Monmouth Boat Club was inundated by the Navesink River hours before Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey, and the river rose several feet after this photo was taken. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)


The home of the Monmouth Boat Club, a Red Bank building that has stood for more than 100 years, is tackling rebuilding post-Hurricane Sandy with a little help from the men who built the place.

“This pine flooring here is the original flooring,” Commodore Leigh ‘Skip’ Bugbee told redbankgreen during a tour of  storied Navesink River clubhouse, which was built in 1895 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. “What’s amazing is that, because there’s no subflooring to it, it can basically withstand any amount of water and let it freely flow back out to the river.”

Even the buckling that was caused will be set back to normal once the heat is turned back on, he said.

“The guys who put it in here really knew what they were doing,” Bugbee said. “We owe them a big thank you.”

Another view of the club as the storm neared. The North Shrewsbury River Ice Boat & Yacht Club is at left. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

At six feet, four inches above mean high tide, the storm’s surge dwarfed the river levels reached in earlier storms, Bugbee said, displaying the marks from each storm on an interior wall.

At the home of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club, which is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and shares a one-acre lot with the boat club, Sandy did limited damage, which was repaired by club volunteers over two intensive weekends, according to reports on the club’s Facebook page.

But the boat club incurred considerable damage, as did many of the boats it hosts, according to Bugbee.

“We had to completely strip our first floor bathrooms, which included full showers, as well as remove and clean the wall paneling,” he said. “We also had damage to our electrical panels, hot-water heater, and furnace. Moving forward, we’re going to be moving those things to the top two floors of the building as a preventative measure.”

The building, which was built on pilings driven into the river shoreline, remains structurally sound, having gotten a clean bill of health from structural engineers two weeks after the hurricane struck, said Bugbee who became commodore this month.

The damage within the building wasn’t the only problem facing the newly installed commodore and his crew though, with many of the club’s boats having floated away during the course of the storm.

“We had almost all of our boats out of the lot and floating in the river – trailers, floating docks and all. Many were stranded up by Conover Lane [in Middletown], and they were littered all the way down the river, past the Cooper Bridge, so getting them back here was a process, to say the least,” said Bugbee.

Bugbee says the club will implement a system that, in case of future storm surges and flooding, will corral the boats inside the parking lot using cables and a 1,000-pound anchor to keep the boats out of the river.

Despite the damage, Bugbee maintains that the toughest part of recovery has been the interruption of the regular, informal gatherings at the club, where members customarily flock year-round.

“We all really miss the camaraderie aspect the club brought, even if it’s just hanging out and watching football with everybody on Sundays,” he said. “Even though guys have started to come out and sail again, we still miss getting together and just being able to hang out every week.”

Bugbee said club will be ready to open for the summer in April, keeping it in line with its usual schedule.