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Henry Stephens was a school teacher, not a boatbuilder, but he and his family built a skipjack. This was because their original skipjack, the America, out of Crisfield, Maryland, had been sunk by Hurricane Ginger. The America was a Chesapeake Bay Skipjack, one of hundreds of working sailboats that plied the Bay to haul in the then-abundant oysters. Today there are not many boats still sailing. Henry and his brothers sailed the boat home to Bogue Sound, North Carolina, where it provided many summers of challenging sailing in the Sound and on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Disheartened by the loss of the America, the brothers leave the area, but dream of plans for a new skipjack. It is then that Henry becomes a boatbuilder.

This is the story of how, with the help of his family, he builds the boat, how it is tailored to the Stephens Clan and how it gives such great pleasure, amid various misadventures, to the whole family. The two cover photographs show the America II, built with creativity, ingenuity, practicality, and thrift, and sailed for years with much love.



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