Thursday, December 28, 2017

Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club

Fleet off of the Chelsea Ice Yacht Club's clubhouse. This club was located between Beacon & New Hamburgh.
The Carthage Ice Yacht Club was organized January 1881. First Commodore was Benjamin Merritt,
considered one of the most expert ice yacht sailors in country (NYTimes article 1900). Brothers
Charlie and Bill Merritt were well respected Ice Yacht builders and sailors. They built several fast
lateen-rigged yachts, including Vixen (which still sails today) and Ranger. The last race of the Ice
Yacht Challenge Pennant of America by the old stern steering yachts was won by Frank Drake,
sailing for the NHIYC, defeating boats from the CIYC, in 1922.
Later on, Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club  changed its name to Chelsea  Ice Yacht Club. This club eventually became the Chelsea Yacht Club, still an active soft water club today.


Members outside the Clubhouse in Chelsea, 1911;  Club house still there today;

Racing at Chelsea, 1911:  Maud M. (owned by Frank Brockway),Junior (owned by Frank F. Collyer),  ? ,  Artic (owned by Moses Collyer)

Lateen rigged "Junior".  I've seen this boat labeled Junior in several photos. This is from Ray Ruge's collection.
Marge Spratt, (who is a Collyer and grew up in Chelsea), has photos with this boat labeled Junior as well.  Still, it sure looks like Vixen (Built in Chelsea in 1885 by the Merritt Bros. - the backbone is quite distinctive)  Vixen sailed out of Chelsea by 1911 -  Frank Drake raced her and  I understood that Joe Jova bought her from JA Roosevelt sometime in this period. Another reference on a photo says that Junior was acquired by Moses Collyer from Archie Rogers.

Collyer Brothers off Chelsea. 1911. 

Moses Collyer, in cockpit; Frank Collyer Sr. Cheslea 1911.  



Charlie & Bill Merritt "ice fishing" on the River off Chelsea 1911.
The Merritt Brothers were builders of many fast yachts at Chelsea (including Vixen, and Ranger);
The were sought after skippers in Challenge Pennant races as well.

Moses was co-author of the book "Sloops of the Hudson"
That book was one spark that helped  inspire Pete Seeger to build
the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in the late 1960s.

Photos from this post come from the private collection of our friend Marge Spratt. She has been generous in sharing her ice boat photo collection and stories of growing up with the Collyers in Carthage Landing/Chelsea.   (one or two come from Ray Ruge's collection at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. I believe Ray got copies from Marge's originals)

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