Friday, May 12, 2023

For Sale: Used Boat

WTOP, Century-old ship that sailed Chesapeake Bay goes up for auction

Do you want to sail a ship that first began cruising the Chesapeake Bay over a century ago? The Victory Chimes, a wooden three-masted Chesapeake ram schooner, is up for auction.

“After long and careful consideration we have come to the difficult decision that 2022 will be Victory Chimes last sailing season. Upcoming Coast Guard compliance, cost and availability of materials for upcoming maintenance, the lack of ability to haul the ship in Maine and the losses of the 2020 season have all become a hill too big to climb,” the Victory Chimes Captain Sam Sikkema wrote in a statement.

The Victory Chimes, originally named Edwin and Maude, was built in 1900 and is the very last ship of her kind.

“Built in Laurel, Delaware, way up on Broad Creek, a branch of the Nanticoke River. Frankly so far up the creek that if you go to the site today, your jaw would drop that such a large vessel could have emerged from such a narrow winding creek,” Pete Lesher Chief Historian of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum told WTOP.

The ship is 127 feet long and can sail in water that is only seven feet deep.

“It could go into pretty shallow creeks in shallow waterways like the Chesapeake and Albemarle canal that takes you down to the sounds of North Carolina,” said Lesher.

For the first several decades of its life it carried bulk cargo like coal, fertilizer and feed in its hull. In 1946 it was retrofitted to hold 21 passenger cabins and has sailed up and down the Maine cost as a passenger cruise ship since the 1950s.

“Back in the late ‘80s, when it was owned by the the owner of Domino’s Pizza, he poured a lot of money into it did a lot of of reframing and re-planking,” said Lesher. “That really allowed the vessel to to carry on to survive for another generation.”

The boat’s current owners said around 70% of the boat is still the original material used in 1900.

The schooner doesn’t even have an onboard motor, relying solely on wind to get from place to place. It does have a 19-foot yaw boat with a motor that pushes the stern when it ports.

The Chimes became so famous in Maine that in 2003 she was featured on the Maine state quarter.

“I love to tease my friends in Maine that they put a Chesapeake vessel on the Maine quarter,” joked Lesher.

Looks nice, but I think it might blow out my boat budget. Besides, sailing is work and it won't fit in my slip.

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