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Barnegat Bay Sneakbox--Its Racing History, The (Pub. No. 5576)

by Orton G. Dale

Ordinarily one thinks of evolution or the development of a type as taking a long time, if not ages. However, in the case of the 20-foot Barnegat Racing Sneak Box many men are still living and sailing racing craft who saw its rise and decline. Following step by step the record of advance through the various stages, from the original gunning box to the final model as sailed at present, is one of the instructive studies of small sailboats. Sneak boxes were introduced on Barnegat Bay probably about ninety years ago. Their principal use was for gunning and fishing. They were called Sneak Boxes because, due to their slight projection above water and easy lines, they could be quietly rowed or pushed up to the game. By covering it with meadow grass or branches the box was easily made into a good portable screen or blind. Quoting from " Four Months in a Sneak Box " by Nathaniel H. Bishop, published in 1879, we have given the origin of the Sneak Box: "With the assistance of Mr. William Errickson of Barnegat and Dr. William P. Haywood of West Creek, Ocean County, New Jersey, I have been able to rescue from oblivion and bring to the light of day a correct history of the Barnegat sneak-box. Captain Hazelton Seaman of West Creek Village, New Jersey, a boat builder and an expert shooter of wild-fowl about the year 1836, conceived the idea of constructing for his own use a low-decked boat, or gunning punt, in which, when its deck was covered with sedge, he could secrete himself from the wild-fowl while gunning in Barnegat and Little Egg Harbor bays. Mr. Seaman named the result of his first effort the "Devil's Coffin" the bay-men gave her the sobriquet of "sneak-box" and this name she has retained to the present day." There is a print (dated about 1870) that shows old Bond's Hotel, formerly located on a bit of beach four miles south of Beach Haven, New Jersey. In the foreground there are two boats tied up to the shore. Both of these are types that existed about fifty years ago on Barnegat Bay. The more interesting one is the picture of a so-called "Barnegat Bay Gunning Box." The shallow waters required that they draw but little water. With the centreboard up boxes could be sailed in a few inches, and with board down they took less than 2 feet. In winter when used for gunning, with the bay partially frozen over, no boat surpasses them for efficiency and ease of handling. They are rowed in the open water stretches, and hauled up on the frozen sections with long sharp boat hooks. Two battens along the bottom of the hull serve as runners when travelling on the ice. These runners are often metal shod, so that the boats are most successfully used for travelling on the ice either under sail or by pushing with the pike poles. They were built in barns, backyards, and even in bedrooms by hundreds of fishermen and amateurs residing on the coast of New Jersey from Cape May to Sandy Hook. Few of the boat builders in the early days troubled themselves with building such small class boats. It is one of the interesting phases of boat developments that the early types, although built by men living 100 miles apart, were so similar in design. The length was usually 12 to 14 feet and beam 4 feet, 6 inches to an extreme of 5 feet. The under bows were full, and the deck close to the bow was flat. The greatest freeboard was about 7 inches; the overhang of the bow about 1 foot; the stern transoms flat and plumb. On the boats used around Barnegat Inlet the rudders were pintle hung, equipped with yokes and tiller lines. Sometimes instead of the yokes and lines a long tiller was used.

36 pages, 2 plate(s)

How to Make a Race Starting Clock (Pub. No. 7721)

by Jack Ryan

The problem of providing a good readable starting clock is of major concern to regatta committees. Often enough a local racing group has to borrow a clock from some neighboring community, unaware of the fact that construction of such equipment is fairly simple and that it is a decided convenience to have one locally. While it is possible to build a satisfactory starting clock that is operated by a phonograph motor or other mechanical device, ranking officials in the two national inboard and outboard boating associations are uniform in their agreement that a simple, nianually operated clock is best. The reasons for this opinion, based on racing events conducted over a period of many years, are that a clock must stand much weather abuse which is not particularly helpful to a mechanical drive, and the “works” have a habit of going temperamental at the crucial moment.

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