Monday, August 01, 2005

What the hell is a skipjack?

This past Saturday we were invited on an afternoon cruise of the Chesapeake Bay near Havre de grace for a friend's 30th birthday. Happy Birthday!

It was a beautiful day. I got to add the Concord Point Lighthouse, (another) oldest continuously operated lighthouse in the United States to my list of lighthouses. We actually set sail and didn't just cruise around on the motor. My gung-ho fiance helped to hoist the mainsail while the lazy party goers (my disinterested self included) watched.

The funniest part of the day was getting there. The directions were a little inconclusive and I was driving and looking for a lighthouse instead of paying attention to the task at hand. I must always listen to the navigator. We made it to the dock and the final advice, as if to clear things up, is to look for the skipjack, it is the only skipjack in the harbor, and one of the last working oyster dredger skipjacks.

Excuse me? What the hell is a skipjack? How does that instruction get me any closer to the destination? We found a sign and looked for people to complete the mission. Clever fiance that I have did finally ask Cap'n Bill what a skipjack was and we learned a dark secret - the boat was actually a bateau! Scandalous. Conveniently, that term also means nothing to me. I imagine, for those boat geeks really interested in this sort of thing, that I have made a horrible faux pas at greatly belittling a controversy which has existed for years and on which civilization depends.

What is a skipjack or a bateau you ask. Who cares. We had a nice sail on a sailboat, and I wouldn't eat oysters from the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay anyway. (Authors disclaimer: I do not like oysters.)

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