Crabs of the Chesapeake


Think Chesapeake Bay and Annapolis and you think Naval Academy and crabs. And crabs it was that the YW team, currently covering the Annapolis Sailboat Show, ‘experienced’ last Friday night.

As guests of Morris Yachts, a family company from Maine and builders of a range of fine cruising yachts and dayboats, from the beautifully-built hi tech Morris 45 to the elegant 36 and 42 dayboats, we were taken to one of the area’s best known crab houses, Cantlers.

There is no pretence or artificial sophistication about Cantlers, you get more or less what you see, crabs. These crustaceous natives of the Chesapeake are landed by local crabbing boats on a jetty just below the crab house. From there some make their way to market and to other restaurants but the rest, alive and kicking, to Cantlers. You don’t get them fresher than this.

Here there are long paper-covered trestle tables, bench seats, buckets of cold beers and moutains of crabs, three or four per person. And after brief instruction in the art of dismantling and eating the crabs we were away, armed with wooden mallets, forks and fingers.

‘Don’t dress smartly’ was Morris’s advice and they were right. This is a messy but delicious business. This picture shows us in full flow, with YW’s David Pugh on the left, Publisher Simon Owen centre, Cuyler Morris centre right and myself on the far right. Cuyler had just returned from a year’s sabbatical cruise with his young family, from Maine, down the Eastern Seaboard to the Caribbean and back in one of the company’s 45s, Firefly (no relation), before taking over the running of the company from his father, Tom.