Ruel Parker writes about the Chesapeake Bay brogans

Brogan lines

I hadn’t heard about the log-built Chesapeake Bay brogan before, but I’m very struck by their beautiful lines and proportions. Of course I realise that the low sheerline isn’t there to make the boat attractive but to enable the oyster fishermen to reach the water to do their work, but still…

Read all about them in traditional boat author, historian, designer and boatbuilder Reuel Parker’s article on the Woodenboat magazine website. Here’s a sample:

‘I learned about brogans from MV Brewerton’s excellent book Chesapeake Bay Log Canoes and Bugeyes. While bugeyes were large—up to 80? on deck — the brogans were small — around 30? to 35? on deck. I wanted to design a modern version of the brogan—adapted for cold-molded construction for shoal-draft cruising — but didn’t get around to doing it until December of 2011.

Brogans were double-ended, beamy, of moderate displacement, and shoal-bodied with centerboards. They carried free-standing masts, very raked, with the mizzen raked markedly more than the main.

‘The only lines drawing I have ever found for a brogan came from Brewerton’s book (shown below). They show a very lovely, nearly symmetrical, easily-driven double-ended hull of excellent proportions.’

Spider T’s lines

Spider T, Humber keel, lines

Spider T, Humber keel, lines Spider T, Humber keel, lines Spider T, Humber keel, lines

Again on the subject of the Humber sloop Spider T, owner Mal Nicholson thought I might like to share this lines drawing of her.

It was drawn by Frederick Warren in 1926, shortly before he died. According to Peter Warren, it was specific to Spider T and was a kind of swan-song for the sail-powered cargo era in the Humber.

Mal has been told that she has been called a super sloop because she is believed to have encompassed everything known about small sail-powered cargo craft design in the Humber at the time, and she’s probably the last Humber sloop to be built.

Mal says she makes a superb sea vessel and adds that the photos show what she is all about: cod headed and mackerel tailed, her bouyant bluff bows stop her diving when under load.

Visit to see details of the sea voyages Mal and friends have made in her. Also, if you’re interested in Spider T and are in the area, don’t forget the open days planned for this coming weekend.

Lessons from America


Lithograph of the original 1851 America’s Cup champion yacht
America. Click here for a site about the America – it’s written
in German but has some small-ish drawings and photos

Paul Austin of Dallas, Texas, has written an essay for Duckworksmagazine shooting down British theories about way America won, and draws two conclusions from her career. The first concerns her lines and the second the way her subsequent owners failed to care for it.

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