Sunday, February 9, 2020

archives post----Athens February 2009

February 8, 2009;  trying to remember these winters past... 
We had 2 good weekends in Athens, NY ( Greene County), on the Hudson River. 
This was the last 2 days, though there was a boat or 2 that stayed the following Monday.  
There were ~20 boats out that weekend, about a dozen stern steerers and an equal amount of bow steerers.
There was VERY lively racing of iceboats between clubs in Athens and Hudson as far back as the 1880s. see end of post for a few articles. 

Feb 2009




Ariel, Ice Queen

Hound, loaded up


Boats from HRIYC and Red Bank

Now Then


      Now Then & reflection...

Hound, heading east toward the island in the River 
that separates the city of Hudson on the east shore 
and Athens on the west shore.  

February 1883 article:   "This is business, not wind..."

                                 1881 news article:
 "There are about 100 ice yachts on the Hudson River, worth in all about $7000."

Sunday, December 15, 2019

A few archival posts and Manhassett update;

From the archives (actually from our old HRIYC Yahoo group - that platform has changed so I'm grabbing past files of pictures from various years, before it all disappears);

A few links below to those archival moments, and a few new posts,  
and a Manhassett restoration update. 
No ice here, or in the near future in and around the Hudson River. 
Click on title above picture to follow link.
**NEW**  - more letters from Capt.Drake, circa 1940s.

                                Rockin' the Boat ice boat launch, 2010

                               2011 removal of FDR's Hawk from the FDR museum.

Captain Frank Drake letters:  correspondence in the 1940s between Ray Ruge & Captain Drake

                                                  Ice Yacht name boards - a gallery....

                                    Manhassett restoration continues...

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Rip Van Winkle awakens... Hudson Winter Walk

Set up in a snowy yard in front of Back Bar on Warren Street. 

A-frame jig essential to step the mast (with just 4 of us)  

Mast up... managed to find most all the parts ( few diamond stays were missing)

Roof curl off the BackBar...
Moon shines over Rip Van Winkle during annual Winter Walk in Hudson.
Have to say the Rip was the most impressive sight up & down the length
of Warren Street. The hundreds of revelers that stopped by in amazement seemed to agree,

Hoping to see Rip next displayed in this fashion....

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Getting ready for 2020 winter sailing!

We had quite a snowstorm here Dec. 1&2 - about 16-20  inches in upper Red Hook.  Helps to bring down the temperature of the river.
Still we are getting ready for the season.  Last Saturday a group from the HRIYC pulled out Rip Van Winkle to ready it for display at Hudson's Winterwalk Festival on Dec. 7.  You can see Rip  at the Back Bar, at 347 Warren Street.
The annual meeting of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club will take place on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 1:30-5:00;  We'll be at Hudson Hall, at 327 Warren Street, Hudson NY.
Galatea, displayed in 2017 at Winter Walk.
Right behind that big mainsail is the entrance to
Back Bar - great spot for a beer...

Rip Van Winkle is even bigger than Galatea, with a length of 40 '. We pulled it out of the barns at Rokeby,
in Barrytown, needing every hand we could find. Lots of dust to brush off and parts to find. 

Rip Van Winkle has been in the Aldrich family since the 1930's.
It was built by Ricky Aldrich's cousin Victor Livingston around 1920.
Lots more on Rip and other Rokeby ice yachts  here.

Nice long cockpit ( ~8'), but it is quite narrow at same time.  Tight fit when piloting.  

 Sketch/sail plan of Rip, done in 1969 by Ray Ruge.

 Plank & Backbone side by side.  Plank was rebuilt from a tulip poplar felled
along the Hudson at Rokeby about 15 years ago.

Planks loaded & ready to head to Hudson. Rip plank  is accompanied by perhaps the oldest and most historic
plank of all - from the ice yacht Sappho.    

"The Athens Boat"  Sappho (A. Whiting, owner, skipper) is from 1870, maybe earlier. It has a long recorded history of racing against Hudson ice yachts, as well as sailing down to Poughkeepsie to race Icicle & others. Sappho will get her own post some day... 

Sappho's Plank has been stored at Rokeby, on its way back to Hudson to be stored with  the backbone. 

While pulling out boats from Rokeby barns, you are steeped in the largest ( and perhaps filthiest) collections of historic yachts anywhere.  

