Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Smoke Rise

Lake Kinnelon, Smoke Rise - Kinnelon NJ - 1960

I wasn't there in 1960 but I did sail Sunfish regattas there in the 1990s.

Kinnelon is just up the road from Mountain Lakes in NJ where we lived from 1989-2007 and there was a healthy rivalry between the sailing clubs in the two towns. We used to have an inter-club Sunfish regatta for the two fleets in September every year. It was (and still is I believe) quaintly known as the Triangular Regatta because it originally included a third club who had dropped out of the event by the time I was involved.

Smoke Rise was also often the location for the Sailing Association of New Jersey Lakes Annual Junior Regatta which both my sons won in turn.

Smoke Rise was also the home of the 1969 U.S. National Sailfish Championship. Those boats in the photo are Sailfish I believe. Note the unusual light wind helming technique!

The picture was shamelessly ripped from The Smoke Rise and Kinnelon Blog.


Baydog said...

I've never seen so many sailfish in one place. Usually there were one or two intermingled with the Sunfish fleet, because the cockpitted cousins felt badly for the redheaded stepchild Sailfish (I should know, being a redheaded stepchild myself). It was the first sailboat I singlehanded, crying the whole time. My across the street neighbor James McNerney had one and he had a daggerboard-trunk dolly that he used to roll it down to the beach. An odd, somewhat uncomfortable boat, the decking was covered with scratchy non-skid (paint with sand in it) so you wouldn't slide off the boat when it heeled. And it was pretty much a given that you were gonna get wet when you sailed it. When our family got a Sunfish, It felt like the lap of luxury with a place to put your feet and even a little hook to feed the mainsheet through. Living large. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

Tillerman said...

The Sunfish came out in 1952 but it looks like the Sailfish fleet was still going strong at Smoke Rise in 1960. I wonder if this was a regular club race or some special Sailfish one design regatta. There was still the occasional Sailfish around in inland North Jersey in the 2000s. One of the kids in our sailing lessons had one.

Lake Kinnelon is one of those typical North Jersey small lakes - long and narrow, about 500ft wide at the point in the photo and less than a mile long, a couple of islands, various random rocks which could destroy your dagger board if you didn't know where they were - it is what it is and it is what we sailed there.

O Docker said...

You had to bring this up.

My first ever sailboat experience was on a Sailfish when I was about ten.

Three of us city folk were down the shore with our families one weekend and the bravest decided to rent one on - where else - Barnegat Bay.

That's right. On one Sailfish, three of us who knew nothing about sailing.

I think that was the day I learned that it's not good to swallow a lot of seawater.

And it would be another 25 years before I got on another sailboat.

Tillerman said...

What a great Throwback Thursday. I got my two of my favorite readers to write about their early sailing experiences. Priceless!

Dave in Assonet said...

: ) !

Rich Baumann said...

My last outing on a Sunfish was on Sunset Lake in Mt. Lakes (much smaller than the lake in Smoke Rise.) We set out with 4 guys and a case of beer and did not return with any beer. Yes, we all got wet.

Rich Baumann said...

excuse me, it was a Sailfish

Tillerman said...

Nice story Rich. No mention of what age you were, but I'm guessing under 21?

Tom Donlan said...

I learned to sail, sort of, on a plywood Sailfish circa 1960 on Noroton Bay, Conn. I recall a Westport Conn. regatta in which Sunfish and Sailfish classes each drew more than 25 boats, and both types of boats were required to have crew of 2. The wind was about like what the photo shows. And did you notice that the lead boats are "sailing" on opposite tacks on a tacking angle of less than 30 degrees? What fun! You can do anything on a Sailfish as long as there's no wind and no current.

Tillerman said...

Another great story, Tom. I had not realized how many American sailors of my generation (or thereabouts) started their sailing careers in Sailfish. I have to say that that picture is very typical of Sunfish or Sailfish sailing on NJ lakes. There are times when the wind is so light that the best strategy is just to point your boat in the approximate direction you want to go and wait.

The start/finish line at Smoke Rise (at least when I raced there) was usually from that dock just poking into the left of the picture to a buoy almost across the other side of the lake. Didn't really matter what the wind direction was. It might be a reaching start or it might be a beat. Whatever. It was what it was.

Christine B. Whittemore said...

Love this discussion! Thanks for shamelessly ripping and adding so much dimension to the Smoke Rise Regattas.

Tillerman said...

You are welcome Christine. Thanks for stopping by.

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