Travel

Pungies, Bugeyes, and Skipjacks: Your Guide to Chesapeake Bay Workboats

All illustrations by Claire McCracken.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Schooner: These Colonial-era workhorses were used for everything from hauling cargo to tormenting the British. The sleek, typically two-masted sailboats are feted every October at the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Log Canoe: Based on a Powhatan Indian design, the roughly 30-foot-long, sail-powered boats are fashioned from hollowed-out logs joined together to form a hull. Log canoes are still raced every summer along the bay.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Pungy: Small versions of schooners, pungies got their name from the town of Pungo-teague in Virginia, where they were built. Only one is left in the world—Lady Maryland, which takes kids out on the bay for the Living Classrooms Foundation.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Bugeye: With a design influenced by log canoes and pungy schooners, two-masted bugeyes peaked in popularity in the 1880s as oyster dredgers.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Skipjack: Skipjacks ruled the oyster-dredging trade from the late 1800s through the first half of the 20th century. Of the estimated 2,000 built, fewer than 30 remain.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Deadrise: Developed in the late 1800s, the sturdy deadrise, which refers to the shallow V-shaped angle of its hull, remains one of the most popular boats for crabbing and oystering.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Don’t miss a new restaurant again. Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Buyboat: The “middlemen” of the oyster trade, buyboat captains purchased a waterman’s catch while still on the water. Buyboats are characterized by a rear wheelhouse and long deck for cargo.

Illustration by Claire McCracken. (July 2016/Chesapeake Bay)

Skiff: Small, flat-bottomed boats, well suited for navigating the bay’s shallow tributaries, skiffs are still used for crabbing, fishing, and pleasure cruising.

This article appears in our July 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly: