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Sailors tap reservoir of delight Spruce Run regattas shun fancy for fun

Thursday, May 24, 2007 BY NYIER ABDOU

Charlie Engler bought his first sailboat in 1970 for $400 at a yard sale near his house in New Providence, in Union County . The boat was generously deemed "one-of-a-kind" and quickly upgraded; but that chance encounter introduced Engler to the only sailing club he's ever known.

"I said,'Where can you sail a boat around here?'" he recalled. The yard sale owner directed him to the Spruce Run Reservoir in Hunterdon County , the third-largest reservoir in the state and home to the Hunterdon Sailing Club.

"It's a great spot," Engler said. "I've taken people there and they say,'Are we still in New Jersey ?'"

Every season, the Hunterdon Sailing Club sponsors races for beginners and experts alike at the reservoir. On May 2, the club held the first regatta of its Wednesday Twilight Sunfish race series. The club also holds races on Sunday afternoons, which is open to other sailboats.

Engler, who says he has sailing to thank for "feeling pretty young," attends both races weekly -- on Wednesday with his Sunfish and on Sunday with his Jet-14. The Sunfish is a single-person boat with a single sail, while a Jet-14 is a two-person boat with two sails. Both are about 14 feet long.

The Hunterdon Sailing Club races are known to attract "excellent sailors" from around the state as well as New York and Pennsylvania , Engler said, noting the Wednesday Sunfish races are particularly popular. In the middle of the summer, there can be 20 or 30 boats on the water.

"It's a pretty competitive fleet," said Elliot Zimmerman, the club's vice commodore.

While the races draw a serious sailing crowd, they are open to everyone. The club is dedicated to nurturing new sailors and runs youth courses as well as supervised adult practices to help members learn to sail competitively.

Zimmerman said weekly races, which are "on the informal side," naturally break up into different skill groups that race among themselves. After the races, sailors repair to the local Sunset Inn, in Clinton , to eat pizza, drink beer and "tell fish stories," Zimmerman said.

"There's always a lot of talk about tactics," Engler said. "'I should have done this'and'How come you went so fast?'"

"Once school ends and the kids get involved, it's a pretty diverse group," Zimmerman said.

Started in 1964, the Hunterdon Sailing Club has existed hand-in-hand with the man-made reservoir, which stretches over 1,290 acres. The club is what sailors call an "off-the-beach club" -- no "fancy" clubhouse or restaurant and bar, which Engler says makes it "much more fun, because people are there to sail."

"That's what we try to instill as the spirit of the club," Engler said. "We're here to have fun."

Engler also races extensively in regattas around the Northeast.

Most people, Engler said, "Have a latent desire to sail," and the Hunterdon Sailing Club makes it "simple." His own children raced with him when they were younger, but "they don't have time for this anymore."

"They'll come back," Engler said confidently. After all, he did.

Races are held twice weekly from May through October. Wednesday races are held from 6 p.m. until sunset, and Sunday races start at 1:30 p.m. For more information, visit the club's Web site at

Charlie sailing on Spruce Run (Click on the image for a larger version)



Submitted by Ken



From the moment the door opened and we were greeted by Robin and Tom we knew we were in for a fabulous time! Joining them in welcoming the guests were Spencer and Tucker, their adorable Welsh Corgi Mascots, festive in their party bandanas! As always the Hackett home was perfectly beautiful and the day was warm enough that we almost could have moved out onto the deck – such an unusual winter so far! The supper was delicious with many yummy dishes to choose from. Some highlights of the evening were:

Presentation by Ken of sailing award (a shell casing from the Northern Lake George Yacht Club starting gun) to Tyler for placing in his first sailboat race on Lake George – his first time ever sailing on the lake. Congratulations Tyler .

Gil described he and Barbara taking a detour through Manasquan (Matawan?) on their way to arriving fashionably late!

Charlie found his way to Brielle with the help of his new Garmin GPS “Irmgarde”, which lead the way across the bridge for Bruce and his GPS (name unknown).

Cliffy taught Jonathan sign language names for the playing cards and won at “War”!

Emily and Lauren risked introducing their boyfriends, Matt and Dane to the family. This is not nearly as daunting as in the days when Aunt Evelyn conducted the interrogations! “What are your intentions?”

Gil discussed renovation of the family burial plot in Philadelphia .

We were thrilled to see Jeff, Sally and Chris made the trip again. They did the round trip in one day! We hope maybe they’ll be “regulars” from here on in! At least they have avoided being voted out of the family, which is the penalty if you miss too many parties! (Aunt Sis, this means you!) Ben Murtha gave us the heads up that we might be able to catch sight of him on the mercantile trading floor, Wednesdays on CNN at about 10:30am.

Bruce and his band “Downtown Mystic” have a CD that is available on The write-ups praising his work are many, comparing him to Eric Clapton and other great artists. (comparing him in a good way!) You can hear a sample on iTunes.

Among those we missed seeing at the party were: Jeff and Clair, unbelievably! No one can ever remember them missing an Engler Christmas party! Unfortunately, it fell on the last day of 2006 with mail delivery and Jeff had to be in New York completing year-end financial business. Betsey’s nose was to the grindstone, as well, having just recently started a new job. Liz, Ben, Cameron and Mackenzie were just ending a Christmas cruise to Puerto Rico . Bobbye was suffering from an aching back didn’t think she could make the car trip.

All in all, the party was wonderful - we all had a great time! Many thanks to Robin and Tom for hosting, as well as to Laura, Bobby, Sandy and Bob, for their help!



Ken Engler is working on scanning all our collection of the annual family photos (mostly Christmas at Grandma’s) from 1938 to 1968. I will get the file to Chad who will put them on the family website in a form that anyone can use to make prints. We’ll also be able to send a CD if anyone finds that easier than working through slow internet connections. All will probably be ready in a couple of weeks.



Suzanne writes that nothing is really going on for us. Just enjoying our two girls and living life! J It’s a good thing! Just celebrated Dad's 71st Birthday on 07/07/07! 1936 would make him 71 right? Time is flying!

Chad writes that he and Loretta recently traveled to Cocos Island -300 miles off the coast of Costa Rica. Cocos Island is a very special place to scuba divers as it is known as Island of the Sharks. It is home to large numbers of many types of sharks but is most famous for hammerheads which can be seen in large schools. We stayed on a 110 foot live-a-board dive boat called the Okeanos Aggressor with 20 divers. The island itself is not inhabited. Costa Rican rangers stay there in shifts to ward off illegal fishing of the sharks. The island is also known as a location for a lot of buried pirate treasure. Although many have tried to find it, none have admitted finding any. It is said that in today's dollars over a billion dollars worth of treasure has been buried there.

Click image for larger version



In May, I went "to the dogs", a cruise along the Dalmatian coast. It was a wonderful trip seeing the many islands that dot the Croatian coastline (hence the name Dalmatian), ancient Roman ruins, and old medieval walled fortresses and cities.

I am enjoying the summer at our family home in Bay Head. Lots of chaos and family visits. Ted and his girls (Ally and Ana) were here over the past weekend, and Bill, Sue, and Will were with us the weekend before. Looks like we can cultivate another generation of shore devotees.

Best to all, Bobbi



June writes - At the moment I am still selling houses, and more importantly in the THROES of building a garage, behind which is my porch behind which is my pool, all in the building stages, behind which is a my second blue bird house, to be installed today, the first one is already inhabited. It's great. So, it’s off to the mail box and to my building projects out back.

June had a luncheon at her house in Bedminster on July 25th, Grandma Engler's birthday. There were about a dozen "senior cousins" (those who live locally and are retired/semi-retired) in attendance - Charlie, Sis and Wes, Peter and Pat down from Vermont , Bob and Sandy, Betsey, Sandie and Keith, as well as Liz on summer break. June's house addition is now basically done. She has created a lovely entrance, added a garage and a wonderful covered porch that overlooks the new pool and the wooded back yard. It is a lovely setting and we all gravitated to the new porch for lunch. It was nice to catch up with one another. It was especially nice to see Sis and Wes as 1.) they are usually in Florida in December and miss the Christmas gathering and 2.) they are obviously wonderful gardeners as they brought baskets full of produce from their garden to be shared by all ! Poor Sandy in the midst of a remodeling with no kitchen to cook vegetables! We remembered Grandma's birthday and discussed the needed repairs to the Engler headstone at Mount Vernon Cemetery complete with a photo display from Charlie. (Note: Many thanks to Gil and Charlie for all their work on this project). We all had a delightful day with good weather and a gracious hostess.

Pat and Pete are enjoying their new house on Blueberry Hill, Shaftsbury , Vermont . We still go to California for 2 1/2 months in winter, but love our location here. We are just 10 minutes from Eric and Lydia and their two boys: Logan 4 and Walker 20 months. Eric is running K&E Plastics, the business Pete started years ago, and doing a great job. Pete is still active as needed. Kurt and Jan had a baby. It was supposed to be a girl in February, but was a boy in January! He was a little early so had to stay in the hospital for several weeks. He didn't have a name for a few days as they had not expected a boy. Keil (pronounced Keel) is doing fine now, but was keeping them up at nights for several months. They are both teachers and will be back at work in late August. Pat will grandma the baby for the week of teacher meetings as the daycare will be having their in-service time. Gretchen is still loving Hawaii and holds down 3 jobs to keep up with the high cost of living. During the day she is office manager for a doctor and works several nights bartending (and having fun at it.) Pete and Pat had a good time at the luncheon at June's in July. it was so nice to see cousins we had not seen in a while. We hope to get to Lake George sometime before the warm weather ends.



