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.
Frank V. Drake