The Wilma Lee skipjack at sunset. Photo by Desirée Christa Ricker, 2014.

Heritage Fund Highlight: Set Sail on the Newly Restored Wilma Lee Skipjack

08/11/2020
By Meagan Baco

Two summers ago, the Wilma Lee Skipjack was transported from North Carolina back home to Maryland – and now the Annapolis Maritime Museum is offering heritage and sunset sails on one of the Chesapeake Bay’s rare remaining Skipjacks.

The Skipjack Wilma Lee is documented in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Places as a 46-foot long two-sail V-bottomed skipjack built in 1940 in Wingate, Maryland. The boat is significant as being one of the 35 surviving traditional Chesapeake Bay skipjacks and a member of the last commercial sailing fleet in the United States. Wilma Lee is of particularly special interest as being one of only two of the surviving skipjacks to have been built between the two World Wars.

Before completing the purchase and relocation of the Wilma Lee, the Annapolis Maritime Museum utilized a Heritage Fund grant from Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust for a complete inspection to assess the historic ship’s condition and safety. With a clean bill of health, the historic Wilma Lee arrived at the Annapolis Maritime Museum from North Carolina with great fanfare in June 2018. Restoration took place throughout 2019 and now the U.S. Coast Guard-approved vessel is back in use.

The goal was also ways to use the skipjack for education and enjoyment of the Chesapeake Bay – and during Covid-19 all protocols are being undertaken including social distancing and requiring masks while boarding. The boat is open air, and with a limited of 23 passengers, there is space to socially distance. The Wilma Lee is also available for private events.

Schedule your Wilma Lee Cruise

Support Our Heritage Fund Grant Program

The Heritage Fund is a cooperative effort of Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Historical Trust to provide direct assistance for the protection of historical and cultural resources and promotes innovative demonstration projects that can be successfully replicated to meet Maryland’s historic preservation needs. The Heritage Fund is intended to serve the needs of tangible cultural resources in Maryland. Historic sites, buildings, districts, objects, and archaeological resources are all eligible for funding. There are two funding rounds per year, in the spring and fall of each year. 

Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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