Sailing and Boating in the Bay
Betty, William, and Bernard ("Bean") Hunt, swimming in bay near pier off Clagget (est. 1920s). Source: OCCA

Fairhaven Sailing Club

Shotgun Start to 1947 Fairhaven Regatta

Saga of the Alice E.

Renting Boats
Navigating the Channel

Women's Swimming Fashions in the 1930s

Fairhaven Sailing Club

Paul McDonald. One of the prominent people of the thirties at Fairhaven was Freddy Ozab. Using my brother's first boat "Intrepid" and Charlie Walton's first boat he taught all the kids to sail. He also helped them sew canvass covers for the boats and camped with them up and down the bay. Without Freddy there probably would never have been a Fairhaven Sailing Club.
Chas Walton, Randall Adams, Freddy Ozab @ 1934, Source: OCCA

Freddy was a retired (that meant there was no work) actor who kept house for the Yost brothers (Anna Veith lived in their house later). They were bachelors from Chevy Chase related to the Cauliflowers. Freddy could do anything, cook, sew, tie all kinds of knots, swim and dive. He said that he had taught Johnny Weissmuller(sp) how to dive for his part in Tarzan. We didn't believe that until Johnny visited Freddy and went swimming with the kids. Freddy regularly swam from the beach at the Cliffs to Holland Point to bring home yeast to bake with. He wore a knit cap to protect his bald head from the sun and he put the yeast cake under his cap and kept his head out of the water. He was an excellent bridge player and substituted in the women's games. (1/4/2011). Return to top

Pat Keegan Grigsby. Where John Hiser's house is now, was Ray's in the days of the Sailing Club. The trophy for each class would be presented as we all sat on the lawn. Mr. Valentine was a auctioneer at the tobacco markets in Upper Marlboro and he presented the main trophy to the winner of the 20' Chesapeake race in his distinctive way. (1/6/2011)

See highlights of 1947 regatta below.

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"Shotgun Start" to 1947 Sailing Regatta

Thanks to the Veith family for sharing this precious moment in our community's history.

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Saga of the Alice E.
Paul McDonald. In the summer of 1940 the teenagers of Fairhaven, Maryland were consumed with sailboats. They sailed, crewed or rode in them as much as was possible. This was an unusual time, maybe unique to these kids. Europe was at war. The deep economic depression was finally being overwhelmed by the need to arm ourselves and our friends. Available jobs were going to men and women who needed them to support families. Many willing workers had lacked regular employment for years. As a consequence there were few “summer jobs” for teenagers. They had time to get involved with sailboats.

Vernon Gingel, Tom Santmeyers and Herb Watson members of the sailing group had occasion to visit friends who lived on Rhodes River, about fifteen miles from Fairhaven. While there they saw an old boat, with a mast, sitting on a muddy bank seemingly abandoned. It was in great disrepair and had no sails. The story they told is as follows. They approached the nearest house and asked if anyone knew about the boat. The people there said it had belonged to a man who had died some time ago so it probably belonged to his widow. They directed the boys to her for further information. When asked if it was her boat she immediately said she would like to get it out of her neighbor’s yard but it was a skipjack and therefore not worth anything because oysters were not worth anything. She was asked if they could get it floating and moved away could they have it? She agreed readily to that proposition. The boat was The Alice E. They never asked if she was Alice.

It was obvious this was more than a three man job so they brought the idea of owning a large sailing craft to the Fairhaven sailors. The idea seized their imagination. This was not going to be a small task. They met and decided that if they could float the hulk, they would bring her to the beach in front of the Cove Club to undertake major repairs.

Transportation to the work site on Rhodes River was a problem. Most would have to sail there and camp in the boats or hook up with friends at West River or Shady Side. Since there were no fast food places in those days, food was going to be a major problem. Communication between home and the Rhodes River site was nonexistent. They gathered tools, pumps, ropes and rollers to ease the drag of the skipjack off the mud. A couple of things were in their favor. No storms were predicted and it was a full moon so if they worked into the night they could see. They were on their own, no “adults” were involved.

