Hop Aboard Our Vessel
Designed after the classic New England Crosby Cat designed boats, the Selina II was built in 1926 at Sweets Shipyard in Greenport, NY as a family yacht for the Hirds of Deering Harbor on Shelter Island. At 41 feet 6 inches overall length, she is the largest of the surviving vintage catboats. Her 16-foot beam makes her incredibly roomy and stable, the ultimate in sailing comfort.
She is gaff-rigged, with a 48-foot mast and a 35-foot boom. On a normal sailing day, she carries about 1000 square feet of canvas, and our guests are treated to an authentic, old-fashioned sailing experience. Passengers can opt to participate and help raise the sail, or simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Her current sail was built in 2017 by Nathanial Wilson’s sail loft in Boothbay Harbor, ME.
In the early 1960 she passed to the Hird’s daughter Esther who, with her husband Bridg’s help, took care of Selina II until 2001.
In 1976, Selina II was among 90 U.S. ships invited to participate in the Parade of Operation Sail in New York Harbor on the July 4 Bicentennial celebration. Since then, she has been in the New York Harbor Festival in 1977; Boston’s 350th anniversary in 1980; the Norfolk, VA, Portfest in 1983; the Parade of Ships in celebration of the Constitution’s 200th anniversary in 1986; Albany’s Portfest in 1989; Columbus’s famous voyage parades in 1992; and OP Sail 2000 in New York and Boston.
In the fall of 1980, an extensive restoration effort was begun to keep the Selina II in sailing condition. Fifty-five new white oak ribs had to be fashioned, bent, and installed. Additional flooring timbers were required, and then a replacement of the cockpit and cabin interior, which had been removed to reveal the ribs. Except for some changes in the galley and storage areas, as well as accommodations for navigational and safety aids, the Selina II has been kept as true to her original design as possible, including a full 6-foot 2-inch headroom in the open saloon.
In 2001 she passed to the third generation. Capt Iris Robertson who became her steward and undertook a second restoration in preparation for making Selina II available as the premiere sailing charter boat in St Michaels MD.
In 2001-2002, another round of restoration took place in James Richardson’s boatyard in Lloyds, MD, under the direction of shipwright Tom Howell. An additional 15 ribs were replaced, 20 planks, her stem, sternpost, transom, half of her keelson and keel bolts, catwalks/deck, and a complete mast step fitting. Chain plates and dorade boxes were added, and the forepeak reconfigured to allow the addition of a forward hatch. A chain locker was added to the fo’c’sle, creating a berth for additional sleeping quarters.
Her ship’s complement has included children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of her original owners. After 75 years of plying the waters of Long Island, the Selina II came to her new home on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in 2001. She sails in and around the Miles River area of the Eastern Shore from her berth in St. Michaels, MD, offering Chesapeake Bay charters like day sails, romantic sunset champagne cruises, and specialties like engagements and elopements.
Raised on and around the Selina II, her current Coast Guard Licensed Captain, Iris Clarke, is a granddaughter of her original owners.