December 2006

To all of our friends and family,

It is that time again to catch everyone up on what we have been up to this last year. If we are lucky, we will still be in December by the time this letter is finished. The biggest change is that all of our boys have reached significant milestones. Ryan is now 21, Stephen 18 and Tyler 13.

The band Ryan was in “Red Headed Boogie Child” is no longer together. He is now trying a new adventure with “Spider Rockets.” He loves playing the bass and still dreams of becoming famous. Ryan has also begun acquiring parts to build his own bass guitar in the near future with the help of Tom’s woodworking skills.

Stephen is a senior this year with hopes of attending college for Music Engineering. He had a very successful Cross Country season, receiving the top Cross Country award for the team and voted the fall 2006 Athlete of the year for his sport by our local newspaper. Stephen also continues to play the sax in the high school marching band and Jazz Band.

Tyler is now in seventh grade. He made the school soccer team, which had a very successful season. The team tied for the #one spot in there division. Music is also a part of Tyler ’s life. He continues to play the trumpet in the elementary school concert band and Jazz Band. The next few months will be exciting for Tyler as he takes on the role of Assistant Stage Manager for the school play

Tom celebrated his fiftieth birthday this year with an attempted surprise party given by Robin. We almost pulled it off, but Robin had to spill the beans when she ran out of ideas to get Tom to leave the house 45 minutes before the party. Tom’s practice will be entering into its 10th year in June. He has been very successful and well respected in his field.

Robin continues to strive to create the unattainable perfect home as well as working in Tom’s office.

All is well on the Hackett home front. Hope the same is true for you.

News from Sandy and Bob - Sandy and I are having our kitchen and breakfast room remodeled. This will be our third kitchen in the house that we have been living in since 1959. What a mess we are dealing with and living in! On Tuesday, our builder completely removed the remaining kitchen cabinets, old flooring and sheetrock. The electrician started to re-wire the kitchen today and should finish tomorrow. The plumber is also coming tomorrow and sheetrock is to be installed next week. New cabinets should be installed in the middle of August. We have been in the middle of this construction since April. Can you believe it, at our age?

Sandy and I keep very busy with our children and grandchildren living nearby. We attend Little League games, concerts, swim meets and sailing events to name a few. We are also planning to go on an Alaskan cruise, with friends, in the middle of September.

News from the Hackett family: Robin and Tom’s son Ryan plays the bass guitar in a band traveling all over. The band is called “Spider Rocket” and they have played in Michigan , Ohio , and North Carolina to name a few states. Stephen will be going to Lebanon Valley College , Lebanon , PA in the fall. His major is “Music Engineering Recording” and he will also be joining the marching band. Stephen plays the alto saxophone. Tyler is spending most of his summer on the water, sailing and fishing with “Pop Pop.” Tyler will be entering 8th grade in the Brielle Elementary School this fall. Tyler is also musically inclined, and plays the trumpet in the Brielle School band.

News from the R.L. Engler, III family: Our grand daughter Emily (Bob and Laura’s daughter) will be attending the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow , Scotland for the fall semester. She was admitted to an advanced program studying ceramic design. Emily is a junior at Cedar Crest College , Allentown , PA. Bob and Laura’s son Eric has been working hard on the greens crew this summer at our golf course, Manasquan River. Eric will be entering his senior year at Manasquan High this fall. Eric plays percussion in the high school band and is on both the hockey and golf teams.

News from the Timothy Smith family: Sophie and Evan are both on the swim team at Manasquan River Yacht Club and Sophie is also learning to sail. Sophie will be going in to the 4th grade while Evan will be entering 1st grade. Grant will be entering a pre-school this fall. Another musician in the family, Sophie is taking piano and saxophone lessons and plans on playing in the Brielle School band this fall.
Well that’s the news from the Engler clan at the shore. Looks like Sandy and I will be very busy this fall going to football games, both, high school and college, band concerts and various other events such as soccer and hockey games.



