I’m back in my cave earlier than usual.  Sigrid and Gretchen moved me back in the week after Labor Day compared to my usual late September move.  A switch is thrown somewhere at the shore on the day after labor day.  Many stores close and await the weekends; the life guards are mostly gone back to school,  and people/cars traffic is way down.  It becomes lonely.

Back at the cave and on  a foggy morning I discovered that the spiders have enjoyed being undisturbed.  I can’t walk off of the sun deck because of these lovely barriers.

——————- My summer was pleasant as it always is, with family during the week, expanded family on weekends, and Barbara at her nearby summer rental which also overlooks the bay.  One new feature was the jungle on Grampa’s deck.  I started some Morning Glory seeds before I moved down, and I enjoyed seeing them work their way up the supporting strings I provided.  But they won’t be invited back as they never bloomed.  Fortunately the white-bloomed Mandevilla enjoyed the scene and provided lots of blooms. I’ve relocated it to my sun room.  I’m not optimistic about winter bloom but we’ll see. —————————– A summer highlight is the annual Downbay Regatta which our club hosts.  The weather didn’t cooperate and, in fact, although the boats headed for the sailing grounds on Saturday they returned without holding any races.  Sunday dawned with great clouds but WIND and no precip.  A glorious afternoon ensued.  Here’s Spy, one of the Barnegat Bay A-cat fleet which visited us to compete. ——————————- Now, please forgive me for a little pride and bragging.  Our most exciting event this summer was the selection and election of my favorite son-in-law, Bob Kiep as Rear Commodore of our summer club, the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club  for next year.  In the normal course of events he will advance in rank and wind up as the 103rd Commodore for the club’s one hundred and ninth season in 2021.  I am moved by the great history of this club, and proud of Bob’s selection to help guide it over the next three years.  Here he is delivering his acceptance speech at the Labor Day annual meeting.

Left to right, Rear Commodore Laura Darling, Vice-Commodore Joseph Koerwer, Rear-Commodore-elect Robert Kiep, Commodore Bruce Van Saun, Secretary Denick Herrin


Here’s the family at the annual Commodore’s Ball a couple of nights earlier.  In three years they’ll be holding this ball in his honor.

Left to right, Bob Kiep, Madeline Kiep, Sigrid Berglund Kiep, Gretchen Kiep


As seen from the deck of the Commodore’s Ball, the A-cat, Ghost, at her summer mooring.  She is owned by the New Jersey Maritime Museum.  We note that the cormorant is observing the no-wake buoy.


Well, that’s it folks.  The season’s over.  Here’s a farewell twilight after the ball.


And for the third year I close with this image of Johnathan Livingston Seagull, just as sad as am I that the season and my summer time with the family are over.


The season’s over.

Where’s my map to Florida?

Time to saddle up.

———————————T —————————- ————————-  


Here’s how I knew it was August.  Our local “everything” store at the shore carries housewares to hardware to seasonal clothing.  As the season opens they advertise 20% off on the clothing; with July it becomes 30%, and when I drove by on August 1st, sure enough it was 40%.  So, got to get some summer scenes into a blog post.

The official opening, the summer solstice, offered a grand view of the Black Pearl returning from her evening cruise.  A good start.


Although it was not officially summer at the time I enjoyed a Philadelphia street fair, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.  Such fairs are wonderful for me.  I think it’s great to see so many people and families out enjoying the scenes and the activities.  When else would you find a pool and a bubbling fountain in the middle of south Broad Street?  Billy Penn remained sanguine above it all.


Also above it all Yannick Nézet-Séguin, wind blown but unfazed outside of The Kimmel Center urged his players on to ever great glory.  Makes me wish the season had already begun especially since my season tickets arrived last week, another sign of August.


From Broad Street back to the shore.  I photographed a couple of these at twilight.  In better light one was seen to be a yellow crowned night heron and the other, a juvenile heron of some sort.  I liked backing it up with the clouds, and the juxtaposition of the tree branches.


I’ve lived seasonally on, over, or next to the bay (what the forecasters call the back bays) since I was about five.  In the early years that would have been in boat houses on pilings in Ventnor, NJ.  Later in life we enjoyed an Ocean City, NJ bay front condo for about twenty years.  In those years a summer highlight was the Night In Venice boat parade.  For most of its life the tradition was to decorate one’s boat with lights and anything else that fit the theme, and to add music or other entertainment.  I can recall one yacht that featured both the Eagles’ Cheerleaders and the Union League Mens’ Chorus.  Homeowners along the parade route would respond with their own elaborate decorations, and it was a happening.  Then there was a terrible boating accident one night and it was determined that thenceforth the parade would be conducted in daylight.  Safer, yes, but also the “light” was gone.

We were privileged to visit Night In Venice again this year, as guests of old friends.  A small group of other guests comprised grown-up Margaters and Longporters and the nostalgia was pretty thick.  The parade?  Oh, yeah, there was one but, you know, the “light” was gone.  I was, however, pleased with this scene of Miss Night In Venice waving at us as she passed by.  (It wasn’t dark yet;  about 7:30, but shooting into the sun’s reflection caused a high shutter speed and so the appearance of dark.)


Then we and others awaited darkness as fireworks had been promised.  The fireworks barge can be seen anchored at left.


Darkness did arrive and we were enchanted by the show.  Yes, some of the “light” had returned.


From a Night In Venice we segue to a day in Beach Haven.  We’ve just celebrated the annual Downbay Regatta.  This is a summer event at which sailboats from the upper Jersey coast gather for competitive partying and racing at the Little Egg Harbor Yacht club and its adjacent sailing waters.  The classes include A-cats, B-cats, Lightnings, and E-scows.  Saturday was a washout because of the scattered storms.  They all sailed out but were recalled before even one race.  Sunday made up for it as a glorious day.




Even for just watching it was…

“A Beautiful Day in Beach Haven” – Walter Smedley

Sailing enthusiast, Annapolis faculty member, naval architect, Past Commodore (1967) and club stalwart.*


*Corrected:  Walter did not graduate from Annapolis as this post originally stated.  Rather, it was Princeton and he subsequently was commissioned into the U.S. Navy and served on the Annapolis faculty for the duration of W.W. II.





….. 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 ……

Image 01


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


Image 04


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


Image 02


….. 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 …


Image 03


….. 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 …


Image 05


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




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.

Image 01

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.

Image 03


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.


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.

Image 02


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.

Image 05


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

Image 04


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 .

Image 07


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.

Image 06


For some more snapshots of the weekend, click here.



Thunder, lightning and rain for wakeup coffee on Grampa’s deck.  One stroke so close that I became even more bald.  Imagine!


But, of course, most of summer’s memories are, fortunately,  like this one.

Last Sunday there was the annual Omelette Breakfast served by the kids.  This is always followed by races of the kids’ boats with their mothers at the helm, followed by a fathers’ race.  The parents usually overflow the kid-sized Opti Prams.  It always makes me think of that man from Boston who had a little Austin….

A week ago we hosted the annual Downbay Regatta in which boats from several clubs along the Jersey shore come down here to compete.  Here’s a Little Egg E-sloop,  LE37,  approaching the mark to turn.  Granddaughter Gretchen seen here giving me the Hi was crewing for the owner and lovin’ it.


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.


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.