Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Vintage Glass Slides Discovered!

 An old friend who has been volunteering at the Hyde Park Historical Society let me know about several boxes of old glass slides of Ice Boats that were discovered.  A very cool find!  Many of the images are also found in the archives of the FDR museum & Library nearby in Hyde Park.  Still, access to some new images dating from 1880s to early 1900s is quite exciting. Plans are underway to use a proper scan tool to digitize these images, so that the 60+ slides images can be seen on-line.  These are some pictures taken with my phone of the glass slides. 

  E. Harrison Sanford's Avalanche, here, sloop-rigged;  circa 1888. 

 Irving Grinnell, aboard his Centennial yacht Whiff. 

Archibald Rogers' speedy yacht Ariel, 1893.  She sails today out of Orange Lake. 

Line up at the start of a race at Rogers Boat House, Hyde Park. 

Stepping the mast on Jack Frost (?)

Crew of the Icicle, John A. Roosevelt's champion yacht. Willie Smith (l); Robert Gibson (c); Thomas Scott (r);    Willie Smith often skippered Icicle in races, as well as being at the helm of Vixen, or Ellen Roosevelt's Flight in club races.  His yacht Greyhound, was on the ice this winter in Athens (2022).

Ice Yacht Scud, from the Red Bank Ice Boat & Yacht Club, capsized during the 1902 race for the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America. 

Here's a view of what these glass plates look like and their size. 

 Excited to make accessible all the images from these glass slides.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Some more photos of Hudson River Ice Yachts on the Hudson River at Athens

Now that the ice boats are back safe in barns, garages and sheds, here are a few pictures from the past week or so. 

Many thanks to all those who share their images with me to help  Chronicle the sailing days of these historic craft.  

Greene County Historian & photographer Jonathan Palmer shared some wonderful photos. 

This next set is courtesy of and copyright by Jonathan Palmer. 

     Not the usual backdrop; that's the variety of the Athens shoreline. 

     Vixen cockpit, as seen from the plank. 

     Stepping the mast on Mary Ellen

      Dismantle time...

     Last day crew..  many sore backs...

Long time area resident and friend of HRIYC, Andy Wainwright has been shooting ice yachts on the Hudson  River since the 1980s.  

Longest active Club Skipper, Reid, with Vixen. 

Commodore Bob & club secretary, on Orion 

Friday, February 11, 2022

Ice is unsafe! Boats coming off this weekend See Ice Conditions----------->

Super Bowl Sunday update:

--Ironically Super Bowl Sunday has traditionally been a day for ice boating. I recall many years of sailing all day & then watching the game later on that evening.  Members of our sailing club managed a day on the ice this year, but alas it was to dismantle and put the yachts away for the season.  Deteriorating, unsafe  ice at our access point on Murderers Creek, as well as forecast for rain & temperatures in the 50s mid week, led to the call to get the fleet off the ice.  We had the safety of a nearby cove to get the boats on shore.  A large crew helped get all boats off in the course of 4 hours Sunday.   

We marveled at the engineering of the lateen rigged frame of Vixen, dismantling parts crafted in 1885! 

Getting prepped to drop the mast on Boreas. 

Mary Ellen dates to the 1870s.... 

Galatea, dates to 1885 or so.  Many hands were needed to get her heavy backbone & plank off the ice,

2-12-22  update,  

Some very cold days ahead.  Might some of the fleet get a day or two more?? Ice check on Sunday to see...  Galatea adds a new( or quite old actually) set of sails... 

The warming spell has compromised the ice and don't look for any sailing here this weekend. 

This past week saw a few boats out on the ice. Wednesday was described as "Epic."  Beautiful ice, perfect winds and a full day of full speed runs from the village dock to the north end of Middle Ground Flats. By late in the day the warm temps led to softening ice, and the boats were carving deep grooves in the ice. Time to drop sail.  

photos courtesy of Bob Wills

Orion on the Hudson, off of the Stewart House, Athens 

Orion & Vixen, pausing during an Epic day on the ice, 2/9/22

Monday, February 7, 2022

Mighty Fine Day on the Ice! Sunday Feb. 6 Athens, NY

A mighty fine day for sailing on the frozen Hudson Sunday!  Sunshine, a stiff & steady wind, and a steady crowd of onlookers.  New Club boats showed up, including Boreas & Galatea.   Also several bow steerers:  Dns, An Arrow, Lockley Skimmers, Mike's home built bow steerer,  and skaters, and kite skiers.            Many first time iceboat rides were had. 