They patched the hull as best they could and muscled her into the water where she promptly sank. It was shallow so they could still work on her. Several days of hard work passed before they found they could keep her afloat with two pumps running almost continuously. These were hand pumps so operators had to be changed frequently. The boys had not been able to recruit a power boat for towing so they would have to do the tow under sail. The Alice E had no power of her own since her sails were gone. In mid afternoon they got under way towing in as shallow water as possible so if she sank she could be recovered. Two of the small sailboats at a time were harnessed to the hulk. The back breaking labor of pumping was beginning to take its toll on the youngsters.

The sun went down and the moon came up and as frequently happens with a full moon, there was no wind after dark. They had rounded Franklin Manor Point and Fairhaven was in view. The workers were famished and tired to the bone so they gathered to decide what to do. Four guys stayed with the Alice E to keep the pumps going and the rest sailed slowly to Fairhaven. Parents didn’t find out what was going on until they arrived in early morning. They were dismayed by the risk to those left on the hulk. The bay was still calm so with good binoculars you could see the boys still on the Alice E moving around. It was still very calm so the sailboats were not going to do much towing. Outboard motor boats were recruited by the parents and an all out effort was made to bring the Alice E to Fairhaven. It took all day and everyone was worn out from pumping but she was moored off the Cove Club Beach before sundown. The whole community was buzzing but the boys only wanted food and sleep.

A short but vicious storm struck that beach that night and smashed the Alice E into small bits. She had been rotten to the core. The largest piece of her recovered was one of her name boards. I saw it several times in the years following the happening but have no idea where it went.
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Renting Boats

Doug Muir. Berlitz's was one of the places to rent a boat. There weren't as many personally owned boats in the area. Most of them were commercial boats -- and one could rent a boat, about 14 feet in length. And they had a single cylinder that operated and it would move the boat along about 8 knots, I guess. The boat -- we called it one lummers. They had a particular rhythm -- lum-lum-lum-lum-lum -- all over the place. There were several places around that rented these boats. There was a place up the Antique Cove, just above Shady Side -- not Shady Side, Cedarhurst. Just below Cedarhurst, that rented these boats. Preferred Berlitz's because it was quicker to get out into the Bay. Berlitz is now Harbor Cove, on Rockhold Creek, just above the bridge. Well, that's where he had his marina. And it was known by everybody in the Washington area. In fact, I'd get up at 5 o'clock in the morning and be down on his pier at 7 o'clock when he let the boats go out. It was a lot of fun. There was also a lure that we used back then called Bert Lamb buck tail. And everybody had to have one of those. A typical fly-type lure that you see used in fly fishing, except a larger version of it. And a fellow by the name of Bert Lamb, I guess he patented it. That was sold all over the area. You couldn't go out without a Bert Lamb lure. Return to top.

Navigating the Channel

Doug Muir. We found our way out of the channel in those days from Deale very easily. The channel was lined with -- it looked to be Christmas trees. They were pine trees -- dead pine trees -- that stuck on the edge of the channel all the way out to D4. They had them every year -- probably left-over Christmas trees, just jammed them down in. That was just for a few years. One could easily find their way out of the channel then. Return to top.

Women's Swimming Fashions in the 1920s-30s

Paul McDonald. When I was a small boy the ladies, my mom's age, were trapped in a seam of fashion.
Ed Becke and mother ~ 1927. Source: Becke

"Modern" swim suits were considered risque, and when you consider they wore no bras and the suits were like a light sweater, they were, a bit. Old fashioned ones were long dresses with "sailor" tops, hose and shoes so they really couldn't swim in them. That changed by the late forties but they didn't get into two pieces or bikinis. Most of those ladies never were good swimmers because they started late. My mom swam with her face out of the water so she could keep her glasses on. (October 20, 2011).

The woman [in the picture below] could be Mrs. Ray or Mrs. Wallace. They were the women I remember on the beach in skirts with hose. (October 16, 2011) Return to top
Fun in the creek. Undated. Source: OCCA