Monday, July 3, 2017

Old Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant documents turn up in Jersey...

I went and visited with an old friend and fellow ice yacht historian - Greg Strand - down near Red Bank in April. Greg has been sailing A boats since the late 60s and has had a hand in acquiring, restoring and sailing dozens of big stern steerers over the years. He is a long time member of our Hudson River Ice Yacht Club as well as the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club. He has been collecting history pertaining to ice yachting in Red Bank, and other Jersey ice yacht clubs.
He recently was contacted regarding a box of papers turned over to the village of Red Bank. He was amazed to see an incredible cache of ice yachting documents, race records and more dating back to the early 1880s.
Included was correspondence between the North Shrewsbury and Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. Starting in 1883, the NSIBYC sent their speediest yachts up to Poughkeepsie in attempts to capture the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America.  Some of the documents pertain to ice conditions, acceptance of challenges, race summaries and telegrams between secretaries.  a few documents are included below:

Telegram from Poughkeepsie Ice Yacht Club Secretary Thomas Ransom.
This is early correspondence that led up to NSIYBC's first challenge for the Pennant. 

Letter from PIYC secretary Thomas Ransom. The race for the pennant took place on Feb. 23, 1883.
Scud was sole entry for NSIBYC and finished last. Seems they got the cold snap to firm up the ice.

Rare correspondence under the moniker 'Hudson River Corinthian Ice Yacht Club,'  as the HRIYC was briefly known. 
Archie Roger's brother Edmund Pendelton Rogers was first secretary of the HRIYC
 (formed a few weeks before this letter).
A curious correspondence about a 'National Ice Yacht Association.' I've seen no further reference to this, though various attempts to create a 'National Authority" have come up many times in the next 100 years...

Correspondence ahead of the Challenge Pennant race of 1893.
Two days later it was raced between HRIYC and the Orange Lake Club. 

Seems the Secretary of the Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club was also corresponding with Commodore Weaver of the NSIBYC.
Clearly the Shrewsbury Club wasn't able to race for the Challenge Pennant that year. Meanwhile the Orange Lake boys were looking to race for the
Van Nostrand Cup, which they lost two years earlier. 

"....a thorough sportsmanlike character....
.... showing them every possible courtesy.... "
-A letter of appreciation to the Shrewsbury Club from the HRIYC.
second page follows...
Always good plan to flatter your rivals, especially when they hold the silver cup you may want to race for!
1891 letter written shortly after NSIBYC captured the Van Nostrand Cup at Orange Lake.
It would be 87 years before HRIYC would race for that Cup!

NSIBYC challenge accepted to race for the Pennant.
Hyde Park druggist John Hopkins is HRIYC secretary.

Ice Yacht Georgie, 1904. From the Red Bank club.

Early 1900s on the Shrewsbury River at Red Bank. Speed skating races and ice yachts.

Many thanks to Greg Strand.  More to follow....

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.