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Thread: Adventures in New Jersey

  1. #1
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    Default Adventures in New Jersey

    My wife’s parents changed apartments in New Jersey at the end of July, so we took my dad’s truck and utility trailer up to help them move. I haven’t been sailing yet this year since the arrival of my first child in April, so this seemed like a good opportunity to also bring my sailboat and explore new waters while I had free child care with the in-laws. Plus Steve, a friend of mine who helped me fiberglass my boat lives in the area. He built a Michalak Mayfly 14 and rides bikes crazy distances, so I figured he’d be up for a long day of sailing. I had envisioned a 40 mile trip down Barnegat Bay, but the weather wasn’t conducive on the day he had off. Instead, he suggested the protected Shrewsbury River just under Sandy Hook which turned into a fun sightseeing day.



    But first, I had to get two trailers to New Jersey. I used a pair of car ramps and a set of two and two blocks to pull the boat onto the utility trailer. I really wanted to weld a hitch receiver onto the utility trailer and double tow, but from my brief research I think it would only be legal through Maryland.



    Ready for the big adventure! I made a homemade wiring splitter so all four trailer lights work. I also bought a cheapish boat cover from Covercraft which is working well. The inside got pretty dirty from road grime after our trip to Cape Lookout last year so I figured this would help keep it clean. I was a bit worried it would flap itself apart at 70mph, but the straps do a good job of keeping everything tight. It does take a bit of time to get set up, but it also reduces rigging time since I can leave some stuff ready to go.



    Here’s our track for the day. We launched from Parkers Creek and tacked our way out against the current to a group of undeveloped islands in the Shrewsbury River. After eating a sandwich we rounded the islands and came back in on a run. It was a misty day and towards the end there wasn’t much wind. We did 13 miles with an average of about 3.5mph.



    Apparently in New Jersey you’ve got public, municipal, state, and federal boat ramps all with different fees and permits. I’m used to sticking $5 in a metal box nailed to a piling. Anyway, the ramp at Dominick F. Santelle Park is free but it doesn’t seem set up that well. Parking is fine, but there’s a large gap between the ramp and the floating dock so I’m not sure how you get the boat over to it without getting wet. Fortunately Steve figured it out while I parked the truck.



    Heading down Parkers Creek. I’ve never seen such spindly daymarks. I’m not sure if they’re private or if the Coast Guard puts them in, but I saw similar ones on other creeks.



    Eventually we tacked our way out under the Seven Bridges Road. It was misting pretty good which didn’t bother either of us, although I’m pretty sure that just cemented my in-laws belief that we're crazy.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 08-15-2022 at 10:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey



    Up where the river widened we came across a gaggle of Optimist and Club 420ís out racing from the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club.



    Even in the widest part of the river the waves were pretty tame. Spray came aboard a few times, but nothing major.



    More mist moved in and I could barely make out the bridge we passed.



    Cutting close to a sewage treatment plant. Donít want to fall in around here!



    After two hours we made it to a small beach on one of the islands for a bite to eat.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    There are Seagull fans hiding around here

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Hah, my wife has decreed I need a motor with me and I didn't think my electric trolling motor setup I've been working on was quite ready for prime time. Turns out, the Seagull wouldn't start and the trolling motor ended up working great.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    What a lovely day in a small boat on some lovely water. The Atlantic coast sure looks magical for little trailable sail and oar boats. Thanks for the write-up. It helps get me out into the shop when my little project gets bogged down in too much other shtuff to do instead.
    Dreaming of sailing in Iowa, building a Carnell Nutmeg.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Thanks for sharing.
    I once thought I was wrong, but I was wrong, I wasn't wrong.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    I lived in southern New Jersey for almost two years, with an apartment right on the water of one the many thousands of marshy back bays. And I didn't have a boat at the time (actually, that was before I knew anything at all, really, about small boats, and how capable they are of taking you on adventures). Arrgh!

    Oh, well. Thanks for posting!

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Thanks, Jeff. We need more posts about small adventures like these.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Great boat, story and pictures, thanks!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Thanks all for the comments!

    Neil, there really is a lot to explore on the East Coast. I've had the boat down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina a few times and I've spent quite a few enjoyable evenings in Google Earth daydreaming about new locations and working out mileage.

    Tom, what a missed opportunity! I bet you could spend a lifetime exploring all the little bays and cuts through the marsh. I'd like to eventually sail my way down to Cape May.



