Bugeye of the Chesapeake, The

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  • Pub No.: 5711
Peter C. Chambliss/A brief history of the extraordinary evolution of this fascinating craft.

by Peter C. Chambliss

bug’-eye”, 1. bug’-ai”; 2. bug’-y”, n. A canoe made of several hewn planks, decked over and sharp rigged; the ordinary small sailing craft of the Chesapeake Bay, and its tributaries.

Such is the meagre description advanced in a standard dictionary of a type of craft, so utterly different from that sketchy word picture as to bring forth a lusty chorus of “It is to laugh!” from those familiar with the breed, a genus as distinctive of the Chesapeake as is the punt of the river Thames, or the junk of the China seas. From that dictionary definition, the world at large may gain mental picture of a diminutive, crudely made craft, a sort of skiff as inadequate for playing the roe of the workaday bugeye, as isthe description of her within its learned pages. Down on the broadreaches of the Chesapeake it would hardly be recognized as one of the staunch seaworthy ships, of upwards of 100 tons burden or more, that can carry their “rags" long after larger craft have reefed down or sought sheltering harbor. It fails woefully to represent the bugeye’s keen, graceful clipper bow; the ample but not too full-waisted midship section; the tapering sharp stern; the tall masts that rake sharply aft; the sharp-headed sails of the bugeye rig that were sharp-headed years and years before the Marconi rig became almost an obsession in yachting circles.

22 pages

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