Tradition, Speed and Grace: The Log Canoes of John C. North II


For many on the Mid-Shore, it’s not hard to remember the moment they first saw a Chesapeake Bay log canoe. These majestical floating museums of Bay history, with their simple design lines and overwhelming white blankets of sails, is a remarkable sight on a summer day.

Once hooked, most devotees can never seem to get enough of the images, history, racing, and cultural influence that come with this fleet of remaining log canoes on the Bay.  So it will be a great relief for them to know that Judge John North has just completed a masterful documentation of these unique qualities in the release of Tradition, Speed, and Grace: Chesapeake Bay Sailing Log Canoes, published by the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

With the help of the CBMM historian Pete Lesher, photographer and artist Marc Castelli, and the encouragement of friends like Alexa and Tom Seip, Judge North has pulled together a classic summary of the log canoe’s role in Mid-Shore history and current life on the Chesapeake Bay.

The Spy jumped at the chance to talk to Judge North on this remarkable project. In his interview, which is also essential oral history, we focus on the four log canoes that are a special part of the North Family; Island Bird, Island Blossom, Jay Dee, and Persistence.

This video is approximately twenty-two minutes in length. The sale proceeds are to be donated to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.  The book is available for purchase at the CBMM store, the Trippe Gallery in Easton, or one can contact CBMM Guest Services Manager Sara McCafferty at to arrange a copy to be shipped.

About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. A history all who are fortunate enough to see these log canoes will enjoy! Beautifully done!

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