    Looking back from where we came.



    Looking over toward the town of Monmouth Beach.



    After setting off again we cut through the channel between Gunning and Sedge Islands. Along the way we saw a pod of dolphins in the distance. I donít know what they were doing, but one of them would hover half out of the water and another jumped completely clear. Eventually they made their way closer to us, probably 20′ away!



    After looking us over they steamed off.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey



    Iím glad thereís still a little bit of nature around in such a built up area.



    Heading downwind for the first time today. This is the town of Sea Bright, a pretty affluent place. Steve and I had a good conversation about whether or not people with 1000hp on the back of their boats have as much fun as we were having.



    Heading around more of the marshy islands.



    We cut across the river to nowhere in particular and eventually made it back to the bridge.



    Then a slow run back to the ramp. All in all it was a great day. Lately Iíve been fairly obsessed with 30-40 mile trips and it was good to get out on a shorter sight seeing trip with someone else.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    A few days later the weather looked like I might be able to do a 40 mile trip down Barnegat Bay with a side diversion through some marshy islands over to the inlet to see the lighthouse. Then I’d continue on down most of the length of LBI to a public ramp in the marsh above Great Bay. Due to light wind at the start, getting lost in the marshy islands, and relying on my father in law for transportation I decided to call it quits around 3:30pm and head for Leamings Marina as one of my bailout points. I did 29.2 miles in 9 hours 10 minutes with an average speed of 3.2 mph and a max of 7.3 mph.



    I launched at the Traders Cove municipal ramp right at the foot of the bridge to Mantoloking for the cool sum of $20. Just after I left two guys and a support boat set out on a swim. I wonder if they had to pay the launch fee.



    The wind was pretty light and I made 1-2 mph. The swimmers gradually splashed their way out of sight!



    Then the wind got even lighter and I drifted along at .5-1 mph.



    About halfway to the bridge to Seaside Heights I came across an abandoned house on Middle Sedge Island. In 2015 it was put up for sale for 6.5 million. I think it’d be a pretty cool place to live for about three days before the bugs, screeching seagulls, and bird poop got to be a bit much. Unfortunately it was damaged in Hurricane Sandy and it doesn't look like much has been done to it since.

    Last edited by The Jeff; 08-15-2022 at 10:03 AM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    You were right by Beaton’s where Sjogin lives.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Steve and I had a good conversation about whether or not people with 1000hp on the back of their boats have as much fun as we were having.
    They are not! I am morally sure of it.

    Great to see all that nature. I wonder what fraction of Garden State residents know those dolphins are right there, ready to show off for anyone with a small quiet boat. I personally would never have guessed!

    Thanks for the write-up!

    - James

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Steven, I was vaguely aware Sjogin was somewhere in the northern part of the Bay and even kept my eye out to see if I saw her, but I didn't realize Beaton's was 1/4 mile from where I launched.

    James, Steve was pretty surprised to see them too and he's done a lot of kayaking in the river. Apparently marine life has been making a comeback due to cleaner water and increasing food supply. I found an article that said three beluga whales were spotted in 2015 and even a humpback in 2020! That would be a cool sight to see.
    https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/featu...vers-more-fish



    Closer to the bridge the wind died down to a whisper so I started up my trolling motor. This is a new improvement I’ve been working on for a few months. With the recent addition of my son, my wife has insisted I take a motor with me. I’ve never felt great about my British Seagull so I’ve been working on building a more environmentally friendly motor setup.



    The control box has an ammeter, volt meter, usb charger, and speed control knob within easy reach. I also cut the head off the trolling motor and shortened the shaft so it’s waterproof and not as in the way. The motor bracket needs some improvement, but overall I’m pretty happy with it. Speed 3 added about 2 mph to the boat speed. I've had an idea of adding a parallel motion linkage to the tiller so I can kick up the rudder and steer with the motor, but locking the motor in forward and steering with the rudder worked well. That idea might be an unnecessary complication for the little I used it.



    Once I got through the bridge the wind finally shifted easterly and I had some great sailing at 4.5-5.5 mph for nearly two hours. When I’m done with the trolling motor I turn it 90ļ sideways and lift it straight up. The shaft stays out of the way of the boom and the motor clears the water.



    I set my sights on the decidedly rectangular Barnegat Lighthouse off on the horizon and started dodging boat wakes from the scores of motor boats heading over to beaches on Barnegat Peninsula. I saw a cigarette boat roaring up and down the bay with a wall of spray that must have been at least 5 boat lengths long.