Karen and Jud recently sold their New Hampshire house and will be moving to a new home in Cornwal , Vermont (near Middlebury) in the fall. Meanwhile they and their kids are staying at Lake George with Ken and Enid. So far all are enjoying it. After about ten years of renovations on the old home in New Hampshire , it seems a relief to be moving to a home built only about six years ago. Their new address is: P.O. Box 975 , Middlebury , VT 05753 .

Steve and Lisa enjoy living close to Boston and participating in frequent bicycle and running races. They can get to Lisa’s parent’s home on Cape Cod or to Lake George to visit Ken and Enid on many weekends.

Enid and Ken are always in the middle of many projects. Ken rebuilt the big six-panel front door in the Ticonderoga house last winter. For moldings in the recesses of the panels he found a bundle of just the right pattern that Ken Sr. had brought home out of the remnant inventory in Jersey City many years ago. It’s nice to think of Engler Millwork molding being built into the family house. We had a nice trip to Austin , Texas for a wedding in March. Followed up with a visit to New Orleans and Natchez . We’re now fully involved with three generations at Lake George until November.



News from EEEBBB's family. Betsey got quickly bored with retirement last summer, so has been doing part-time work. Much better!

Jenny and Jordan Wilson are set to be married in Boothbay Harbor , Maine on Saturday, July 14th. It will be a small and delightful wedding, with a lobster bake for the reception. Aren’t you all jealous? Jenny, oddly enough for this day and age, will be taking Jordan's name, so she will be Jenny Wilson henceforth. Sister Mary will be the maid of honor and Jordan's sister will stand up for him as "best person", I guess. All the remarried and un-remarried parents will be in attendance.

Betsey writes that the wedding was glorious. Can't believe it was just a week ago that we were starting to get ready for the ceremony. Bright blue sparkling Maine summer day; light wind scudding across the bay. The ceremony was held at the Wilson Memorial Chapel ( Jordan's family) in East Boothbay, just down the road from the Inn where most of us stayed. Small chapel, perfect for the 30 of us in attendance; faces the water. Local Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony. Afterwards we went by Jordan's cousin's lobster boat out to Fisherman's Island, until recently owned by the Wilson family, for a cocktail reception. We all dressed down and enjoyed the afternoon lunching and sitting about on the grass, exploring the island, and watching the water, sailboats and a whale!! With the turning of the tide, we were ferried back to land, where we changed for a lobster bake dinner at a local marina. Wonderful day; now a wonderful memory. Wish we were doing it all over again today!

Mary recently had her MFA graduation piece exhibited at the JF Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For those of you who want to Google it, it's Renascence, put on by VSA Arts, an affiliate of JFK Center . The exhibit was on in June. Here's the blurb: Mary Behr's interactive sculpture, Move, is a direct response to the invasive nature of airport security checkpoints for those with artificial joints. By customizing the design and performances for individuals who have synthetic internal devices, Behr changes the metal detecting procedure from punishment into reward. Instead of the imposing alarm, the signal triggers a series of hypnotic movements
within the folded paper construction. Behr, who has had juvenile rheumatic arthritis since she was 12 years old, captures the joy of recovered mobility."

We all went down to DC for the opening reception, Jenny flying down from Burlington , VT. It was very special!

Happy summer to all, Betsey

Peter and Carole visited Paris last month. Wonderful trip! Paris is gleaming like a new gem, and the people were wonderful. All the old tales of obnoxious Parisian’s are just that. Versailles is totally refurbished and the Hall of Mirrors is stunning. The Eiffel Tower still stands above everything and the numerous cafes with chairs turned out towards the daily traffic offered tasty treats. Normandy was sobering; one wonders how those soldiers were able to climb the cliffs to defeat the Germans. The only real shock is that there is a Starbucks in the Louvre!

On other fronts, Jeremy marries in late September. Amy is a wonderful young woman and Jeremy simply smiles a lot. Scott continues to enjoy San Francisco and his business and athletic pursuits (biking, surfing) and his gorgeous home in the city. Rob and family are well; Logan is 8 and enjoying school and tennis, and the four year-old twins, Avery and Charlie, are swimming and enjoying their summer.


Here’s some news from Mary Behr. I'm excited to announce my participation in an interesting exhibit of art about physical and mental disabilities at the Kennedy Center in Washington , D.C. that took place in June.

I presented my MFA thesis project, MOVE, which is an interactive sculpture that is triggered by metal detectors. Here's the URL, click on artists to find me -

Renascence/ 07: An International Juried Showcase of New Media by Artists with Disabilities
The exhibition showcased installations, net art, video, and interactive sculpture that combine visual art and technology to convey personal experience in innovative ways. Featured in this exhibition were Lihua Lei's 40-foot installation, Phantom Pain. Transparent, butterfly-like
wings float over glass casts of the artist's own legs. Lei, who had polio, invited the viewer to reflect upon the vulnerabilities and transformations of the body.

