|Annapolis Celebrates Its Maritime Heritage
photo by Scott Dine
Wooden boat-builder Joe Reid of Mast and Mallet demonstrates his craft.
It was the simple log canoe powered by an American Indian that began the parade of boats on Chesapeake Bay hundreds, possibly thousands, of years ago. The parade intensified in the 17th century as the new American settlers began to develop trade with their European relatives. Schooners crossed the North Atlantic loaded, for example, with Maryland tobacco and returned with English cloth.
A celebration of that parade, the Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival began last weekend with the IBM-Meleges 24 regatta in Annapolis Harbor. Events this weekend will line City Dock with a selection of Chesapeake Bay work and pleasure boats.
One of those pleasure boats is the Gemini 10.5 (33.5 feet) catamaran by Performance Cruising of Annapolis, the only production sailboat maker on the Chesapeake. Performance Cruising has built over 700 cruising catamarans in 20 years. Performance owners Tony and Sue Smith are not only a part of the Annapolis heritage of boats but also the American heritage of immigration. Both came to the area from England two decades ago.
The fledgling Annapolis Maritime Museum displays its 40-foot Hooper Island draketail, a workboat with a seven-foot beam. Built in the 1920s and equipped with an eight-cylinder engine, the draketail was considered fast, efficient and able to get from dock to fishery in quick time. They worked in tonging and crabbing operations on the Chesapeake. The beautifully rounded stern creates the descriptive name, and the boat's length, narrowness of beam and speed give it cigarette-boat proportions.
You'll also see the very last Trumpy-built motor yacht, Sirius, a 60-foot "houseboat" produced in 1973. The City Dock bulkhead is a prime viewing spot for a prime boat. Sirius was the 263rd motor yacht to come out of Trumpy's Eastport yard. A second Trumpy, Claudene, a 58- foot, 1970 flush-deck motor yacht, is also on display.
The Baltimore Clipper Pride of Baltimore II docks at the end of City Dock. The Port of Baltimore and the state of Maryland own Pride. The clipper ships, narrow of beam, were the Concorde of the 19th century. They outsailed their lumbering competitors, particularly British warships. But the narrow beam meant less cargo, and that eventually led to their demise.
The Coast Guard folks who keep "red right" buoys where they're supposed to be display the cutter James Rankin, a buoy tender. The Rankin and its crew of 19 maintain 375 navigation buoys in Chesapeake Bay from Worton Point in the north to Smith Point. The Rankin is named for the Fort Point lighthouse keeper credited with saving the lives of 18 people from boats wrecked in storms at the entrance to San Francisco Bay. Rankin arrived at the lighthouse in 1878 and retired in 1919, at 78.
Maryland's oldest skipjack joins the heritage fleet. Built in 1886, the Rebecca Ruark occupies the spot where the Stanley Norman usually ties up at City Dock. Norman is undergoing repairs. The Ruark is a working skipjack and her owner, Captain Wade Murphy Jr., charters the boat in the summer and works her in winter dredging.
Completing the heritage celebration are demonstrations of traditional and contemporary boatbuilding techniques and songs of the Bay and sea
This year's Heritage Festival is the third attempt in four years to celebrate Annapolis' seafaring tradition. The first celebration, in 1998, coincided with the Whitbread Round the World Race, which included a stopover in the city. After a pass in 1999, a small celebration resumed in 2000. (Next year will see another Whitbread Round the World Race stopping in Annapolis, only now the event is known as the Volvo Ocean Race-Race Round the World.)
Sponsorship of the festival comes from a variety of government, private and commercial organizations. Included are Merrill Lynch, Comcast, City of Annapolis, Annapolis and Anne Arundel Conference and Visitors Bureau, the Rotary Club of Annapolis, WNAV radio, SpinSheet Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine and Buck Distributors. The festival is a subsidiary of the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce. Jeff Holland of Annapolis is the festival director.
At 4pm Sunday, May 6, the Maritime Hall of Fame names and honors six new members who have "enhanced Annapolis maritime character and strengthened its status as a maritime center."
To park ($4), take the Rowe Blvd. exit off US 50 and follow the signs.
This Paper Brought to You by Award-Winning Advertising
Bay Weekly brought home eight prizes for excellent advertising in the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association's 2000 Advertising competition. The spread was four firsts, one second, two honorable mentions and one special award.
Bay Weekly staff took two firsts for last year's Fall Home and Garden Guide.
"Creative idea to have customer advertorial with their advertisement," commented the judges. Advertorials are "stories" where businesses - with a little help from our staff - describe their own attractions.
Betsy Kehne, production manager and ad designer, took another first for promotion for her ads leading up to that Fall Home and Garden Guide.
"Complimentary color, strong graphics, good use of white space, good fonts," remarked the judges.
We hope you'll share our success in this year' Fall Home and Garden Guide, where early reservations for advertorials and ads are now being taken.
Bay Weekly staff took another first place for their community service ad promoting the Calvert County Literacy Council's "Bee for Literacy" adult spelling bee.
(This year's Bee is Friday, May 11, so you still have time to mount a team. Call the Literacy Council at 410/535-3233.)
