829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Friday, July 22, 2011

Low Key NJ Sailing Club II

I happened to be driving down rt. 31 today, coming home from
camp pick-up in the Poconos, when I saw a sign for Spruce Run
State Park and Recreation Area.  I immediately thought of a sail-
blogger with whom I am familiar, who said he used to sail Sunfish 
and Lasers there a few years back.  There was no clubhouse, no 
trophy room, no carriage house, nobody walking around in navy 
blazers and white slacks, no clay tennis courts.  Just a shed that 
housed all the necessary items to hold races and functions that a 
group of fun-seeking sailors would need.  No dining room 
minimum, no dress code, no dockmaster, no transient slip fees.  
Just  five bucks to enter the park and a ramp fee if you need to 
roll your boat into the water.  Granted, the annual dues are a bit 
steep at more than double those of my club, but they're still a 
bargain and who's to judge what price to pay for happiness?  

I had windsurfed there a few times in the early nineties, although
the wind never managed to blow hard enough to get me planing.
I thought it was a nice place nevertheless, and agreed that to sail
a boat there could be an enjoyable and satisfying way to spend the 
day.  Today, however, I felt as though I was treading on hallowed
ground.  After reading about the racing, the pizza and beer
get-togethers following the races, and the mystery Sunfish sailor guy
 who showed up one day, I felt as if I could have fit right in.
The mystery guy, I instantly realized, was an old friend and
skipper of mine from the mid seventies.  This blogger had struck 
so many chords of mine in so few words that I felt a natural
connection to him, one that to this day draws me to him and his 
site several times a day.  Without getting too mushy, his was 
without a doubt the blog that convinced me to jump into the
 blogosphere head first and not look back.  At least not too often.  

This scene is one that the blogger has probably seen at least a
hundred times.  On the hottest day of the year, I was happy to
feel a decent breeze coming out of the West with this little cabin 
sloop heeling back and forth with the puffs.  I felt the blogger 
behind me, rolling his Laser dolly down the poured concrete ramp.

Just up the hill from Spruce Run, I couldn't resist snapping this
photo.  I wondered if my blogger ever saw this lonely Laser
sitting by the roadside, hoping that some optimistic up-and-coming
sailor would rescue her and dig the potting soil from her cockpit.
I've seen boats in worse shape.  At least the mast step is intact! 


  1. Geeze. They built a palatial new shed with fancy garage doors since I was there. These kids today don't know what it was really like in the good old days.

  2. Oh, and I never used the ramp. Lasers and Sunfish just launch off the beach by the shed.

  3. And the burgee could not be more suitable. You just don't want to get too complicated.

  4. both of those clubs are a steal! there are none really at that close to me anyway, but they are each several hundred dollars a year, some with initiation fees, some with minimum food expenses per month, yadda yadda yadda.

    I thought I had found one about 45 min to 1 hr away that had a good deal - you could avoid all fees by doing 8 hours of community service around the clubhouse... but I can't remember which one it was!

  5. The key here is: no clubhouse, just sailors wanting to have fun. As I've said before, grand yacht clubs have their place for sure, but these smaller clubs often make sailing and racing more accessible for everyday folks.

  6. Well said Baydog. That's exactly what Hunterdon Saling Club is all about.

    Which reminds me... I was racing my Laser down the Jersey shore one weekend at one of those swanky yacht clubs and I registered for the event as coming from Hunterdon SC. Anyway, somehow I won an award at the swanky YC, probably something obscure like "third old geezer who was born while Truman was president" and when they called me up to receive my award they announced, "And now all the way from South Carolina...."

    Sometimes YCs are oblivious to the SC scene almost under their noses!

  7. Maybe because their noses are turned up too high?