 Runners (and tillers) .. some that fit the 50' yachts like Jack Frost

Planks, and more planks ... and a vintage Yankee (for sale actually)

just a little dusting to revive...


More runners....

                                             Sail Inventory on south lawn.... (Ames B. picture)

to be continued...

Friday, March 22, 2019


I've been meaning to post this for several years now, and I recently came across these images from 2014.  Rhinebeck artist James Gurney visited the ice when we had that fabulous sailing off Rokeby in March of 2014.
Plein Air artist and illustrator/author - hopefully you know his fabulous Dinotopia series- James pulled out his artist tools and sketched some of the lineup of boats that day.  Jack Norton came upon him as he worked and sent me the two photos.  James was kind enough to give me permission to use his finished work, which he had posted on his blog.

A little vodka keeps the watercolors flowing on the brush! Makes sense!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Ice, Finally!

It has been a great winter for iceboating! Everywhere but the Hudson Valley.....

Bill Buchholz and crew have been sailing most all winter up in Maine They have it dialed in with car top-able boats and many venues to sail.  All winter.
Meanwhile the Midwest has had some great sailing, including the dn world championships
and North American championship racing.

Today, in March, I saw my first rigged stern steerer on ice here! Just returned from 2 weeks in Australia & New Zealand and discovered we have some late season sailing happening.  Reid B. set up Vixen on Copake Lake - largest lake in Columbia County , NY.
We have had good cold this winter, but ill-timed storms and warm spells have spoiled safe ice formation. There was a short window of sailing to the south, the first weekend of February. Brett sailed Genevivie for a day or 2 on Orange Lake, but that was cut short with warm temperatures.
Here we are, the first week of March. The Hudson is free of ice; Tivoli Bay is mostly open. Copake is frozen over and we are looking at  several days of single digit temperatures this week, along with a minor storm. Next weekend (March 9-10) may shape up to be great.  Stay Tuned...

Sunday, March 3.  No wind in the afternoon. 
Nice to be on the ice after 101 degrees in Melbourne just 48 hours earlier. 

Reid chases a teasing breeze. 2 days earlier he gave many rides to friends and  lake residents.
It was noted that locals hadn't seen an iceboat on the lake in over 50 years. 

Next weekend  will be awesome!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Manhasset restoration

Saturday, February 8, 2020
Julien & crew begin reassembling the cockpit. attaching the floorboards to the rails with screws. More to go, then we'll drop it on the backbone and attach with more screws.   Shop was a toasty 38 degrees today..

Trimming some oak used to patch the ends of cockpit
 ( some rot and wear at all 4 ends)

Aft end; slot for backbone. Bronze fittings are for diamond stays.

holes at edges of floorboards lined up with holes on underside of rails.
Most were plugged with epoxy and redrilled.

Forward end of cockpit.
Trying to solve the mystery of missing plank #2....

Saturday, December 14:
Back to restoration of Manhassett.  A small group has actually been back working on the iceboat on and off since October.  Today we epoxied screw holes in cockpit; began putting bungs in the sideboards of the backbone, and repaired the end sections of the cockpit rail. sanding, cleaning up the  backbone, prepped mast for varnish.  As always, big shout out to Jim for firing up the stove in advance & thanks to Dana & Julien & Reid, and, speedy recovery for Jack.

The cockpit rail, inner rail of oak, cherry on outside. the ends were rotted some;
Julien notched out punky wood, scarfed in some new oak.
                                       Oak wedge, glued in... 

There are both sides, glued up & clamped; This will get fitted to cockpit planking.
Here it is sitting on the plank. Getting ready to varnish plank & mast in next month or so.  

The 'flooring' - filled screw holes  with epoxy while repairing splits,
and sections that splintered off.   will redrill holes & use new fasteners.

cutting out bungs and gluing them into backbone, covering the new screws used to
refasten side boards of backbone.

Shop was quite comfortable today, almost reaching 50!

Saturday, June 8:
Added extra blocking at several bulkhead locations - near both cockpits. 

Leveled up, for the most part...

Note added from restoration crew, 2019.

Original note from 1906 - George Buckhout & his glue crew - added back in one of bulkheads. 

Hopefully no one will ever need to see the HRIYC patch added...

