Friday, February 25, 2011

The Russell

Russell 58, 2011

It’s been a busy week, so I’ll close with a few quiet scenes of the working boat Russell.

I’ve been photographing the Russell since the late 1960s. I don’t know who owns her or why, to address the contradiction in her name, a boat is even named for a man in the first place. Virginians can be funny about mixing men’s and women’s names. In the hoity-toity set it’s common for sons and daughters to be given the names of distinguished ancestors without regard to gender. So we have men named Beverly and women named Douglas. I’ve known men named Beverly and women named Douglas and Bruce. But boats are traditionally looked upon as being feminine, and therefore have feminine names. I’ve never known a woman named Russell.

Russell 56, 2011

In any event, Russell has been a fixture at Lynnhaven Inlet since the 1960s, where I first photographed her, and probably long before that. She gets hauled out and spruced up every year or so. Here she was last year this time just after having her hull cleaned and painted.

Some readers may recall that last year I wrote another one of these old boats, the York Spit. Boats like Russell and York Spit are special to me not only because of their elegant and practical lines, but because they are a connection to a way of life that fewer pursue these days and that those who do pursue in boats made of fiberglass. Practical, but not much romance.

Russell 46, 2011


  1. Lovely shots of the Russell! A fine boat. Have a good weekend!

  2. I'm a woman named Russell...