Mark Tribe, founder of, an online platform for the global new media art community, lead a panel discussion featuring three of the participating artists-Clovis Blackwell, Lihua Lei, and Leon Lim-at the at the Kennedy Center's North Atrium Foyer located near the Terrace Gallery. The opening reception for the exhibition followed the panel discussion. Both events were free and open to the public.

Randy Engler just wanted to let us know what he is up to these days. Randy sold his house in California and has moved for the next several months to Hague on Lake George where he was busy promoting an event called the North Country Triathlon, an Olympic distance triathlon benefiting The Hope Lodge Cancer Center in Burlington , VT.

Gil writes that his oldest son Randy (on the left in the enclosed photo) founded, planned, and ran the first ever North Country Triathlon ( in Hague , NY or Saturday, 30 July 2007. Approximately 150+ athletes met at the Hague public beach to start the one mile swim to roughly the Hague steamer dock and back, continue on a
6 mile run to Silver Bay and back and finish with a 26 mile bike ride to
4 miles west of Ticonderoga on Route 74 returning to Hague beach for the finish line. All the athletes raved about the venue. They started out on the swim at 7:40 am swimming a course marked with five orange balloon buoys set up by Cousin Ken and yours truly very early that morning. They cussed Randy and ever being born as they struggled on their bikes on the final leg up the three mile grade from Ticonderoga to the half way turn around point up Route 74 but couldn't believe their eyes and mind blowing ride back down the hill. The weather was perfect and they could see clear into Vermont and the Green Mountains with glimpses of Lake Champlain . Each participant is equipped with an electronic chip that clocks their entry and finish times to a computer that computes their overall finish times. 40 volunteers from family, friends, local Hagueites, law enforcement, and the Hague Rescue Squad made it a safe and highly successful event going off without a noticeable hitch.
Perhaps we can find some more Engler family athletes for next year's event. Number two son, Bart, did the six mile run as part of a team.
In addition to Cousin Ken and per the attached photo, D.I.L. Jennifer and grandson, Luke, Mary and Jenny Behr with fiancÈ, Jordan Wilson, #3 son Greg and girl friend, Amanda, all participated as volunteers.

2. I have been working diligently if not frustratingly on getting Grandpa and Grandma Engler's headstone righted at Mount Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia , over 6 months now since I first visited the cemetery on January 6th. I have most recently talked directly with a monument company in Philadelphia as I have been banging my head against the proverbial wall with the cemetery director, a Mr. Murphy. Mr. DeChristopher, owner of the monument company, seemed to be well informed, down to earth and gave me some insights into Mount Vernon and its director, Mr. Murphy, none of which was good. He is supposed to get back to me with a quote soon, I hope. To give you all a heads up, this is not likely to be exactly cheap, so we will, no doubt, be passing the family Homburg.

Sally and Jeff report that Caitlin is currently working on her masters in education at SUNY Albany. Chris graduated from Cornell and is working for Tompkins County in their Work Force America program for the summer. He plans to attend graduate school in Industrial and Labor Relations in a year or two.



Bruce writes

Let's see, Brett bought a house in California , north of LA, near Frazier Park. He currently works in the emergency room at a hospital in Van Nuys , CA . He has decided to become a traveling nurse, which could bring him into his home area in the Northeast from time to time.

Heidi continues her rewarding work as a Teaching Assistant in Special Education. She gains spiritual fulfillment living near the beach and jogging daily over the two mile bridge. Heidi's daughter, Kristen, is engaged to a great guy named Brad. They plan to be married next spring in Colorado , which is also about to become home for Kristen (Brad's home is there) and also Sister Darcy. Darcy plans to get her Master's Degree in Social Work while in Colorado . Korey will remain in Tallahassee , FL for the time being, working at the restaurant, Chez Pierre.

Wendy is currently exploring Northern California for possible relocation. After completing several courses in Bio-Technology, she hopes to secure a position in the field. Email address = (

Mom (Pat) continues to remain extremely healthy and active. She works out regularly at the physical therapy facility she attended after hip replacement surgery a few years ago. She now goes for her own enjoyment and to stay fit. She also continues to play tennis, garden, work at the Red Cross (now in her 5th year) and visits nursing homes with the church to which she belongs.

Bruce & Brett are now online with their organic acoustic band, Perpetual Boy ( Bruce is also finishing up a second release from Downtown Mystic (, which was on about 80 radio stations last year.



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