Contributing illustrator Jim Hunt took the final first for ads promoting his own business as an illustrator. "Great illustrations, great fonts, great continuity. Artwork relates from ad to ad," wrote the judges.
"We always do our best for our advertisers. Winning awards shows just how good our best is," said Kehne.
But, as Legusta Floyd, past president of the Press Association and publisher and editor of the 67-year-old weekly Prince George's Post, likes to say, "You can't win unless you compete."
Fifty-three newpapers large and small submitted 635 entries, which were divided in categories according to the size of papers. Judges were ad executives from the North Carolina Press Association. Each year, press associations from around the country take turns judging one another's achievements.
Kehne and General Manager Alex Knoll scored a second in promotion for ads announcing last year's Bay Weekly Birthday Bash.
Kehne also scored an honorable mention for the continuing advertising campaign mounted by Mike Selinger for Old Stein, his German bierstube and restaurant. Another honorable mention and a "Category 13" award for oxymoron, an apparent impossibility, completed Bay Weekly's prize-winning package.
Without advertising, there'd be no Bay Weekly to inform and entertain you. As he celebrated, Knoll reflected on free journalism's dependence on advertising.
"When you own a small paper as ours, advertising is never far from your mind," Knoll said. "Not a bill is paid, not a payroll is met without the revenue generated by advertising."
Requiem for Parrish Creek Marina
Parrish Creek Marina now exists only as a collection of documents and memories. The ancient and eclectic south shore West River community of easy-going, live-and-let-live denizens and their vessels is slowly and inexorably dispersing over the waters of Southern Anne Arundel County and beyond. The bright lights of the 21st century have begun to burn off the haze, or perhaps funk, of a gentler, certainly more carefree time and space.
It was a quiet place mostly, and the folks there liked it that way. It was a place where you could buy a boat for a dollar or build (or rebuild) your dream boat from scratch. It was a place where some vessels went to die, and where vessels no other yard would admit were reborn. Where bikini-clad maidens in gum boots power-washed crab traps after a long day's work on the Bay with daddy. Where the pump-out would occasionally reverse itself without warning with spectacular results. Where the travel lift would take a lengthy detour to avoid nesting sandpipers. It was a place where people would bring in their catch and put it on the grill and throw you a beer and introduce themselves.
The water snakes still inhabit the bulkheads, and the swallows still dwell beneath the docks, but the cats are mostly gone now, as are the pay phone and the flagpole. The slips are mostly empty, and the boats are leaving the green, soggy fields. Some have left in dumpsters.
They were preceded by 41 vehicles, trailers and sundry objects (some containing amazing ecosystems), many many dumpsters of detritus and perhaps a score of beached mariners. They will be followed (it is rumored) by the rest of the residents, the docks, the pilings, the bulkheads and most of the buildings and vegetation.
It is also rumored that the new owner, George Truesdale, is willing to preserve - though not perhaps in its present location - the historic house on the property. Ford House is thought to be the oldest house in Shady Side.
It is alleged that after the planned dredging and reconstruction, the new entity, Clarks Landing of Shady Side, will be a spotless and efficient facility dedicated to the sale, servicing and storage of Sea Rays. Perhaps it will be fun.
Those in search of a spiffy new power boat or a good deal for an old trade-in may be delighted. There are those who will be disappointed to learn that Truesdale actually seems to be an okay guy who wishes to cultivate a good relationship with the community.
With the demise of Parrish Creek, lots of local marinas have filled their empty slips. Lots of people are still looking for one, and many seek space on shore to finish major repairs or restorations. Some are looking for places to live.
Many are less than pleased, but most seem resigned to the change. As one former slipholder put it, "It's better to move on than to hang on."
Kids Needed to Sing Harmony
When Liz Barrett and Tatiana Johanning put their heads together, music comes out. With it, a dream is about to come true.
Barrett and Johanning are the creators and directors of the soon-to-be Annapolis Children's Choir of Diversity, an idea that Barrett has kept safely tucked away for eight years. Having recently retired, she has enlisted the help of her husband, musician Bryan Barrett, to give her brainchild life.
Johanning, a native Costa Rican, had her young son in mind when she put her voice training to work to pair up with her friend on this special project.
But, as its name suggests, Annapolis Children's Choir of Diversity is for all the children of Maryland's increasingly diverse capital region. "Children singing together will make our community a better place to live," says Barrett. "Problems go away when kids walk in and begin singing."
Now the search is on for talented kids, with vocal auditions to be held on May 12 and 13. "We hope to stir up lots of interest," explains Barrett. "It would be great if we could have 30 or 35 kids."
Teachers and music directors have been asked to recommend students for auditions, which are open to kids from six to 12. But recommendation is not the only door to this choir. "Our goal is for complete diversity. We're looking for everybody," says Barrett.
From auditions will come the brand-new choir which, privately funded, plans to perform both secular and sacred pieces spanning cultures and languages. Sacred music from all faiths will be included for its beauty and cultural richness.
Rehearsal space has been donated by the Unitarian Universalist Church in Annapolis, of which both Barrett and Johanning are members. Johanning's husband, musician Brian Gantz, will accompany the choir.
