This holy grail of sail is the Van Nostrand Cup, crafted by Tiffany in 1888 at the behest of Gardiner Van Nostrand, “held since 1891 by the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club,” put up for competiton only once (1978) since then. Getting it back is tricky. Races can only happen when waters are frozen; you need good ice, though, not just any ice. You need wind but not too much. Last Saturday winds gusted to 50 mph, and then Sunday . . . in spite of this beautiful ice … puffs happened only sporadically. And with good wind, how fast can they go? Answer follows.
John Vargo, here with a formidable hat made of skins of two Great Plains coyotes, talks about the sport as
over on the far side of this lake (which I will refer to as Lake Shangri-la . . . located somewhere between the sixth boro and the St. Lawrence) two old stern-steerers race. If you haven’t seen bowsprite’s video of the last run of Galatea from February 2010, click here.
A little over 100 years ago, ice boats like these were THE fastest vehicle on earth! This youtube video from the 1930s touts the fact that a Chevy can outrun an iceboat, an appeal that seems quite bizarre today.
To me, these vessels seem too beautiful and delicate to be so fast.
Genevieve was built not far from a certain temple of baseball in the Bronx. Here’s a list of vessels built there, but there’s no mention of their iceboating endeavors. While we’re on NYYL&E history, check out their Bronx-built Linmar and Olympus. Another long-gone Morris Heights-based builder built lightships.
For a wide variety of European iceboat images and links, click here.
Check out John Vargo’s Boating on the Hudson FaceBook page here.