Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We are finished! Ice Conditions------------>

Boats are packed up and store away till next winter.

All Boats were dismantled on Friday - time to varnish and tweak rigging till next winter.

Do check back to this blog for more on the history of ice yachting on the Hudson River. We are still finding & restoring old boats, and discovering articles and stories.... 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy Super Bowl!

Compare ice on Super Bowl Sunday this year:

Two Whirlwinds, on blocks, awaiting the return of frozen water....
3 weeks earlier, they sat on 5-6 inches of ice....

Compare to Super Bowl Sunday ice in 2010:  First sails for ice yacht  Orion, after its return to the Hudson valley.  Vixen sails as well...
Tivoli Bay Feb. 7, 2010


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Last sailing before the thaw...

Classic sunny day on the ice. Teasing breezes that gets you and the boat a couple hundred yards out of the pits; then it dies. You're then pushing the boat back in.  You keep getting sucked in. But you never know. About 2:00 a stiff breeze came up for 20 - 25 minutes.  Some nice runs for Whirlwind, Whirlwind III and Lady.  Breeze died. Boats were then pulled up on shore to wait out the upcoming thaw.   We accept the hours of set up for that 15 minute spin after 2 years of no ice.  

A bit distant, but Whirlwind dances up on 2 runners across the Lake!

Lady, here piloted by past commodore Brett.

Whirlwind pushes out, looking for a breeze.  
The coating of last night's snow didn't slow the boats down at all.

Whirlwind experimented with different runners  - 2 sets with different angles -
to see how she handled in these conditions.


After the rain  & several days in the 50s, ice at a local Hudson Valley Lake managed to hold on and Friday night's cold firmed up ice and, just as important,  the mud in the front yard.  
Whirwinds I, II, and III, L-R.

There was a harmonic convergence of Whirlwinds outside of Newburgh as Whirwinds I, II, & III took to the ice. 2 of the 3 put runners to Hudson Valley ice for the first time ever.  A few puffs of wind mid-afternoon got 2 of the 3 out for a few nice runs across the Lake. We have about 40 hours until the next "January thaw" puts the boats on blocks for a spell. ( How many January thaws are allowed??).
Take the opportunity while one can.

Brand new plank for Whirlwind.

Whirlwind. Built by George Buckhout, circa 1920. 31' 350 sq ft of sail.
She's fast!

Whirlwind II, circa 1920, originally from Vermont.Was discovered in a barn in Maine and restored by
Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club wizards Bill Buchholz & Lloyd Roberts ( and one other craftsman I can't remember).
I acquired her last winter and this was her first time on the ice. She's a beauty!

Whirlwind II is 22' long. A storm sail was rigged initially to finish her restoration. Plans are to convert it back to gaff-rigged
perhaps a cat boat or sloop rigged.  Not enough wind today to push the small sail area. That's where teenagers come in.... 

Whirlwind III, circa 1930; ~250 sq ft of sail; 30' long. 

Whirlwind III was built in Syracuse and sailed on Lake Onondaga.
Now sailed by the Lawrence family, 2nd owners.

Beautiful double cockpit.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Winter. Ice. Snow. Cold. and the Nothing....

Our friend Ben recently recited this Wallace Stevens poem at an assembly at my school. Felt it was fitting for today. Happy New Year!

The Snow Man

Related Poem Content Details

One must have a mind of winter 
To regard the frost and the boughs 
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; 

And have been cold a long time 
To behold the junipers shagged with ice, 
The spruces rough in the distant glitter 

Of the January sun; and not to think 
Of any misery in the sound of the wind, 
In the sound of a few leaves, 

Which is the sound of the land 
Full of the same wind 
That is blowing in the same bare place 

For the listener, who listens in the snow, 
And, nothing himself, beholds 
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hawk set up on the eve of a New Year....

We met this morning at the Wallace Center, at the FDR Library in Hyde Park, to once again set up FDR's personal ice yacht Hawk. This is the 3rd time we have had the privilege to work with the National Park Service to display FDR's ice yacht. It will be on display through the end of January 2017. Members of the HRIYC will be available to talk briefly about FDR and his passion for ice yachting prior to the guided tours of his home. We are also excited to find out that funding has been made available to go toward the restoration of Hawk. Club members will be working with NPS to inventory parts and acquire, fashion, or build missing  parts. A new sail, gammon strap, sheer leg poles are a few of the items needed.
I've previously posted a bit about history of Hawk HERE.

Boat parts, brought out of warehouse storage at the FDR Historic Site.

Rudder post and stern runner. Finely crafted by George Buckhout, of Poughkeepsie.

Many hands make light work, especially when most of the backs out there are over 50...

28' backbone was brought to the visitors center on top of a pickup; very carefully tied down.
It travelled all of 1.5 miles from nearby NPS storage warehouse. 

Installing the rudder.

Challenge pennants from the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. 

Hat's off to FDR, and his support of Ice Yachting!

Sheer legs could only be raised about 80% of the way.  Ceilings aren't high enough in the Visitors Center.

Not all parts exist; diamond stays will need to be made.

Detailed sketch of fittings for the bow, where the spars meet, by Club member Reid B.

Motley set up crew, with NPS staff. (photo thanks to Frank Wall)

The FDR library has only known of one photo of Hawk - one in which FDR is sailing it on the Crum Elbow stretch of the River. Years ago I acquired a copy of the shot below (from the FDR archives) of a line up before a 1911 race off Hyde Park. I have always assumed the lateen in this photo was a Hyde Park yacht named Dutchess (owned and sailed by Mark Reeves at that point). I had seen a list of the names of the yachts in the photo and the lateen was identified there as Dutchess.  Some talk arose about the photo at the set up. As I look more closely at the photo, I'm more convinced that this is Hawk, not Dutchess. An older photo of Dutchess reveals features that I don't seem to see here. Hawk was built within a year of Dutchess (George Buckhout built both yachts) to the same dimensions. Can't be 100% sure (yet) but I feel this is indeed Hawk, ready to race.
Is it likely FDR is nearby in this picture?  I'd say it is NOT likely.  All race records ( from 1901-1910) I've seen of Hawk have yet to show FDR at the helm of his boat.

Ice yacht line up, off Hyde Park landing, 1911. FDR's Hawk, far left.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy Holidays All!!

Fair Winds & Smooth Ice in the New Year!!

(Victorian Christmas Greetings, circa late - 1800s.  These images are taken from John A. Roosevelt's ice boat scrapbook.)