Concerts will be early evening events followed by receptions, so the audience of family and friends can meet and, together, celebrate their children's musical accomplishments.
Future dreams include guest conductors and musical directors as well as a full orchestral accompaniment. "If enthusiasm can carry the choir, it will succeed," says Barrett.
Audition for the Annapolis Children's Choir of Diversity Saturday, May 12, from 3:30-5:30pm, and Sunday, May 13, from 1-3pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 333 DuBois Road, Annapolis. Information? 410/263-9191.
After Tobacco, Who Knows?
Maryland tobacco farmers could hear that 367-year-old-door shutting behind them with the passage of the tobacco buyout bill SB532 last month.
Gov. Parris Glendening carried out his final promise to the growers by guaranteeing the state's buyout money when he signed the bill into law.
Under the new law, the state authorizes the sale of bonds to underwrite the National Tobacco Settlement. So if the feds back down, farmers still get their $1 a pound for the next 10 years based on their 1996-1998 certified tobacco harvest.
"We have a unique and historic opportunity to move Maryland forward in a positive direction by guaranteeing the state's tobacco buyout program," said Glendening.
As well as paying tobacco farmers not to raise sotweed, Maryland's Type 32 tobacco, the new law also funds land preservation, new equipment and assistance with crop conversion.
But to move forward, tobacco farmers must find new, innovative ways to best use their land.
To do just that, Maryland Cooperative Extension offered farmers a workshop last month at their Charles County headquarters.
"There's lots of things out there for farmers to try," said state agriculture extension agent Pamela King. "Our plan is to make farmers aware of the options and give assistance where possible."
But King was disappointed at low workshop attendance. "This seems to be the way it's going," she said. "Chances are good that well over 60 percent of farmers taking the buyout will not be willing or able to move on and try new things."
For one thing, many of the farmers are near or at retirement age. For them, raising tobacco was a way of life.
For other farmers, it's the lack of security.
"We're just looking for something we can break even on at first," said Ellen Cline of Indian Head who, along with husband Lester, has operated a 90-acre farm for the past 20 years.
"We once raised tobacco, but after our children left home, we couldn't find labor," she said. "So we tried other things. We raised pigs, chickens, hay, but we barely broke even. Sometimes we didn't do that."
Instead of pigs, sheep and cows, King suggested the alternative meat of ostriches, llamas, emus, red and fallow deer. In Europe, Mad Cow Disease has made such exotics as alligator sought after. Maybe we'll acquire those tastes.
Farmers willing to take liability risks are moving beyond tobacco by opening their farms for agritourism. Picnics, weddings, reunions, farm schools for kids, horse boarding stables and recreational fishing spots are among their innovations. Add to the list petting farms and bed and breakfast farms and, reaching even further, ginseng and kiwi farms.
Demand is also growing for exotic and specialty vegetables. Arrowroot, elephant garlic, fiddlehead greens, sweet cassava, specialty potatoes and mushrooms are showing up in fields. With good chains such as Fresh Fields creating a wholesale market, organically grown veggies have some farmers choosing to go back to the good old days.
Will the Clines continue their search for a new crop?
"We love our land. We want to keep it," said Lester Cline. "There are housing developments on all sides of us now. We want to save our land from becoming just another development."
King thinks farmers like the Clines can again become profitable. But she cautions it won't be easy.
Making the change successfully will mean switching from a simple tried-and-true tradition to managed, analytical farming with market plans and world-wide thinking.
"Finding that niche isn't easy," says King. "It takes pre-planning to move to a profitable alternative crop."
So what lies ahead for Maryland farmers as the door slams on tobacco forever?
That seems to be the million-dollar question.
Way Downstream ...
In Rhode Island, state officials last week ordered emergency restrictions on horseshoe crabs in order to prevent overharvesting for bait and the biomedical industry ...
In Guatemala City, the odor wafting above the cement plant last week had a strange hint of coffee. It should have because a company was experimenting to see if coffee beans would burn well enough to be a source of fuel. There was another goal: reducing supply to drive up the price growers receive, which is half of what it was, even though U.S. consumers are paying more than ever ...
In Florida, Gov. Jeb Bush is carving an environmental reputation different than his big brother's. Last week he approved setting up the largest no-fishing region in the United States, 150 square miles of fragile coral and aquatic life just west of the Florida Keys ...
In Scotland, hundreds of cod boats headed out to sea after the European Union's strictest fishing restrictions ever expired at midnight May 1. The 15-country European organization ordered an emergency, 10-week closing of 40,000 miles of the North Sea after scientists warned that the prized cod were close to collapse and needed time to spawn ...
Our Creature Feature is a good news tale from Brazil, where a very rare monkey called the golden lion tamarin is making a comeback. They weigh just a pound and, except for their scrunched little faces and bright orange color, look like a little lion. But they've died out as more than 200 million acres of rainforest have disappeared, and until recently they were thought to be on the verge of extinction.
But thanks to breeding programs of the World Wildlife Fund in cooperation with zoos, the population has reached about 1,000.
Preservationists say that now it will take unmolested forest corridors to save the tamarin and perhaps the woolly spider monkey from disappearing from the earth forever.