Dorchester Skipjack Committee launches preservation fund for the Nathan of Dorchester

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CAMBRIDGE — As spring arrives with a haze of pollen and warm rays of sunshine, there is increased activity around local boatyards. Pleasure boat owners are working on their boats. Watermen are starting another crabbing season. At its year round location at Long Wharf, the Nathan of Dorchester is starting her 22nd sailing season. It is a labor of love by volunteers to preserve the Nathan and offer maritime heritage of visitors and the community.

The Nathan of Dorchester is one of several skipjacks that grace Cambridge Creek including Lady Katie, Virginia W., Curlew, and Fortune. As the youngest of these Chesapeake Bay boats, the Nathan is owned by the Dorchester Skipjack Committee.  Built by volunteers over a two year period, she was launched in 1994. Her mission is to educate passengers about oystering, ecology and heritage of the area while enjoying a sail on the beautiful Choptank River.

The Nathan of Dorchester is an important tourist destination for Dorchester County. The Nathan makes over 100 sails conveying 1,200 passengers per year. The vast majority of these passengers are visitors to the area. They come from every county in Maryland and Delaware, every state in the Mid-Atlantic Region and even from foreign countries. These visitors have an economic impact on Cambridge, patronizing local restaurants and shops. The crew of the Nathan is proud to serve as local ambassadors.

Maintaining her good condition is vital to continuing her mission safely for the years to come. As with all boats, especially wooden ones, repair expenses can be high. Currently the Nathan has generous support from the Nathan Foundation and the Pauline F. Robbins and W. David Robbins Charitable Foundation Trust. Local businesses and individuals have also been generous.

With the launch of the Skipjack Nathan Preservation Fund there is the opportunity for the community to help support this on-going preservation project. The goal is to raise funds for larger projects including sails, hydraulics, deck and hull restoration. Over the next few months, the Dorchester Skipjack Committee will be contacting businesses and past supporters to kick off the Fund. Businesses will be able to proudly display a “supporter” decal. Everyone is invited to help!   Donations of over $1,000 will have an opportunity to sail on the Nathan as part of a sunset contributor cruise. Any donation over $10 will be recognized with a unique car magnet.

Let’s get the community behind this beautiful boat so she can continue her mission gracing the Choptank River for the next 22 years.

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