CHESTERTOWN — Shantyboat. The actual word, to some, conjures addition time and place, rustic and romantic.
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On the Chesapeake Bay, if shantyboats are pictured at all, they’re the bizarre “arks” watermen already acclimated as acting cabins during fishing season.
Along the Eastern Shore’s bank bays, simple hulls with simpler shanties already served hunters camping in the marshes.
But on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, a shantyboat was capital to “a river way of life.”
That’s allotment of the appellation of Harlan Hubbard’s archetypal book, “Shantyboat — A River Way of Life.”
Hubbard may not be a name accustomed to Chesapeake Bay boaters. With his wife Anna, the artisan catholic bottomward the Ohio and Mississippi rivers for years, communicable angle and disposed area and maybe accomplishing odd jobs.
In their 24-foot-long, 10-foot-wide scow, they were allotment of a large, adaptable community. Eventually they accustomed at, and explored, the Louisiana bayous — and all after a motor.
Gordon Chapman of Chestertown begin the book so inspiring, he created his own shantyboat in the spirit, if not the image, of Hubbard’s homely, bargelike vessel.
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This spring, it’s pulled out at Kennersly Point Marina abreast Church Hill, cat-and-mouse for a new owner.
No one’s accounting the absolute annual of a Chesapeake Bay houseboat voyage, but addition now has the chance.
Chapman calls it a “unique live-aboard baiter houseboat, custom-designed with added than 550 aboveboard anxiety of active space.”
There are abundant beyond bartering houseboats, but few with the aboveboard artlessness Chapman best up from Hubbard’s book. Unlike abounding houseboats that are anchored in place, this one is advised to travel.
He activated his own adroitness to the design. For example, the bow and ascetic are enclosed, glassed-in areas that are annihilation added than accepted sun balustrade kits.
The capital berth is 12 by 14 feet. Its roof forms the aerial deck.
Inside the berth there is a capital “saloon,” a galley, and a bathroom-shower which is, by canoeing standards, an astronomic 6 by 4 feet.
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The 40-foot arch baiter was congenital in 2004 by Williams Brothers in Chestertown. It draws aloof 15 inches, absolute for the Bay’s abounding creeks and coves.
Chapman said “it was advised to be bedridden friendly.” His wife, Jane, bare a abiding belvedere back out on the water. The 15-foot axle makes it acutely aggressive to agitation or pitching.
Considerable anticipation went into authoritative it a simple baiter to maintain, Chapman said.
The two hulls are polyethylene, foam-filled, afloat pontoons calmly bankrupt by pressure-washing.
Structural framing is marine-grade aluminum and the aerial works are foam-insulated fiberglass-sheathed MDO plywood.
The accouter is aerial abundant that kayaks or baby boats could be stored underneath.
There was one miscalculation, Chapman admitted. He originally installed a 115-horsepower four-stroke outboard motor. That angry out to be too abundant to abolish for aliment and bringing the artisan to the baiter was costly.
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He suggests instead a 30- to 40-horsepower outboard if the barge will be self-propelled. There’s annihilation endlessly addition from alignment to move from one atom to another, on occasion, with advice from a pushboat and acceptable towlines.
Shantyboat abstract is a baby class whose admirers are adherent with a akin intensity, maybe because of the alarm of artlessness and aggressiveness that Americans authority dear.
The Internet has brought them all into afterpiece acquaintance and additionally fabricated it accessible to acquisition beforehand accounts by Hubbard and others.
Harold Speakman was an beforehand berth charlatan and by coincidence, additionally an artist.
In 1925, Speakman and his new wife, Frances Russell Lindsay Speakman, journeyed the Mississippi River, from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico on a 20-foot houseboat. He wrote of it in “Mostly Mississippi.”
Hubbard’s archetypal books are “Shantyboat,” “Shantyboat on the Bayous” and “Payne Hollow,” area he came aground to homestead.
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