Press Release

October 12, 2000
Annapolis, MD

For Immediate Release
Contact: Captain Chuck White
(call for appointment) Annapolis Yacht Club -- Slip 28

Chesapeake Skipjack Reborn as River Cruiser & Civil War Charter

Eight Years in the Making, the Oyster Catcher Debuts at Annapolis Boat Show October 12, 2000 (Annapolis, Md.) - A young couple's eight-year quest to convert a wooden hull into a sophisticated river cruiser brings the refurbished Skipjack Oyster Catcher, specializing in Civil War history charters, to the Annapolis Boat Show this week. At 57 feet, crafted of pine from St. Mary's County, MD and outfitted with a double-level cabin, the Oyster Catcher is a US Coast Guard inspected cruiser. She sleeps up to ten guests in three staterooms for long-term charters and can accommodate 49 passengers for day charters. The motor vessel is powered by twin John Deere 130 hp diesel engines, is balanced by a 45 foot 16 square inch Douglas fir keel that draws 5feet. Her cantilevered 40 foot mast flies a 350 square foot steadying sail.

A Classic's Eight Year Odyssey

In 1992, Myron Hokin, owner and founder of the Bitter End Yacht Club in the British Virgin Islands, teamed up with 35 year-old marine engineer Robert Garvey to find a wooden workboat hull that they could convert into a river cruiser. Garvey recounts: "Two years and about 14 hulls later, we were ready to throw in the towel. I had traveled from Maine to Miami in search of a worthy hull. We were about to call it quits in the fall of 1994."

Yet on Christmas Day that year, Garvey's wife, Dana Hokin, gave him the book Maryland's Vanishing Lives by Chesapeake Bay boating writer John Sherwood. One chapter profiled the wooden workboat builder Francis Goddard. The story concluded with the note that Goddard's workboats, Poppa Francis and Connie Francis, were for sale.
Garvey called Goddard the next day, asking if the boats were still available. "They sure are. You want them, come on down," Goddard said. Garvey arrived a few days later and pitched the river cruiser project. "That's a good idea," Goddard said. "I can do that." Within weeks, Goddard had produced a working sketch and the project was underway. Goddard's skipjack Connie Francis, originally built in 1984, began the detailed conversion into the Oyster Catcher in 1995.
The Oyster Catcher was designed and built by Francis and Wayne Goddard, long time workboat builders and watermen from Solomon's Island, Maryland. The Goddards' Poppa Francis is now a buy boat currently used to seed the Chesapeake Bay with oysters.

Skipjack Gets New Life

Plans for the refurbished Oyster Catcher include day sails, specialized charters to Civil War History sites, and corporate retreats. At the helm is USCG licensed Captain Chuck White with 30 years of experience. Captain White is a graduate of the Citadel and a civil war history buff. The First Mate and Chef is Suzanne White, a former restauranteur who also maintains her Captain's license.
Oyster Catcher is located at the Annapolis Yacht Club, just before the Eastport bridge at slip 28. Please visit us from 2 to 5 PM during the boat show. Or call Captain Chuck White for an appointment at 443.336.0488.


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