History of the Dee of St. Mary's
The Dee of St. Mary’s was built in 1979 in Piney Point, Maryland, by shipwright Francis Goddard for St. George Island waterman Captain Jack Russell. She was the first skipjack built on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake in a quarter of a century. Most skipjacks come from the Eastern Shore and few are as young as the Dee. The declining fleet of skipjacks represents the last commercial sailing fleet in North America. Capt. Jack dredged for oysters until it was no longer possible to make a living, then he started Skipjack Tours. Hundreds of school children learned about the Chesapeake Bay aboard the Dee under his tutelage. In 2010 the organization set up to operate the Dee, the Chesapeake Bay Field Lab, Inc. received grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Preservation Maryland, Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust to restore the boat. In 2013, CBFL offered the restored Dee of St. Mary’s to the Calvert Marine Museum, believing that the museum was well equipped to continue the legacy started by Captain Jack.