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Boats

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By David Ackerman

The ancient craft of wooden boat building is alive and well at the Bayles Boat Shop.

On a dreary Saturday morning in January the workspace, located at Port Jefferson’s Harborfront Park, was filled with many projects at various stages of completion while workers, ranging from teenagers to senior citizens, all performed jobs necessary to the task of boatbuilding. 

The space is heated by a wood furnace which allows production to continue throughout the winter months. According to Philip Schiavone, shop director and member for more than 10 years, “We use our mistakes as fuel,” speaking to the spirit of resourcefulness which has enabled the shop to grow purely by the effort of community volunteers.

“We use our mistakes as fuel.”

— Philip Schiavone

The boat shop was founded by Long Island Seaport and Eco Center, a nonprofit organization that tries to promote an appreciation, awareness and understanding of maritime history and the marine environment. The volunteer community at the shop contributes to the overall mission of LISEC by preserving Port Jefferson’s maritime history of boat building, and offering memberships and educational resources to the general public. 

In 2018 the boat shop started a canoe building project for high school students in coordination with Avalon Park’s Students Taking Action for Tomorrow’s Environment program in Stony Brook.

“This project is an opportunity for the students to learn new skills that they won’t get in high school while also contributing to their community,” said Len Carolan, the event coordinator at the boat shop.

Some of the practical skills the students are learning include the safe use of tools, making precise measurements, following detailed construction plans, and using advanced woodworking techniques such as mold making, joinery and wood-finishing processes. High school student and Port Jeff Yacht Club Sailing School member Oscar Krug said the project they were working on was a Sassafras 12 canoe kit with laser-cut sections built with a stitch-and-glue process. The finished product will be donated to Avalon Park where it will either be made available for public use or auctioned off in order to fund the next construction project.

“This project is an opportunity for the students to learn new skills that they won’t get in high school while also contributing to their community.”

— Len Carolan

Avalon Park’s STATE program operates year-round and provides volunteer opportunities for eighth- through 12th-graders both in Avalon Park and by networking with local nonprofits. The program is led by Kayla Kraker, a marine biologist and science educator who aims to involve students that are “self-motivated leaders and passionate about nature and the outdoors.”

Other student projects with the STATE program have included horseshoe crab tagging, organic farming, shellfish restoration and an archway construction.

Alongside the canoe build there are multiple projects underway in the boat shop. Members Bill Monsen and John Janicek are in the finishing stages of their restoration of a sailing dinghy called a German Pirate which will be the shop’s first submission to the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic in Connecticut. It has taken three years for this project to develop from a hulk of timber and wood to a stunning restoration, built with careful consideration to historical accuracy. The end product will be a faithful reproduction of the original German Pirate sailing dinghy which was first built in 1934 and is usually found only in Europe, making this model a rare discovery in the United States.

The shop is also preparing for its annual Quick and Dirty boat build in August where participants will race in the Port Jeff Harbor with boats that are constructed in four hours on the shore. Shop members are currently in the finishing stages of a raffle boat project which will be offered up at the event to raise funds for the facility.

Bayles Boat Shop at Harborfront Park is open for business every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Tuesdays 7 to 9 p.m.

A pirate gives a young boy a high-five after a treasure hunt during Port Jefferson's annual Boater's Maritime Festival on June 7, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage
A pirate gives a young boy a high-five after a treasure hunt during Port Jefferson’s annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 7, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage

In celebration of its rich maritime heritage, the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson in partnership with the New York Marine Trade Association, will present the 5th Annual Port Jefferson Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 11 and 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The festival will take place throughout the entire village and will specifically showcase Port Jefferson Harbor, one of the most popular deep-water harbors on Long Island.  Boaters appreciate the prime location with easy access, deep draft local shops, restaurants and entertainment just a short walk from the marina docks. 

This two-day festival will host the Port Jeff Boat Show with over 50 boats on display and dozens of fishing vendors at one of the island’s only outdoor shows. Sailing demonstrations will take place on the harbor as well as a  regatta planned on Sunday afternoon. Maritime-related attractions, museums and organizations will be present along with free open demos of kayaks, inflatable boats and paddle boards. 

New this year and kicking off the weekend is an outdoor Crossfit Throwdown sponsored by Crossfit Hidden Pond Park. Crossfit participants will gather for the Throwdown on the Sound scheduled for Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park. 

Also debuting this year is Chick-Fil-A’s family-friendly addition to the event … the Eurobungy!  Up to three participants can experience the thrill of bungee jumping in this ultimate interactive entertainment feature.

Returning this year is the Paddle Battle Long Island Port Jefferson Race on Saturday, June 11. The 2.5-mile recreational race includes kayak and stand-up paddle boards, each in separate categories. This fun-filled day of races helps raise money for not-for-profit organizations such as United Way of Long Island’s VetsBuild program, the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and the East End Tourism Alliance. Registration will take place at the Village Center on East Broadway from 10 a.m. to noon.

