A complete renovation of one of the last skipjacks built for oystering is taking place at the end of Jordan Lane at Gloucester Point, giving a vessel that was quickly deteriorating a new purpose and a new life.
Charles Duke II and Julie Ann Hedrick, owners of Jordan Marine, are restoring an old oyster catcher into a working buy boat.
According to Hedrick, the vessel, completed by Francis Goddard of Piney Point, Maryland, in 1984, was originally a sailing vessel with no power. Hedrick said the boat was originally named the “Connie Francis” in honor of Goddard and his wife Connie, and was built to harvest oysters in the Potomac River.
Once the oyster industry died off, Goddard sold the vessel to a family that had a cruising business. This family put about $1 million into the boat, renaming her “Oyster Catcher” and giving her a double-deck house and all of the plush amenities one would expect in a normal home.
Later, the boat was leased to a museum on the Easte...
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