Sailor Spotlight: Brendan Hogan
Name: Brendan Hogan
Yacht Club: Shore Acres YC (is the place to be!)
Schools attended: Donovan Catholic, Ocean County College, Kean University
1) Brendan, give me a quick summary of your sailing background. Where did you grow up sailing? Did you sail in high school? College? etc.
I began sailing at the age of 7 in the Shore Acres Yacht Club Jr Sailing Program. At that age, I was not fond of sailing program by any means. In fact, I am pretty sure I had a belly ache that entire summer. However, my parents were persistent, and I continued in the program. By age 10 I was racing Optis, before advancing to Lasers. At age 15 I began sailing for a travel team - TS4LS - and this is where my passion really grew. I sailed for Monsignor Donovan in High School, and while there I was able to practice with some of the best sailors in the country. During my college career I attended many different universities; however I spent most of my time sailing for OCC and Kean. The OCC program was my primary enabler to continue the sport. Because of my time there I was exposed to A-Cats, Ensigns, and the venerable E-Scow, which I still race today.
2) You are the Commodore of the Shore Acres YC - pretty young compared to most Commodores. For those who don't know, Shore Acres YC was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy and is still rebuilding. Can you tell me how the club is coming along?
Shore Acres was completely decimated by Super-Storm Sandy. I will never forget the day the water receded. I walked down to the club, and the only part that looked salvageable was the roof. That day led to 5 years of conducting club events from under a canvas tent. Today, thankfully, we are making great progress towards rebuilding the club. We currently have all of our siding, windows, and rough mechanicals in place. If everything goes according to plan we will be re-opening this May. This has been an incredibly difficult process that has been helped along by a great many people, and I hope they will all join me at the club when we are finished.
3) This winter has been very cold so far which has provided some great opportunities to ice-boat. Have you been? What's it been like?
This winter has been BRUTAL. One of the coldest I can remember (Especially when you are trying to build a new clubhouse!). The flip side of that coin, however is that we have been able to do a ton of ice-boating! I firmly believe that the most fun you can have during the winter is on an ice boat. I have owned a DN ice-boat for a couple of years, and this was the first opportunity I have had to use it. To be completely honest, the experience is surreal- gliding along the bay at 30+ knots with hardly a sound to be heard. It is one of the most fantastic out of body experiences one can have. This year we were blessed, in a sense, because Kettle Creek (by SAYC) froze solid for a good 1 month period. I believe out of that we were able to do 2 weekends of ice-boating. Ice-boating will certainly test your patience, but the reward far outweighs any of that- I can’t wait to get back on the ice again!
4) In the summer you sail with Kyle Rogachenko on his E-Scow, "Honk." What is that like and can you tell me about the dynamics on that boat?
Sailing with Kyle is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I have known Kyle since we were both racing Optis and Lasers; sailing has a way of providing enduring friendships. The crew is primarily made up of Kyle, AJ Bailey and myself. Sailing with Kyle and AJ has definitely elevated my own game. On paper, most people would think it is crazy to throw 3 lifetime skippers into one boat, especially two engineers and someone who may not be known for attention to detail [Editor's note: Brendan is talking about himself]. The reality is that we all complement each other very well. Trust me when I say that is a full time job to keep two engineers from getting in their own head during a postponement. Most importantly, this has also been the most fun I have had sailing since I was probably 15. We do not get down on each other; we only serve to pump each other up. This kind of positive environment has an impact on the race course, but it has an even greater impact once on shore. While we always want to win the race, we recognize that there are greater things in life than the race course- such as winning the party at Inlands. HONK!
5) You are one of the most approachable, inclusive, and easy-going guys I know, you've stepped up and helped out at Shore Acres Yacht Club, and you are always available to help promote sailing on Barnegat Bay. What is it about sailing and Barnegat Bay that keeps you so involved? What do you love most about our area?
I bleed Barnegat Bay. I have sailed on the Great Lakes, the Inland Lakes, the Finger Lakes, as well as up and down both coasts, and I can comfortably say that Barnegat Bay is simply the best. We have one of the most predictable and satisfying sailing breezes with our summer thermal. This creates some big waves to go along with the big breeze, which can be a lot of fun too. In the Spring and Fall we often benefit from strong west winds from weather fronts moving across the country, and you haven’t lived until you’ve sailed in a Jersey Nor’Easter. It’s very rare we lose a day of racing to no wind at all. Most important, to me, however, are the people. We would not have such a robust and well renowned sailing venue if it were not for the people who support the sport. This includes all the members of the area clubs, the BBYRA, and the Jr Sailing committees. I could probably give you a list of 1,000 people who have helped me out along the way, and I would still be forgetting someone- and that is what makes the difference.