Hard-Working Craft

By Capt. Geoff Jones

Anne was built in Smithtown, Long Island, in 1884, by local townspeople as repayment to the grocer for debts incurred during hard times.

Captain Geoffrey Jones and scholar-waterman Stephen Jones were The Resident’s hosts aboard Anne, a 129-year-old working boat.  photo by Robert J. O'Shaughnessy

Captain Geoffrey Jones and scholar-waterman Stephen Jones were The Resident’s hosts aboard Anne, a 129-year-old working boat.
photo by Robert J. O’Shaughnessy

Originally Anne was a gaff-rigged centerboard sloop with no engine. She was used to carry deck cargo and looked like Nelly at Mystic Seaport, built in Smithtown seven years later.
In 1895 she was modified with a steam engine and she is, to our knowledge, the only vessel still in operation that was modernized by the addition of steam. But times change. In 1905 the steam engine was replaced by a 20-horsepower gasoline engine, thus beginning a long series of repowerings–she has had at least five different power plants since then. Anne is now powered by a six-cylinder, 200-horsepower, John Deere diesel.

The oysterman Anne was commissioned in 1884 and offered a fine vantage point for the Morgan’s re-launching in front of a massive crowd of well-wishers on land and sea. photo by Robert J. O'Shaughnessy

The oysterman Anne was commissioned in 1884 and offered a fine vantage point for the Morgan’s re-launching in front of a massive crowd of well-wishers on land and sea.
photo by Robert J. O’Shaughnessy

In 1922 the flat transom was replaced with the round fantail you see today to make her better suited for towing an oyster dredge, and as recently as 1955 Anne was lengthened four feet to lessen her draft. She’s now 48 feet long, with a beam of 16 feet, a draft of 3.5 feet, and 16 tons displacement. Her history is chronicled in the book, Working Thin Waters, by Stephen Jones, her present owner.