Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Boatyard Blog, where all things related to Chesapeake Bay Boats are discussed. Follow the Museum's progress on historic Chesapeake boat restoration projects, watch wooden boats being built from scratch in our Apprentice For a Day program, and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to give you the experience of Chesapeake Bay history while preserving traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building techniques. Make sure to join us as a follower of this blog so you will be notified of new posts, and make comments on anything you see on the blog.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet the Museum's Floating Fleet : Old Point

Old Point is a seven-log crab dredger built in 1909 by J.G. Wornom in Poquoson, Virginia. Old Point represents yet another variation on the log-built hull. Crab dredging is permitted in Virginia from December through March, using two large dredges resembling oyster dredges with longer tines. Heavy metal rollers protect the rails from wear. The dredges are secured to a heavy post in the center of the vessel and raised with mechanical winders located below decks on either side of the post. These "deck boats," as they are known in Virginia were also used for freighting in the off-season.

Old Point has two hatches over the hold in the middle of the vessel, a small one just forward of the pilothouse and a large hatch just abaft of the mast. The pilothouse has two bunks (the upper one remains), and there was a swing down bunk in the engine room. The fuel tank was located above in the engine room. The fuel tank was located above deck behind the pilothouse. Forward of the mast was a forepeak with a raised companionway, with a barrel for fresh water forward of this structure. A steadying sail was formerly used with the gaff doubling as a cargo hoist.

J.G. Wornom built Old Point for J. I. and George C. Wainwright, but for much of her life (1913-1956) Old Point was owned by the Bradshaw family of Hampton, Virginia. During these years the Bradshaws used Old Point as a crab dredger in the winter, to freight fish in the summer, and to carry oysters from the James River during the fall, selling their catch to the Ballard Fish and Oyster Co. in Norfolk, Virginia. 

In 1956, Old Point was sold to the Old Dominion Crab Company, which used her for crab dredging. At some time after 1956, Old Point suffered a fire in the bow that destroyed the forepeak. Some charred frames are still visible; the damaged portion of her logs was filled with Portland cement. It may have been at this time that the gallery and bunks were added above the engine room.

In 1968 she was sold to Norman F. Williams, who changed her name to Miss Terry. She passed through several other ownerships, being used for freight and excursions in the Caribbean until she was donated to the Museum in 1984.

The Museum has since restored Old Point closer to her earlier working appearance by replacing the existing single hatch between mast and pilothouse, refitting the forepeak, and installing a large mast and boom with steadying sail. She is considered to be the last-but-one, log-hull deck boat to work on the Chesapeake.

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