829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ghost Without Saying

Okay, when I came up with the title to this post, I originally was
not going to attach captions to these photos, but this boat deserves
commentary.  Ghost was purchased somewhere down south.  I'm
thinking Savannah-ish, an E-scow class racing hotbed in 
the mid to late 60's.  Not.  Hey, is that a Laser on the rack?

It looks way too placid there.  Certainly not comparable to
the rough and tumble nature of scow sailing on the local waters of
the Barnegat Bay, where you could smell motorboat exhaust,
cigarette smoke, and spilled cheap beer any given second of a
Saturday afternoon on the racecourse.  God, I miss that.
And I wasn't even old enough to drive a motorboat. 

Canvassed decking, varnished wooden floorboards,
wooden mainsheet and backstay cleats, spruce
mast and boom, and aluminum trim around the 
bilgeboard trunks.  Craftsmanship.  And check out
the handrails!  Take it from me, they felt great
on the backs of our legs.  And yes, I'm old enough.
BTW: is it a boom crutch or crotch?  In my lifetime,
the sailors surrounding me have used those two words 
at about a 1:1 ratio.  I can see both sides.  

At the Metedeconk main dock.  That was a Penguin 
tied up in front of Ghost.  The combination was about
as common as the shark and the remora.
At least in my family.  Just not attached.

But pretty damn close.

The good old days, when if you flipped (capsized),
your mast would float rather than getting stuck in the mud.
And every couple of years you had to sand and re-varnish 
your hull.  When the paint on your canvas deck started to
crack, that would need to be re-painted as well.  
Some charming nuances that only old wooden boats afforded.

Beating into a prevailing southeasterly.  Ghost seems to be in the 
middle of the pack, and the boat immediately to the left and 
farther to windward, as well as pointing higher and in better air,
is Runnie Colie sailing 'Calamity'.  Weird how the barber hauler on 
his jib seems to be way more outboard than his pointing would
 indicate.  But then at the same time, his main seemed to be 
trimmed down a bit tighter and the traveler a bit more inboard 
than some of the other boats.  Those may be facets of what makes
 a legend.  He will get to the weather mark first.  
He will get to keep the rooster.

As far as I'm concerned, this boat is the first finisher.
Geeze, there's that Penguin again.

The second E motion.  An inquiring mind wanted to know.
Bob bought the bare hull at a great discount and fitted her out
in the driveway.  Sometimes, his systems were better than Melges'.

He did the same with the final scow.  The class, by that time, had 
gotten so competitive, that unless you were placing week in and
week out, it was often hard to retain a steady crew.
The headache of that ultimately drove Bob out of the class in 1992.  

Normally, a crew of four is typical on an E scow, but
usually not necessary when Baydog was on the boards.


  1. Is that a Laser on the rack?

    I"m not even going to grace that question with an answer, except to point out that around here if I am rigging or derigging my Laser and some stranger approaches me to chat, the opening line is almost invariably, "Is that a Sunfish?"


  2. "Ghost Without Saying"? You have such a great gift! Not to mention photography and historiography.

  3. As a result of this post I started googling about Barnegat Bay racing and discovered that John Applegate of Lavallette YC was inducted into the Barnegat Bay Sailing Hall of Fame last year. Did/do you know him? He and his wife Patty (now deceased) were among the first to welcome me and my family to sailing in New Jersey.

    Apparently John won 17 BBYRA championships, in five different classes, including Moth, Jet 14, Laser, Sneakbox, and M Scows, a National Championship in the Jet 14 class, a North American championship in the M Scow Class and a National Championship in the E Scow class as crew for Dave Magno (also a guy who always seemed pleased to see me when I showed up at LYC with my Laser.)

    1. I don't know John, although I do know of him and his racing success. I do know Dave from way back racing M-scows and E's as well. You've got a lot of fondness for LYC. It would've been great if you had lived closer to the shore; you may have joined the club.

    2. I think LYC was the first place I took my son for an Optimist Regatta in the US, the first (and only) place he won an Optimist Regatta, and the first place I sailed a Laser regatta in the US. I did their Spring Laser Regatta for many years when I lived in NJ, mainly I think because it was early in the season before the Sunfish season started in the town where I lived. And the people there always made me feel welcome.

  4. as usual, I love seeing pictures and reading about the history your family has with sailing. so very cool, BD.

  5. Baydog,

    How are connected with this sailboat?

    1. Ghost was Bob's (Stepdad), which transformed into E motion, and Mom and Dad crewed for him before the big split. Repechage was Dad's, so two E scows in my family at once.

  6. Ahh...So what became of Ghost and Repechage? Are they still in the family (I apologize if this was discussed in a previous post)

    1. Ghost was re-incarnated into E motion, then the second and third E motions were built in '77 and '84. Bob finally hung up the hiking shorts with the third scow. Dad sailed Repechage from '73 until '79, until he got so disgusted with the motorboat traffic on the Barnegat Bay. For the last 25 years, he sailed his catboat on the Chesapeake. He did, however, enjoy sailing with us on the Barnegat.

    2. See added photos to this post.