TILGHMAN ISLAND, Md. According to a story on WBOC.Com- a shocking scene on Tilghman Island for the skipjack Rebecca T. Ruark and Captain Wade Murphy Jr.
Tuesday night, crews removed a truck that ran off a pier onto a historic skipjack. It was the Rebecca T. Ruark.
The boat has been working the water and harvesting oysters on the Chesapeake for 130 years. And Captain Wade Murphy has been at the helm since the mid- 80’s.
The Rebecca T. Ruark was built in 1886 and it’s the oldest skipjack in the nation. Classified as a national landmark, the boat was visited by President Ronald Reagan. Captain Murphy bought it in 1984 and sailed with her every season. She has been used to race other skipjacks and go oyster dredging.
After Tuesday, damage to Rebecca is extensive. And Captain Murphy’s heart is broken.
“It breaks my heart. I’m serious. It breaks my heart to see her like this. I’ve never been in this kind of situation before but we’re going to get it fixed,” says Captain Murphy.
This season captain Murphy will have to sit out on the sailing because the road to fix Rebecca will be long.
Captain Murphy says, “It will be next year before we get at them. It’s going to take months to fix this.”
Captain Murphy’s son, Wade Murphy the III, will soon inherit this old boat.
He’s determined to get Rebecca sailing again. He says, “It’s disheartening for sure. I grew up on the boat with my father so I don’t like to see it like this. But we have to get it fixed.”
The Rebecca T Ruark is not only a national treasure but is also an award winning vessel. It’ll take a lot of work and perseverance but the Murphy’s promise to set sail again.
Captain Murphy says he hopes to have the skipjack back on water sometime next year.
The Rebecca T. Ruark was a frequent entry and winner at the Labor Day Skipjack Races at Deal Island.