2009 Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Homecoming.
The homecoming tour will return to Urbanna, VA on Friday 31 July and depart on Sunday the 2nd of August. Urbanna is the port that brought the buyboats together and started this unique adventure that keeps the few remaining boats open for the public to come aboard and touch a part of history.
Wandering down to the Urbanna waterfront just 30 years ago, an onlooker would have seen the creek filled with traditional workboats plying their trade of buying and selling oysters, crabs, and the other catch of the Chesapeake Bay.
As the seafood harvest declined and highways became the mode of travel, however, the large graceful buyboats faded from local waters. There are, perhaps, not more than 30 such boats remaining on the Bay.
On Friday and Saturday, July 31-August 1, Urbanna harbor will again hold Chesapeake Bay buyboats, unique craft that were used to haul the produce of the Bay before our many peninsulas were connected by bridges, for the Fifth Annual Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Homecoming.
The Chesapeake Bay Buyboat Association is comprised of owners of the remaining buyboats who, at their own expense, try to bring their boats to ports around the Bay each summer so that the public can visit them and understand their importance in Bay history.
Reunion officials hope to have 17 buyboats, but are expecting at least 25 boats in all at the Urbanna Town Marina at Upton's Point. Also joining the rendezvous will be a diverse group of traditional deadrise workboats and bay cruisers. Captain Willie Bristow will have his dredge boat Hornet open for inspection. Bubbie Crown will bring the Tortuga, the first of over 100 head boats built in Deltaville, and the first to return to actively work the waters around the Rappahannock. The Smith Island Crab Skiff Association will be displaying some of their motorized skiffs which were first designed to work the shallow grass beds around the islands for soft crabs during the 1920s and 30s.
Attending the Buyboat Homecoming from Maryland and the northern Bay will be P.E. Pruitt, Bessie L., Muriel Eileen, Nellie Crockett and Thomas J. Buyboats from the southern Bay will include Potomac boats Samuel Bailey and PropWash, with East Hampton, Emmett H., Capt. Latane, Iva W., Ellen Marie, Delvin K., Peggy, Dudley, Ella K., and Elva C. expected to attend. There will be a display on the restoration of the log buyboat F.D. Crockett by the Deltaville Maritime Museum. After the Urbanna reunion, a number of the buyboats will be traveling as a group to other harbors in the southern Bay before returning to their home ports.
In addition to the boats, there will be museum displays and maritime history author Larry Chowning will be signing books.
Aiding the committee with various events for the weekend are Bethpage Campground, Urbanna Creek Yacht Club, Dozier’s Port Urbanna, and the Urbanna Business Association.
For information call the Urbanna Town Marina at Upton’s Point at 804 758-5440 or Bill Hight at 804 758-5300. More information about the buyboats can be found at www.oysterbuyboats.com/cbba.
Friday: Boats will arrive throughout the day, with most of the boats coming in mid-afternoon. Open for boarding until 5 p.m.
Saturday: Boats will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. .
Sunday: Boats depart in the morning for a tour of the Southern Bay visiting the following ports.
> Yorktown, Poquoson- Arrive on August 2nd for three nights
Hampton & Norfolk – Day cruise on one boat for lunch at Watersides
Depart Yorktown, Poquoson on August 5th
> Cape Charles - Arrive on August 5th for two nights
Depart Cape Charles on August 7th
> Onancock - Arrive on August 7th for two nights
Some going pierside with the rest on the hook
Depart Onancock on August 9th
> Saxis - To see the buyboat Harvy A. Drewer
2 to 3 hours stop over
> Pocomoke City - Arrive on August 9th for two nights
Depart Pocomoke City on August 11th
> Crisfield - Arrive on August 11th
In and Out or stay overnight depending on time and space available
> Smith Island - In and Out
> Tangier Island Arrive on August 11th or 12th for two nights.
Schedule will be adjusted for weather, time underway and tiki bars.