SEPTEMBER SONG

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Oh, it’s a long, long while from May to December
But the days grow short when you reach September
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame
And I haven’t got time for the waiting game.

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I get it … I get it.   Summer’s slipping away.  Fall is flexing its muscles.

The juvenile gulls are screeing for Mom to feed them, wondering what happened to the dole.

Each evening the sun slowly sneaks a little bit further south.  I’m watching you, sun, and I know where you’re going;  I’ll catch up with you again in January at Sanibel.  Meanwhile, the mornings can be hoody but the days are still hot to balmy.  The last-of-the-season vacationers have gone from the Bagel Shack every morning.  The Shack also put up plastic curtains around its outside eating area to ward off the early morning chill.

There are pumpkins and potted chrysanthemums at the Acme.

After the reds of sunrise the early morning photons are mostly yellow.  They paint the marshes, enhancing the glow the grasses have worked all summer to achieve.

The old Great Blue Heron basks in the copse on nearby Mordecai Island. I look at him thru the binoculars and see him looking back at me. He’s got the early morning sun; I’ve got the coffee; neither would trade.

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Nor would I trade for the summer experience.

From a post four years ago:

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon …. the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

Henry James.

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With family and friends it was a good summer.  Here are some memories:

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The annual Twilight Sail – one of the best events of the summer.

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Even on cloudy days the beach is still a place to be.

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Storms are part of summer, indeed, of life, and they bring their own drama and stark beauty.

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In mid-August part of the A-cat fleet arrived for the Downbay Regatta weekend.  Always exciting, and seven of them this year.

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Summer brings fog as well, drawing me to …. where?

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One day, friends arrived for lunch!?!

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Our captain, Jenn, for the twilight sail.

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Nobody to protect.

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On Labor Day afternoon the guards went off duty at the usual 5:00PM.  As they climbed the dune to leave the beach they turned, blew a long whistle and waved goodbye.  Those still holding tightly onto the sand and summer waved back.  I’m told this is customary in order to warn all that the beach protection was off duty.  On this day, however, marking the season’s end for the guards as well, it was poignant.

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The day after summer.

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Shucks, I guess the season’s over.

I closed with this image a couple of years ago.  I’m reusing it because it’s perfect for the mood.*

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*There’s also a techy note about using Nik’s Tonal Contrast on this image  The note is on one of the tabs at the top of this post.

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SUMMER DAYS….SUMMER DAYS

….. on the dock with a coffee … watching the boats leave for the races … Bobby and Sigrid crewed yesterday on the A-cat, Spyder … three races, three wins … Maddie and Gretchen take their places today … but, no pressure ……

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….. powering out to the sailing grounds … a glorious morning but no wind … becalmed … waiting …

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….. finally, some wind, and the sails go up …

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….. later, on the beach … hot sun … a nice breeze from the southeast … watching others sunning, playing, surfing … sand castles and sand pits with futile embankments against the tide … the umbrella’s shade feels good … the buzz of others enjoying the afternoon … watching the sanderlings flit about … reading a book … nattering with passing friends … the inevitable beach nap, a fade from this view …

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….. the freshening shower … the freshening ice-cold Gin and Tonic … some dinner … back to the beach for the Supermoon … lots of chatty people there to see it … underwhelming …  but a striking reflection …

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….. where did you go today? … out …what did you do? … nothing ……… and what a pleasant day it was …

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DOWNBAY REGATTA 2013

The second weekend of August brings the annual invitational Downbay Regatta to the sailing grounds of Little Egg Harbor Bay behind Long Beach Island.  This always exciting premier sailing and social event has been hosted by the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club for many years.

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Guest clubs are from along the upper Barnegat Bay sailing area, ranging from Island Heights to Bayhead.  There is a social overlay but there’s also a day and a half of hard, competitive sailing amongst four fleets, the large A-cats, the more traditional B-cats, the sleek, racy E-scows, and the supple Lightnings.  Above is a group of E-scows, spinnakers out and rails in the water.  It is an eye-festival of color and motion.

When the scows are approaching their marks it can become dangerously crowded.

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Here is some crude video to give you a sense of the sound and motion of the scene.  Don’t be too harsh on me; I was shooting from my inner tube.

