Saturday, October 22, 2016

History of ice yacht Manhasset, with 1930 movies!

The Hudson River Ice Yacht Manhasset was built in Poughkeepsie, NY by George Buckhout in 1912. It was noted by George Buckhout in his last year of life that it was built for William Gardner, a naval architect. She is the only double cockpit yacht that Buckhout built.  

Letter to the Scott family from 1947. George Buckhout recollects building Manhasset.
I love his dig at Percy Ashley, the builder/designer from Orange Lake. 

 Manhasset first appears in the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club 1913 Club book. It was owned by J.W. Alker (and, seemingly, others). Alker was the son of the original founder and commodore of the MBYC; J.W. became commodore at a later point in time.
According to a letter from George Buckhout (as recorded by his son Fred Buckhout and sent to the Scott family in 1947), Buckhout built the boat for William Gardner, a renowned Naval architect. Gardner sailed out of the MBYC, although I have yet to see his name attached to Manhasset in any records. He is shown as owning the ice yacht Cold Wave and sailing in Manhasset ice yacht races in 1914 (from Yachting magazine  Feb. 1914.) This may be the same Cold Wave still sailed out of Lake Ronkonkama by HRIYC member Fred Krause.
Alker was a competitive soft water sailor as well. He raced both winter and summer!  By 1930 the Manhasset was owned and sailed by Edmund Lang. Lang is listed in the 1926 MBYC book as owning the Scooter Tout de Suite. Lang took Manhasset to Greenwood Lake to sail. See videos (below) of Manhasset sailing on Greenwood Lake in 1930. There is also footage of Lang sailing his Scooter.  I'll venture that it was Lang that sold Manhasset to the Scott's, of Lake View Iowa, where she sailed out of until this year, when she was purchased by the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club.

1913 Club book of Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. They listed both hard and soft water boats in the club.

Still owned and sailed by J.W. Alker in the 1926 MBYC book.
Rudder article 1913.  Knickerbocker is now in the collection of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and can be seen there.

From Rudder Magazine, Feb. 1913  Double cockpit design clearly shown.

Race results from  Yachting, February 1914. 

Race results from NYTimes, January 21, 1918.
is now in the collection of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, and can be seen on display.

Mystic Seaport has old 8mm film of Manhasset, shot at Greenwood Lake circa 1930. The movies came from a woman interviewed by Seaport staff in the 1980s. Her family went sailing with Edmund Lang in the 1930s. Her father worked for Lang in his small motors business. I acquired aVCR copy about 10 years ago.   There is video of sailing on Lang's scooter as well. 
Note - this is a low budget filming of the movie with my iphone off of the vcr playing on my old TV.... (I'll get a better digital transfer one of these days...)  

On the ice about 10 years ago.
Follow the restoration efforts here:  Manhasset Restoration

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Manhasset returns to Hudson Valley after 70 years!

Hanging with the big rigs.....Sept. 2016 trip, Iowa to NY (photo courtesy Kate Shuter)
It was with much excitement that we waited for the long journey of the Ice Yacht Manhasset back to NYS. HRIYC club members Dock & Kate Shuter hauled the yacht, snugly encased in its custom 45' long trailer, on a  1200 mile journey from Lake View Iowa to the Hudson River.

Manhasset was built in Poughkeepsie in 1912 by George Buckhout.  Its history is well documented and the boat remains virtually as it was built 104 years ago.
It has been in the Scott family since 1946, when EE Scott purchased her in Long Island and car topped, on a 1941 Ford, the 32' boat back to his home in Iowa. The family has sailed her on Black Hawk Lake ever since. Jim & Margaret Scott were long time (long distance) members of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. I got to know them a bit through short notes Margaret often wrote to accompany annual dues they sent each winter. I was always curious about this double cockpit Buckhout built boat. I eventually met the two when they passed through Hyde Park about 12 years ago. They told stories of the boat and we had a nice lunch together. Jim passed away several years back and it was about a year ago that I received an email from his son Eric Scott, inquiring as to whether the HRIYC would be interested in acquiring the yacht. Of course we were! After 12 months of discussions with club members and John Scott in Iowa we reached an agreement and a price.  The hard part - towing the boat in its custom 45' long trailer - was taken on by Kate & Dock. They had a smooth journey back over 2 days.
Now the club will begin restoration of this unique boat - the only double cockpit yacht built by Buckhout. We look forward to seeing her sail on the Hudson for the first time some winter's day soon!
Manhasset, atop a 1941 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan, on its 1946 journey from Long Island to Iowa. Think about that! 

Safely home in Iowa, 1946.

Manhasset rigged and sailing on Black Hawk Lake circa 1950?

 Marge Scott passes on the tiller of Manhasset to Doc Shuter of the HRIYC.
(photo courtesy of John Scott)

 Just returned home to the Hudson after 1200 mile journey. Note crane unit on aft end of trailer!

Tiller post and Buckhout's builder plate.

second cockpit in trailer; it had been removed from the backbone.

Cast bronze tiller.

welcoming party at Glasco-on-Hudson.

cockpit, inside the trailer.

