Chance, Maryland 2182, (443) 783-5180.

-Larry Chowning