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For many the queens of the regatta are the big A-cats.  These are characterized by a single mast carried well forward in the bow of the boat, a centerboard, a long boom  providing plenty of sail, a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a single sail, and a “barndoor” rudder.  Evolving in the late 19th century they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey.  Their shallow draft was particularly good for Barnegat Bay waters and, with their wide hulls providing lots of carriage space,  they proved to be a great work and transportation boat. The A designation was created in 1923 for a larger recreational boat design that would carry five to ten people during racing.  Here are four of the five that joined us this year, Spy, Spyder,  Torch and Vapor.  They’re dramatic boats under sail, especially when headed downwind.

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A backbone fleet of our club is that of the more traditional catboats, sometimes referred to as B-cats.  They’re smaller but can be handled by one for a pleasant evening sail.  Here, four of them are about to make their turn at the mark.

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Another fleet that was well represented was that of the Lightning class.  Handsome, here, as they race downwind with their colorful spinnakers.

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Our family participated again this year.  Last year granddaughter Gretchen crewed on one of the E-scows.  This year she and granddaughter Maddie sailed a friend’s catboat with their friend and sailing colleague Sam as captain .

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Also, daughter Sigrid got to ride on one of the A-cats, Spyder, captained by a high school friend, Tim. who invited her to fill in on Sunday.  That’s Tim on the bow and Sigrid on the rail at his left.  An interesting series of pictures on the construction of Spyder can be seen by clicking here.

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For some more snapshots of the weekend, click here.

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A IS FOR AUGUST AND A-CATS

August brings the annual Downbay Regatta on Little Egg Harbor bay.  Dozens of sail boats from clubs along the middle and north Jersey coast as far as Bay Head arrive to participate in what is the most exciting club weekend of the summer.

Downbay Dawn

Participating hulls include cat boats, lightnings, E-scows and M-scows but the annual stars of the show are the handsome A-Cats.  Seven of the thirteen on Barnegat Bay were towed in for this year’s event.

A catboat is a characterized by a single mast carried well forward in the bow of the boat, a centerboard, a long boom  providing plenty of sail, a wide beam approximately half the length of the boat, a single sail, and a “barndoor” rudder.  Evolving in the late 19th century they were used for fishing and transport in the coastal waters around Cape Cod, Narragansett Bay, New York and New Jersey.  Their shallow draft was particularly good for Barnegat Bay waters and, with their wide hulls providing lots of carriage space,  they proved to be a great work and transportation boat. The A designation was created in 1923 for a larger recreational boat design that would carry five to ten people during racing.

Best not be in the way!

They are a formidable sight headed downwind.

But the weekend is noted also for the variety of design classes, all racing simultaneously within their class on the broad sailing grounds of Litte Egg Harbor Bay.  It’s amazing that there aren’t more collisions.

Who's got the right of way?

 

A Cats and E Scows

 They’re also great for peaceful twilight sails.

For some more pictures of the races click here.

BACK ON THE WATER AGAIN, AND AT DOWNBAY

Ready to Board!

 It’s been a long, long story but I’m back on the water for the first time this year, and it’s great.  Here are the colorful A-cat sail boats tied up at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club in Beach Haven for the annual Downbay Regatta.  There was a healthy 10 knot wind from the east that swept out the humidity , created  glorious skies, and snapped the A-cats’ flags.  What a great morning to be alive!

Hope somebody's paying attention.

In close quarters and trying to break out after the turn.  Grand color skimming over the chop.

Down Wind.

 Five of the A-cats headed downwind.

Color in Motion.

My best shot of the day!  I feel photographically rejuvenated, and reinvigorated from returning to Mother Water.

APPROACHING THE FINISH LINE (OF SUMMER, TOO)

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A sign of late summer is the Downbay Regatta, held at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club and hosting A Cats, Lightnings, E Scows, and catboats from Long Beach Island north along the Jersey coast.  It’s two days of serious sailing races and two nights of serious partying.  Here, one of the giant A Cats, Vapor, heads out from Liberty Thoroughfare to make for the race grounds.

 

 

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These magnificent boats are in the tradition of the large boats needed to haul goods from the mainland to the barrier islands in the 19th century.  The A Cats are the 20th century interpretation, re-created beginning in the 20’s.  They are typically on the order of 28′ long with 12′ beams.  Here we see (left to right) Lotus, Vapor, Spy, Ghost, Spyder and Tamwock headed downwind.

 

 

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Here’s the group making for the turning marker.  I’m happy to have used a telephoto lens rather than being this close in front of them.

 

 

 

 

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Equally awesome, particularly  with their  colorful spinakers are the E Scows.  What an awful name for such beautiful boats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For some more images of the Downbay races, click here.