    From poking around on Google Earth I found a channel through Sedge Island (what is it with NJ and naming everything Sedge Island?!) that I thought would be fun to explore.



    Unfortunately the tide and wind were against me and I got stuck in shallow water before I had a chance to tack back up to the channel. So I got out, pulled the boat into deeper water, and took off with the help of the motor.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 08-15-2022 at 10:03 AM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    (what is it
    with NJ and naming everything Sedge Island?
    Sedge Island is what it is, not the name of the island, per se. It is a sedge island and noted as such on charts by the National Ocean Service ( branch of NOAA that makes charts). You'll find sedge islands on many charts of many places.

    Nice thread! Please carry on!

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Kevin, ah that makes a little more sense. I've never noticed the word "sedge" in my little area of the Chesapeake and looking through the charts islands are either named, or just labeled "marsh."



    There’s enough deep water if you know where to go. There were a handful of fishing boats back here too.



    Working my way through the maze of marsh grass and shallow areas.



    Hard to make out but there was a great egret on the point there. He didn’t seem too bothered by me as I made a 180 around him.



    Finally out of the marsh and sandbars and I cut across Barnegat Inlet to get a picture of the lighthouse. Just my luck, they’ve got it covered in scaffolding! I guess I’ll just have to come back and try again someday.



    Heading back towards the bay at 5 mph with a helping tide. Quite a few boats fishing through here and lots of wakes, but not nearly as crowded as Beaufort Inlet was last year on Labor Day weekend.



    Through the Double Creek Channel wing and wing.
    Last edited by The Jeff; 08-15-2022 at 10:03 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    I'm enjoying this too. The south shore of Long Island has similar barrier islands and bays. I sailed there for a few years in my Pennant 20, and again in my friend's 23' ketch. Both had keels, though the ketch was shallow. I also used a dory and a Melonseed over there occasionally. I love marsh sailing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Thanks for the report Jeff.
    I grew up on Barnegat Bay and spent much of my youth sailing fishing and clamming there where you sailed.
    I had heard that the lighthouse was being renovated.
    We never had an e on the end of Barnegat though.

    Bill

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    John, sailing through the marsh is a lot of fun. So much to see and the shallow water keeps you on your toes. I'm really enjoying the trolling motor setup, it moves the boat at rowing speed and didn't seem to scare the wildlife off too much.

    Bill, I don't know how many charts or things I've read on the area and it never occurred to me to check the spelling. I did wonder why it was pronounced Barnegat but had the E on the end. I was in the area for Hurricane Sandy to help do damage assessment with the power company and I think one of the handouts had it misspelled and I've been getting it wrong ever since.



    ------------



    Passing an oyster farm. I've done some metalwork for a local farm and it's cool seeing how other farmers do things.



    My plan was to continue 17 miles south to Great Bay where Iíd haul out at a public boat ramp, but it was getting late. I figured itíd be 6:30 or 7 before I made it so I decided to call it quits since I was relying on my father in law to pick me up with the truck and trailer. I checked my list of bailout points and chose Leamings Marina as the closest. I set out on a run and had a great half hour surfing the building waves at 6-7 mph. Someday when we have self driving cars I'll just text my car and it'll come and get me!



    Just outside the entrance I dropped the sails and started the trolling motor. Speed 5 pushed me nearly 3.5 mph with 180 watts. At some point I want to do some experiments with the stock propeller vs a 10x6 model airplane prop.



    One of the downfalls of looking for boat ramps on Google Earth is they might be private! It turns out this ramp isnít actually connected with Leamings Marina, but the owner does have a key to open it for... you guessed it... $20.

    So that was my trip to New Jersey and I've got some ideas for the next time we go up. I'd like to sail my way down to Cape May, explore the Navesink River, maybe get out around Sandy Hook. A picture with the Statue of Liberty would be pretty cool, but I'd need to do a lot more research on that area.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    I've visited Sandy Hook by car, and sailed past. It looks interesting for boating.
    The boat traffic around lower Manhattan is impressive, lots of cross chop caused by big boat wakes.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Adventures in New Jersey

    Thanks for posting--neat to see some small boat adventures on the Jersey coast.

    Anything you're thinking of changing/adding to your boat now that you've been at this a while?

    Tom
    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

    www.tompamperin.com

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