Monday, January 2, 2023

"Making on an Iceboater"

from the Ray Ruge collection; Courtesy of the Hudson River Maritime Museum.

History Blogpost from the Hudson River Maritime Museum:   

This is a  reminiscence written by  Ray Ruge in the 1980s, about his early memories of iceboating - part of the Ray Ruge collection at HRMM.  Pretty cool to hear the experiences of one who lived through the transition from the old stern steerers and on to sailing the "new" bow steerers. Ray went on to be a champion racer through the '30s and '40s, and spearheaded reestablishing the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club.  He is reflecting back on the days like the above picture, of races at Lake Hopatgong, in 1939.

Read more about Ray  here.  

Courtesy of Hudson River Maritime Museum  

Ray was good friends with Captain Frank Drake. Some of their letters from the 1940s can be read here.  

Ray Ruge (2nd from right) in 1973, at the launching of the restored Jack Frost, on Orange Lake.

Lots more History Blogs on Iceboating at HRMM :  

Friday, December 23, 2022

Happy Holidays 2022

 Happy Holidays! 

Wishing everyone smooth sailing in 2023!   Wheeee! 

some other holiday favorites...

From John A.Roosevelt's scrapbook 

Dust off Rudolphe...

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

More Glass slides - from Livingston Estate

 Some old glass slides courtesy of the Hudson River Maritime Museum, provide us with some new images of ice boating/ice motoring in the early 1900s.  I'm  still gathering more information on these, which were described as being acquired from "a reject pile at a house auction in the 1960s. "  Thank goodness for collectors/pack rats! 

These were noted as being from a Livingston estate, likely Charles Victor Livingston who lived in Ulster County, in a TuscanVilla-styled house on the shore, just south of where the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge now crosses.  Ricky Aldrich,  who knew Victor noted that he built both the ice yacht Rip Van Winkle and the 2 motorized ice yachts. Victor gave the Rip and another iceboat he built, Spider, to Ricky's father, in the 30s.

These first two are truly unique - a motorized ice yacht.  This is a one of a kind creation, likely circa 1910? George Buckhout was experimenting with a motorized ice boat around that time. Who knows if this ever had a chance to speed down the ice on the Hudson.  Those seats sure look comfortable!  

All images are  Courtesy of Hudson River Maritime Museum        HRMM

Clearly 2 different versions, Both bow steering;  Note the skeg that protects the front runner in first image.  

Rip Van Winkle is part of the Rokeby collection in Barrytown. It last sailed in March of 2014 off of Rokeby.  Early pictures of the Rip, and other Rokeby ice boats were subject of a previous post, Ice Yachts off Astor Point 

The Livingston slides collection has several earlier images of Rip. 

These appear to be taken on the ice just below Victor Livingston's house, on the west shore of the Hudson.

Ice Yachts  Prima,  Rip Van Winkle,  unknown.  early 1900s 

 Rip,   at Astor Point??

another unidentified ice yacht from Livingston collection. 

Rip Van Winkle (r) Aurora (L)  off Rokeby, March 2014.  (image courtesy Rueters news images)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Manhasset set up at Hudson Winter Walk

 Ice Yacht Manhasset was set up this past weekend for the annual "Winter Walk" festival in Hudson. It was the first full set up for Manhasset since its restoration. Rain in the afternoon and shifty winds in the evening prevented the main sail from being hoisted. She's a beauty. Always fun to talk to amazed festival attendees about the old yachts.  Lots of history to share about this 1906 George Buckhout built, gaff-rigger, double cock pit stern steerer.  Read about the restoration also.  

We hope to next get Manhasset onto the ice.  That would be its first time on the Hudson River! 

2 Pickup trucks with racks to bring all the pieces... 

Sorting out the rigging to step the mast.
Set up crew Chris, Dock, Reid, Sam, Bob & Frank.

                    Reid's Gin Pole was necessary to hoist the mast. 

                            Rains stopped just as the evening & event began.  

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

2022 Annual Meeting of Hudson River Ice Yacht Club

 Join us for the Annual Meeting of the

                 Hudson River Ice Yacht Club 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

2:00 – 5:00 pm

Hudson Hall

327 Warren Street, Hudson, N.Y.

Join us for our Annual Meeting & Pot Luck; And, stop by to see a display of Ice Yacht Manhasset, a few blocks away at Olde Hudson, 449 Warren Street.


Pot Luck : Bring a covered dish, drink or dessert to share

Meeting at 3:30 pm

Election of Officers to take place – 

Note:  current Commodore (Bob Wills) and Treasurer (John Sperr) will be stepping down this year.   

Club dues ($25) are due

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