Saturday night offers After Hours at the festival from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., featuring a Sunset Paddle, live music and food and beverage at the Harbor Bistro.

A paddleboard race takes off in Port Jefferson Harbor during the annual Boater's Maritime Festival on June 6. Photo by Bob Savage
A paddleboard race takes off in Port Jefferson Harbor during the annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 6, 2015. Photo by Bob Savage

In addition to exhibitors from the Maritime Explorium, Riverhead Foundation and the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, the festival will feature art and photo exhibits,  craft vendors and live music.

Sailing demos (from noon to 5 p.m. on both days) and clam eating contest (on June 11 at 2 p.m.) are among the exciting and interactive events taking place at the Port Jefferson Boater’s Maritime Festival along with food and drink at the Harbor Bistro food court offered by local eateries, Fifth Season, C’est Cheese, Gourmet Burger Bistro, LI Pour House and Junior’s Spycoast.  Pirate shows and treasure hunts will round out the entertainment for the entire family. Best of all, admission is free!

For a full schedule of events and more information, visit www.portjeff.com/featured-events.

On Port Jefferson Harbor is the Centennial Park beach where there are four village kayak racks, each with enough space for six kayaks. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Not everyone is on board with a plan to remove non-permitted kayaks from public beaches.

A law proposal from the Port Jefferson Village Board of Trustees is stuck in a knot after receiving both support and opposition during a meeting on Monday night, with advocates decrying the vessels that clutter shorelines for long periods of time and critics saying the board is going a bit overboard.

Officials are looking to bring order to Port Jefferson beaches where people leave kayaks strewn across the sand without a permit, unattended for days or even weeks or months.

There are several village kayak racks at Centennial Park beach, on Port Jefferson Harbor, and at the beach at the end of Crystal Brook Hollow Road, on Mount Sinai Harbor — with room for six vessels on each rack. Each year, after receiving applications from residents for a spot on one of the racks, the village holds a lottery to determine which applicants get a slot. There are also signs at the beaches warning that kayaks must be properly stored in racks. But many without a permitted place on the racks simply leave their kayaks on the sand or tied up to a tree.

The village trustees have proposed a law that would give the head of the public works department authority to remove those unpermitted vessels after they have been left unattended for at least 48 hours. The village clerk would give notice that the boats were removed, with a description of the vessels, and after 30 days unclaimed they would be considered abandoned. At that point, the village could auction or dispose of the kayaks.

If someone redeemed a kayak from the department, the village would be able to charge the owner for the costs of removal and storage, and the price of the clerk’s public notification.

Dorothy Court, a resident of Waterview Drive who is adjacent to the Crystal Brook Hollow Road beach, was strongly in favor of the measure.

“I have to deal with these kayaks every single day,” she said at the public hearing on the law Monday, describing one that has been chained to a village sign for a year. “I have, like, a boatyard in front of my house.”

She questioned how many of the people leaving their kayaks are residents, and asked the village to move the kayak racks from her local beach to another place, to lessen the impact on neighbors.

“There are so many parks and beaches to put kayaks in,” Court said.

Bob Laravie, however, said a time limit as short as 48 hours before the village impounds a vessel is “overreaching” and it isn’t the right message to send to people in a maritime village.

“I think the ground should be a right,” he said, calling for the public land to remain open to kayaks.

Joel Levine said the law proposal was “shortsighted.” He called on the village to instead issue more sticker permits to Port Jefferson residents, which would represent both a revenue stream for the government and a way to organize the mess.

As the debate went on, Village Clerk Bob Juliano noted that there were double the number of applications than spaces available on the kayak racks this year, and in response Mayor Margot Garant suggested the village should put in more racks. When she asked for a show of hands from people in the audience without a rack slot who would want a village permit sticker for a vessel, several shot up.

Given the debate on the subject, the village board closed the public hearing but did not vote on the law proposal.

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Students from Harbor Ballet Theatre perform a dragon dance at last year’s festival. Photo from PJCC

Dragons will roar as the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce will once again host the Port Jefferson Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront Park, 101 E. Broadway, from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“This year’s ‘Dragons’ is bigger and better than last year! With the expansion of teams, entertainment and food, this festival has something for everyone,”  said Barbara Ransome, director of operations at the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.

“One goal this year was to create a more interactive program for the day for not just the teams but for spectators as well, including bringing in the racing course closer to land for better viewing. Collaborating with more community partners makes this event inclusive to our residents and visitors,” she added. Ransome came up with the idea of creating this festival after attending a similar event in Cape May, N.J., a few years ago.

An opening ceremony will include an Asian color guard along with the blessing of the fleet by Buddhist Monk Bhante Nanda of the Long Island Buddhist Meditation Center, incorporating the traditional eye dotting ceremony to kick off the races.

Twenty-four teams will compete in a 250-meter course in  four dragon boats provided by the High Five Dragon Boat Company and will include representatives from local hospitals, civic groups, businesses and cultural organizations. Each team will be made up of 20 “paddlers,” one steersman and one drummer. Heats will run all day with a culmination  of an awards ceremony at the end of the day.

