Row From Bay Head NJ to Ocean Gate NJ (the Barnegat Bay)
Saturday August 25th fourteen current and former Stuyvesant students and Frank
Cervi participated in a fifteen-mile (one-way) row from the Bay Head Yacht Club to
Curtis Bezault’s beach house in Ocean Gate NJ. While Barnegat Bay can get choppy
at times the row was rather smooth, with what little tide exists in the bay, and the
wind, aiding the rowers in both the departure and the return.
The two boats used, the Notorious G.I.G. and the Storm Queen, were brought to
Bay Head by trailer and were launched from the Bay Head Yacht Club, which had
generously extended us the free use of one of their winches. In charge of that was
an old friend of Curtis’ mother, Jean Etzel, an important member of the club and
enthusiast sailor. The gigs launched at approximately 11 a.m. with both boats under
sail in order to take advantage of an extremely favorable wind. After securing our
use of the winch Jean also followed the gigs in a chase boat, with both of Curtis’
parents aboard, to the halfway point in order to help us work out the kinks with
the Notorious’ sail, which was oversized. Joann Omar, Curtis’ mother reefed the
sail to allow it to be effectively used, though it was still not as effective as the Storm
Both gigs put in at Lavalette, passing by a nearby marina from which the gigs got a
lot of attention. The crews stayed there for about an hour, eating lunch and relaxing.
By the time the gigs launched again the wind had picked up even more and was
driving the boats straight to Ocean Gate but also kicking up the worst water we had
seen all day, which is to say about as bad the Hudson on a good day. We arrived at
4:00 p.m., an hour less than expected to get to Ocean Gate.
After several hours of relaxation two courageous crews went out to face the rising
winds of the afternoon rowing against the wind all the way to the other side of
the bay. Once there the boats deployed sails and experienced the most intense
sailing of the day. The Storm Queen turned in and rowed back home earlier than the
Notorious, which spent its time practicing tacking, not an easy feat on the gigs.
The return trip was another easy row, the wind giving us a nice reach. The crews
again outdid themselves, beating our expectations and arriving at 5:30 p.m. half an
hour early after having left an hour and a half later than we had planned at 1:30 p.m.