Monday, December 14, 2009

Late March 2019 Ice Conditions - Sailing is done!

March 21, 2019
Spring has arrived and our short season of ice is done. The only local ice was finished by March 12 when Vixen was dismantled and stored away till next season.   Last day of pushing/sailing on Copake Lake was March 9th. It was more of a day to relax and enjoy the sun.     

Andy Hudson noted that there was still sailing on Otsego Lake this past week. Several HRIYC folks have, in the past, taken boats up to this pretty lake near Cooperstown.  

March 3, 2019  

Lone iceboat at Copake Lake... 

The last week of February saw some locations lose ice, while some small pockets held fast. Copake Lake in central Columbia County was one. Reid B. sniffed out this fine lake just a few minutes from where he lives and, after not being able to launch on the Hudson a month back, got his beloved Vixen set up and tacking on this pretty little lake, the largest in Columbia County.  Sunday 3/3 saw little wind, but she is ready to ride out a week of temps below 20.  Next Saturday should see solid ice and more sailing.  Stay Tuned.  
Vixen, built 1885 by the Merritt brothers of Chelsea NY. 

February 14, 2019 
Tuesdays storm brought snow, sleet, ice pellets... It's an icy mess in the Hudson River Valley. Previous to the snow a fleet of stern steerers arrived at Orange Lake on Saturday (2/9) only to find the Lake riddled with drain holes that appeared overnight. All hopes of sailing last weekend were crushed.  Meanwhile the warm temps of the previous week and high winds at the end of the week blew out all ice on the Hudson. Saturday saw open water at Rhinecliff, which, a week earlier, had 6 inches of ice.  One of those winters...
No sailing....

February 1, 2019  
about four years ago... between the Poughkeepsie Railroad bridge and Poughkeepsie car bridge...

Still no sailing in the Hudson Valley. We were just ready to set up boats when the snow of 1/28 hit. Vixen was looking to set up near Athens. A few yachts including Genevieve, were set up on Orange Lake. All are snowed in. Warm temps and rain next week may help the surface if followed by good cold. The cold is building thickness, we need the surface to  smooth out. Looks like we will be watching the Super Bowl, rather than sailing this year. All is not lost yet.  
Snowed In Orang Lake, Feb 1, 2019

January 1, 2019
Happy New Year!!
No Sailing Yet...
We are still waiting for a sustained cold here in the Hudson Valley. 
No sail-able ice as the New Year starts. 
meanwhile there has been much sailing in Maine. 

till the cold returns, remember, 'a man with a barn in the Fall, is a friend to all...'.*
(or a shed..) 
Shed full of D class stern steerers,
Looking for ice & homes...

* Steve Young

The season conditions of 2017-18 below....

Season's over.....Till Next December 2018..... 

Wednesday, March 22: Nor'easter storm #3!!  NO SNOW in Red Hook...  this storm stayed south- NYC got quite a bit.

Tuesday, March 13:  5" storm - in Red Hook  

Wednesday, March 7:  Nor'easter storm #2 - 12" in Red Hook  

Saturday, March 3:  Nor'easter storm - 10" in Red Hook 
fascinating storm summary:

Thursday February 22:  72 degrees at 11:00am....  got closer to 80 in the afternoon.  so it goes...

Monday February 19:  Sailing is done for the time being;  All boats are off Orange Lake. Forecast is showing 70 degrees mid week.  Ouch!!   Don't anticipate any sailing in the Hudson Valley in near future. check back often - might there be a late February freeze??

Rocket packed up - ready to head home to Red Bank.
A few stern steerers are up on shore, hoping for a return to cold sometime soon...

Friday, February 16:   Looks like there will be a day of sailing on Orange Lake Saturday.   The recent warming has smoothed out the ice and there should be enough chill tonight to firm up the ice for Saturday.  Not a lot of wind forecast, but may be enough to move the boats.  Snow Saturday night and very warm temps as the week progresses may spell an end to any ice sailing this month.  Saturday may be the chance. See  you there. 

Bob Wills has set up his boat Orion in Rhinebeck at the Delamater House - part of a chamber of commerce event. He'll be talking about ice yachting at 1:00 pm at the conference center at Delamater.

Sadly, temperatures of 60+ are forecast for next week. Not a good omen...

