The Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park (AMM) is now offering sails on the historic skipjack Wilma Lee. Starting August 8th, 2020 at 3pm at City Dock, the AMM will offer a variety of excursions, including Heritage Tours, Sunset Cruises and Wednesday Night Race Watch Parties. A formal ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Gavin Buckley is planned for September 4th, 2020.
The AMM spent well over $100,000 and the better part of two years restoring the Wilma Lee to return her to the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. “If we didn’t save her as a Maritime Museum, who would?” stated Alice Estrada, President/CEO of the AMM. The AMM will further it’s mission by allowing theWilma Lee to serve as a tool to teach her visitors and program participants about Annapolis’ rich maritime history, oyster dredging and the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay.
For reservations and tickets please visit amaritime.org/wilmalee. The following ticketed public cruises are available:
Heritage Cruises: Experience Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay every week on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from 3 to 5 pm like never before on this guided heritage sail aboard the historic skipjack Wilma Lee. Learn about the city’s history and the ecology of the Bay while viewing landmarks like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Naval Academy. Tour guides will identify and share fun facts about native Chesapeake Bay wildlife during the cruise. Perfect for families and maritime enthusiasts. $35 Adults (18+), $15 Kids (7 – 17), Free Child (6 & under). Depart/return from Annapolis City Dock, harborside of Susan Campbell Park, Dock Street, Annapolis, MD.
Sunset Cruises: Join our crew every week on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from 6:15 to 8:15 pm for an extraordinary cruise on the Chesapeake Bay. Includes complimentary beverages (wine, beer, canned cocktails and soda). $60.00 per person (Friday & Saturday), $50.00 per person (Thursday & Sunday), 21 and older only. Depart/return from Annapolis City Dock, harborside of Susan Campbell Park, Dock Street, Annapolis, MD.
Wednesday Night Races (WNR) Watch Party: Join our crew every week on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for an extraordinary view of the races. The WNR tradition watch party aboard the Wilma Lee is a perfect opportunity to catch the races up close. We invite you to sit back and watch the fierce competition of one-design sailboat racing. Includes complimentary beverages (wine, beer, canned cocktails and soda). $50.00 per person, 21 and older only. Depart/return from the AMM’s Museum Campus in Eastport, 723 Second Street.
The following experiences can be requested to book:
Private Charters: Give your guests the unique experience of setting sail with us on the Wilma Lee, one of only a few remaining Chesapeake Bay Skipjacks. The Wilma Lee offers an authentic setting perfect for small weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, reunions, vow renewals, bachelor/bachelorette parties, cocktail parties, corporate team building, or just a casual cruise on the water. Clients will work with preferred caterer to select food/drink and use catering staff. Maximum capacity is 35 guests.
Education Cruises: Come experience what life was like as a crew member living on the water, become familiar with skipjack terminology and tools, and explore the water ways and tributaries around the Bay. Students will be actively engaged in conducting water quality testing, investigating Bay animals, maritime history, and STEM concepts, all while enjoying the beautiful Chesapeake Bay setting. Our Wilma Lee Education Program is available for school groups, scout troops, homeschool co-ops, and other youth groups (5th grade and older). Cost is $18/participant for 2 hours (35 person max, currently reduced to 20 people due to COVID-19 restrictions). Trips start Fall 2020.
The Wilma Lee is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. She was constructed in 1940 by boatbuilder Bronza Parks on Maryland’s shores to be one of many ships designed for oyster dredging. She dredged the Chesapeake Bay for 60 years. In June 2018, the vessel arrived at the docks of the Museum Campus to undergo restoration. More information regarding the boat’s history can be found at amaritime.org/museum/Wilma-lee/
The Wilma Lee is 47 feet on the deck, 16 feet at the beam, and almost 75 feet overall, including the bowsprit and the davit. She is sloop-rigged with a centerboard and displaced 20 tons. Her mast rises nearly 65 feet above the water line. She is a shallow draft boat, built with 2 1/2″ thick plank-on-frame construction. With the centerboard down, she draws around six feet of water and half that with the centerboard up. Her boom is almost 45 feet long, making for a sail area, including the jib, of over 1,700 square feet of canvas.