Along the Delaware these boats are much used for rowing and sailing generally, gunning and fishing, but especially for reedbird shooting in the marshes below Philadelphia. The flat floor allows them to be poled far up on the marshes where there is more mud than water, and they are often propelled by a long pole with three prongs on the lower end, for poling on muddy bottoms. There is no fixed thwart, but a movable box is used, so that the gunner may sit in the fore end and his assistant may use the pole in the after end; the latter may sit forward and row while the gunner occupies the after seat; or the boat may be backed down by the oarsman in the after seat, the gunner sitting on the box in the bow. Both ends of the boat are exactly alike, the only difference being in the seat, rowlocks and coaming.

The dimensions are: Length, 15 ft.; beam, 3 ft. 10 in.; depth, 13 in.; sheer, 8 in. The stem and stern are sided 1-1/2 in., keel sided 6 in. amidships and moulded 1 in.; planking, 3/8 in.; timbers,3/4 in.x5/16 in.; deck, 3/8 in.; flooring, 1/2 in.

Table of Offsets - Delaware River Ducker
StationsDeck HeightHalf-Breadths
Deck12 in.9 in.6 in.3 in.
121202............ ....
2184107661 4216
315218216615 1275
41352221520174 13
X132323216194 153
61352221520174 13
715218216615 1275
8184107661 4216
921202............ ....
The stations are spaced 2 ft. apart, measuring each way
from midship section, and the waterlines are 3 in. apart.

Along the bottom of keel are two wooden runners, A A, 3/4x5/8 in. and shod with half-round iron. It will be noticed that the stem and stern each project the same distance below the planking, and the runners shown by dotted lines in the breadth plan project forward of the stem and aft of the stern, as at A A, B B. The floor boards are screwed to two battens, which are on top of them, so as to allow the boards to lie close to the bottom of the boat. They form one piece only, that may be easily lifted out. The brass rowlocks are accurately turned and fitted, with long shanks, so as to be nearly noiseless. The side decks are supported by three iron knees on each side.

The ducker carries one boom and gaff sail; the usual area for a boat of this size being 112sq. ft., the racing rig running up to 150sq. ft. The smaller sail would have 15 ft. on foot, 7 ft. 6 in. luff, 16 ft. 6 in. leech, and 7 ft. 6 in. head, the mast being stepped 2 ft. from stem.


The Delaware River in the vicinity of Philadelphia is the home of three special classes of sailing boats, the hiker, the tuckup and the ducker, all three being peculiar to the locality and used so far as we know on no other waters than the middle Delaware and lower Schuylkill. All are cat rigged, but differ in size, the hiker being the largest, a small half open catboat, with about 4 ft. 8 in. beam for 15 ft. length, same proportion for larger sizes; the tuckup being a few inches narrower and not quite so deep, both with square sterns, while the ducker is a double-ended shooting skiff, also fitted for sailing. The plans show a very good example of the present fourth class tuckup, the Priscilla, built in 1887 for Mr. Edward Stanley, of Bridgeport, Pa., by James Wignall, of Philadelphia. The lines were carefully plotted from offsets taken by Mr. E. A. Leopold, of Norristown, Pa., the boat being enrolled in the Montgomery Sailing Club of that place and sailing in all the races. The peculiar name "tuckup" is derived from the fact that in building the flat keel is not carried out straight from the stem to sternpost, along the finely dotted line B, as would be the case in most catboats of any size, but it turns or "tucks" up, in builder's parlance, to the height of the waterline, as in the Delta, "Forest and Stream" cruiser, and the sneakbox; a separate scag being added below the keel, The word came into general use from the construction and is now applied solely to such a boat as is here shown.

The two boats here described, Priscilla and Igidious, are owned on the Schuylkill about fifteen miles from Philadelphia, and sail in the races, but the home of the craft is in the Kensington district of Philadelphia, near the famous Cramp's shipyard. Here there are several long wharves, lined on each side with rows of two-story boat houses, twenty to thirty in a row. In these houses are stored hundred of duckers and tuckups, while the upper story of each is fitted up more or less comfortably for the use of the crews; gunning, fishing and camping outfits, with sails and gear, being kept there. On Sundays in particular the wharves and houses are crowded, the boats are off for short cruises up or down the river, or races are sailed between the recognized cracks, handled by old and skillful captains and trained crews. The following tables give very fully the details of the boats:

Dimensions and Elements of Tuckups.
						Priscilla.		Igidious.
Length over all					15 02	 		15 04-1/2
l.w.l						14 11			....
Beam, extreme					 4 03-3/4	 	 4 05-5/8
l.w.l.						 3 07	 		 3 08
Draft, bow					 3			....
 stern					  	10	  		....
Depth, amidship					 1 03-1/4	 	 1 04-3/8
Sheer, bow					    6			    7-3/4
 	 stern					    6			    5-1/4
Displacement to l.w.l., lbs			716			....
    to l in. level line, lbs			760 			....
    per inch immersion, lbs. 			175			....
Area l.w. plane, sq. ft				43 52     		....
lateral plane					 8 00			....
centerboard					 2 05 			....
rudder                 		  		 2 07			....
Total						13 02			....

