The duckboat that we know on Barnegat Bay evolved from the Barnegat Bay Sneakbox that, in the early 1800’s was used for duck hunting. The sailing version evolved in the early 20th century. After WWII duckboats regained popularity as upper Bay yacht clubs established them as the junior sailing starter boat.
Phil Clark built the first one design duckboat in 1951 when 14 were built. Clark could not keep up with the demand and sold his jig and plans to David Beaton and Sons. Beatons has built over 200 duck boats to date with the latest two in 2015.
The duckboat was THE junior beginner boat from 1955 to 1995 and was sailed predominantly out of Bay Head, Mantoloking and Manasquan River Yacht clubs. The introduction of the fiberglass optimist Dinghy in the mid 1990’s spelled doom for the wooden duck boats.
In 1969 a group of junior sailors from Mantoloking Yacht Club started the Duck Boat World Championship Regatta and 65 ducks would sail that year. The regatta has continued to be held every Summer, but by the late 1980’s the number participating had dwindled to just 15 boats. In the early 1990’s Peter Kellogg from Mantoloking offered a challenge. Any yacht club or group that located and restored a duck boat and sailed in the regatta would earn a substantial donation to their junior sailing program. The now popularity of this event has caused other boat builders to bring new duck boats to the class.
The Callahan Regatta recognized the class and included the Duck Boat in 2015 and will continue to offer this racing venue in the future.
Witten by: Nancy & Mike Spark, M.Y.C