Saturday, February 28, 2015

Line Up at Red Bank

At least nine old stern steerers grace the frozen Shrewsbury River off of Red Bank NJ, Saturday.

Looks to be little wind, hope the afternoon picks up!
Impressive display of Stern Steerers on Jersey ice!
Photo credit Robert Wills 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sailing to the South

Snow continues to plague any sailing here in the Hudson Valley. Incredible that in the midst of the coldest winter in recent memory, most all the fleet of ice yachts here have yet to set runners on the ice. The cold weather has slowed the melting and saturation of the snow. Drifted, packed snow is too dense to sail through right now.
So what to do? Head south! ( if you can).
The two big boats, Jack Frost of the HRIYC and Rocket, of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club were dismantled on Orange Lake and taken by trailer south to the Shrewsbury River at Red Bank, NJ. Both ice yachts had been snowed in on Orange Lake for several weeks.
The salt ice of the Shrewsbury has built enough thickness to support the weight of the big 50 foot ice yachts. This is the initial launching of the Rocket on its home ice since its rebuild. It first sailed last March on the Hudson River at Barrytown.
This weekend could see the historic event of the two largest ice boats ( traditionally rigged) sailing across the home ice of HRIYC's long time arch rival. Sailing competition between the two clubs dates back to the  1880s.    Long Live the Stern Steerers!                                                                                (Photos courtesy of Robert Wills)

Rocket, sailing on home ice at Red Bank.

Rocket, with Jack Frost beyond, pushes off on the Shrewsbury River.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day... More snow

Lots of ice, but snow continues to plague the surface. The upcoming week is predicting 3 sub-zero morning temps. We may look to March to sail. Keeping an eye on River possibilities.
Today I looked out over the River towards Hyde Park Landing. Ice is wetted out, somewhat. No idea how thick though...
Valentines day 2015:
Grey'd out snow ice; Looking east toward Hyde Park Landing from West Park.
Archie Roger's boathouse was just south (to the right) of this location.

That ice looks intriguing! 

Off Hyde Park Landing, circa 1939.
(Allons, Kris, Sweet Marie, Hawk L-R)
Snowed in at Orange Lake. Plenty of ice with a thick layer of slush, topped with a layer of snow.
Boats were re-blocked up on saw horses or wood blocks.

A light snow began this morning, adding, eventually, another 1-2 inches on the surface of the ice.

A long month! Snow! Cold! Snow! Cold! More Snow....

It has been about a month since my last post and it continues to snow. Back on January 17, I thought I was a week away from launching Cyclone on the River, or Tivoli South Bay. Instead a series of snowstorms has stymied any attempts.  Here's the tally - to the best of my recollection:
Jan 25- 3";
Jan 26 - 5" (the non-blizzard);
Feb 2 - 11"
Feb 5 - 1"
Feb 9 - 5"
Feb 15 - 3"
scattered between those storms were at least 3 mornings of below zero temperatures.
The ice is thick, but buried beneath a blanket of snow.   Following, a snapshot of images over the last few weeks...

Cyclone, ready to go, on the trailer.
Looking out from the garage,
in the middle of the 11" storm of Feb. 2nd.

Aft end of the cockpit. with too much snow just outside the garage...

Just south of Mid Hudson Bridge Feb. 6,  -3F;
 smooth ice across the Hudson at Poughkeepsie.

Looking West at Highland, 2/6/15.
That's Black Ice off of the East Shore in Poughkeepsie.

South toward Trap Rock 2/6/15. Got me thinking..
When was the last time this section of the river was sailed??
see next picture....

Kaal Rock, Poughkeepsie. Feb. 14, 1887
 Eskimo approaches the stake in the race for the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America.
Note windward runner is in a slight hike. How close are those spectators actually??
Archie Rogers, sailing Jack Frost for the HRIYC, won this race for the Challenge Pennant. Eskimo, built by Jacob Buckhout for  Phillips Phoenix, of Tuxedo Lake, came in seventh. She sailed for the Poughkeepsie Ice Yacht Club. Eskimo is likely the boat referenced in this NYT article of 1886. 

Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge - Walkway Over the Hudson.
Valentine's day picture of Eskimo, above, was shot just south of here
 along the eastern shore.
River ice is locked in shore to shore here. 
Walkway Over the Hudson, 2/6/15 Ice solid across to the channel.

Mid Hudson bridge to the south, Walkway Bridge to the north.

Looking south, from Marist College waterfront

Lots of ice, drifted snow on top.

Panorama looking west to Highland from Marist College in Poughkeepsie; 2/6/15. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sails up! 2015 sailing season starts!

