By CAROL COMEGNO
Recreational boaters are readying the main sails on their craft to compete in the first USS New Jersey Regatta Saturday on the Delaware River.
Camden County Freeholder Laurelle Cummings said the Oct. 12 race is being held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the opening of the county marina at Ulysses S. Wiggins Waterfront Park.
She said it will also showcase the developing city waterfront and the Camden Yacht Club established there this year.
The regatta is named for the historic battleship USS New Jersey, now a memorial and museum on the Camden Waterfront.
Winners will be awarded the Freeholders Cup.
The Home Port Alliance is co-sponsoring the race with Camden County and the yacht club. The nonprofit alliance operates the ship museum. The USS New Jersey is the largest and most decorated Navy battleship. It has fought in four wars and conflicts since 1943.
Norm Sooy, an alliance trustee and race coordinator, said he expects 20 to 30 boats will race in three different categories according to size.
He said the competition will start at the bow of the New Jersey and proceed downstream several miles toward the Walt Whitman Bridge and then return upstream to finish at the start.
Some racers will turn at the navigational buoy near the stern of the ocean liner SS United States - another historic ship that holds the Atlantic Ocean speed record. The SS United States is docked in Philadelphia awaiting a buyer.
Frank Stauss of Gloucester Township, a member of the Liberty Yacht Club on Water Street on the Philadelphia waterfront, said his club will enter several boats.
Others from the Farragut Yacht Club in Camden and from Burlington County are also entered.
"We used to have this kind of race years ago, but our club has only been having races against ourselves. It's great to see these competitive races start up again because when the winds are blowing, it's a great time out there," Stauss said.
Reach Carol Comegno at (609) 267-9486 or ccomegno@firstname.lastname@example.org