“Discover the Thrilling World of Sailing: Exclusive Interview with Author William Fortenbaugh 📚⛵️” (Youtube interview)
The idea for writing a book about Ghost, a wooden Catboat, came from William (Bill) Fortenbaugh, Professor Emeritus of Classics at Rutgers University, whose professional career focused on Aristotle and his School. Also an avid sailor beginning at the age of eight, Bill raced many types of boats including the Barnegat Bay A Cat. In retirement he came to recognize the unique value of the A Cat and of David Beaton and Sons, where Ghost was built. The resulting book is a collaborative effort, to which the builders at Beaton’s, the crew of Ghost, photographers and friends all contributed. From Beaton’s to Beach Haven The present book focuses on a twenty-eight foot wooden Catboat called Ghost. She belongs to a class of boats unique to Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. The class originated in 1922 and by 1924 was recognized as a racing class under the name A Cat. The class was seriously affected by the Great Depression, but it survived and began a renaissance in 1980, when David Beaton and Sons built Wasp, a new A Cat, following plans dating to 1923. Ghost was Beaton’s second A Cat and was an immediate success. Not only did she win seven consecutive Bay championships, 1994–2000 but also exhibited extraordinary craftsmanship. We might say that Ghost was and remains a paradigm of excellence in the construction of wooden boats. Happily the building process was photographed in detail and is now recorded in book form. Photos paired with explanation take the reader from making patterns and preparing the woodshop to a celebratory launch at Beaton’s rigging dock. That is followed by an account of Ghost’s initial disaster on the race course, a remarkable recovery and then twenty-two years of continuous competition. What made Ghost fast on the race course and what did not work are recorded for the reader’s consideration. The conclusion focuses on Ghost’s new home at the New Jersey Maritime Museum.