Wood Race Boat Jersey Speed Skiff

wood race boat jersey speed skiff

Restored 1951 Wood Race Boat JSS Class

Out of Long Branch, New Jersey the fishermen raced their post-World War II fishing boats and slowly over the years, the boats got faster by using bigger engines in their 16’ boats. While this wooden boat does not race anymore, there are others that still make up a current legal APBA racing class and an active vintage class that goes around a race course defined by turn buoys, too.

Here is a 1951 racer designed and built by H. “Pappy” Seaman. She is powered by a straight six cylinder 244 cubic inch Gray Marine “Fireball” that makes 180 Horsepower. The boat’s top speed at wide open throttle is 50 MPH with this engine. Newer Jersey Speed Skiffs use a small block Chevy V-8 and will go faster.

The most spectacular aspect of a Jersey Speed Skiff contest is how they turn around the course buoys. This is a round chine boat with a large flat bottom that rolls up on the boat’s side until the prop comes out of the water. At that point, forward thrust is lost and the boat flops down flat on its bottom again. Jerk the steering wheel again and she turns some more, the boat again goes up on its side, the prop again loses its grip with the water and the boat flops down again. This turn on your side numbers (here JS-2) in a series of jerked steering wheel turns is how a Jersey Speed Skiff makes a turn at racing speed.

This wooden boat has White Oak Framing and White Cedar Planking. There is no plywood in this boat. JS 2 roughly took 2,500 hours to restore.

wood race boat cockpit photo image

Note the planked firewall and upright steering wheel

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