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Both my parents spoke with accents that marked them as from “away.”  When I’m “away,” my accent advertises that fact.  Accents vary from locality to the next (Outer Banks or  Tangier Island in the same way that boat designs–or at least names of designs– might.   Take an arbitrary  (maybe)  400-mile (as the gull glides) stretch of East Coast:  Southport, NC to Crisfield, MD.

Let’s start with Elbert Felton, master of Solomon T,  who generously invited me aboard his 1938 restored workboat, and

after giving me a short tour of Southport harbor, agreed to do “donuts” so I could foto Solomon T from all angles.   Notice Oak Island Light

in the background.

Solomon T and Alice Belle share some of the same lines;  Alice Belle retains the mast Solomon T once had.  Any guesses on Alice Belle‘s  build date?

You’re right if you said 1946.  Here’s another shot of Alice Belle.

About 150 miles up the Banks, I caught this other shot of Koko coming in from the Hatteras Inlet.  Although Koko is registered in Hatteras, her boatwright is listed as Leland F. Helmstetter, Jr., based some 200 miles farther north in Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Mr. Helmstetter is also listed as builder of Bay Raider, also on the Eastern Shore.  I took this foto and the

next in Harborton, VA.  From Harborton, it’s a dozen or so miles through Little Hell to Onancock, home of John Mo’s fantastic Mallard’s Restaurant for absolutely fabulous crabcakes.

From Onancock, you can head up through Bullbegger up to the Crisfield, MD, once called “sea food capital of the world.”  Read all about it in William Warner’s 1977 Pulitzer-winning Beautiful Swimmers.    The boats below . . . are examples of the  Chesapeake Bay deadrise, as I would say is Koko, no matter where she works.

Hear more on blue crab life cycle here.

Here’s another.   For more closeups on the crab business in Crisfield, click here.

In the short time I visited, I saw no Hooper Island draketails, and there must be other types out there, for another day.  For now, last shot, also in Crisfield, a pushboat with an outboard.

All fotos here by Will Van Dorp, who can’t wait to return to this 400-miles stretch.

For now, enjoy an accent from the edge of the sixth boro.  Or one like my parents had.  Finally, here’s a short video on the accents of five of the NYC boros;  as anyone who listens to the VHF knows, the sixth boro has thousands of accents from everywhere.

Hmmm . . .  heading downeast from here would be another great place to document workboat designs and accents.

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January 2011