More on the history of Manhasset to follow.

Follow restoration work here:  Manhasset Restoration

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hudson River Maritime Museum, Kingston, NY

There is a wonderful little museum in Kingston, NY. The Hudson River Maritime Museum has some great exhibits on steamboats, lighthouses, tugboats, Maritime history and... ice boats! In the East Gallery you'll find  John A. Roosevelt's 50' yacht Icicle  (partially) on display, along with the 30' ice yacht Knickerbocker. Some great photos and ice yachting history info are on display.  Behind the scenes, though, is the real treasure. Ray Ruge's ice yachting collection is archived at the museum and there is an incredible collection of letters, photos, and ice boating memorabilia spanning 1936- 1982.  Ruge, often called "Mr. Iceboat" was active in ice boating circles during that time span building, racing, collecting, writing articles on the sport and rescuing old antique gaff rigged ice boats. He spearheaded the rebuild and restoration of Jack Frost in the early 1970s. I'll devote a longer post to all that Ray was involved in sometime in the near future. For now, a few gems from the collection.  (Thanks to the staff at the Maritime Museum for allowing access to these materials.) 
(in no apparent order...)

Puff, circa 1872, was  Originally part of Irving Grinnell's fleet out of New Hamburgh.
Ruge got a group of ice boaters to partner together to acquire and restore Puff in the mid 1960s'.
This photo is from the late 60s. She still sails today.

Ariel. Archie Rogers' ice yacht circa 1888. Ruge acquired Ariel ( I believe) in a trade for an Arrow bow steerer. The previous owner got her when she was actioned off in the 1940s along with a large portion of the Rogers estate in Hyde Park. 

John A. Roosevelt's Vixen. Ruge acquired Vixen in the 60s and raced her frequently on Orange Lake.

Fleet off Chelsea, circa 1911. Chelsea club house is below the flag. 

This is the Merritt brothers yacht Ranger.
Ruge corresponded with everyone about ice yachting. He saved every letter and picture ( or so it seems).
He has some great correspondence with the major ice yachters from the Midwest. He had this photo of the "Big 3" yachts from Oshkosh, Wisconsin during a 1949 race. (L-R) Deuce, Debutante III, Flying Dutchman.   Deuce & Debutante III both carried 600 sq ft of sail. 

Ruge, 2nd from right, at an Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club dinner, 1939.

Ruge wrote frequently on ice yachting in Yachting magazine.

Sailing his bow steering C class skeeter Charette, 1938.

Ruge, center, after a victory in EIYA races, 1939.

Ice Yacht Mischief, of the Chelsea Yacht Club; circa 1911.

C class skeeter, Kitten. Greenwood Lake, circa 1939.

First Bow Steerer Ruge built: Icicle, a jib & main X class skeeter. 1939. 

Ice Yacht Gale, on Orange Lake 1938.
This is a Percy Ashley designed gaff rigged sloop. 250 sq ft.
The sister ship to Gale, North Wind, still sails today.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A letter from Captain Drake 1943

Capt. Frank Drake worked steamboats and ice boats on the Hudson River for over 60 years. His father was an early member of the New Hamburgh Ice Yacht Club, sailing the second class sloop "Mischief."
Drake has at the helm of "Scout" when it captured the Ice Challenge Pennant of America in 1922 - the last race for the 30 foot silk pennant during the era of stern steerers.  Drake eventually returned the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant to The FDR Library and helped, along with Ruge, to get a new version made. The 'new' pennant was again raced for in 1951 on Greenwood Lake and won by Ed Rollberg of the Fox Lake Ice Yacht Club in Illinois.
Drake and Ray Ruge became friends and corresponded about iceboating news in the 1940s. Some of those letters are part of the Ruge collection at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. 
I transcribed one particular letter that i find quite poignant and revealing. Here is an old timer (he was 71 at the time) lamenting the waning days of what was an exciting sport. His description of "worst" winter in his memory is one we might relish this winter... 

