Han Em Harv (formerly Anna McGarvey)


Updated 17 July 2023:
After being brought down in 2015 from Kent Island, Maryland, where she had been a land exhibit at the Chesapeake Exploration Center for many years, Anna McGarvey became privately owned and spent about 4 years under sporadic restoration in Cambridge. Those efforts stalled. She was acquired in 2019 by Stoney Whitelock for restoration and use in taking out sailing parties. She was renamed "Han Em Harv" after Stoney's three grandchildren, Hannah, Emily and Harvey. In November 2019, her restored and fiberglassed hull was returned to the water, and she came in third at the 2021 Deal Island Skipjack Race.

Skipjack Han Em Harv
Han Em Harv, 16 July 2023
Photo courtesy of Deal Island Images

More Photos


Skipjack Han Em Harv began life in 1981 when Melbourne Smith, designer of the Pride of Baltimore, restored Skipjack Minnie V at Baltimore's Inner Harbor. It was decided to build at the same time a working replica of that 1906 skipjack. An apocryphal story is told that at one point during the construction/reconstruction, they lost track of which boat was which. The skipjack was built upside down, with a laminated keel, and used a bronze worm gear found at Patrini Shipyard in Annapolis.

The new skipjack was built on spec, but Melbourne and marine surveyor Fred Hechlinger knew who they wanted to buy her. Fred and Melbourne were drinking in McGarvey's restaurant in Annapolis and decided to get the owner, Mike Ashford, to agree to buy the boat, "just before the oyster business went to hell," said Fred. The skipjack would be named "Anna McGarvey" after Ashford's grandmother.

Melbourne laid out a trailboard, Fred carved it, and one day when Ashford was out sick, they hung it in the restaurant. Ashford called Fred the next week and said, "You knew I was nibbling at it. Now you're trying to set the hook."

When the trailboards were finished, one of the set for the boat said "Fred" and the other said "Melbourne", and the one in the restaurant said "Fred & Melbourne." Fred said they were modeled after those of the Martha Lewis.

Ashford and Walter Cronkite (yes, THAT Walter Cronkite) ended up buying the boat. Afterward, Melbourne and Allen Rawl, who built the boat with Melbourne, had a disagreement with Ashford, who thought the boat was supposed to be ready to dredge when he got it. Outfitting her would cost as much as the boat itself. Plans to use her as a passenger vessel off season in addition to dredging during oyster season never worked out. Instead, she sat at the dock in Annapolis during summer months, locked up with no ventilation, which would not have enhanced her longevity. She did participate in the annual races, though, including Chesapeake Appreciation Days.

But even Anna McGarvey's life as a dredgeboat was all too brief, ending in tragedy. She only worked for two years before an accident took the life of a crew member. The captain, Peter Yungbluth, was not on board one night while his crew was below deck partying. It is believed that one of the crew came up on deck to relieve himself during the night, fell off the boat into the Magothy River and drowned. His cigarettes and shoes were still on deck when the rest of the crew discovered he was missing the next morning. His body was found floating next to the boat. (It is difficult to get back on board a skipjack from the water without assistance.) Capt. Stan Larrimore reportedly was in his bunk aboard Lady Katie nearby when he heard screaming but thought it was just the partying going on.

An ensuing lawsuit followed the boat, not the owners, and Ashford ended up giving Anna McGarvey to the state of Maryland in 1985. The ice breaker Big Lou towed her to Smith Island. She was used in the Department of Natural Resources' oyster propagation program until 1988, during which time she hosted Governor Harry Hughes as he declared the skipjack to be the official state boat of Maryland.

Anna McGarvey was kept on display at the Tawes Museum at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield for more than ten years. The lawsuit settled, and still owned by the state, funds were appropriated to rebuild the now deteriorating boat but kept getting diverted. She finally was donated to the Chesapeake Exploration Center (now Chesapeake Heritage & Visitor Center) on Kent Island in 1999.

Harro Oberink of Chestertown spent eight months restoring her, and she was installed as a land exhibit beside the water at the Center. A wooden boat on land is as subject to deterioration from the elements as a boat in water, though. By 2006, her rotting mast was removed and a new one sought, the first major component needing replacement since restoration. She sat there on land for 16 years.

Whitelock & Han Em Harv
Stoney Whitelock & Han Em Harv
by Daniel Benton 2022

In 2015, she was purchased by Joe Laber and brought down the Bay to Cambridge, where she sank while tied up at the county office building bulkhead. Refloated and hauled out, she finally was set up on land at the Ruark Boatworks bulkhead, next to F. C. Lewis Jr., which was there being restored.

Work was due to begin in April 2016. At the time, Laber said, "She's in fair condition being that she's been on land for at least twenty years. She needs a new bottom and some small repairs." He planned to work on her with his father and get her back in the water by summer and finished in time for the races. "After that I'm puttin' her back dredging."

Inevitably, circumstances change, time flies, money gets short. Whatever the reasons, more than three years later, she was still sitting there, and Stoney Whitelock bought her in 2019. He put enough plywood on her sides to get her back in the water and down to Deal Island, where he spent two and a half years restoring her.  Late in 2019, he had the restored hull back in the water and floated down to Crisfield for fiberglassing. The rest of the boat was finished in time to race at Deal Island in 2021, where she came in third. Stoney renamed her "Han Em Harv" after his grandchildren, Hanna, Emily and Harvey. She now sails out of Deal Island as a pleasure craft and takes out sailing parties.

Please help keep this information up to date by submitting news or corrected facts about any of these boats and letting us know of skipjacks not yet included on this site.