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Thread: Jersey Speed Skiffs-not crackers or KRR are the oldest class

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    Team Member seacow's Avatar
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    Default Jersey Speed Skiffs-not crackers or KRR are the oldest class

    Although some say that the crackerbox is the oldest APBA class the oldest is KRR (Unlike Crackerbox, KRR design today is not the same as when they first ran when the engines were in front of the driver. Now the KRR hull was derived from a ski boat.) If APBA sanction is not a criteria, the JSS is the oldest design now raced in APBA.

    The original Jersey Skiff was a rowboat built in the late 1800s with a flat bottom at back designed to be able to be launched from the land and also beached. They were used for fishing, lifeguards and with a sail. The design came to be motorized during prohibition when New Jersey rum runners need a seaworthy boat to transfer booze between larger boats in international waters and the NJ beaches for pick up and transfer. There are also stories that fishermen off the jersey coast motorized them to beat their competitors to market with their fresh fish catches every day. The skiff club denies the rum running and says that they were not used for illegal activity but either way the motorized skiff emerged at the same time as prohibition.

    An article in “Propeller” titled “From Row Boat to Race Boat” said that "The modern Jersey Speed Skiff of today is basically the same hull design developed at the New Jersey shore in the early 1800’s. First powered by oar, then sail and finally in the 1920’s by the internal combustion automotive engine, the Jersey Sea Skiff, the Sea Bright Skiff and the Jersey Speed Skiff all evolved from that simple flat bottomed, cedar planked surf boat.[/I]

    Bob Moore adds Design changes in 1930 brought more powerful engines and "tricks" enabled the skiffs to increase their speeds to close to 40 mph. In Long Branch/Red Bank area weekend "club" races were held, featuring the Jersey Skiffs. The '40's saw the Jersey Speed Skiff emerge on the national race scene. In 1941 the Skiffs were on the program at the National Sweepstakes Regatta in Red Bank. The APBA allowed them to race as a 'Special Event' and as many as 9 skiffs entered the event. Spearheaded by Danny Ardolino and the Long Branch Ice Boat and Yacht Club, the Jersey Speed Skiffs were on their way.
    Following World War II, racing returned to Red Bank in '46. The skiffs were again on the program as a Special Event. In 1947 the APBA recognized the Skiffs as a probationary class and they raced under that status. In 1948, the Jersey Speed Skiff became an official APBA class. The first official sanctioned race for the skiff took place in Wyomissing, PA not Red Bank, NJ as many people think. As the decade of the 1940's closed, the skiffs approached the 50 m.p.h. mark".


    Skiffs had a half a chance to come to the west coast when Julian Rucki brought his JSS with I think 2 others when he moved here but despite his efforts the class never really happened. (Region 11 is fortunate to have him helping with the races and driving his crackerbox.)

    For those who have never seen them race, Skiffs are just as exciting to watch as crackers. They also have a driver and "riding mechanic". Like crackerboxes there are controversies about what JSS Name:  JSSz.jpg
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    Team Member p28 renegade's Avatar
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    very nice historacal account. the crackers were apba sanctioned i think 1946 or 1947. they are considered the oldest from of inboard racing runabouts. the skiff was classified as a service runabout in the rule book.. but both have enjoyed apba racing since 1946 or 1947. and yes pending who you asked the rum runner fable is out there. they were pound boats is what my dad recalls. doing just what was mentioned in seacows article.
    my family had one of the 1st skiffs out here . we ran exhibitions starting in 75 or 75? 76 or 77 2 others came out from the east coast and they met at firebird for the western divisionals. by 1984 we did have enough skiffs out here to race and raced them from 1984 till appx 1990. the skiffs were then for a while a nationaly recognized class. we had a mold, just couldnt get the intrest to take off. we had at one time 7 racing skiffs here.
    they are a blast to drive and ride in. there are 4 in washington and they attend vintage events. our "family" skiff that we raced is one of the 4 in washington.

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    Team Member seacow's Avatar
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    Julian: I used to see them when I lived east - the skiffs were really crowd pleasers. Which do you like better as a driver - crackers or skiffs? Which do you like better as a spectator? Are the skiffs safer (easier to control particularly on turns)?

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    Team Member 1100r's Avatar
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    I remember watching the JSS here at have some photos of I believe it was Snow Goose at Chowchilla. I was supposed to look for Julian and as always I forgot sorry Julian this will remind to do that. For me watching the JSS as a spectator was better not taking anything away from the Cracker Box drivers as they were and are awesome to watch as well. I remember watching a cracker with just the driver and the rider was a sand bag at Merced years ago.Watching either of the 2 classes on any given weekend was a treat almost better than watching 1100r. Remember I said almost lol

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    Team Member p28 renegade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seacow View Post
    Julian: I used to see them when I lived east - the skiffs were really crowd pleasers. Which do you like better as a driver - crackers or skiffs? Which do you like better as a spectator? Are the skiffs safer (easier to control particularly on turns)?
    each on has thier own special characteristic. both are a blast to drive and both take just as much skill as the other. i am even up on either. love the acceleraton of the cracker as well as the force felt in a turn .
    the skiff ride with its rythmic hopping is a blast and rolling one up on her side is loads of fun.

    for the spectators, they love them both. each class gets the crowd to the shore line to watch them

    as far as bieng safer, again, they are race boats and thier quirks keep em even up. i dont think one is any less "safer" then the other. that is all up to the guy with his hands on the wheel and foot on the throttle

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