July 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 90 F

Restoration of log canoe Flying Cloud wraps up

The Campbell’s Boatyard yard dog takes a break from watching over the restoration work on Flying Cloud’s spars at Campbell’s Batchelors Point location. (Courtesy Photo)

The 1932 sailing log canoe Flying Cloud’s restoration is nearing a close, despite the COVID-19 pandemic halting work at Campbell’s Boatyards in Oxford, Md. over the spring months.

The completion comes after the new Flying Cloud Log Canoe Preservation Trust met a $75,000 challenge grant from the Paul B. Prager family of St. Michaels, Md. this past December by raising more than $95,000 from others towards the restoration of the historic sailing log canoe. Trust are members Ned Hennighausen, Allan Noble, Hon. John C. North II, Capt. Kenneth Reightler, Alexa Seip, and Langley Shook.

Retired astronaut, U.S. Naval Academy’s Distinguished Chair in Space Science, and log canoe sailor Capt. Kenneth Reightler, Jr. was named skipper of the log canoe this past October.

Flying Cloud was built on Tilghman Island, Md. by the legendary boat builder John B. Harrison—who is also Reightler’s great grandfather—and is now recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. Flying Cloud races under the No. 22, and is the second-largest racing log canoe in existence today. Cloud measures less than a foot smaller than her sister ship Jay Dee—which was built by Harrison in 1931and requires as many as 18 crew to campaign her.

“The log canoe sailing season has been indefinitely postponed due to COVID,” said Trust President Ned Hennighausen. “Close to half of the fleet has entirely withdrawn from the 2020 season. The combination of the cost and complexity to get a canoe ready to race and an anticipated need for social distancing beyond the conclusion of the season can be disheartening.”

Hennighausen says Flying Cloud’s Trust is committed to assuring the safety of all participants and will not competitively sail in 2020 unless the Governor of Maryland eases restrictions and permits the activity. He says the Trust will complete the restoration of Flying Cloud this summer and intends to sea trial her with a reduced crew to ensure social distancing guidelines are met.

Hennighausen says the Trust will have a celebration when Cloud is relaunched, with the format of the event to be determined by the state of the pandemic.

The last time Flying Cloud raced was in 2016. During that racing season, she experienced multiple failures of key components. Additionally—and as with all log canoes—time and the stresses of competition have deteriorated the logs of the hull, despite ongoing maintenance.

“We’re also pleased to sponsor the new Prager Family Trophy, which will be awarded to the log canoe winning the most sanctioned races on the Miles River at the end of each sailing season,” says Hennighausen. “The Prager Family Trophy includes a unique sculpture of Flying Cloud, with the annual winners receiving a keeper trophy to commemorate their victories.”

During all races, Hennighausen says Cloud will fly a distinctive pennant of Navy blue and gold with a “Blue Peter” inset in honor of Paul Prager, a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. The pennant is based on an original design by Marc Castelli.

The Trust continues to accept donations in support of Flying Cloud’s endowment. Donations to the Flying Cloud Log Canoe Preservation Trust can be mailed to P.O. Box 130, Oxford, Md. 21654. For more information, please follow the Flying Cloud Log Canoe on Facebook and Instagram, or contact Ken Reightler at [email protected] or Ned Hennighausen at [email protected].

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