Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Icicle circa 1881 ----------->> ice conditions ---->>

Came across this photo in my archives and felt like posting it again.
John A. Roosevelt's Icicle.  The big one - side railer; 68+ ft; 1070 sq ft of sail.  circa 1881.
This photo was pasted on the inside front cover of one of his scrapbooks. here's the cover page

The scrapbook is in the FDR Library in Hyde Park. Great iceboat materials in the library. 
very little of the iceboat material has been digitized yet, understandably...

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Murderer's Creek

Vixen on a dwindling piece of ice. Note open water - that's Murderer's Creek - flowing into the Hudson.

Murderer's Creek lived up to its name today.... This state boat launch is a great access point to the Hudson River, just north of the village of Athens, NY (Greene County).  The heavy rains and warm temperatures from Friday's storm led to heavy runoff for any tributary into the Hudson. This Creek certainly murdered the ice where Vixen and Boreus had recently set up. The heavy flow ate away at  the solid ice  quickly and in the course of a few hours the ice flow where the 2 yachts were parked was open water.  
Vixen had set up earlier in the week and got in a short sail on Wednesday.  Boreus set up Thursday, planning on riding out the storm and being ready to sail once the upcoming freeze repaired any damage from the storm.   
Port runner and plank were about 2 feet under water as the ice eroded at that spot.
We delicately maneuvered the plank up an onto firmer ice.

Instead, we spent today in extraction mode. The pit crew of the HRIYC worked carefully and quickly to get Vixen out of the creek; we then dismantled, and hauled the boat, piece by piece back onto shore and then onto the transport truck. Boreus followed.  
Boreus, This ice chunk was all but gone 45 m later...

Agonizingly we looked at a beautiful field of ice 50 yards beyond the launch site. Miles of river ice has been smoothed out from the rain. We just need a safe place to get on and off the ice. The upcoming cold nights should lock up the river again. Will need to see where the best launch site will be now.
Boats are still on Tivoli Bay, though reports say that the Bay is a mess - open water from the Sawkill Creek and muddy sediment deposited on the surface from the run off. Waiting to hear how Orange Lake fared...      Good News is that there is a lot of ice on the river and frigid temps ahead!
Murderer's Creek flows freely into a field of ice of the Hudson. That's Middle Ground Flats - an island between Athens and the city of Hudson to the east.

Vixen, Athens, 2009. Robert Near, photographer.  

Hope to see you out on the ice this winter.
Here is a nice audio piece from 2009 when we were last on the ice at Athens. And here is a nice video story short featuring Vixen. 

Boreus, with Capt. Steve, sailing Tivoli Bay , 2007. Chris Kendall, photographer.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Zamboni Coming??

Athens, Greene County, February, 2009 

Sailing has been on hold since last week's storm (we got about 5 inches in Red Hook - northern Dutchess County - on 1/4/18). All local sailing surfaces have too much snow to sail.

But we have a classic weather pattern coming up - warm up (50s), rain (a good soaking Friday), followed by a return of very cold temps (early Sunday morn, near single digits). This should work to get rid of snow and polish the surface. Should be a start of a great week of sailing (for those that can get away from work...). 

Question is where on the River will boats set up? There is talk of good ice in Athens, where we sailed in 2001 and again in 2009.  Will have more info by the weekend.   There are still boats ready at Tivoli Bay & Orange Lake, both of which should have great ice by (perhaps)  Sunday.   stay tuned. 

Athens, Greene County, February 7, 2009

Ariel & Ice Queen

Hound with a reef on a gusty day.

Genevieve, with Capt. Brett

Now Then, historic stern steerer from Red Bank NJ.  2-8-09

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Years Day 2018

Puff, Galatea, Cyclone....waiting for the wind to come up.
It did eventually blow late in the afternoon, and
Puff & Galatea got in some fine sailing.

Meanwhile, looks like plenty of wind for the Orange Lake fleet!

Delicate job of righting Ice Queen

Ariel,  Whirlwind,  Ice Queen... 3 Buckhout boats, all 350 sq ft of sail and 28-30 feet in length. 
The quickest boats in the Hudson River fleet. 

Orange Lake photos courtesy of Kevin Lawrence.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve Sailing!

 Happy New Year!

