Log canoe to launch at April 22 Blessing of the Fleet
The first Chesapeake two-masted log hull sailing canoe to be built in more than 35 years will be launched at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum on Wednesday, April 22, with the public invited to help celebrate the occasion.
The log canoe—to be christened Bufflehead—will launch immediately following the museum’s Blessing of the Fleet ceremony at approximately 6:30 p.m. After the launch, guests will enjoy the acoustic sounds of Jonny Bland, Kenny Haddaway, and a number of special guests, and are encouraged to bring their own beverage of choice to the launching. Limited libations will also be generously provided by Eastern Shore Brewing of St. Michaels and Charm City Meadworks of Baltimore.
Adapting the lines from an 1893 Robert D. Lambdin canoe in the museum’s collection, CBMM shipwrights, apprentices, and volunteers began working on the new, sailing log canoe this past fall. The hull has been constructed from three, 26-foot local loblolly pine logs, with the canoe and its spars constructed in full public view.
“This is the first log canoe to be built since 1979, when Tenaceous [sic] joined the fleet,” said CBMM Chief Curator Pete Lesher. “Bufflehead will be a great addition to the fleet, and we’re proud of the craftsmanship and skills put into creating her.”
Log canoes were traditionally used as workboats, for tonging oysters in particular. The building technique is unique and indigenous to the Chesapeake Bay, dating back to the 1800s. The design produces a strong and durable hull. Shaped with ax and adz, the logs are drifted together and with the addition of one or two planks, form the hull up to the deck.
“For our shipwrights and apprentices, building the log canoe provided a great exercise in understanding spatial relationships in boatbuilding,” said CBMM Boatyard Manager Michael Gorman. “It’s a smaller version of the five-log canoes that are often seen racing, and scaled after our log canoe Marianne.”
The April 22 Blessing of the Fleet begins at 5 p.m. under the 1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse, and celebrates the beginning of this year's boating season, while honoring Chesapeake Bay working vessels and pleasure craft. Easton High School’s NJROTC will begin the ceremony with a presentation of the colors, followed by an a capella quartet performance of the Star Spangled Banner and Navy Hymn. The blessing will be performed by the Reverend Kevin M. Cross of The Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford, Md.
Boaters are invited to pull up near the lighthouse from the Miles River, with marina reservations made through the museum. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved into the Small Boat Shed. For more information, visit www.cbmm.org.