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 New Year's Winter Pram Race, January 1, 2012
as told by PC Rob Zilai
with photos by Win Miller

On New Year's Day, the weather cooperated, as did the wind and tides, which allowed the MRYC Winter Pram Series folks a chance to abandon the mundane, hundred yard windward-leeward races we traditionally sail during the fall, winter and spring each year.  Instead, bolstered with the enthusiasm inspired by a brand new year, we jumped....and yeah, some of us fell....into our Little Wings, raised our mains and jibs....and pancake syrup bottles....and headed past Treasure Island and on to the Old Peterson's Restaurant (now River Rock), just past the Rt. 70 bridge for the first of two races.   

 Dick Carton and I have been sailing together, on Prams, E-Scows, M-Scows, and auxiliaries, and have sailed this particular race course several times.  As such, we were pretty confident in our choice to honor the Island to Starboard on the way up to the bridge, thereby taking advantage of the incoming current, which always (ahem) goes clockwise around the Island, causing an adverse current on the Brielle side.  The diety in charge of the Manasquan was apparently asleep, or maybe in the same condition as we were, and the folks who went the shorter distance to the 70 bridge did just fine, leaving the rest of us minutes behind.



Janet Davis and John Harkrader easily won the race to the River Rock, although the bridge was a real heartbreaker for several of the other boats. The cross winds are a real deal breaker at that point, and several positions change each time we do this race.  





After a few celebratory, or conciliatory beverages at the bar ...






we all hoisted our sails and set out on the second leg of our adventure...back to MRYC. I was feeling a bit defeated, but remained confident that we'd have a good second leg.  The wind was picking up steadily at this point, and had increased  from 14 to 18-20 knots. 
    I thought it would be a great idea to use my old windsurfer sail as a gennaker....Dick wasn't so sure, but deferred to my enthusiasm and off we went.  We were not in first place when we made it back to the Golf course point, but we were really moving!!





 In a stong gust I lost control of our tiller extension and we quickly capsized and sank.  We spent several minutes trying to secure things, and the committee quickly got us back to the Club so we could get home and warm up. 







By the time Dick and I got back to the club, everybody had pitched in to get our boat bailed out, and back on her trailer. My deepest thanks to the folks on committee, patrol, as well as the other sailors.  Despite the mishap, we still had a blast this New years day!!!!  And, congratulations to Janet and John for winning both legs of the race. 

Win Miller has more great shots of this and the entire regatta, which can be seen at

Rob Zilai

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