While wandering in an antique shop or Sunday flea market have you ever seen a sailboat model with a sail so long it extended beyond the rear of the boat?
Chances are you are looking a Skipjack sailing boat, the unique working boat that once dominated the oyster trade in Chesapeake Bay. In fact during the late 1800’s over 2,000 of this amazing boats plied the coastal waterways of Maryland.
Debate still remains about the origins of the name. Some claim it is derived from an archaic English term, meaning an "inexpensive yet useful servant.” But still others believe the name comes from the common 19th century name for seaman, “Jack”, and that the highly maneuverable sailboat seemed to literally skip over the water.
Either way the skipjack was the workhorse of the early of the mid-Atlantic oyster trade, towing barges that in 1884 carried over 15 million bushels of oysters in a single year to waiting markets.
Sadly only about 40 of these lovely oyster boats actively work today due to over harvesting and the depletion of the surrounding oysters beds.
To prevent this elegant craft from slipping into obscurity in 1985 Maryland declaimed the skipjack the official state boat.
Today, company like Taylor work hard to support sustainability and preserve America’s shellfish heritage. By partnering with organizations like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Taylor Shellfish actively works to make a sustainable future the daily commitment from all of its 600 employees.