Friday, February 9:
No sailing weekend of Feb 10-11...
Orange Lake is covered with 1/2 inch of snow... over top of 1 inch of crusty snow (left from Wednesday's storm); over top of solid ice.   this weekend's rain and 40s should  help smooth out the crusty surface. Will need to see what next week brings. Hopefully looking for  great ice NEXT weekend.
About 1/2 inch of fresh snow on top of a crusty snow.

about 1 inch of crusty snow (from Wednesday's storm - we had 3ish inches of snow
 followed by sleet/rain);   underneath is a solid 10 ish inches of good ice. 

snow covered fleet; 5 pm Friday night. 

Wednesday February 7:
There was  snow, sleet , freezing rain in the Hudson Valley today. I had about 3-4 inches of snow, (northern Dutchess County) which was later covered with a freezing rain. quite a crust on top of snow. Orange Lake is further south and likely got less snow, more rain; the lake may do OK, but freezing temps in next few days may make surface crusty/sticky and not too sailable. And it looks like a period of rain and 30s over Saturday & Sunday.  Lots of thick ice waiting to resurface just right. Stay tuned;
Orange Lake on Monday eve. Super bowl snow/rain smoothed out the bumpy ice.
Looking beautiful here. Now covered in crusty snow.
Boats will be back...
(Thanks to Dob Schreiber for photo.)

Saturday February 3 - The place to sail in the Hudson Valley is Orange Lake.
Boats have been sailing on this Lake since the 1880s. The Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club was formed in  1888.  Today there were 27 boats on the south end. Ice is plenty thick, though the surface is fairly rough. No problem for the big old stern steerers though.
Boats are staying in place  & sailing will be intermittent through the next week I would venture.

Sunday, January 28 - No Sailing on the River; Sailing on hold at Orange Lake 
Tivoli Bay update

View of Orange Lake from the Lakeview House, looking SW.
Rough estimate that you are seeing 40% of the surface area of the Lake.

The warm thaw and rain has helped eliminate the snow that covered all ice from the storm on the 17th. Bodies of water that had sufficient thickness have seen surface ice repair nicely.  After the snow of Jan. 17 some boats pulled off of Orange Lake, but the quick return to good ice has seen a few more boats joining the growing fleet there. There was decent sailing on Saturday in fickle winds. A nice fleet of stern steerers: Ice Queen, Genevivie, Boreus, Puff, Helen C., Lady,  two D stern steerers from Red Bank, including Icicle),  and an assortment of DNs, Arrows, and a Nite.   
Boats wrapped up by 3 pm as softening ice, growing puddles and fading breeze put a halt to sailing. With temperatures near 50 for Sunday, there is likely to be no sailing. If the week remains quiet and the predicted cold nights late this week may add up to a good weekend of sailing next weekend. If so, A boats from Red Bank will be traveling north to set up.                                                                       Some nice ice remains of the Hudson (up near Athens) but the rain and recent warm temps have reduced thickness. There were a few days of sailing off Ice Station Glasco - an Arrow & Dn enjoyed a few days of ice this recently. Those boats are now off the ice. The River is just too unpredictable. I will check out Tivoli Bay today to see how it fared post snow cover.  stay tuned.

Puddles growing in the 'pits'. Boreus sailing out.
Tivoli Bay - Sunday Jan 28:

The Bay did not fare well after snow, rain, warm up and new cold. It is a MESS! More debris than I have ever seen. I can't imagine it can be sailed this season.  Bummer!
Logs, water chestnuts, rocks, tires. South Bay is riddled with debris.

Lonely sentinel overlooking a frozen wasteland...

looking north up Tivoli South Bay. RR tracks to the left.
What a mess... all the way to Skillypot & beyond.

Wednesday, January 17  -  8" snow; No sailing here for a spell.
we got more snow than we were expecting in the mid-Hudson valley. Warm spell over upcoming weekend and rain early next week could quickly get us back to good ice. we will see.
We dismantled Frank's Arrow and Cyclone and Orion from Tivoli Bay Monday. who knows? after this snow and rain the surface might recover nicely & we may go right back ! :-) 

Sunday, January 14 - 
Tivoli Bay a Mess after the storm; No sailing anytime soon there.  Some boats coming off the ice Monday. 

Looking real ugly on South Bay. Riddled with water chestnuts and
muddy sediment. I've never seen it look this bad. 

It looks like this as far north as i could see. 
over 8" of ice (a rough estimate based on cracks in  a few black ice locations)

Orange Lake is back - Boats sailing there.  

Lake took on a lot of water, edges are soft - well placed planks can get you on the ice...

