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Historic skipjack capsizes in race near Cambridge

A century-old skipjack oyster boat capsized during a race on the Choptank River near Cambridge on Saturday, throwing 10 people into the water and sending one of its owners to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder.

The 42-foot boat, Ida May, was leading the race and closing in on the finish line when it was caught in a strong gust of wind as it was turning and was knocked over, according to Mary Sue Gladden, the wife of co-owner Gordon Gladden.

"They're large and they're heavy and they have a flat bottom," Gladden said. "If they tip on one side, they'll go right on over."

Gordon Gladden had his shoulder reset at the hospital and was released, his wife said.

The accident happened shortly before noon Saturday and the crew were still working out how to get the boat right side up late in the afternoon, according to Department of Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson.

The annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race has been held since 1997. Another race has been held at Deal Island for more than half a century, and Ida May won that race this year.

The boat was built in 1906 in Virginia and has been in the Gladden family since 1954. At the turn of the 20th century, about 2,000 of the boats dredged the Chesapeake Bay for oysters but now only a handful remain and many of them are in poor condition.



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