Location: Third Street at Eastern Avenue
At Site 11, find out why Annapolis is known as “America’s Sailing Capital.” With a fascinating vista of Back Creek through a forest of aluminum masts, you’ll see how the many world-renowned maritime related businesses in Eastport carry on the proud traditions established by shipwrights and ship’s chandlers during Colonial times.
Prestigious sailboat racing events have made Annapolis famous. But the real reason for Annapolis' reputation as "America's Sailing Capital" is the community of Eastport. There are more marine-related businesses here than anywhere else on the East Coast between Newport and Fort Lauderdale.
In the 1970s, the demand for waterfront property threatened tto replace the working boatyards and marine services with high-rise condos. In response, the City of Annapolis passed a zoning law to prortect and preserve maritime-related activities and businesses. Thanks to this law, Eastport continues to serve sailors and boaters just as it alwasy has.
Eastport has always been a maritime community.
Modern sailmakers use ultra high-tech materials like Mylar and Kevlar to produce sails that are exceptionally lightweight and strong.
Here, on the shore of Back Creek, this Site 11 celebrates the modern maritime businesses still active on the Eastport peninsula. Before this area was subdivided in 1868, the shoreline surrounding what is now Eastport was sparsely populated with small watermen’s homes, a few larger residential properties, and at least one boatyard. After the hurricane of 1933 blew out the sand spits that nearly choked the mouth of the creek, the Army Corps of Engineers dredged the entrance all the way from the mouth of the Severn River. This opened up Back Creek to larger boats and increased boat traffic.
Now, more than 13 marinas, large and small, operate along Back Creek. More than 2,000 boats dock in the city, with a large majority here on Back Creek.
Eastport enjoyed its highest employment during World War II when the boatyards had major military contracts. After the war, the larger boatyard properties were either sold or subdivided into smaller businesses. Zoning laws, at the time, allowed mixed-uses in the maritime district.
Non-marine uses began to encroach on the former boatyard sites. During the 1980s, the City of Annapolis adopted a comprehensive maritime zoning ordinance to protect and preserve the character of the waterfront and encourage maritime-related businesses to locate directly on waterfront properties. This ordinance spurred the recent growth of Eastport’s modern maritime industry. Today, hundreds of businesses in Eastport support the sailing and yachting industry of Annapolis.
Eastport’s historically great boatyards are an exquisite legacy. Initially, they served an area dependent upon waterborne commerce. Eastport’s growth was directly related to its vital location and proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Eastport boasts more maritime services than any other town on the East Coast between Newport and Fort Lauderdale. You can find anything you need to buy and commission a new boat and keep it afloat!
There are custom and production boat builders, new boat dealers, yacht brokerages, naval architects, engine mechanics, yacht carpenters and cabinet makers, fiberglas fabricators and marine welders, riggers and sailmakers, painters and finishers and navigation instrument technicians, just to name a few.
Bruce Farr, the internationally renowned yacht designer, chose the building across the street from Site 11 for his studio. Farr and his company designed most of the boats in the Whitbread Round-the-World Race as well as most of the boats in the Volvo Ocean Races. Design work is done here, and models of some of his famous boats are displayed in his offices.
With its rich maritime heritage, thriving maritime industry and popularity as an international racing site, Annapolis is justifiably known as “America’s Sailing Capital.