Longtime Barnegat Bay sailor Russ Manheimer commissioned the design for this little sailing garvey, writing “Even not-so-pretty boats such as our humble New Jersey garvey deserve consideration for a new design for home builders using modern glued ply methods.” Russ aspires to foster a comeback of the type, with a boat that “would work well along the quiet water and creeks still to be found on our bay and elsewhere.” He aims to start with a prototype for his own use.

Working garveys of various sizes were once ubiquitous along the 90 miles of back bays behind the barrier islands on the New Jersey coast, used for tonging, clamming and fishing in the bays, gunning in the expansive marshes and bringing farm produce down river to market. In American Small Sailing Craft, Howard Chapelle goes into great length on the myriad variations of this hull type. Easy to build and burdensome, these boats gave an economical means of transport in sheltered waters all along the American East Coast. Proportions, size, and rig varied depending on locale, but construction was always simple and robust.

The Swan Point Garvey is designed for glued plywood construction, so it will be much lighter than the traditional boats, and will be happy living on a trailer. She can be rowed, sculled, poled, sailed or fitted with a tiny outboard (preferably electric). If you enjoy camp cruising, there is good sleeping space for two with the amidships thwart “slipped”. Just like its forebears, this will be a simple boat to build – well within the abilities of a weekend boatbuilder or a parent/child team.

This is one of my favorite kinds of project – taking a traditional small working craft and adapting it for modern materials and usage. It used to be that even the poorest fisherman had a good eye for a nice looking boat and demanded a level of aesthetic detail that has vanished from much of modern living. A long time proponent of slowing down, Russ is looking forward to watch the blue crabs scurry away as he sails through the shallow waters of a quiet Bay morning.

To learn more about Russ Manheimer’s life in boats, go to: Hove to off Swan Point – and sailing as slow as I can…. (sjogin.com)