Meet Henry Colie from Barnegat Bay
Henry Colie was born and raised in the Barnegat Bay area and he grew up sailing in regattas organized by the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club (LEHYC) in Beach Haven, N.J. Henry has spent a lifetime growing and nurturing sailing in the area. When Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club earned the bid to host the 2019 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships, sponsored by Sperry, he immediately collected 13 rib craft boats from member yacht clubs of the Barnegat Bay Yacht Racing Association (BBYRA) and towed them to LEHYC to be used at the Championship. Each rib was refurbished and fully equipped. During the Championship, he was on site with a 35-foot rib craft as a signal boat.
Ed Vienckowski, Past Commodore of the BBYRA, has known Henry for over 40 years and has sailed alongside him at many E Scow regattas over the years.
“He is a joy to sail with, having an innate ability to always know what it takes to make a boat go faster. I’ve never met anyone with such an attention to detail to all things boat related. His passion for making sailboats go faster is matched by his desire to preserve the rich maritime history on Barnegat Bay. The boat restoration projects he has managed have been truly remarkable. The work he’s done to help the BBYRA refurbish the fleet of Ribcraft support boats that we’re bringing to the 2019 Youth Champs Regatta is astounding, beyond words.”
Henry is a proud member of the Mantoloking Yacht Club (N.J.).
A Q&A with Henry Colie
What is special about your local sailing community and the water that surrounds it?
Barnegat Bay and the adjoining waters has been blessed with great conditions for sailing small boats. ie, shallow water and a predictable sea breeze. These great summer conditions have long drawn people to the area. This accounts for the large number of sailing clubs, 19, in a relatively small area.
What/who inspired your love for the water?
My parents and grandparents would be my inspiration for my love of the water. While both my parents had multiple National championships neither ever pushed me in racing. They would take us on family picnics in the E Scow. Dad at the helm and mom on the jib. Kids in the middle. My grandmother took us on adventures in her little wooden sloop “Cruise” and later aboard her Sanderling. She was an exceptional sailor with many wins in her early years including the Barnegat Bay Ladies Champion in 1915. On the other hand, I would credit the great Peter Commette who showed us all what hard work and pushing oneself can achieve.
If there is one thing the sailing community could do to grow sailing in your area, what would that be?
I believe the sailing community could benefit from less emphasis on drills and regattas in a sailors early years and a renewed emphasis on the adventure of sailing. Also, exposing young sailors to many different types of boats and encouraging more cross-generational sailing. The highest level the community should support the introduction of cutting-edge classes of boats for our elite young sailors.
Thank you Henry Colie – Sperry Local Ambassador at the 2019 U.S. Youth Sailing Championships.