Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester Refit

As with all wooden boats at a certain age, the Nathan of Dorchester is starting to show her age. Work started in November when Nathan was hauled out at the Yacht Maintenance yard and moved to the Ruark Boatworks at Richardson Maritime Museum in Cambridge. A dedicated team of volunteers from the Dorchester Skipjack Committee built a shelter then with the help of many other volunteers, began removing all metalwork and examining every inch of the hull, toe rails, log rails, cabins and Sampson post for signs of rot. Many layers of paint were removed as seams and woodwork were exposed and carefully inspected.

The bowsprit was removed, inspected and repaired and is now totally refinished. We are also repairing the wood under the bowsprit. We removed the Sampson post and with the help of master boatwright, John Swain and new one has been created and installed. The steering gear box was moved to make repairs to the deck under it. Lead sheeting on starboard waterway was removed and all exposed wood is being allowed to dry before we patch damaged spots. The prop, drive shaft and bearings were taken to a profession shop for replacement and is now reinstalled..

Nathan’s crew is known for wearing their sharp red shirts on board. Volunteers wear them as a badge of honor. It took 14,000 hours of volunteer labor to construct the Nathan. At her launch on July 4, 1994, more than 500 people gathered to witness the christening, completed by Gladys Nathan. More skipjacks were built in Cambridge than any other place along the Bay. Since its founding in 1634, Cambridge has been a hub of boat building activity.

Well over 1500 volunteer hours have been spent stripping paint from the oak toe rails, finding and preparing bad spots for repair and repainting. The support of volunteers from the Richardson Maritime Museum has also been invaluable.This progress is being documented in pictorial posters located by the boat.

Volunteers have been busy painting and making repairs to the Nathan.

Visitors, hot coffee, and snacks are welcome at the site, Monday thru Friday, 9am-3pm. Our goal is to get the Nathan back in the water by March so we can begin our training for the upcoming sailing season. Join us, visit us or volunteer to help us preserve an important piece of our local maritime history. Stop by to encourage our volunteers and see what it takes to keep up a wooden sailing vessel. Hot coffee or snacks are always appreciated by our dedicated crew who brave the cold to sand, repair, repaint and preserve the skipjack Nathan of Dorchester.

The skipjack Nathan of Dorchester is owned and operated by the nonprofit Dorchester Skipjack Committee 501(c)3. For more information, to volunteer or donate to help us preserve the Nathan, visit our web site at or follow us on Facebook at skipjack-Nathan.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Get in Touch

Allison Rogers


Attraction Magazine

PO Box 360
Easton, MD 21601

The Good News Magazine
Serving the Eastern Shore for more than 40 Years!