Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hudson River Maritime Museum, Kingston, NY

There is a wonderful little museum in Kingston, NY. The Hudson River Maritime Museum has some great exhibits on steamboats, lighthouses, tugboats, Maritime history and... ice boats! In the East Gallery you'll find  John A. Roosevelt's 50' yacht Icicle  (partially) on display, along with the 30' ice yacht Knickerbocker. Some great photos and ice yachting history info are on display.  Behind the scenes, though, is the real treasure. Ray Ruge's ice yachting collection is archived at the museum and there is an incredible collection of letters, photos, and ice boating memorabilia spanning 1936- 1982.  Ruge, often called "Mr. Iceboat" was active in ice boating circles during that time span building, racing, collecting, writing articles on the sport and rescuing old antique gaff rigged ice boats. He spearheaded the rebuild and restoration of Jack Frost in the early 1970s. I'll devote a longer post to all that Ray was involved in sometime in the near future. For now, a few gems from the collection.  (Thanks to the staff at the Maritime Museum for allowing access to these materials.) 
(in no apparent order...)

Puff, circa 1872, was  Originally part of Irving Grinnell's fleet out of New Hamburgh.
Ruge got a group of ice boaters to partner together to acquire and restore Puff in the mid 1960s'.
This photo is from the late 60s. She still sails today.

Ariel. Archie Rogers' ice yacht circa 1888. Ruge acquired Ariel ( I believe) in a trade for an Arrow bow steerer. The previous owner got her when she was actioned off in the 1940s along with a large portion of the Rogers estate in Hyde Park. 

John A. Roosevelt's Vixen. Ruge acquired Vixen in the 60s and raced her frequently on Orange Lake.

Fleet off Chelsea, circa 1911. Chelsea club house is below the flag. 

This is the Merritt brothers yacht Ranger.
Ruge corresponded with everyone about ice yachting. He saved every letter and picture ( or so it seems).
He has some great correspondence with the major ice yachters from the Midwest. He had this photo of the "Big 3" yachts from Oshkosh, Wisconsin during a 1949 race. (L-R) Deuce, Debutante III, Flying Dutchman.   Deuce & Debutante III both carried 600 sq ft of sail. 

Ruge, 2nd from right, at an Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club dinner, 1939.

Ruge wrote frequently on ice yachting in Yachting magazine.

Sailing his bow steering C class skeeter Charette, 1938.

Ruge, center, after a victory in EIYA races, 1939.

Ice Yacht Mischief, of the Chelsea Yacht Club; circa 1911.

C class skeeter, Kitten. Greenwood Lake, circa 1939.

First Bow Steerer Ruge built: Icicle, a jib & main X class skeeter. 1939. 

Ice Yacht Gale, on Orange Lake 1938.
This is a Percy Ashley designed gaff rigged sloop. 250 sq ft.
The sister ship to Gale, North Wind, still sails today.