August 1st, 2022
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.
Up where the river widened we came across a gaggle of Optimist and Club 420’s 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. Don’t 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.
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 don’t 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.
I’m glad there’s 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 I’ve been fairly obsessed with 30-40 mile trips and it was good to get out on a shorter sight seeing trip with someone else.