Updated 26 April 2024:
Fortune was built as a two-mast three-sail bateau, as a recreational vessel. She was acquired by a private owner in 2015 and converted into a single-mast skipjack. After participating in both 2015 skipjack races, she was sold to another private owner and worked as a dredge boat. She is now on land at a boatyard in Fishing Creek, Maryland, appearing to be in poor condition.

Fortune, 23 August 2015

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Fortune was built not as a skipjack but as a three-sail bateau in Little Ferry, New Jersey, by Lawrence W. Zeman in 1978. He used plans from the Smithsonian based on a Howard Chappelle design. Built as a pleasure boat, she was constructed with full two-inch mahogany side planking on oak frames, with a yellow pine herringbone bottom, and originally had a large cabin and inboard diesel engine. James B. "Mr. Jim" Richardson supervised the rigging at his boatyard in Cambridge, Maryland.

Lady Katie c. 1960s

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Campbell

Originally named Miss Fortune, she sailed as a yacht, traveling to Florida, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Ownership passed from Larry Zeman to Stephen A. Orlando of Longboat Key, Florida, then to Burgess Yerkes, also of Longboat Key.

In 2000, Miss Fortune was purchased by Jim Culver and Cheryl Campbell, who renamed her Fortune and brought her back up to good condition. We thank Campbell for providing much of this history of the boat. Culver and Campbell lived aboard Fortune, sailing between Annapolis, Maryland, and Key Largo, Florida, on a seasonal basis, operating the boat for charter in both locations.

In 2004, they took the boat back to Cambridge for repairs and ended up buying a home there. It became difficult for them to keep Fortune in good repair while on land and eventually sold the boat to Paul E. Becker. Becker also was unable to keep the boat in good shape, and she ended up at a boatyard near Baltimore, with Glen Roudebush of Bel Air listed by the Coast Guard as her owner.

In 2015, Capt. Phil Todd found her and returned Fortune once again to Cambridge, where he converted her to a traditional single-masted skipjack rig to put her to work dredging. He removed the big cabin, trading it for sails from Curlew III, and converted the living area to an oyster hold. He sailed her in both the Deal Island and Cambridge skipjack races that year.

He also owned Virginia W at the time and planned on dredging one boat out of Deal Island and the other out of Cambridge, but then sold Fortune that same year to Gibby Robinson. In 2016, we found Fortune dredging out of Cambridge, using a pushboat. But as of 2024, she had been on land at a boatyard in Fishing Creek for some time and appeared to be in poor condition.

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.