Hudson River may be too risky - lots of open water from recent rains - we may not get on anytime soon. Check out Coast Guard aerial photos as of Saturday, from John Sperr's site: 
John Henry has taken his Nite to Bantam Lake in CT; Andy Hudson notes that Lake Mahopac is in good shape for sailing.

Saturday, January 13    Ice not ready...  
Open Water at many launch location sites. No sailing now. Boats pulled off Athens Location. Tivoli Bay needs time to heal.  Rain from Friday's storm has compromised local launch sites.
Upcoming cold may quickly lock in ice. May be able to set up by Monday. Location TBD....


No Boats are left at Athens site; Maybe back soon???

January 10, 2018 
Sailing on the Hudson soon???
Photographer - Robert Near

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.

January 1, 2018
Lawrence family fleet of ice Yachts, New Years Day, Orange Lake.
 photo courtesy of Kevin Lawrence.
January 2018 

Plenty of ice to the north, at Tivoli Bay & good ice to the south at Orange Lake.  Continued cold this week will continue to build thickness. Hudson River sailing locations may be established and locked in by the end of this week. May be sporadic sailing through the upcoming week; look for more sailing Jan 6 & 7.

Cyclone on New Years day on Tivoli Bay.


12/31/17 : Last day of 2017 and we are sailing on Tivoli Bay, in Barrytown. 4 old stern steerers and a 1960s era Arrow class are on the ice.  Galatea and Cyclone sailed on the eve of the New Year. More sailing on NY Day. It is cold! bundle up. Best access is through the Greenway Trail on the campus of the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown.  
Please note: while we are now sailing on this Bay, do realize that ice is never safe. We are familiar with this bay and do know areas that are dangerous. if you are venturing onto this ice, travel with friends; ice creepers on the feet are recommended; shore areas are most unstable. ask for help or directions as you approach the ice where we sail. Be cautious, be safe!

12/28/17:  checked Tivoli Bay on 12/27 in the morning. 
Tivoli Bay had no more than 1-1.5 inches outside the very south end. Ice was covering about 1-2 inches of water when I was on it - low tide at that time of morning. These next 2 nights very likely add enough to ice to set up boats on the Bay this weekend.  BIG IF.....
Access to the bay is still being resolved, so no assurances yet. The river had some skim ice that was traveling with the tides.  Will keep looking at other access points along the Hudson and see if we can put on by New Years Day. 
Looking north from the south end of Tivoli Bay. Ice has set up fairly well;
No water chestnuts frozen in the surface. Usual wood debris scattered about.

Looking north from bluff at south end. 

Looking Northeast towards Blithewood, on the Bard College campus.  Open water at both railroad trestles. flock of geese to the right in this photo. This should lock up over next 2 nights, but know that the flow of water in and out of the Bay at these trestles creates dangerous conditions and need to be steered way clear of. 

12/23/17:  No sailable ice here in the Hudson Valley. Temperature forecast is looking very good for the 5 days after Christmas. We may have good ice by New Years!  stay tuned. 

Find out lots about ice, ice thickness, ice safety, immersion strategies and more at: 

Early December cold got us just enough ice to skate on locally. About 2 inches on my local swamp - enough to test the skates out 
(and ankles too...)  

One of the few places to skate - a shallow swamp in Red Hook. 
While we are awaiting some real sustained cold here in the Hudson Valley to pull out the big boats,  other lucky iceboaters are finding great ice.  You can follow ( or drive up and join) iceboaters in Mass, and Maine who have had fine conditions for over a week. 
Tantalizing stories can be found at  

February 20, 2017-----------> Done, before we got started.....

February 20, 2017
Took the boats off the lake's edge Friday the 17th. Too many days upcoming in the 50s and 60s. Ice is done, another season with no ice here in the Hudson Valley. (other than the 24 hours or so in mid-January). Feel free to 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. 

February 9, 2017
We had our first real snow since the winter of 2015!
We got 11 inches of snow in the Hudson Valley today. More snow upcoming in the next few days. We're buried for a spell....

February 5, 2017
A visit to the one lake locally where boats had a few days of ice time is now open water. 
3 Sundays ago we had a few minutes of sailing on a not so breezy day.  For the past 3 weeks: Warm weather, sleet, some snow, a bunch of rain, more warm weather.....  the ice in front of the launch is gone. The north section of the lake still was ice, though no doubt very weak.  
We've had 3 nights of temps in the teens, but not enough whatsoever. 
We'll need a good stretch of cold to rebuild ice here. Stay tuned. 

