Friday, January 31, 2014

Sailing Ice Boats the First Weekend of February

February 1st:
Very light winds stymied sailors on Tivoli Bay on Saturday. Puff, Cyclone, Boreus, Flicker, and North Wind
all raised sails and pushed around the wet ice.  I managed to push/sail above Skillypot where the winds freshened enough to make it to the north end.

Cyclone at the northern most end of Tivoli Bay, up against the marsh of cattails.

While stretching my aching back I noticed the upper sail area of Vixen across the raised railroad bed out on the River. She had sailed the plate of ice stretching from Astor Point up to Cruger Island.  There she was, opposite Cyclone, just off Cruger Island, but separated by the tracks that saw a steady stream of trains throughout the afternoon. Lots of River traffic, we do share the river with others, was noted as well.
Two of these large tankers were heading south and
gave a good long blast from the ships horn.

Coast guard ice breaker passes the Intermarine tanker,
as viewed under the first railroad trestle on the bay.

I walked across the tracks separating the bay from the river at one point and saw the sails of  Hound, Floater,  Orion, as well as Vixen, all enjoying steadier winds on the River proper.
We'll be back on the ice on Super Bowl Sunday - seems to be a tradition - and hoping the winds will be strong enough.

Stefan looks for a breeze aboard "Flicker".

Puff and Flicker 

food & drink and a warm stove at the days end.

Jan 31:There are four boats on the Hudson River at Astor Point in Barrytown: Vixen, Hound, Orion & Floater.  Reindeer is being set up and a DN is ready to jump off its blocks and sail away.  There may be more boats joining the fleet this weekend. Forecasted light winds may interfere with good sailing, so folks may only be able to enjoy the sight of the old boats rigged and sitting on the frozen, tidal Hudson.
Tivoli Bay boats (Puff, Cyclone, Aurora, Flicker, North Wind) will be out                                                 and hoping that the winds build in order to get the runners gliding over the frozen surface.

Vixen (left) and Hound, sail into the northern cove of Astor Point in Barrytown. The boats sailed clear ice  about one mile north of the Rhinecliff Bridge.  

Boats will also be on Tivoli South Bay this weekend. 
Tivoli Bay Access: Find parking at Unification Church lot in Barrytown; Follow "Father's trail" down to the bay. Astor Point: Park at Barrytown Post Office; Walk along- NOT ON - the RR tracks south about 200 yards. Find a safe access point onto the ice.  (Walking on the tracks is extremely dangerous and foolish)

Racing on the Bay

For the most part, we sail the old ice yachts for fun; and to take folks out for rides. This last Sunday was typical -- we gave rides to over 2 dozen on-lookers, many thrilled to catch a ride on an antique boat for the first time.   On occasion, with a fleet of boats out sailing, we might organize an impromptu race.
Sometimes races present themselves when we least expect it. There was such a race on Thursday on Tivoli Bay.  Boreas was out sailing in light airs. I was rigging Cyclone and hoping to get a little sailing in before the sun set. The looks of Boreas ghosting along was not encouraging. Still there was hope the wind would come up as the day wore on.  Brett, who was up from Cornwall, noticed the action first. An interloper was clearly challenging Boreas to a race.  We yelled out to get the attention of the Boreas skipper and crew. Too late, the challenger tacked around the stalled yacht and took the lead.
Boreas needs a little push in light airs. Still, it has lost a lot of ice as it attempts  to round the down wind mark. Note the challenger well ahead and onto the next race mark.

The challenger is several lengths ahead of Boreas as they round the upwind mark. 

                                  It was rumored that the crew of Boreas will protest the race and  submit a complaint                                                                to the race committee  over the racing tactics of the opponent.

In the end it was no contest. The challenger, known as Beaver, utilizing its tail in a lateen-rigged position, was able to point upwind way better than the Marconi-rigged Boreas.   It was rumored  that Beaver came down from Athens to "trim the sails of those Tivoli Bay Boys." It eventually trodded across the width of the bay, until it found water just below the first RR trestle.  We enjoyed the rare sighting and counted yet another memorable afternoon on the ice.

 A first for me in 20 years of sailing Tivoli Bay.
This fella was ready to be rid of us and get on its way.

Tom Gilbert

Tom Gilbert was a long time member of the HRIYC. He passed away in 2004.
He came from a family of Hyde Park Iceboaters. His father Walter Gilbert was a member of the Hyde Park Ice Yacht Club in the early 1900s. The family boat was Sweet Marie, which raced in club races in the years from 1900 to 1912. Tom recalled playing around in Archie Rogers boathouse as a kid, climbing around Jack Frost and Santa Claus.
Later on, Tom and his brothers acquired Comet and Allons. They also built a small stern steerer in the 1960s called Angela. All these boats are still in sailing shape today.  
I recently came upon a bunch of photos of Tom. He was a gentleman. 

sailing off Rokeby, circa 1970 (above & below).