New Hamburgh N.Y. Jan 31/43

Dear Friend Mr. Ruge,

                                   Well tomorrow is the first of Feb and in all the winters that I have ever ice boated, I think this is the worst.  I have had the Edwa at Orange Lake since Dec 15th and have had only about three hours sailing so far, going on for two months.  
                                The North Star is on the river here at my home and about all that you can see of her is her spar sticking out of a snow drift.  I look at her in disgust, although I did get a day or so sailing on the river.  Jan. the 21st I sailed almost to Beacon.  the ice was beautiful and since then has not moved, although Sunday Jan 24th the river was just as nice with a breeze from the N.E.  I foolishly went over to the Lake and when I got there it was dead calm, not a boat moved all day. That day Scaderfield sailed down to the NewBurgh Yacht Club. That day also Charlie Merritt tried out his experiment that is he attempted to but only went about five hundred feet when his leeward shear pole broke and it has been all over since.
                                        I do not look for much more sailing on the river this winter, as the ice is covered with about 15 inches of snow and the water in the river is very dirty from the heavy rains we had the fore part of winter, and unless we get a rain soon to wet this snow through and freeze solid the under ice will be gone. I do expect to get a lot of sailing yet on Orange Lake, and will keep you posted as to same.
                                   I wish I could sell all the Ice boats that I have as there is not much help around any more, with all the boys away to war. All a fellow wants is a little 125 ft front steerer weighing about 300 lb that he and a boy can put on and take off if there is a danger of a thaw and the ice breaker coming through, which you can’t do with heavy boats without help.
                                    We have not been bothered with any ice breakers for a long time, about all they are doing is keeping it open as far as Iona Island and for a spell that kept them busy.
             The ice above New Hamburgh is very heavy, piled up from the last time the breaker went through,4 and 5 feet high, so unless we get a very warm spell they will leave it alone.
                                  Time is dragging with me this winter. No steamboats, no ice boating, most old friends gone to war or working in defense plants, can’t hear the radio, or movies, loaded up with ice boats can’t build anymore, so about all I can do is read about the war. If things don’t change, I guess I will have to join the domino gang in the fire house.
                                Well I have given you what little ice boat news there is and there is very little else. So I will close, hoping this finds you and yours in the best of health.
                               Mrs. Drake is not very good this winter, I am about the same.

Very truly,
Frank V. Drake  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Ice Yachting - a "Lively winter sport" January 1879

 A lively article from the Poughkeepsie Eagle in 1879. The Poughkeepsie Journal  (the current day name) has digitized all their issues going back to the early 1800s. One can search extensively for articles on ice yachting. I think this article captures the festive and colorful nature of ice yachting that still exists today. A great account of Grinnell sailing the centennial yacht Whiff up from New Hamburgh.  ( a copy of a scanned article from the Journal archives).

Monday, February 15, 2016

No Safe ice yet

Took a short walk out onto Tivoli South Bay Monday (2/15)  afternoon. Only found 3-4 inches of ice. Surface wan't too bad. Since then though, we have had over 2" of snow which will soon turn to sleet, then rain. Upcoming temperatures aren't looking too good to build any more ice. Orange Lake also had minimal ice thickness and a few holes still not frozen over. Will continue to monitor the ice.....

UPDATE 2/18 - torrential rains Tuesday and temperatures in the 50s did real damage to ice surfaces. News from Orange Lake as of Thursday 2/18 - the ice there is still unsafe. some drain holes have healed but there are still cracks, ridges and holes scattered about. Even with a few cold nights upcoming there will be temperatures this weekend in the 40s and nights that might not go below freezing. Not a good outlook for the next 5 days... I haven't been back to Tivoli bay,, but don't imagine that can be safe either)

(check new posts along the right side of this page on Club membership books and books on Ice boating; also see new post on a vintage Rudder magazine below)   

Ice checking crew...  2/15/16

A dusting of snow on surface of Tivoli South Bay.
3 cold nights only built 3-4 inches.

Had a nice skate today on my favorite local spot - Heron Swamp. It's just 3 miles from my house and I love this quiet little secluded piece of ice. This ice will be a mess by the morning...

Lots of dead trees, but it is a fun obstacle course to skate through.

Great Blue Heron nests toward the south end of this small swamp. 

Rudder, December 1901

I recently acquired an old issue of Rudder magazine. H. Percy Ashley wrote frequently on ice boating for Rudder from his home base at Orange Lake (outside of Newburgh, NY).  He created many ice yacht designs which Rudder published, which were used to build boats from Maine to the mid-west. He regularly reported on ice sailing around the country. I love the cover illustration he drew for this particular issue. There are some great photos as well.  It is amazing to discover that there were many ice sailing locations on out-of-the-way lakes. See the bits on ice sailing in Maine in 1901. Where are all those boats today??
These are all photos of images from this issue. 

Cover illustration by H. Percy Ashley. Note burgees of Hudson River Ice Yacht Club and the Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club.

Ice Yacht Scud, from the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club.
This version does not sport the trussed plank that many NJ big yachts used. Scud raced against HRIYC yachts for the Ice Challenge Pennant of America on the Hudson. Pictures from those races show her with the trussed plank.

Ashley sketched this version of Blizzard, which was likely built on plans developed by Ashley.
She sailed out of Burlington, VT on Lake Champlain.

Archie Rogers yacht Mink.

Archie Rogers' yacht Ariel. This was arguably one of his favorite smaller yachts.   In addition to the rig shown here, Rogers also rigged Ariel as a lateen boat; as a cat -rigged boat; and as a standard sloop rig. She still sails today, sloop-rigged.

You remember Harvey Lake, right?

Rogers was from Hyde Park and built many yachts for members of the HPIYC.

Sailing on Lake Champlain. See club boat listing below for Blizzard dimensions.

Amazing fleet of boats, near Bar Harbor, ME.
There were many big ice yachts in Maine at the turn of the century. 

Great example of a lateen-rigged yacht, Flying Fox carries 238 sq ft of sail. She sailed with the Kingston Ice Yacht Club of Canada (near Toronto).  

Roster of the Excelsior Ice Yacht Club; Quite a few ice yachts out of Burlington 115 years ago! 

From the magazine's ads: