IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS THE NJ SPEED GARVEY ASSOCIATION, THAN THERE WERE MANY RE-ORGANIZATIONS, AS IN ALL THINGS, CHANGE WAS NEEDED TO HELP PROMOTE POSITIVE GROWTH OF THE SPEED GARVEY RACING. THE CLUB HAS BROKEN UP AND CHANGED OVER THE YEARS WITH THE NJ FLAT BOTTOM, EAST COAST BOAT RACING AND NOW THE JERSEY OUTLAWS RACING ASSOCIATION...
Where did it all begin? Some of the members of the Jersey Outlaws, Bill Bianco Sr, Denny Dyer, Pat lauer, Jim Healy, and many of the old timers are helping us gather more and more history for you with the hopes to have it all in writing by the beginning of the race season but for now....
The Garvey is a common sight along the inland water-ways of our state, but comparatively few people know that it originated in a small town in southern New Jersey. This flat-bottomed boat, similar to a scrow, but with much more graceful lines, seaworthy and easy to handle in all weather, is accredited to Jarvis Garvey Pharo, the first settler in West Creek, Ocean County. Jarvis (or Gervas) was born in Lincolnshire, England, and came to America in 1678 on the ship Shields, the first vessel to ascend the Delaware River as far as Burlington, where the passengers were landed.
Jarvis came to Westecunk, the Indian name for West Creek, in 1705, and built a millon the creek. For a while the place was called Pharo's Mill, then the Indian name was adopted and anglicized to "West Creek"
Since the early settlers in this area where dependent on the various products of the bay for their food, "Garvey" Pharo designed and built the first of these crafts as the best possible answer to the baymen's need for fishing, clamming, and oystering. This type boat has proved to be such a perfect answer for all sorts of bay travel and it is still in wide use today. Various modifications of this early design can be found at almost any waterfront. From sails, oars, various kinds of cabins, single cylinder marine motors, tillers, and tiller lines, has evolved ther lighter built Garvey for racing.
As nearly as can be determined, the first racing of these boats began in 1934 with the heavy-built work garveys, one of which was owned by almost every family. A that time the boats were propelled by automobile motors, 150 HP and made at the best, 35 miles per hour.
Down through the years the pastime of of designing, building and racing modified garveys has become very popular. Little remains of the original model except the bow and back flat bottom, and of course the love of the boat. These boats today, are light, graceful some made of wood but most of fiberglass, and beautiful to watch in motion.Motors used are automobile motors, some 350 Chevys, directly out of the crate, and others completely modified for speed in excess of 90 miles per hour
On the right track in the 1960s was the New Jersey Speed Garvey Association in which NJ Speed Skiffs and Garveys began racing as an association, the club split and several organization were formed and to this day there now exist two racing Garvey organizations and several NJ Speed Skiff groups. To this day the Jerseyoutlaws is still 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 Curves sport. Also, there was no such thing as a “fiberglass” or “steel” Speed Garvey. The original Speed Curves 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 Curves. 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 Curves”. Bill is credited with building the first fiberglass Garvey hull to run in the New Jersey Speed Garvey Association. Furthermore, Bill is still involved in boat races.
The Speed Garvey Race Classes have gone through many changes, with several 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 1500 pound minimum. A recent addition is the 350 Stock Class which was created for the affordable, extremely competitive class, with Chevy Crate motors being used to make the playing field even and the winning of the race based strictly on the boat and the driver and the Outboard class bringing more and more boat racers the opportunity to race. 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 20, and we have been very enthusiastic about building more boats so we can increase our membership. 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!