Rosie wins Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper Skipjack Rosie Parks, far left, takes an immediate lead Saturday at the start of the 20th Annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race. Rosie maintained her lead throughout the race and finished in first place.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Skipjack Rosie Parks, far left, takes an immediate lead Saturday at the start of the 20th Annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race. Rosie maintained her lead throughout the race and finished in first place.


ABOARD THE ROSIE PARKS — Many stories have been told about the speed of skipjack Rosie Parks from her days as a working waterman’s vessel.

Saturday at the 20th Annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race, she lived up to her name with Capt. Joe Connor and others at the helm. She took the lead at the opening horn and maintained it comfortably until the end.
Before the race, winds were forecast to reach 20 knots and were steady through most of the sail. Light morning fog lifted midway through the competition. It was a beautiful, overcast day for sailing.

As part of Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s collection, Rosie was restored to her full glory and was relaunched in June 2014. Mr. Connor is shipwright at CBMM.

In the mid-1950s, she was built along with skipjacks Lady Katie and Martha Lewis by celebrated Dorchester County boat builder Bronsa Parks. Orville Parks, Bronsa’s brother, captained Rosie during her time as a working skipjack. In 2014, many members of the Parks family reunited for the relaunch of Rosie at CBMM.

At the opening horn of the race, Capt. Connor pushed Rosie at a feverish clip and she moved out in front of the rest. Kristen Greenaway, a lifelong sailor and CBMM president, lead a round of applause, saying “Well done, Joe,” to the captain as he positioned the skipjack in the lead.

Rosie, the winner of the 2015 race as well, finished roughly 7 minutes before Lady Katie, the second place finisher. Nathan of Dorchester finished third, roughly 25 to 30 minutes after Rosie.

Lou Hyman, chairman of the race committee, held a meeting of the captains and an awards ceremony after the race.

“We’ve already decided next year to tie a 1,500-pound anchor to Rosie Parks,” Mr. Hyman said at the meeting of captains.

Rebecca T. Ruark finished fourth with Kathryn in fifth, Hilda M. Willing in sixth, Ida May in seventh, Thomas W. Clyde in eighth, and Minnie V tied in ninth with mini skipjack Caroline. Virginia W and Helen Virginia did not finish.

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