C.L.R. abaft fore end l.w.l. with board.	 9 00			....
C.E. abaft fore end l.w.l. 			 8 27			....
Station 0 to mast center			 1 00			 1 00
 slot in keel(fore)				 4 09			 5 08
 slot in keel(aft)				 6 04	 		 7 04
 point of coaming				 3 04			 3 04
 fore thwart					 6 02			....
	       after thwart			 9 03			....
Mast, deck to truck				15 00			15 00
	diameter at deck			    3-1/4		....
	            truck			    1-3/4		    -3/4
Boom						18 06			17 00
	diameter				    1-7/8		....
Gaff						10 00			10 00
	diameter				    1-1/4
Bowsprit, outboard				11 11			 2 06
Centerboard								19x38
Mainsail,	foot				18 00			16 06
		luff				11 08			10 00
		head				 9 04			 9 06
	      leech				20 10			20 00
	      tack to peak			19 10			19 00
	      clew to thwart			20 02			18 06
Area, sq. ft.					198

Priscilla has a keel sided 5-1/2 in. at rabbet, 6-1/2 in. inside. 1 in. thick, stem and sternpost sided 1 in., transom 7/8 in. thick, ribs 1x3/8 in., spaced 9 in., nails (copper riveted over burrs) spaced 3 in. Planking, lapstrake, 3/8 in., deck 1/2 in., centerboard 3/4 in. oak, coaming 3/8 in. oak, 3-1/2 in. high at point, 3/4 in. at midships and 5/8 in. at stern. Round of deck, 1-1/2 in. Wearing strips, A A, oak, 5/8 in.x7/16 in., spaced 6 in. apart. Thwarts 7 in. wide, 10 in. above bottom of keel; trunk 11 in. high.

Ingidious is 3 ft. 2-1/2 in. wide across stern, with skag 3 ft. 4 in. long and 9-1/2 in. deep; coaming 4-1/2 in. high at point, 1 in. from midships to stern. Keel 7-3/4 in. extreme width; round of deck, 1-1/4in,; mast step of iron, braced with two rods with turbuckles. Ribs and fastenings as in Priscilla. Planking 3/8 in.

The boats are all lapstrake, very carefully built and copper-fastened, and are decked as shown, with about 7-1/2 in. waterways, the well extending to the transom. The board is of the dagger pattern, often being much larger than shown, and the rudder is of the familiar barn door pattern, of great length, with tiller to match. The boards are always of wood, but at Norristown steel plates have lately been introduced, an innovation not approved of by the Philadelphia experts. Five metal boards of 50lbs. down, one a brass board, are now in use at Norristown. The sailing rules on the Delaware allow 4 ft. 6 in. beam for a 15 ft. boat with five men all told, while the sail is limited to 56 linear feet of bolt rope when new, giving about 180 ft. area. This will give 15 ft. on foot, 13 ft. luff, 8 ft. head, and 21 ft. leech. In the M. S. C. this rule is not used, the boats being classed together with a penalty for excess of sail area over that allowed. The limit is 165 ft. for tuckups, 110 ft. for duckers and 80 ft. for canoes and small boats, the tuckups allowing the others five minutes over a five mile course. Any boat may increase her sail by allowing 2 seconds per foot per mile, and allowances are figured at the start, so that the first boat home wins. Five men are allowed to the tuckups and two for the duckers, but thus far a crew of three seems to be the best for the former.

Table of Offsets - Tuckup Priscilla.
DeckRabbetDeck12 in.8 in.6 in.4 in. 2 in.Rabbet
01  92....04 04....................
11  751476 532261606 04
21  62031  12 97715642107
31  52....1  53 1  231129266 3714
41  44....1  84 1  611  31  1796 617
51  36....1  105 1  91  621  42 1  178122
61  32....2       1  1071  841  65 1  331023
71  32....2  07 2  01  971  81  46 11224
81  33....2  13 2  541  1041  84 1  5211624
91  35....2  13 2  041  1021  83 1  4710724
101  4....2  07 1  1171  921  72 1  339123
111  45....2  02 1  1051  721  46 1  046521
121  55021  113 1  841  41  185 4216
131  66141  97 1  541168245 1?12
141  84 1  811  176331 07....07
151  9381  56 5404............04

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