Steady at the Helm

As soon as Skipper Ed Farley had both sails up, they filled and billowed and the boat picked up speed. He motioned to me to take the helm of Skipjack H.M. Krentz. I grabbed the spokes and as he waved directions to me I turned the wheel to keep the boat on course. The chilly blustering wind swept my hair straight up and whipped into my face. It felt wonderful.

Jim snapped this picture - to document a connection I never thought I would actually experience.

The year I was born my grandfather bought a skipjack, the H.M. Hubbard, in St. Michaels, Maryland. Here I was more than a few years later - swallowing my non-swimmer's fear of the water - at the helm of a Maryland built Skipjack heading out onto the Chesapeake Bay from St. Michaels.

I was six weeks old when Dad Jack, my father , a family friend and the seller sailed The Hubbard down the in-land waterway from Maryland to North Carolina. I assumed to Wrightsville Beach. I was too young to ever sail on the boat but for years. I listened to the stories of what sounded to me like exciting adventures on the water. A picture of The Hubbard hung in my grandparent's living room and one of the favorite family pictures shows Dad Jack at the helm of his boat. This is my mate for his picture.

Dad Jack sold The Hubbard about 1941 and bought a house on Harbor Island at Wrightsville Beach.
I have lots of my own stories about the house and those environs. But I always wished I had sailed with them on The Hubbard.

There will be more to the story. Jim and I collected information on skipjacks and were given leads for finding out who built The Hubbard. I am learning about skipjacks, the Chesapeake Bay and the oyster business as I savor a few family stories.

Another surprise from storytelling - the job at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum put me in the path of another story. This is one of my favorite kinds of stories - one in which you connect a memory with a real time experience -


BYRSTN said...

I love this story and can't wait to hear more about the H.M. Hubbard.

The picture is just wonderful. You look so happy!!!



Hi, Betty - Thanks. It was a great day - full of surprises. Jim and I drove home feeling very "satisfied." There will more about the Hubbard.

93words said...

Looking forward to hearing more! How fun to have a new mystery to solve.

-- R

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