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Martha

A waterman crabbing with a trotline in a Hoopers Island dovetail, c. 1967. Photograph by Caryl Firth. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. Gift of the photographer.
A waterman crabbing with a trotline in a Hoopers Island dovetail, c. 1967. Photograph by Caryl Firth. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. Gift of the photographer.

Dovetail, or draketail boats were built in the early 1900s with gasoline engines and a special stern that looked like a motor racer. Martha was built in 1934 for $350 and was used for oyster tonging and trotlining for crabs. She was named after the owner’s daughter, Martha Lewis. (While wives may change, daughters and mothers are said to be safe namesakes.) These boats have many names, and are referred to as ducktail, draketail, torpedo-stern, or Hoopers Island launches, after the island in Dorchester County, Maryland, where they originate.

Built: 1934, Wingate, MD by Bronza Parks

Length: 43 ft, 0.5 in (13.26 m)

Beam: 8 ft, 3 in (2.53 m)

Martha, Hoopers Island draketail, 1934. Collection of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, MD. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David W. Glass. 83-19-1.

Donations to the Annual Fund generously support the maintenance of Martha, as well as our other restoration, education, and exhibition programs.

See photos of the 25′ Hooper Island draketail Pin Tail being built in our boatshop by Apprentice for a Day participants and their instructors. The boat is modeled after Martha, and is available for purchase. Contact afad@cbmm.org for details.

Hear about the latest work done to Martha:

AFAD: The Making of Pin Tail, a 25' Draketail

See more photos of Martha in this Flickr album:
Floating Fleet: 1934 Dovetail Martha