Tom, on Sweet Marie, circa 1939, off Hyde Park Landing.  

Sailing Sweet Marie, with guests, that same winter, off Hyde Park.

Allons, circa 1939. Tom & his brothers acquired this from the family of H.B. Sleight of Hyde Park.

Tom, on the right, with John Somma, past Commodore.
This was the day  
Icicle was removed from the FDR Museum in Hyde Park, mid 1990s.

Tom, 2nd from left, with ice boat buddies in the late 30s. Here they pose with Kriss, John A. Roosevelt's old boat.
Art DeGroff, on the far right, was a local baseball hero, who often skippered yachts in races in the last years of the
 Hyde Park Ice Yacht Club.  

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

History of the Poughkeepsie Ice Yacht Club

Harry Briggs was long time secretary of the Hyde Park Ice Yacht Club, serving from 1904 - 1928. He was a friend of FDR and an avid historian. He wrote a two part series published in the Dutchess County Historical Society's annual yearbook (1951 & 1952).  This is a very comprehensive overview of the early days of ice yachting in Poughkeepsie. Briggs studied news clippings on ice yachting in Poughkeepsie from the 1860s through the demise of the PIYC around 1890.
Part one, (here, you can read these digital images from the original Year Book of 1951) covers through 1879. Some great stuff here for the patient reader. Part 2 to follow eventually.
You may be able to get your own copy of the yearbook through the DC Historical Society.

Briggs covers discussions on the question of  the earliest ice boating on the Hudson. 

Briggs covers early news accounts of sailing off Poughkeepsie in 1860-61, and formation of the Poughkeepsie club.

Only photo with the article.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Great Day at the Bay!

The snow from yesterday covered the bay as I arrived around 10:30 this morning - about 3 inches of powder. Fortunately the temperature hovered around 19 degrees all day, and, unlike yesterday, the wind was blowing. Once out of the south end there was plenty of wind to keep moving and relatively clear ice. A good sized crowd came down over the course of the afternoon. Gave over 15 rides to folks - almost all taking their first sail in an iceboat. There may be sporadic sailing over this week, dependent if any of the boat skippers have time. Both Boreus and Flicker are on the ice, each needing a bit more work to be ready to sail. That will give us 6 boats for next weekend. Looking ahead there is still a chance that boats will be setting up on the Hudson by Friday. Should know more by late week.

Boats on the ice , so far…

Aurora    Aurora was likely built around 1910.  It carries about 250 sq ft of sail.  Aurora  is a good example of  a later design period (post 1883) in which the mast is stepped forward of the runner plank and wire rigging is used.  This created a lighter, more balanced boat that didn’t spin out as easily as the earlier designs.  It is now owned by Frank Wall of Ghent, NY. 

North Wind  North Wind (circa 1896) is 29’ long and has about 240 sq ft of sail.  Built near Orange Lake NY, it sailed there for many years.  It has a hollow backbone and hollow spars.  It is owned by Reid Beilenberg of Germantown.

Historical note: North Wind and Aurora have sailed together for over 40 years. In 1973 they raced each other during the Eastern Ice Yacht Association’s Championship on Greenwood Lake, January 18, 1973.
According to an article in the Evening News (from Newburgh?):
“Aurora,” owned by Chuck Merkel of Montrose and a member of the Hudson River (Ice Yacht) Club took second in Class X. Reid Bielenberg of Garrison sailing “North Wind,” formerly owned by the late Ed Hughes of Newburgh, was third.  (Class X boats have a  sail area up to 250 sq ft.) 

Cyclone   Cyclone was built in 1903 in Hyde Park by Charles Van Loan.  It was originally owned by Herman Livingston Rogers, son of Archie Rogers.  The Rogers family had one of the largest collections of ice boats in the mid-Hudson area at the turn of the century.  Included among their boats was Archie Rogers’ Jack Frost, 4 time winner of the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America.  Cyclone likely sailed the Hudson River off of the Rogers estate in Hyde Park.  The runner plank and sails are not original.  It is owned & sailed by Lisa & Brian Reid of Red Hook. 

Puff (circa 1874) is 27' in length and carries 236 sq ft of sail. It was originally part of Irving Grinnell’s fleet of ice boats and sailed with the New Hamburgh Ice Yacht Club. It is very similar in design as Whiff (see earlier post on Whiff), though a bit smaller. Grinnell, a good friend of FDR and an avid champion of ice boating, was a founding member of the New Hamburgh Ice Yacht Club, established in 1869. In 1881, Grinnell put up a 30 foot silk pennant to signify supremacy in ice yacht racing. The "Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America", was never won by Grinnell, but was claimed four times each by John Roosevelt's Icicle, and Archie Rogers' Jack Frost.  Grinnell was also commodore of the New York Yacht Club
Puff was in disrepair when HRIYC members Roger Hausch, Peter Mund and Krum rebuilt her at Orange Lake in the early 1960s, at which time its rig was redesigned. Puff won many races on Orange Lake in the 1960's, its home ice for many years after it was removed from the Grinnell estate. Subsequently,  the Puff was owned by John Allen,  R.Cobe from Verplank, B. Benson of Sleightburgh / Pt. Ewen and then acquired by the late Michael Corey of Kingston in 1998.  Puff is now owned by Corey’s family

Boreus  Boreus was built in New Hampshire in 1927 and sailed lakes in that region until it came to the Hudson Valley a few years ago. Boreus is 24’ long with 198 sq ft of sail. It is marconi rigged.  It is owned by Steve Schwartz of Poughkeepsie.

