Mr. Oxford Boat Yard

I hesitated before throwing a heavy line into the thin outstretched arms of the older fellow standing at the head of our slip. But he caught the line, wrapped it deftly around a cleat, and beckoned for the next one. This was our first visit to the quiet Chesapeake Bay town of Oxford, Maryland, and we had just met James Robert “Just call me Jimmy” Taylor, Oxford Boat Yard’s 95-year-old dockmaster
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
OxfordJimmy

I hesitated before throwing a heavy line into the thin outstretched arms of the older fellow standing at the head of our slip. But he caught the line, wrapped it deftly around a cleat, and beckoned for the next one. This was our first visit to the quiet Chesapeake Bay town of Oxford, Maryland, and we had just met James Robert “Just call me Jimmy” Taylor, Oxford Boat Yard’s 95-year-old dockmaster and living legend.

We soon learned that Jimmy began working at the boatyard in 1931 after moving from the family farm in Virginia. At a 95th-birthday party and crab feast, yard manager Braxton Strueber told a typical Jimmy story about watching him lift a 45-pound CQR from the deck of a hauled-out boat, toss it over his shoulder, and scramble down a ladder and across the gravel yard. He was 85 at the time.

Although he rarely shows such feats of strength nowadays, Jimmy’s conversations often come around to the theme of people helping people, out of kindness: He says, “If I see that someone needs a hand, I go over and help them. At the end they say, ‘Well, how can I pay you?’ And I tell them, ‘You just did. Your smile was my paycheck.’” Jennifer Goff and J. Holt

Click here to view a PDF of the story from the March issue.

Related

01b-Over-Loch-Scavig

Cruising Across the North Sea

Conventional wisdom says sleeping in the V-berth while offshore is a bad idea. It can be like a diabolical amusement ride that tosses a sailor to and fro, inducing stomach-churning weightlessness. And yet, here I am, nestled in the tilted corner created by my berth and the ...read more

GG17-SAONA47-DX0796

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

Here’s a riddle: What is less than 50ft long, has two hulls, three big cabins and four decks? Answer: The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47. In fact, it may even be five levels if you count the large engine rooms. This boat is a “space craft” in every sense of the word.DESIGN & ...read more

RichardBennettMIDNIGHT-RAMBLER3249x202

Storm Sails: Do you Need Them?

Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.It doesn’t help matters when we hear from seasoned sailors ...read more

IntheWater(1)

Boaters University Unveils Rescue Course

Boaters University has just announced its latest online course, Safety & Rescue at Sea, taught by Mario Vittone, whose name you might recognize from the pages of our sister publication, Soundings Magazine and his Lifelines blog.Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue ...read more

IMG_20170920_132819

How to: Installing New Electronics

I had been sailing my Tayana 42, Eclipse, for a few years without any installed electronics on board. I’d gone pretty far up and down the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts with paper charts, the Navionics app on my Android phone, a hand-bearing compass and the ship’s compass. ...read more

02-Douglas-Adkins---Coriolis---Orcas-Island-KevinLightPhoto

A Phoenix-like Concordia

Cutting a fine wake on the cobalt-blue waters of West Sound on Orcas Island, Coriolis sparkles like a diamond. Her lovely silhouette is offset by emerald forests that frame the ocean, within spitting distance of the border with Canada. Seen up close, this Concordia yawl is a ...read more

IMG_1051

The Latest Boat Trends from Dusseldorf

The world’s biggest boat and watersports show, held in Düsseldorf on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River each January, is the place to scope out emerging trends in the boat design and building.What would be the new trends for 2018 and beyond? Hint—sophisticated electronics figure ...read more