Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Year's Eve Sailing!

 Happy New Year!

Beautiful ice on Tivoli South Bay, located on the east shore of the Hudson at Barrytown-on-Hudson. 
  A handful of intrepid sailors and friends embraced the brisk day to get a small fleet of ice yachts onto Tivoli South Bay these past 2 days. This is the first time in quite awhile that we have gotten boats rigged in December.  Galatea, Cyclone, Puff & Orion are all on the ice, along with an Arrow class bow-steering boat. It was taxing with a steady 10-15 mph breeze and temps hovering at 10 degrees.  And, it was fabulous!
Galatea (with Reid Bielenberg at the helm) had the first exploration of Tivoli Bay and took several guests out for a spin.  Cyclone (with yours truly) also tested the Bay for two blustery sails. Frank Wall, between helping rig boats, got out on his bow steering 2 seater.  Puff & Orion will finish being rigged in 2018.  More sailing on New Year's Day.  Best access is to use the Greenway trail from the campus of the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown.

Galatea,  rigged and ready for its shake down sail 12/31/2017. Galatea, circa 1885,
is from the former Clarkson estate in Tivoli. It is just over 32' long, and carries about 350 sq ft of sail.

Starboard runner on Cyclone. That is the eastern shore of Tivoli Bay.
 Montgomery Place, now owned by Bard College,  is inland a few hundred yards.

Sun setting over the Catskill Mountains to the west.

Cyclone, built in Hyde Park around 1900 for Herman Livingston Rogers, youngest son of Col. Archibald Rogers. It is just under 20' in length and carries about 200 sq ft of sail.

Looking southwest down the Bay; Light covering of 1/2 inch of powder over nice ice. 

The continued cold looks may well lead to finding a good stretch of ice on the Hudson proper. By the first weekend of January, we may be launching boats onto the river locally. Stay Tuned!

Lastly, reports note that at least 4 antique stern steerers are sailing at Orange Lake, near Newburgh.  I hope to have pictures soon.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy New Year!

From the photo collection of Marge Spratt, Hyde Park.

Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club

Fleet off of the Chelsea Ice Yacht Club's clubhouse. This club was located between Beacon & New Hamburgh.
The Carthage Ice Yacht Club was organized January 1881. First Commodore was Benjamin Merritt,
considered one of the most expert ice yacht sailors in country (NYTimes article 1900). Brothers
Charlie and Bill Merritt were well respected Ice Yacht builders and sailors. They built several fast
lateen-rigged yachts, including Vixen (which still sails today) and Ranger. The last race of the Ice
Yacht Challenge Pennant of America by the old stern steering yachts was won by Frank Drake,
sailing for the NHIYC, defeating boats from the CIYC, in 1922.
Later on, Carthage Landing Ice Yacht Club  changed its name to Chelsea  Ice Yacht Club. This club eventually became the Chelsea Yacht Club, still an active soft water club today.


Members outside the Clubhouse in Chelsea, 1911;  Club house still there today;

Racing at Chelsea, 1911:  Maud M. (owned by Frank Brockway),Junior (owned by Frank F. Collyer),  ? ,  Artic (owned by Moses Collyer)

Lateen rigged "Junior".  I've seen this boat labeled Junior in several photos. This is from Ray Ruge's collection.
Marge Spratt, (who is a Collyer and grew up in Chelsea), has photos with this boat labeled Junior as well.  Still, it sure looks like Vixen (Built in Chelsea in 1885 by the Merritt Bros. - the backbone is quite distinctive)  Vixen sailed out of Chelsea by 1911 -  Frank Drake raced her and  I understood that Joe Jova bought her from JA Roosevelt sometime in this period. Another reference on a photo says that Junior was acquired by Moses Collyer from Archie Rogers.

Collyer Brothers off Chelsea. 1911. 

Moses Collyer, in cockpit; Frank Collyer Sr. Cheslea 1911.  



Charlie & Bill Merritt "ice fishing" on the River off Chelsea 1911.
The Merritt Brothers were builders of many fast yachts at Chelsea (including Vixen, and Ranger);
The were sought after skippers in Challenge Pennant races as well.

Moses was co-author of the book "Sloops of the Hudson"
That book was one spark that helped  inspire Pete Seeger to build
the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in the late 1960s.

Photos from this post come from the private collection of our friend Marge Spratt. She has been generous in sharing her ice boat photo collection and stories of growing up with the Collyers in Carthage Landing/Chelsea.   (one or two come from Ray Ruge's collection at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. I believe Ray got copies from Marge's originals)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

winter 17-18...

To start off a new season.... a rare photo of an unnamed ice yacht off of Poughkeepsie, just south of the Railroad Bridge (now the popular Walkway Over the Hudson). Classic gaff rigged Hudson River Ice Yacht. Circa....1910??
(from a photo in Rick Lawrence's collection) 

December in the Hudson Valley 2017....
managed to get the skates out on the 17th... ice was about 2" thick on Heron swamp. Will check Tivoli Bay the day after Xmas - a cold snap looks to be arriving then - at this point suggesting 4-5  nights of single digits. That's what we need! Get your runners sharpened!

Dec. 12. 2017 - A light covering of snow didn't hinder the skates, though slowed down the puck a bit.

Heron Swamp is a hidden little skating gem in upper Red Hook. Surrounded by hills on 3 sides, it is a pretty place to navigate the trees and bushes in the shallow swamp. 
see last photo for the nests of the namesake birds.  

 Reid Beilenberg set up the 1885 ice yacht Galatea on Warren Street in Hudson the first week of December for that city's annual Winter Walk. We talked with dozens and dozens of folks about the boat and sailing on the Hudson. 
Dock & Reid answer the common questions:  What is it? How fast does it go? You sail on the Hudson??
Galatea is from the Clarkson estate in Tivoli. Robert Livingston Clarkson was an original member of the HRIYC, joining in 1885.  He had 2 boats in 1888 - Galatea and Dashaway. Galatea is 32' in length and originally carried 410 sq ft of sail.  Dashaway was smaller - 220 sq ft; Dashaway later went to the Suckley fleet, at Wilderstein in Rhinecliff. 

Reid demonstrates the sailing position of the skipper. Galatea's cockpit is one of the larger ones, stretched out to 8 foot!
Galatea has had some exciting sailing since getting back on the ice a few years back!

waiting for the cold...
Merry Christmas!