Environmental Sail Program
The Environmental Sail Program (ESP) is a set of New Jersey Friends of Clearwater environmental educational initiatives that revolve around the original Clearwater goal--to build awareness of our environment, the effects of pollution on it, and humans' ability to cause it and to cure it. Like its Sloop Clearwater inspiration, our sailing vessel Pete's Banjo inspires both NJFC volunteers and guests to work as a team to achieve its goals.
Our sailing vessel, Pete's Banjo, is a 26' Tuckerton Sailing Garvey. It is a replica of a design used in the 17th century for oyster and clam gathering work in the shallow waters of the Tuckerton Bay. It is made entirely of wood and has no motor. It has been described as the pickup truck of the 1600's whereas the Sloop Clearwater was the 18-wheeler of the 18th and 19th Century Hudson River.
Our original 30-year old replica garvey, the Adam Hyler, was donated to the Tuckerton Seaport Museum in March 2014 while Pete's Banjo was being constructed. When the Seaport museum director first saw the Adam Hyler in 2008, he exclaimed it was the largest and only Sailing Tuckerton Garvey extant. He had campaigned since then to bring it to the Museum. When it finally exceeded its safe lifetime, we donated to a very appreciative Museum. Appropriately we dock at Oyster Point Hotel Marina at the end of Bodman Place in Red Bank, NJ. The Boat Committee sails and maintains the boat and runs the Environmental Sail Program.
ESP initiatives include:
1. Navesink Sea Scout Ship #5: Pete's Banjo is the flagship of Navesink Sea Scout Ship #5 and its young adult membership. NJFC is partnered with the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, whose mission includes wooden boat history and building. NMHA is the official sponsor ofScout Ship #5 organization.
2. Sailing, Lots of Sailing. Both MCFC volunteers and guests get to sail on the beautiful Navesink River from June through October. To qualify to sail on the Hyler requires one thing; show up on scheduled weekly sail days. Guest seating is limited so get there early. The crew will teach the beginners the basics of sailing, allow more experienced sailors to explore the reaches of the Navesink, and seasoned sailors the joy of teaching sailing, splicing, and the local ecosystem to awed newcomers. Learning sailing can take volunteers all the way to skipper status if they want to go that far. With ample notice, arrangements can be made with the captains to sail for pleasure or purpose on days other than those scheduled. Call (732) 784-8547. Again we are docked at the Oyster Point Hotel Marina.
3. Boat Building and River Rangers. The ESP has teamed with Navesink Maritime Historical Association (NMHA) to teach young people-Boy and Girl Scouts, students at Middle Schools' of the Navesink Watershed area, local recreation commissions, church groups, and others-to build and navigate their own self-built canoes on the Navesink. The River Rangers program builds on the previous boat-building endeavors to learn and execute lessons in nature, the ecosystem, and conservation. Clearwater ESP contributes the environmental lessons and acts as mother ship to the flotilla of young people who paddle their canoes seeking unique wildlife upstream or the beauty of the wide Navesink downstream.
4. Water Testing. ESP has conducted water testing on the Navesink, Shrewsbury, and other water bodies in the area. We would be happy to discuss a joint program with any organization. Our sailboat has two major advantages for this task: it is extremely shallow drafted and is small enough to be trailered to remote locations if the need arises and conditions permit.
The MCFC Environmental Sail Program welcomes proposals of other joint ventures, like the above, from youth groups or other organizations. The Pete's Banjo can also be rented for extended use. Please call us at (732) 784-8547 or email us at ESP.
5. Nature Tours and Birding on the Navesink.
6. Oyster Bed Creation And Maintenance. For over five years NJFC ESP had teamed with the NY/NJ Baykeeper Program to re-establish, after many decades, oyster beds in the Navesink River. With strong-willed and strong-backed volunteers from both programs, we've put down mountains of oyster shells on the bed of the Navesink at the aptly named Oyster Point shoals. Later the team gingerly laid down thousand of immature oysters with the hope of success--which has been achieved. This was done over the course of several years with the aid of our garvey Pete's Banjo, uniquely suited for the job. We are hoping to someday partner again with the NY/NJ Baykeeper to continue this fine endeavor to bring oysters to the Navesink (An NJDEP ended the program abruptly). .
The Environmental Sail Program (ESP) and its garvey will then continue its unbroken record of being on the water every summer from 1986 and into the future. Our Tuckerton Garvey Adam Hyler was retired after last season and was donated and delivered to Tuckerton Seaport and Baymen Museum, Tuckerton, NJ on March 30, 2014. Upon delivery, Paul Hart, Exec Director declared, "We are proud to be the new home for the Adam Hyler. Thank you and all the wonderful folks who have worked so hard to make people aware of their role in the stewardship of our world."
Its replacement, Pete's Banjo was designed, constructed over the past 20 months, and had premiered at the 39th Annual NJ Clearwater Festival. While the Adam Hyler was a true replica of the centuries' old design and original plank-caulk hull build techniques, the 26 foot Pete's Banjo will follow the design but has been built with modern techniques including fiberglassing the hull to be more maintainable and seaworthy in its role as keystone of our ESP which includes being the flagship for Navesink Sea Scout Ship #5. The original garveys, used for clamming and oystering because of their shallow draft, were built there before the American Revolution. Its design allow NJ Clearwater sailors and captains to perform the above ESP initiatives with ease. These initiatives are being done in full partnership with the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association whose mission includes Wooden Boat History and Building. For the history of Pete's Banjo's design, construction, and launch, please visit http://www.navesinkmaritime.org/newgarvey.
Keep an eye out for the announcement of the launching of the Pete's Banjo on or about August 12, 2015. Come sail, have fun, and learn more about the ESP where you see the Red Sails on the Promenade.