January 16, 2017
All boats are up off the Lake and on shore: 3 Whirlwinds, Lady and an Arrow and a DN.
Wait through this week of rain and warm temps. We'll look for a drop in temperatures soon. Hopefully we can drop the boats back on the ice.  Stay Tuned....

January 15, 2017 
The ice is already starting to degrade. Got a half-inch snow dusting last evening. Bright sun today softened the ice here and there. Some mid afternoon breezes had Whirlwind up on 2 runners. All boats were pulled off the ice this (Sunday) afternoon. Upcoming week looking bad - many days over 45 and most nights not below 32.  Boats now waiting for next freeze.  Be safe on ice as the warm temperatures intrude over next 7 days. 

January 14, 2017 
There is 5-6 inches of beautifully smooth ice on this small lake outside of Newburgh. It may be sailable for only another day or two as it looks like we are getting 7 straight days of above 40. sigh.

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.  
I imagine that Tivoli Bay has enough thickness, but haven't heard any reports or updates on access. 

January 7, 2017
We are looking at a nice stretch of very cold weather. The next 5 days will stay below freezing. I anticipate some local lakes will set up with enough ice. The upcoming cold is not likely to get us on the river. Tivoli Bay may be sailable; BUT...and a big but, access is an issue and needs to be resolved. Bantam in CT should come in. Will update as I get news. Of course after this nice cold spell it is forecast that we will be rewarded with rain & 50 degrees by mid-next week. Stay tuned.
While we are awaiting some real sustained cold here in the Hudson Valley to pull out the big boats,  other lucky iceboaters are finding great ice.  You can follow ( or drive up and join) iceboaters in Mass, and Maine who have had fine conditions for over a week. 
Tantalizing stories can be found at  

December 2016:

12/30: The Mid-Hudson Valley was hit with a good 4" of wet heavy snow on the 29th. Rain & 40s early next week should help saturate & reduce the snow down to the ice layer now buried. Colder temps look to be in store for late next week.  stay tuned.  

12/23:  Heron Swamp - my favorite skating spot nearby in Tivoli. Wonderful morning skating around the deadfall of the swamp while we startled the resident pair of red tail hawks from tree to tree.  Marveled at the construction of over a dozen great blue heron nests. Ice was softening by noon as temps went over 40. One of the reasons we won't be pulling out the ice boats just yet.  
stay tuned.... 

Over a dozen great blue heron nests sit some 40+ feet up.

12/21: walked out on Tivoli Bay on the Solstice. 4- 5 inches and nice skating ice at the south end. Walked 100 yards out,  just 1-2 inches. Fortunately it was low tide and the ice was almost sitting on the mud. Even if there was 5 inches where we walked, the surface was awful. Upcoming days do not look to make more ice. we'll need a good snow, then thaw, then freeze, stay tuned.   
Ice not really safe yet...
South end of the Bay, where we typically set up the boats;
4 inches in this section only ( ice sitting on the mud at low tide)
A nice smooth skating rink of sorts. 

Some awful jumbled ice about 100 yards out.

Logan measures about 2 inches a little further out. Ice cracks regularly around our feet.

Some beautiful black ice - glass like. That's 1.5ish inches of ice with 2 inches of water under it; then the mud.
Water chestnuts ( "devil-heads") are frozen in the ice everywhere. Invasive in more than one way... We saw a bunch of minnows and, perhaps, small catfish. (they were pretty quick)

Looking north towards Tivoli.

12/18:  temps in high 40s at noon; raining; yesterday's 5" of snow is a waterlogged 2-3 inches; 
quick drop in temperatures forecast for early evening; Still, looking at 5 days around 40 later in
the week, and nighttime temps not cold enough; still waiting for consistent cold. stay tuned. 

12/14: cold temperatures are arriving. We'll be in the single digits by the end of the week.  (Yay!)       We are also looking 3-5 inches of snow (Boo!) which would bury any ice that forms. Late weekend looks like rain, and thermometer in the upper 40s.  Toward Xmas temps will be back in 40s.  Not looking like we'll get sailable ice before New Years.  (But you never know!) stay tuned.  

past years' ice checks...

Measuring thickness on Tivoli South Bay, December 2009.

Incredible black Ice December 2010. Tivoli South Bay.

Skeeter & Lake Hopatcong skate sail. December 2010. Sepasco Lake.

December 13, 2013; Looking at SW corner of Tivoli Bay.