In addition to the races, there will be a day-long festival featuring numerous performances, including a lion dance, Taiko and Korean drum performances and Asian singing and instrumentals along with educational and cultural displays and vendors. Various Asian delicacies, including pot stickers, lo mein, bánh mì Vietnamese pork sandwiches, sushi, stir-fried noodles, bubble tea and spring rolls, will be available.

Along with traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy, there will be dragon sculptures, an opportunity to paint “dragon” eggs and children’s crafts. New this year is a Fortune Cookie raffle sponsored by the Fortunato Breast Health Center, Asian souvenirs, a photo booth, photo opportunities with a friendly dragon and team contests for the best team T-shirt and best costumed drummer.

Sponsors include Confucius Institute of Stony Brook, LONGISLAND.com, New York Community Bank-Roslyn Savings Division, Fortunato Breast Health Center, SCNB Bank, Tritec, News 12, Times Beacon Record Newspapers and Unity SEO Solutions.

The event will be held rain or shine and admission is free. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and come enjoy the festivities. For more information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffdragonracefest.com.

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Port Jefferson Yacht Club hosted its sixth annual Village Cup Regatta on Saturday, raising funds for pancreatic cancer research through the Lustgarten Foundation and for John T. Mather Memorial Hospital’s palliative medicine program.

The regatta pits the hospital and Port Jefferson Village against one another in a friendly competition for the Village Cup, a trophy which the hospital has now won two years in a row following a village reign of three years.

Participants raised about $64,000 for the cause through this year’s race, according to yacht club member Chuck Chiaramonte. The sum will be split between the Lustgarten Foundation and the palliative care program, which is focused on improving patients’ quality of life.

Chiaramonte said over the six years of the regatta, the event has raised more than $300,000.

The yacht club — formerly known as the Setauket Yacht Club — supplied the boats and captains for the event, which included a parade of boats, games and face painting for children at the harborfront park, and a trophy presentation at the adjacent Village Center.

Chiaramonte said the club looks forward to the event every year.

“It was really meant to just be a joyous occasion and share the love of the water and boating with our neighbors,” he said.

Annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Fest comes to town for 9th year

The Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society held its annual Huntington Lighthouse Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 5. This festival, which is only accessible by boat, featured nine music acts and was enjoyed by all ages. The society also announced the launch of The Beacon Society initiative, a challenge grant program established by Bernadette Castro, long time Lloyd Harbor resident, successful business woman and former New York State commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, to benefit the ,lighthouse’s capital campaign. The initiative is designed to raise $80,000 within the next 10 months to help fund Huntington Harbor Lighthouse’s $1.5 million Foundation for the Future capital campaign for critical repairs to the historic structure’s foundation its watertight integrity.

It was a beautiful day in Mount Sinai on Sunday, as more than 35 boats of all sizes were blessed by Rev. Jerry Nedelka at the Mount Sinai Yacht Club’s 11th annual Blessing of the Fleet.

Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), Yacht Club Trustee Bill Dick and other members of the club joined Nedelka to wish the boats a safe journey.

 

By Dan Woulfin

Northport celebrated new and old traditions on land and by sea this past Saturday, June 13.

The Northport Running Club held its inaugural Northport Nautical Mile Run, a downhill 1.15-mile race with hundreds of participants through the heart of Northport and ending at the foot of the harbor.

Afterward, the Coast Guard auxiliary and local clergy held the annual Blessing of the Fleet at the village docks to mark the start of the summer season.

Port Jefferson held its annual Boater’s Maritime Festival on June 6 and June 7, bringing pirates, art, animals and water sports to the village’s downtown area on a warm weekend. Residents and visitors learned how to row, stepped onto paddleboards, wiggled into kayaks, went on treasure hunts, stuffed their faces with clams, petted slippery snakes and more.

A Middle Country man allegedly left the scene of a Patchogue boat crash that sent a woman to the hospital last week.

The Suffolk County Police Department had been searching for the owner of the boat involved in the crash, and reported on Thursday that officers had arrested 31-year-old Selden resident Mark Tricarico after he surrendered that afternoon at the 5th Precinct. He was charged with leaving the scene of a boating accident involving injury and was released on bail, police said.

Attorney information for Tricarico was not immediately available. Police said he would be arraigned at a later date.

According to police, a 23-foot 1987 Sea Ray boat crashed into the western jetty at the entrance to the Patchogue River on May 24, around 9:20 p.m., sending one of its passengers, 29-year-old Farmingdale resident Danielle Virgilio, to the hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Witness reports had indicated that up to seven people were aboard the boat at the time of the crash, and several of those people were located near the scene. Police said those people were interviewed but were not cooperative.

Police searched surrounding waters for more potential victims but did not find any, officials said.

The Sea Ray had extensive damage after the crash, which police called a hit-and-run. Authorities secured the boat in place and said the owner was responsible for removing the boat from the jetty.

Anyone with information about the incident may call the 5th Precinct Crime Section at 631-854-8526.