Friday, December 19, 2014

What's Under Your Tree this Christmas...?

OK, think back in time....your nineteen... if you celebrate Christmas, you're kind of beyond the whole thing, but deep down you're still looking for a cool gift under that tree... Think back to those gifts... a sweater?  a flannel shirt? the latest calculator?? You're home from college perhaps and waking up to join the family to unwrap presents is not high on your list. No doubt sleep is.  So what was Franklin D. Roosevelt thinking as he awoke on Xmas day as a 19 year old 113 years ago... Imagine looking under your tree and finding a 28 foot lateen-rigged ice boat with 286 sq ft of canvas sail... And custom built by the foremost builder of ice yachts at the time, George Buckhout.  Yes, FDR's mother Sara presented her son with an iceboat on Christmas day 1901. Maybe he really wanted the sweater... FDR sailed Hawk for several winters on the river while he was a student at Harvard, and later on was elected vice-commodore of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club in 1908. Ice boating was very important to FDR, though his time sailing on his beloved Hudson River was short-lived.
Sketch of Hawk; created by long-time HRIYC sailor Reid Bielenberg.

Years later, as president, FDR planned a museum to house his papers and artifacts from his years as president.  In 1941, he donated his ice yacht Hawk to the National Archives for exhibition in his newly constructed Presidential Library. Hawk  was displayed until 1995, at which time it was moved from public view. As part of preparation for this Sunday's opening of an Iceboat exhibit at the museum, the boat was taken out of storage today and moved to the Henry Wallace Visitor and Education Center for display.  Under guidance of the National Park Service and members of the HRIYC, Hawk will be on view for just the second time in almost 20 years. If you are in the neighborhood, join us Sunday, December 21 in Hyde Park for this event.  Five antique stern steerers (along with a DN and an Arrow) will be rigged up outside the FDR Library, while Hawk will be inside the Wallace Visitors Center.

FDRs Hawk is loaded onto official HRIYC transport truck...
Hawk leaves its climate-controlled top secret storage location in Hyde Park, NY.

As if we are on the ice with the boats....plenty of standing around and talking....

One of America's National treasures about to pull out into Friday afternoon traffic on Route 9.
The most dangerous part of the 1 mile journey...
(did i mention Friday afternoon traffic??)

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