Flicker     Flicker is a unique design called a Westchester One Design. It was designed by Dick Moeller, who helped establish the Eastern Ice Yacht Association in the late 30s. It is a cat rigged boat and there were at least 8 of them built. They were owned and sailed by members of the Westchester Ice Sailing Club, which was quite active  from 1947 into the late 80s. Art O’Connor of WISC obtained Flicker (then called HIC) from John Childs. John Hardeman and I obtained it from Art about 15 years ago. It is one of only 2 known surviving examples of this style boat. Stefan Hydacker has been maintaining and sailing it recently. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back at the Helm...

Cyclone is back on the ice at Tivoli South Bay as of today. The morning was spent sorting out the stays, lines, nuts & bolts and finally getting rigged and ready to go by 1 pm. Unfortunately the stiff breeze of the earlier part of the morning had subsided and the snow was falling in earnest. We ended up with about 3 inches of powdery snow - a bit more than I anticipated. I spent more time pushing than sailing, as the wind came and went. It was still nice to be at the tiller on the frozen bay. Frank Wall was out on Aurora early in the day and later on Reid Beilenberg hoisted the sails of North Wind and had better luck than I capturing the wind in his sails. Sunday should see Emilie Hauser's Puff rigged and sailing and Steve Schwartz is bringing Boreus down.

HRIYC Club Book 1896

I finally find a copy of this 1896 book - two of them! These copies are housed in the History room of the Poughkeepsie Public Library. (You need an appointment to request these and use the room).  Very cool to discover that these were personal copies of:

--Norman Wright - feared sailor at the helm of the big ice yachts - he owned and sailed Dragon, among others. He was often a hired skipper to sail other owners boats' in the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant races. He was at the helm of John Roosevelt's Icicle, which won the 1889 Pennant race.  He is Vice-Commodore of the HRIYC at this time.   Wright has also an avid rower.

-- John E. Adriance - an old Poughkeepsie name - and name of the Library here on Market Street in Poughkeepsie. Adriance owned Ymir, a George Buckhout boat. Ymir changed hands several times in the early 1900s. It is now in Red Bank NJ. She came up to sail Orange Lake this winter of 2018.

 Here is a photo of John E. Adriance

Norman Wright , Vice Commodore, avid rower.

Archie Rogers becomes Commodore this season.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sails Up! Boats out this weekend!

We have Ice! This week's deep freeze has brought us wide-spread ice that we don't often see in these parts... While the rest of the world worries about frozen pipes and uncomfortably cold temperatures, the iceboating crew is fully excited about the long range prediction of record cold temperatures. Tivoli Bay is fully frozen and three boats are currently set up.Launching boats on the river may happen soon. The question is, which location will be best to launch from?? Stay tuned! Late day sailing on Tivoli South Bay, Friday January 24.

Hudson River Ice Yacht Club 1890 part 2

Here is another copy of the HRIYC club book for 1890.  A kind lady who acquired it years ago when she lived in Staatsburg, donated it to the club after she moved away from the area. This copy is intriguing as it shows the notes the secretary was making in preparation for updating the info on members and yachts for the next version of the book.
Edmund Pendelton Rogers, Archibald Rogers father, was secretary in 1890. John Hopkins was secretary in 1896. I believe these are E.P. Rogers handwritten notes. Most of the changes noted are then seen updated in the 1896 book. E.P. Rogers is not in the 1896 book at all - he died in February of 1895

Measurer Charles Van Loan, worked at the Roger's estate, Crumwold Hall, in Hyde Park.
He built 
Cyclone, the 1900 ice yacht I own.

Reindeer was sold to Theodore Wetmore out on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.
It was one of the first of many HR ice yachts to be sold to sportsman out in the mid-west.

Arnold Brower's membership card was inside the book. Brower acquired John Roosevelt's yacht "Kriss" sometime in the 30s. He and Tom Gilbert were active in sailing the vintage stern steerers off of Hyde Park in the late 1930s. This is the only evidence that the club was trying to become reestablished at that time. There are letters from FDR to Harry Briggs in which FDR gives his blessings to the re-start up of the club in the early 40s.
Brower was from Hyde Park and he may have gotten ahold of this book back in the 30s.