In 1976 I bought a used 12’ Garvey Duck Boat that I made a sailboat style dodger for. It was my first year of training making boat canvas at the marina I grew up in. I hung out as a dock rat at Paules Boats on the Navesink Rriver working for tips as a teenager. At the age of 20 I was running the travel lift and scraping and painting the hull of boats. I continued with the marine canvas and eventually opened my own shop. To this day I operate both businesses.
The first Barnegat Bay Sneakbox (BBSB) I purchase in 1980 for $75 and needless to say, it wasn’t much of a boat. I restored and hunted out of her until 1997. I sold it in ‘97 and it is now back in my workshop for a second restoration after 40 years from the time I did the first restoration. She is a Perrine Sail boat from the early 50s and is the 10th BBSB I have restored.
I wanted a little larger BBSB and went to Pease Boat Works on Cape Cod to help me with it. We came up with a 13’2” design. That same year I had a mold made from the hull of my boat and named it the Estuary.
Since 1997 I have built 74 Estuary’s. The first 50 were made with glass hulls and wood deck beams and decks. They were made with either mahogany marine plywood, fir V-groove, T &G or cedar ship lap decking. I now have a full set of molds for the Estuary and my new Estuary II BBSB’s. Over the last 20 plus years I have built Layout boats and Garvey’s. The Garvey 15 is a semi-flat bottom with a traditional bow that meets the front deck.
Back in 1981 I found a Carl Adams sheer sided BBSB. Carl Adams is known as Modern Boat Works in South Jersey. I put a new plywood deck on the 11 footer and hunted out of it on days when the weather was more favorable. I had a 15HP on her and she’d go 30MPH. I sold her to a friend on Cape Cod and she came back to me 12 years later for another restoration. I took 1st place with her at the Tuckerton Decoy Show. She is still part of my collection along with an 1880 Chappell, a Vansant, 2 Field & Stream, a 10’ and a 15’ Prine all BBSBs. A Jersey rail bird boat, Russ Adams 15’ Garvey, A layout boat built by the late Paul Dobroski of New Jersey.
As the Estuary became all glass and composite built I ventured into the little Carl Adam’s BBSB with the blessings of his son and grandson. I started working on a mold to make that little fast boat in all fiberglass. While restoring my 2nd 11 footer I made a plug to make the mold to make it all in glass. I started with making it 13’3 x 64’ beam, the same as the original Estuary. The Estuary II is USCG approved for a 20HP. I have just started to make the molds for the 11’3” model which is called the Adam’s BBSB boat.
By September I will have 4 sets of molds. The Estuary, The Estuary II, The Adam’s, and the 15’ Garvey.
After building 12 Pram style Garvey, I am on my 100th duck boat. This one is 22’ x 8’2” beam and will have a 115 HP E -Teck HO.
My workshop is 100’ x 25’ so I am able to build in a production line style. As the boats get finished I make all the canvas that they would need such as dodgers, boat covers and duck blinds. Over time they usually come back to me for new canvas or repairs.
“As I sat in my sneakbox gazing to the east I could see the wind blowing the tops off the pounding surf. Scoters flying along the shore. Black ducks tipping in my decoys and the sound of honking geese with cupped wings brings the end of another duck season.”
Journal Entry 1990
Trade that ole' wooden sneakbox in for a new custom Estuary model!
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