Curlew III


Updated 23 June 2024

Built as a recreational vessel, Curlew III originally was named Belle Amie and is a privately owned dredge boat. She has had several owners in recent years who dredged with her first out of Cambridge and then from Deal Island, most recently strictly as a power boat, with her mast removed. A previous owner replaced her old winders with new hydraulic ones and fiberglassed her top to bottom.

Curlew III, 23 August 2015

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Curlew III was built in 1964 by James B. "Mr. Jim" Richardson in Cambridge, Maryland. She originally was a three-sail bateau, built as a recreational vessel with the name Belle Amie. She had an inboard Atomic 4 marine engine. Mr. Jim carved her trailboards.

By 2003, records show her being owned by John H. Armstrong, but it is unknown if he was her original owner or what her history was before then. Armstrong would travel with her down to Deal Island from her hailing port of Menemsha, Massachusetts, on Martha's Vineyard. According to John Thomas Rafter, Armstrong became sick and died, and a friend was looking after the boat at Deal Island. When her pumps failed, she sank at Scott's Cove Marina. She was pulled out and sat there on land for years. Her name by that time had become Curlew III, but its origin is unknown.

In 2013, Rafter was working with Stoney Whitelock helping to restore Skipjack Kathryn at the marina and had been admiring the boat for a couple years, when he saw her dragged over to the burn pile, soon to be destroyed. He made a deal with Stoney to do some work for him if Stoney would store the boat at his place. Rafter planned to keep her as a recreational vessel and worked on her for a couple years, but then moved to the western shore and could no longer restore her. He finally sold her in 2015 to Joe Laber from Cambridge.

Laber converted her to a one-masted skipjack rig, traded her old sails to Phil Todd for the cabin from Fortune, bought Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester's old winders for $200, fiberglassed the hull and put her to work dredging that year.

A year later, in 2016, Joe sold her to Phil Todd, who worked her for a year then sold her yet again, in February 2017, to Philip Holland. Holland finished out that season with the winders that were on her but then installed hydraulic winders and worked her out of Deal Island for four years. He had her fiberglassed top to bottom.

But Curlew III always was meant to be a stepping-stone boat for Holland until he could buy one of the original skipjacks. He got his wish in November 2022.

Holland worked Curlew III the first three days of the 2022–23 season, but then sold her to Chris Diforte of Virginia, so Holland could buy Skipjack Lady Katie. He now also owns Hilda M. Willing. Diforte finished the season with Curlew III, which was then working out of Deal Island with Shane Abbott as captain.

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