JAKBAR and STARBOUND
In photo above, next to the JAKBAR, the famous 65′ sloop, “Starbound” was being framed, at Bahrs Pier 7 during the years of 1946 through 1948. Built for Nutley NJ engineer J. Kenneth Whitteker, who after becoming fascinated with sailing, began researching the Spray, Joshua Slocum’s famed sloop. Determined to have one just like her, William J. Deed, New York Naval architect was commissioned to draw the plans and the Bahrs boatyard at Pier 7 was to build her. The Newark Sunday News printed a large story on the event featuring ten large photos, eight of them taken of the construction at Bahrs Pier 7. The carpenters working on the Spray were some of the most skilled artisans in the business. Some of their names were George Fay, Karl Kristensen, John Kristensen, and Olaf Olsen. Ken Bahrs was foreman in charge of the yard. The lumber of the 300 pound stern was of white oak, cut in Lakewood, NJ. The Starbound went to sail around the world twice by her owners the Gordon & Nina Stuermer who went on to write popular cruising books including one named “Starbound.”
In the early days of Bahrs Landing, fishing boats left out of the marina, as they do today, with small to large groups of anglers prepared to hook fluke, blackfish, stripers, and bluefish. The JAKBAR and the Lucky Strike were two popular boats and in August of 1947 were reported to have good bags by Stew Van Vliet, who wrote the Surf, Field, and Stream column for the Red Bank Register. The daily catch was reflected in restaurant advertisements as well. An ad for the Bahrs dining room menu special in mid June of 1947 was broiled fresh filet of fluke. This same week the JAKBAR was advertised in the local paper as an open party boat which meant just show up and we will all go, heading out at 8 AM each day. Ed Volk was the captain at this time. Julians Bait and Tackle was often advertised right above the JAKBAR ad as they were a nearby supplier of ice and ground and whole bunkers. The JAKBAR had a long life that involved playing many roles for many people.
In 1970 the JAKBAR became a hero when she was able to redirect a large barge being used by the US Dredging Company from colliding with the Highlands bridge. The barge had broken loose from it’s moorings in a heavy northwest wind and was slowly being pushed toward the bridge. Alexander Bahrs and crew were able to push the barge on to the beach on Sandy Hook. No damage was done to the bridge but the traffic on the bridge was held up for a time pending the outcome. The JAKBAR was a cruising vessel for family and friends especially to see fireworks in Atlantic Highlands and up the river toward Red Bank too. The JAKBAR was great for crabbing and even had a career as the love boat as well. In July of 1984 Judge Ron Horan officiated at the marriage of an Atlantic Highlands couple. It was truly a party boat that spread Bahrs Landing style good cheer up and down the river. One of many memorable occasions was checking out the tall ships in New York Harbor on Liberty weekend, the one-hundredth Anniversary for the Statue of Liberty.