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Garvey:  For those of you unfamiliar with the word and/or boat, here is the definition as taken directly from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Really!!

Main Entry: gar·vey

Pronunciation: \ˈgär-vē\

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural Garveys

Etymology: probably from the name Garvey

Date: circa 1896

: A small scow especially of the New Jersey coast

The Jersey Garvey also known as the Baymen’s Boat is a flat-bottomed boat named after Jarvis (Gervas) Pharo who settled in West Creek, New Jersey, in the early 1700’s. He brought with him a design for a “Punt Boat,” a long, narrow, shallow-draft vessel suitable for maneuvering in water often less than two feet deep.  The original Garveys were between 14-30 feet. Garveys were made of native Atlantic White Cedar. Over the years, boat builders made modifications on their Garveys. The design of Garvey allows it to make little or no wake and draft little water. Each year Garveys would be made bigger and better for the annual 4th of July race. They sometimes raced at speeds of 85-90 miles per hour. Garveys can be used for clamming as well.  Garveys are very fun to use when they are finished. This information is from the Little Egg Harbor School District.

 The dawning of the Speed Garvey…

Where did it all begin?  Where did the “Speed Garvey” originate from?  The South Jersey Pines…for running rum or other less than legal activities?  There are many different versions all over the South Jersey Pines…stemming back to the original clam boat.  They used to meet each and every July Fourth at the Barnegat Public Docks, dating back to 1953 and “run what you bring”, according to Bob Rutter Sr.  The Garvey Association originated around 1960, becoming a legal “Association” that held more than one race per year, and scattered them throughout the Southern Ocean County area.  The races were held in places like West Creek, Cedar Run, The Causeway, Ship Bottom, Tuckerton, Pleasantville, Forked River, Ocean Gate, etc….   This put the “Garvey Boat Association” on the right track!

On the right track was right, the New Jersey Speed Garvey Association was and still is, one of the only “Racing Boat” sports that the average working person can afford to participate – and Win!  There are no purses or monetary incentives.  The ONLY thing that makes these dedicated drivers, riders and owners keep up the pace throughout the summer is the sheer thrill of that VICTORY!  And as competitive as each class is, it’s the sheer win that powers their adrenaline to keep pumping for that next heat race, next year’s season, or the much fantasized “World Champion Garvey” Title, that very few drivers have won once – let alone twice. 

In the beginning, the Garveys were built with square sides (chines), and were not permitted or never thought of having an adjustable turning plate.  These are only a few of the advances the new, more sleek and modern Speed Garveys sport.  Also, there was no such thing as a “fiberglass” or “steel” Speed Garvey.  The original Speed Garveys were built mainly from cedar planks that ran vertically.  That type of construction couldn’t even compare with today’s wooden and/or fiberglass hulls.  There was even a solid steel hull, which was the newest experiment in building materials with the New Jersey Speed Garvey Association.  This was the “Jersey Steeler” from Barnegat, emerging in the 1984 season, as an Unlimited Class Garvey and weighed in at 3200 pounds.  This was quite overweight compared to the usual 1750 pound minimum for all modified and 375c.i. class Garveys.  But as the Barnegat based races put it, the “Steeler” truly was a test, and promised that the next one would be better!  Now let’s look at the most popular hull out there today.  This is, of course, the fiberglass Garvey.  We have to go back to the mid nineteen seventies, when Bill Irving of Bayville, became tired of the simple maintenance and hull repair on his hull each week.  He thought, “If the Speed Skiffs can do it, so can the Garveys”.  Bill is credited with building the first fiberglass Garvey hull to run in the New Jersey Speed Garvey Association.  Furthermore, Bill is still a club member, and is our announcer at most of our races.  I’m sure he would love to reminisce about his earlier days. 

The Speed Garvey Race Classes have gone through minor changes throughout the years yet always holding on to that same principal:  keep the excitement, simplicity, affordability and history in Garvey racing.  The old 300 stock and super-stock classes have changed to 315 stock and super-stock.  Aside from the slight increase in engine displacement, the stock requirements were held the same.  A stock engine is just that-stock with a hydraulic cam, a stock intake manifold and a 2-barrel carburetor topping it off.  The super-stock engine is unmodified, has a hydraulic cam, aluminum intake manifold with a 4-barrel carb on top.  The Garvey hulls for these two classes must meet a minimum 16’6” and weigh at least 1350 pounds.  A more recently added “middle” class is the 358c.i. Garvey.  This engine is quite a bit bigger than the 315’s, and is still very close to a stock motor with few modifications.  It has a hydraulic cam, aluminum intake manifold with a 4-barrel carb on top.  And as far as rules go, the last closely watched class is the 375c.i. Garvey.  This again is a larger, more powerful motor and a few more modifications are allowed.  The 358 and 375 hull rules are a minimum length of 16’6” with a 1500 pound minimum.  Beyond these Garvey Classes is the Modified Class.  Almost anything goes with this bad boy and they are Very Fast!  These hulls have to be at least 17’6” and weigh in at or above 1750 pounds.  As of the 2007 Season, there were no Modified Class Garveys, but don’t worry, they will be back real soon!  Here is an example of how our club changes in minor ways.  Years ago there used to be a 430c.i. Garvey.  This Class was a middle ground between the 375 and Modified classes.  The 430c.i. Garvey became extinct due to the expense, and the fact that the lower class Garveys, with our short race course, would out maneuver the heavy 430’s. 

As our current classes go, we are running 4 to 6 boats, which are vigorously competing, during each race heat.  Our average number of boats per year is around 28, and we have been very enthusiastic about building more boats so we can increase our membership.  And now with our out of state races we are looking to show our races to an ever increasing audience.  Don’t ever hesitate to talk to any of our members about our club.  We really want our sport to prosper and would all take time to help with any questions or your interest in a future racing career!





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