Delaware Duckers

Two duckers, one traditionally built the other glued ply
Photo: Andy Slavinskas

Contemporaneous with the melonseed, the sneakbox, the railbird skiff, and the South Jersey Beach Skiff was the Delaware Ducker. Chapelle believed that she was a development on the Adirondack Guide Boat and the decked sailing canoe, since she is narrow and double ended, but she is a more substantial boat than either.Smaller and lighter than the melonseed or the sneakbox, she is light enough to be worked in the marshes but seaworthy enough for rough water. She is decked fore, aft, and fairly narrow washboards. For certain, she evolved from the earlier racer, called the double-ender , which was more substantial and carried more sail. The two duckers pictured belonged to Pete Peters, named THOMAS EAKINS, and to Garry Holmes. Thomas Eakins, with TE on her sail is glued lap plywood and the product of a chapter building project, while the white and green boat is of lapstreak cedar planking and slightly more dainty. They are a thrill to sail, fast and responsive, but require a certain skill from the helmsman, especially when they dip their boom in the water. One day that happened to me, and I became wet.

The ducker is subject of a famous Thomas Eakins painting Sailing which hangs in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The boat is sprit rig and carries two crew.