Epoxy all around on starboard side board.

Starboard plank flipped into place; little extra epoxy here & there. 

new screws, clamps to pull it together; Backbone reinforcement and repairs, done.
next, cockpit restoration.

Oh, right... the cockpit!

Saturday, June 1:
ready to epoxy port side board into place.
getting backbone level...

epoxy to rabbit joints; thin mix coat
, then add thickener.

Port side plank on right, epoxied and ready to set onto backbone frame.

The adhesives... modern alternatives to original animal glues that bonded her together in 1906.

port side plank set into place; now screwed onto backbone frame.

epoxy, screws, clamps...

Saturday, May 25:
new stern bulkhead fitted;  rabbit joints cleaned up;  getting ready to glue side board  back on - west system epoxy & new screws.
New "plug" of pine in aft end;

aft end - bulkhead and underside board  (Douglas fir?) replaced.

will drill out tiller post hole...

Port side board fits back pretty well.

Port side board slips in to place beautifully.  to be epoxied in place next time.

Saturday April 6:
Finally get the port side board completely off.

side boards to the left, backbone to right. top side with handle. bulkheads still glued in place.

Want to know more about the glue that held the hollow backbone together all these years?  Some technical data on animal glue is here,  from the Ray Ruge collection.

Saturday March 16:  after a few weeks off, we are back in the shop; the starboard side board is completely removed. Today we commence pulling of port side board. More steam, more gentle prying. We get about 1/3 of the board detached.

bow of backbone; port side board is removed  slowly.

markings Buckhout put inside the box. This denotes the point to be
at the center of the plank.

Saturday February 9  no sailing, just steaming....      see current conditions via link on right column...

Julian's Steamer does more than wall paper...
it was essential to help  weaken the hide glue bonds; it's a tedious task. that glue held tight. 

Slowly, the starboard spruce board - 34' in length, is peeled off.

Interior blocking - bulkheads- are spaced every 4 ft or so, or at stress points ( at the plank, the mast step...)
The block is to the left; the one to the right was stuck in to prop up the board.

We work about 3/4 of the side board off. Hal digs inside for something he notices.. 
George Buckhout glued a card inside the backbone. He notes the "glue team".
Added mystery though..... 
It was always thought Manhasset was built in 1912. This notes the backbone being made in 1906
( or is it 1909? - I say '06)
Card was a bit soggy from steam.

I'll be steaming in Australia & New Zealand for the next 2 weeks.....

Saturday February 2: 
Chilly day at the shop: it got up to 32....

Removing the last of the bungs and screws; ready to
pry the box apart.
Beginning to pry off the starboard side. Glue still holds tight after 107 years...

We found hidden fasteners that made the separation challenging.

backbone - aft end. .. starboard side board on top - sitka spruce? - separating from the backbone.

Thats the block of wood - bulkhead - aft end of the backbone. Tiller post ran through this. We
got all the screws, but that old glue held fast...
Top plank to left, starboard plank at top.

Next time, steam the inside of the box as we pull apart the sideboards from top and bottom.

Saturday January 12:

Cold is here; we are watching the ice in several locations. stay tuned;
Meanwhile, restoration work on Manhasset continues:

It is amazing how many screws George Buckhout put into the Manhasset; Taking them out 107 years later is no easy feat...
Here is the cockpit of Manhasset. We are trying to get to the stick that is the backbone. This needs removal.

Underside of cockpit. Skeg will be removed.
This is tongue & groove  pine, screwed to the backbone.

We remove each piece of cockpit bed; this is the bow underside.

With no ice here in the Hudson Valley, and with the government shutdown in DC, which stymied a plan to set up FDR's Hawk at the FDR site in Poughkeepsie ( as we did 2 years ago), we are turning efforts to begin restoration of the ice yacht Manhassett. Find her story here. 

We plan to take apart the hollow backbone.  

Hardware is removed - beautiful bronze cleats Buckhout created in Poughkeepsie.
Bronze mast step is already removed - note the light patch at Doc's elbow.

Removing oak bungs to get at bronze screws underneath. 

Some screws came out easily, others not so much...

Nose of the backbone. 

Thanks to club member Jim Kricker for allowing us to use his well appointed wood shop!
See previous restoration posts from 2 years ago HERE.                  More to follow....