Sunset on the Hudson River at Barrytown.
Vixen facing south toward Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge.

The breeze came up early afternoon in Barrytown. Several dozen visitors took rides on Vixen, under the steady hand of skipper Reid Beilenberg. Puff was out sailing as well, along with a couple of Arrows. Rain Sunday will likely squelch any sailing for the day and may very well compromise the conditions and safety of being on the ice. It is suggested you DO NOT access the ice unless you have fully investigated whether the ice is safe.
This rain may help smooth out rough ice on Tivoli Bay, which may make that an excellent venue for next weekend.

Meanwhile further south... 

The original sign of the OLIYC that hung at the old clubhouse.

Vintage megaphone from the club.
 A small fleet of bow & stern steerers enjoyed sunny skies and no wind. Most skippers didn't bother raising sail. Jack Frost & Rocket managed a few tacks before pushing back to the pits. 

Rocket, rigged and sailing for the second season since it was rebuilt. 

The two largest traditionally rigged Ice Yachts in the world - Rocket (1888)  & Jack Frost (1893)
I would venture today was the first time in 124 years at Orange Lake that there has been the largest of ice yachts from New Jersey and Hudson River Clubs since the famed Van Nostrand Challenge Cup Race of 1891. The Scud, of North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club, won that race, claiming the silver cup.  Scud out sailed Dragon, of Carthage Ice Yacht Club, and Lady of the Lake & Windward of the OLIYC in the 20 mile race. (I'll add more detail to this event in a later post some day) 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ice on the River!

It has been cold in the Hudson Valley over the last week plus...
Club members have been scouting ice for over a week and finally settled on a plate off of Barrytown - basically where we sailed from last winter.
Vixen, Reindeer & Puff are on the ice along with a couple of Arrows. Find your way to the old Barrytown Post Office and use good judgement crossing the RR tracks and finding access to the ice.
I haven't been there yet- too busy with school work. Hoping to launch next weekend.
Incredible that we are sailing on the river again!  Be safe.

Haven't had a chance to get photos from this week. But always can find some great images from the past to share...

Ice Queen and Ariel in a tandem hike on Great South Bay a few years back.
Recently re-discovered this great shot by HRIYC sailor Glen Burger.

Chris Vargo (R) & the late John Rose (L) ready to push off in the
Arrow fleet race at Red Bank in 1999. A pair of these 2 seater fiberglass bow steerers
are sailing on the river at Barrytown now.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Talkin' Ice Boats....

I'm giving a talk on the history of Ice Yachting in the Hudson Valley on Sunday in Livingston, at the Town Hall. 2pm.

I once helped display ice boats at an event for the historic Livingston estate Clermont a bunch of years back. I dug out a list of ice yachts that I compiled which were part of a series of estates connected directly or indirectly to the Livingston family in northern Dutchess/southern Columbia county. They were a good 45 miles or so north of the action in Poughkeepsie, yet there was a sizable fleet of ice yachts up this way (as it is in my neighborhood...) and several owners maintained membership in the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club.

The Livingstons and Ice Yachting;
Herman Livingston was a charter member of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club, founded in 1885.

The following list shows boats owned by  Livingstons, along with a neighboring estate family, the Clarkson’s, as they appeared in club books:

From the 1888 HRIYC club roster:

Onteora               Herman Livingston         33’ in length                 443 sq ft of sail
Dashaway            Robert R.L. Clarkson      23 ‘                              220 sq ft
Galatea                Robert R.L. Clarkson     32 ‘                               410 sq ft   
Note: all 3 boats are still on the current day club roster.

From the 1900 HRIYC club roster:
Onteora               Herman Livingston         33’ in length                 443 sq ft of sail
Rocket                 Robert R. Livingston      22’                               156 sq ft
Bessie                  Robert R.L. Clarkson      35 ‘                              485 sq ft
Maelstrom            Robert R.L. Clarkson     36 ‘                               495 sq ft   
Kite                     Robert R.L. Clarkson     20 ‘                               225 sq ft
Alert                   Robert R.L. Clarkson     28 ‘                               250 sq ft

Rex                     Robert R.L. Clarkson     29 ‘                               260 sq ft

Rocket is still around, though hasn't been on the ice in over 10 years. 

Rocket, off Germantown, 1999, i think. It had certainly been re-rigged as marconi.
She blew out (tore up) her sail on her next journey down river that winter.
Dashaway is of the old side railer design. She is currently undergoing restoration.

Bowsprit with nameplate.

Hey, folks are scouting River ice off of Athens today - Sat. 1/10.
This cold may get us on to the River before you know it. 
Time to put the shrouds back on my mast...