Moondance is a 1966 Chesapeake Bay Deadrise. She is a 38 foot version of O’Neil Jones’ coveted 42 foot charter boat design, of which he became famous. These boats were built upside down in a small shed at the head of a large tidal drainage ditch (the birth canal) in Wingate, a small village in Dorchester County. Her bottom is cross-planked with Atlantic White cedar and has yellow pine chines and chine boards. They were then flipped right-side-up and the long tedious strip-planking of the hull-sides would commence.
To this day an “O’Neil Jones” boat will lift eyebrows and spirits of those of us in the know. The charter boat design that Mr. Jones developed became the ultimate Bay boat, laid out to take six fishing for the day, along with a skipper and mate. Their distinct wide open flare at the bow and carefully constructed V-grooved fir canopies became the signatures of an O’Neil Jones boat. They were a “cut-above” other Charter boats providing ample stable room for those aboard. They would “troll” like no other boat whether in the throws of a frenzied fish-break under a cloud of gulls or on an evening pass under the Bay Bridge in a summer’s ebbing tide.
Moondance currently spends much of her time cruising the Chester River.