Wade Murphy Wins 2012 Skipjack Race

from Delmarva Now (September 4, 2012)

DEAL ISLAND — Overcast skies and a light breeze proved to be the perfect forecast for Capt. Wade Murphy, who sailed his skipjack Rebecca T. Ruark to her 11th win on Monday morning, Labor Day 2012.

“It was a good luck day,” said Murphy of Tilghman Island after completing the 53rd annual Skipjack Race in just more than two hours with his young grandson, Sawyer Rada, onboard as his “lucky charm.”

He called the wind on Monday perfect for the race.

“Last year, there was too much wind,” Murphy said. “This (year) was more fair to all boats.”

In previous years, some of the old wooden boats suffered damages due, in part, to strong winds.

Last year, the Kathryn, owned by Capt. Harold “Stoney” Whitelock, struck a buoy and began taking on water during the race.

This year, there were no mishaps.

“This is probably the best wind we’ve had in years,” said Brian Conrad, captain of the skipjack Ada Fears, which did not race this year because it needs a new main sail.

Instead, Conrad sailed aboard the Somerset, owned by Capt. Walt Benton, which came in third in this year’s race.

Second place was won by Capt. John Price on the Ida Mae.

Murphy took home the $1,000 first place prize, while Price got $500 and Benton $250. Additionally, the 11 skipjack captains in Monday’s race will receive $700 each just for entering.

With this year’s win, Murphy now holds the record for the number of Skipjack Race victories. He was previously tied with Stanford White Jr. with 10 wins

Capt. Arthur “Daddy Art” Daniels has had nine wins going back to 1965. Now 91 years old, Daniels raced again this year onboard his skipjack, the City of Crisfield.

Skipjacks are the last sail-powered work boats in North America. Most are nearly a century old and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Used for dredging oysters, many skipjacks around the bay are now owned by nonprofit groups, but they still have dredge licenses and use them to harvest oysters as part of educational programs.

Although the fair weather held to the end of Monday’s race, a thunderstorm that moved in around 12:30 p.m. soon had spectators ducking for cover under tents at a festival at Deal Island Harbor.

Peggy Black of Eden was hoping the rain would stop in time for an afternoon boat docking contest so she could see her brother, Guilford Abbott, compete.

Originally from Wenona, Black said the Skipjack Race is sort of a homecoming for her.

“I try to come here to see family I don’t normally get to see,” she said.