Monday, December 30, 2013

Season of 2013-2014 December

December 15, 2013
Ice has formed!  And now it is buried in snow...  As I type this, the snow is falling heavy. After almost a week of cold and the continued forecast of cold, the hope of sailable ice was looking good. I ventured to Tivoli South Bay, in Barrytown, on the afternoon of December 13th. This is one of the the earliest dates I can recall walking on the frozen south end of the Bay. I love this stroll on the first ice on the Bay. There was a solid 3 inches at the south end. It was bumpy, debris filled, and uneven. About 30 yards out, though,  there was a decent expanse of beautiful black ice, stretching to the SW, towards the RR tracks. I thought about bringing my skate sail down the following morning, but the area was probably too small for that. It was a perfect patch to skate on though. Three inches of clear ice, an inch of water underneath and the muddy bottom of the Bay. It was dead low tide. It is amazing to see the muddy bottom and the flow of the river underfoot. As I went further out the thickness dropped: two inches, an inch and a half. Finally I was on no more than an inch of ice and ran into something I hadn't experienced before. The ice ended and there,  a foot away from where I was standing, was the open bay - really mud flats. Maybe 1- 2 inches of water. I poked the crowbar through the ice underfoot - maybe an inch. But then there was no more than 3/4 inch of water under that and then the mud. The ice was basically sitting on top of the muddy bottom of the Bay.  I could poke the bar through ice at my feet, then reach over and push it into 4 inches of mud beyond the edge of the ice. The ice never broke through underfoot. (It is unlikely, and unwise, to be out on ice that thin at any other point in the tide cycle.) An immature bald eagle flew over head and headed south into the woods. Well this dumping ( a 10 inch storm on 12/14) will further help cool down the temperature of the River and if this cold hangs in, who knows?  A  look at the first ice, now buried:

Here is a glimpse of early ice in past years on Tivoli Bay.
first ice 2012-13:

First ice 2010:


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Welcome - Think Ice!

With this introduction, I no longer drag my creepers across the ice, so to speak.
For over ten years I've wanted to share the beauty and magic of ice boating, on-line, in some fashion.
This blog is about ice yachting, particularly Hudson River ice yachting. My intent is to capture the beauty, the history and the stories of the antique ice yachts of long gone as well as those relics still sailed today.

I got my first sail, and the bug, in January 1990 off of Rhinecliff-on-Hudson. A sheet of beautiful, smooth ice ran 4 miles north to the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge. The day was sunny and the breeze steady and perfect. It was a re-creation of a Currier and Ives scene on the ice in the middle of the Hudson. Hundreds of people, children, dogs, sailors and on-lookers descended onto the ice off the train station.
There were about 15-20 boats sailing. I gravitated to the old stern steerers. I don't remember which ones I got rides on, though I'm sure I had at least one sail with Tom Gilbert aboard Sweet Marie. Riding the runner plank or back the in the cockpit was a thrill and I couldn't believe this sport existed, even though I grew up a few miles from where all this ice was.

Fast forward to 2011 and the ice boats are again sailing off of Rhinecliff. This time I skipper my stern steerer Cyclone for 8 straight hours, ending with a glorious sail up to and under the Kingston bridge and back to the train station.

Again there are at least a hundred people on the ice over the day. I give rides to kids as young as 5, adults into their senior years. We throw together an impromptu race with about 7 boats. The breeze keeps the boats moving till it's too dark to navigate. It is a day to remember. Ice Boating does that.

Since that first sail in 1990 I have been collecting photos, videos, oral histories, club records, and other artifacts on the history of ice sailing. I have served as commodore or secretary of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club for many years. This is my unofficial blog to share the history and memories. Welcome.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ice Yacht Names

I think there is a great beauty in the nameplates of the antique Ice Yachts.  slowly adding to this over time...


OK, and a few modern ones...some awesome graphics!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Manhasset restoration

November 6, 2016
Repair station Glasco...

Stripping off paint from the runners. Will varnish the oak.

Stripping off paint from bronze end caps. Will polish them up when done.

Epoxy in cracks and filled bolt holes. Will re-drill runner chock bolt holes. 

Repair crew (this night) in Glasco workshop. 

More sanding. 

all bolts removed are cleaned up on wire wheels and will be painted "Hudson River chrome."

October 28, 2016:
Repair station Glasco...
work on the plank;
began removing threaded rod/chock bolts.  having the right tools makes all the difference.
decided we will use brass end caps.
removed 3 corner plank pieces.  still scratching our heads as to why they are as they are.  will clean them up & re-glue.
will epoxy cracks/splits in the end of plank;  fill plank bolt holes with epoxy, then redrill.

An angled edge "cap" of sorts were nailed/screwed/doweled into place on 3 of the 4 outer end edges of the plank; thought they might be cracks that were glued/screwed, but it is a smooth planed section.  to be re-glued in place.

Never would have gotten the bolts out without the pneumatic drill.  torched them for a while before trying.

2 of the 4 removed,  will be cleaned up and reused.

another look at one of the cap pieces removed.   also removing the
old dried putty that was used to help bed in the brass end caps.

The biggest split on the starboard end of the plank.
 not something typically seen on the end of a plank.
the indentation with the holes is where one of the chocks for runner goes.

October 23, 2016:
Repair station Glasco...

Winch/crane system makes it easy work to pull the runner plank out of the trailer.
-remove chocks
-remove bronze end caps from plank.
-next up - clean up bolts; sanding;  some epoxy work in cracks.
-Do we put end caps back on?  or leave the wood exposed?

Plank is around 16'10".

Starboard runner chock, with runner bolt in place.

Port runner chock - outer section.

Heating the lag bolt on this chock brace for easier removal.

starboard chock, inner section

Some large cracks in end.  some epoxy work to fill in.

Port underside of plank.

some old, dried putty to be removed.
It was put down before the bronze end caps were put n. 

 to be continued...