Monday, July 3, 2017

Old Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant documents turn up in Jersey...

I went and visited with an old friend and fellow ice yacht historian - Greg Strand - down near Red Bank in April. Greg has been sailing A boats since the late 60s and has had a hand in acquiring, restoring and sailing dozens of big stern steerers over the years. He is a long time member of our Hudson River Ice Yacht Club as well as the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club. He has been collecting history pertaining to ice yachting in Red Bank, and other Jersey ice yacht clubs.
He recently was contacted regarding a box of papers turned over to the village of Red Bank. He was amazed to see an incredible cache of ice yachting documents, race records and more dating back to the early 1880s.
Included was correspondence between the North Shrewsbury and Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. Starting in 1883, the NSIBYC sent their speediest yachts up to Poughkeepsie in attempts to capture the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America.  Some of the documents pertain to ice conditions, acceptance of challenges, race summaries and telegrams between secretaries.  a few documents are included below:

Telegram from Poughkeepsie Ice Yacht Club Secretary Thomas Ransom.
This is early correspondence that led up to NSIYBC's first challenge for the Pennant. 

Letter from PIYC secretary Thomas Ransom. The race for the pennant took place on Feb. 23, 1883.
Scud was sole entry for NSIBYC and finished last. Seems they got the cold snap to firm up the ice.

Rare correspondence under the moniker 'Hudson River Corinthian Ice Yacht Club,'  as the HRIYC was briefly known. 
Archie Roger's brother Edmund Pendelton Rogers was first secretary of the HRIYC
 (formed a few weeks before this letter).
A curious correspondence about a 'National Ice Yacht Association.' I've seen no further reference to this, though various attempts to create a 'National Authority" have come up many times in the next 100 years...

Correspondence ahead of the Challenge Pennant race of 1893.
Two days later it was raced between HRIYC and the Orange Lake Club. 

Seems the Secretary of the Orange Lake Ice Yacht Club was also corresponding with Commodore Weaver of the NSIBYC.
Clearly the Shrewsbury Club wasn't able to race for the Challenge Pennant that year. Meanwhile the Orange Lake boys were looking to race for the
Van Nostrand Cup, which they lost two years earlier. 

"....a thorough sportsmanlike character....
.... showing them every possible courtesy.... "
-A letter of appreciation to the Shrewsbury Club from the HRIYC.
second page follows...
Always good plan to flatter your rivals, especially when they hold the silver cup you may want to race for!
1891 letter written shortly after NSIBYC captured the Van Nostrand Cup at Orange Lake.
It would be 87 years before HRIYC would race for that Cup!

NSIBYC challenge accepted to race for the Pennant.
Hyde Park druggist John Hopkins is HRIYC secretary.

Ice Yacht Georgie, 1904. From the Red Bank club.

Early 1900s on the Shrewsbury River at Red Bank. Speed skating races and ice yachts.

Many thanks to Greg Strand.  More to follow....