Had a chance to skipper Bob Will's Orion for a few sails, taking a couple that had been waiting since 2014 to catch a ride.  They were quite happy.  Reid gave many rides, non stop all day on Vixen. Bob took many guests on Orion and Greyhound, Mary Ellen and just rigged Galatea got friends out for rides.  A glorious day.  

Meanwhile sailing continues on Orange Lake, including A boat races between the Hudson River fleet and ice boats from the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club. The Lake has similar surface conditions as the Hudson. Rumor has it Ice Queen swept the 2 races Sunday. 

Winds may be a bit too light the next few days to get through the thin layer of sticky crust.  But you never know - wind could be better than forecast. Will have to watch how the stretch of 40 degree days this week will impact thickness. Stay tuned...   

And, Sailing happening on Orange Lake also  - follow link

  HRIYC at Orange Lake 2-5-22 

Galatea Arrives (above). .... (below) Using an A frame style gin pole to step the mast.

A short bit of history/info on Galatea, including the infamous 'wreck of the Galatea'.

Boreas was built in New Hampshire in 1927 and sailed lakes in that region until it came to the Hudson Valley in the early 2000s.  Boreas is 24’ long with 198 sq ft of sail. It is marconi rigged.  

 Following photos, copyright & courtesy of Robert Near.  
Robert takes beautiful pictures & is generous in giving his permission to share them on this blog. 

my first sail this winter, on Orion, with my wife Lisa.  

Orion was built at the Malden Brick factory at Malden-on-Hudson in 1906. It eventually relocated to Long Island where the McInerney family sailed her on Lake Ronkokoma. The boat was nameless when she was obtained by Bob Wills, who christened her Orion on Tivoli Bay in 2010.  Length: 25’                 sail area:  230 sq ft

note tug & barge to the north; it just came around Middle Ground Flats after following channel up east side of river, off the city of Hudson.

Commodore Wills at the helm...

Lots of work goes into setting up the big yachts. Many hands helped out this weekend.  


Saturday, February 5, 2022

Sailing Continues at Athens 2-5-22

Brian D's unnamed boat set sail Saturday. This boat came from Maine recently.   

Vixen, Orion, Greyhound and another small stern steerer were out sailing the stretch of ice from the power lines South of Athens to the green buoy North of Middle Ground.  Boreus is planning on setting upSunday.  There should be good sailing this next week.  

            Vixen sailing across the crusty surface.                            Photos courtesy Robert Wills

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Hudson River Ice Yachts launch on the Hudson River!

Photo courtesy of Robert Near         Vixen, with the Hudson Lighthouse in background.

The extended cold in 2022 has brought us good ice in several locations in the Hudson Valley. On Saturday Vixen was assembled at the NYS boat launch at Murderers Creek, in Athens, NY, and by Sunday afternoon there were 5 vintage stern steerers and an Arrow. Temperatures will stay below freezing all week with several night forecast to be in single digits. Boats may be sailing all week and I anticipate more will arrive. Meanwhile there are 5 stern steerers on Orange Lake also. Several are up from Red Bank, NJ.   

Drone video from Saturday  courtesy of Glenn & Lance Wheeler

Vixen, with skipper Reid Bielenberg, under sail on the frozen Hudson River, just off the west shore at Athens-on-Hudson. Glen Burger kite skis just beyond. 

Vixen, a lateen-rigger ice yacht, was built in 1885 in Chelsea ( Low Point) by the Merritt Brothers. It raced several times for the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America. It was owned and sailed by FDR's uncle John A. Roosevelt, and JAR's daughter Ellen,  for many years. 

Photo courtesy of Robert Near

Orion, foreground, and ice yacht Allons, awaiting its sail to be laced on. Allons is back on the ice for the first time in about 25 years. She is a Hyde Park boat.  Orion is originally from Malden-on-Hudson, a few miles downriver from this location.

Ice Yacht Vixen

Mary Ellen, circa 1870

Friday January 28:
Orion Greyhound  manage a few runs on  a sticky surface; As much pushing as sailing...
photos courtesy of Bob Wills