Toms River Yacht Club

One Wednesday Night in America: A little rain and a clean bottom make for a great finish for this sailor.

Sailing World

Toms River

Joe Matteo

Toms River YC in Barnegat Bay, Toms River, N.J.

At 3 p.m. I check the weather map for the third time in the last hour; lots of orange and red storm cells. It doesn’t look good. We’ve abandoned three of the first eight weeks of Toms River YC’s Wednesday Sunset Sail due to the weather.

And I finally had the bottom cleaned today!

The races start at the club dock to maximize the view for those celebrating mid-week at the club’s Sunset Sail Grill. The course is a close/broad reach 3.8-mile sausage that passes through the start-finish line three times. The usual start is towards the east into a dying southeast sea breeze.

By 5:30 p.m., the severe storm cells have died out, leaving us with a moderate nor’east breeze and rain. Thirteen boats are scattered around the starting area, way down from our weekly average, but not bad considering the weather.

Four years ago, we were lucky to get five boats on the line on a sunny day. Now we average 24 boats ranging from 18 to 42 feet.

With one minute to go, we tack onto port under an Ensign and head for the pin end, taking a chance that the lemmings on starboard won't get there on time.
An Ensign? You may laugh, but this area has a very competitive Ensign fleet, including two-time national champion Dick Torpey.

We nail the port tack start and head southeast, quickly pulling away from the fleet—love that clean bottom. The red Ensign hangs with us for a while, but once we round the weather mark, it drops back.

The rain continues, but it's warm and the flat water and moderate breeze make for great sailing conditions. Being in the lead doesn't hurt either.
Coming up to the bubble off the yacht club dock, we debate using the pole to wing the jenny out.

HORN! Short Course Finish! The committee wasn’t enjoying the rain as much as we were.

A bullet tonight, but that’s not why we do this. It’s the break in the work week, the friends, and the usually beautiful sunsets on the river. It doesn’t get any better than this.