Beautiful ice on Tivoli South Bay, located on the east shore of the Hudson at Barrytown-on-Hudson. 
  A handful of intrepid sailors and friends embraced the brisk day to get a small fleet of ice yachts onto Tivoli South Bay these past 2 days. This is the first time in quite awhile that we have gotten boats rigged in December.  Galatea, Cyclone, Puff & Orion are all on the ice, along with an Arrow class bow-steering boat. It was taxing with a steady 10-15 mph breeze and temps hovering at 10 degrees.  And, it was fabulous!
Galatea (with Reid Bielenberg at the helm) had the first exploration of Tivoli Bay and took several guests out for a spin.  Cyclone (with yours truly) also tested the Bay for two blustery sails. Frank Wall, between helping rig boats, got out on his bow steering 2 seater.  Puff & Orion will finish being rigged in 2018.  More sailing on New Year's Day.  Best access is to use the Greenway trail from the campus of the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown.

Galatea,  rigged and ready for its shake down sail 12/31/2017. Galatea, circa 1885,
is from the former Clarkson estate in Tivoli. It is just over 32' long, and carries about 350 sq ft of sail.

Starboard runner on Cyclone. That is the eastern shore of Tivoli Bay.
 Montgomery Place, now owned by Bard College,  is inland a few hundred yards.

Sun setting over the Catskill Mountains to the west.

Cyclone, built in Hyde Park around 1900 for Herman Livingston Rogers, youngest son of Col. Archibald Rogers. It is just under 20' in length and carries about 200 sq ft of sail.

Looking southwest down the Bay; Light covering of 1/2 inch of powder over nice ice. 

The continued cold looks may well lead to finding a good stretch of ice on the Hudson proper. By the first weekend of January, we may be launching boats onto the river locally. Stay Tuned!

Lastly, reports note that at least 4 antique stern steerers are sailing at Orange Lake, near Newburgh.  I hope to have pictures soon.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy New Year!

From the photo collection of Marge Spratt, Hyde Park.

Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club

Fleet off of the Chelsea Ice Yacht Club's clubhouse. This club was located between Beacon & New Hamburgh.
The Carthage Ice Yacht Club was organized January 1881. First Commodore was Benjamin Merritt,
considered one of the most expert ice yacht sailors in country (NYTimes article 1900). Brothers
Charlie and Bill Merritt were well respected Ice Yacht builders and sailors. They built several fast
lateen-rigged yachts, including Vixen (which still sails today) and Ranger. The last race of the Ice
Yacht Challenge Pennant of America by the old stern steering yachts was won by Frank Drake,
sailing for the NHIYC, defeating boats from the CIYC, in 1922.
Later on, Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club  changed its name to Chelsea  Ice Yacht Club. This club eventually became the Chelsea Yacht Club, still an active soft water club today.


Members outside the Clubhouse in Chelsea, 1911;  Club house still there today;

Racing at Chelsea, 1911:  Maud M. (owned by Frank Brockway),Junior (owned by Frank F. Collyer),  ? ,  Artic (owned by Moses Collyer)

Lateen rigged "Junior".  I've seen this boat labeled Junior in several photos. This is from Ray Ruge's collection.
Marge Spratt, (who is a Collyer and grew up in Chelsea), has photos with this boat labeled Junior as well.  Still, it sure looks like Vixen (Built in Chelsea in 1885 by the Merritt Bros. - the backbone is quite distinctive)  Vixen sailed out of Chelsea by 1911 -  Frank Drake raced her and  I understood that Joe Jova bought her from JA Roosevelt sometime in this period. Another reference on a photo says that Junior was acquired by Moses Collyer from Archie Rogers.

Collyer Brothers off Chelsea. 1911. 

Moses Collyer, in cockpit; Frank Collyer Sr. Cheslea 1911.  



Charlie & Bill Merritt "ice fishing" on the River off Chelsea 1911.
The Merritt Brothers were builders of many fast yachts at Chelsea (including Vixen, and Ranger);
The were sought after skippers in Challenge Pennant races as well.

Moses was co-author of the book "Sloops of the Hudson"
That book was one spark that helped  inspire Pete Seeger to build
the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in the late 1960s.

Photos from this post come from the private collection of our friend Marge Spratt. She has been generous in sharing her ice boat photo collection and stories of growing up with the Collyers in Carthage Landing/Chelsea.   (one or two come from Ray Ruge's collection at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. I believe Ray got copies from Marge's originals)