Three catboats sailing New Jersey waters.
Ship Building Traditions
The catboat is a
craft dating back to the 1800's. During the catboat's years of
existence it has been a work boat, racer, cruising boat, and family
daysailer. Although many think of catboats as a New England icon,
the earliest documented example of the catboat we know today is
Una, a 16'6" boat built in what is now Bayonne, New
Una was built in 1852 by Robert Fish and was later
shipped to England and sailed in Hyde Park.
The sleek "A-Cat" racing boats, the
Bat, built by
local boat builders in Ocean County in the 1920s, are still sailing
the waters of Barnegat Bay and the Toms River, in Ocean County, New
Jersey. They are the first boats the State of New Jersey prepared
for a scholarly nomination to a thematic listing of historic boats
on the State and National Registry of Historic Places in 1985.
These "A-Cats" are the culmination of a history of
large A-Catboats adopted by local fishermen and oystermen since
this vessel was introduced to local baymen in 1985. These craft had
been preceded by three-hundred to eight-hundred ton coast vessels
built by local Ocean County ship builders in Tuckerton, Forked
River, Barnegat and Toms River. Those coast vessels were active in
coastal shipping trade, carrying cordwood and charcoal to eastern
coastal ports and as far as South America.
Trade was cut off during the Civil War years, but the
boat-building tradition continued after the war. Sailing regattas,
begun in 1867, continue today to provide pleasure and sport sailing
along the bay and rivers in Ocean County.
Project documentation consists of a page of text and
Originally submitted by: Christopher H. Smith, Representative (4th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.