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This secret lake had great ice for these old boats like Ariel, Ice Queen, Whirlwind, Genevieve, and others.   I was asked not to tell then, and by now I’ve forgotten exactly where this Shangri-la was, but

the ice boating was ideal.  Has anyone heard of Hudson River Valley ice boating happening this year?  The temperature is perfect, but that doesn’t always mean the ice surface is.  I checked here and it doesn’t look favorable.

Evrotas was getting an assist from Amy C McAllisterEvrotas is currently St. Eustatius-bound from Texas.  Amy C is in the Mariners Harbor yard, and I’ve not seen her in a while.

Amazing, which has to be one of the most amazing extraordinary names for a bulk carrier, was discharging salt.  Currently she’s anchored off in the Black Sea.  The ice of February 2011, the heat from oil, and the need for salt of the roads interrelate.

Then, as now, the sixth boro was busy with (l to r) dredge New York, GL 501, MSC Yano, Horizon Discovery,  K-Sea’s Maryland, DBL 17. I may have left someone out there.  To choose two of these, the originally Esso Maryland is now Liz VinikHorizon Discovery was scrapped in Brownsville in February 2015.

Ipanema heads out to sea in the rich morning glow.  She may have sailed into her sunset as Norsul Ranaee, unrelated to this photo.

Irida discharges salt.  She appears to have been scrapped.

MOL Partner is inbound on the Con Hook range. That’s a GLDD mechanical dredge at work and (maybe) some Bouchard tugboats in the distant left.  MOL Partner is passing the Aleutians between China and Tacoma.

We leave it here.  All photos from exactly a decade ago, to the month, WVD.


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.

Varnish, polished brass, marlinespike are all lovingly cared for on Ariel.

Genevieve is a beauty returned recently from Wisconsin

by Brett, whose passion for iceboats was quite evident.  This type of passion and

obsession one who blogs incessantly of water can easily empathize with.  Wonder why the nameboard looks so untraditional?

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.

A two-person crew pushes off in light wind  before lying in the basket.

Genevieve’s bigger basket accommodates more crew, more pushers.

Waiting for the wind here from near to far:  Ice Queen, Whirlwind, and Ariel.

Lake Shangri-la beckons; when the wind blows, these boats are eager to bring the Grail back to New York ice.  All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who’s grateful for the hospitality.

For a wide variety of European iceboat images and links, click here.

Ice boat speed records:  Debutaunte . . . 143 mph?    Miss Wisconsin . . .   200 . ..  has it been clocked?

Check out John Vargo’s Boating on the Hudson FaceBook page here.

Tomorrow or later today I’ll explain my fotos at the top of the Flickr gallery lower left.  Meanwhile, thanks much to Kate and Dock Shuter for these fotos from the Rhinecliff side of the Hudson taken eight days ago.   From near to far in this foto:  ice sailor on skis, his kite propulsion, Kimberly Poling, and the Rondout Light.

Here crews up-rig/tweak their  ice yachts at day’s start.   For more on these vintage boats, see tugster posts from Feb 7, Feb 8, and Feb 9 2010 taken a few miles north of Rhinecliff.    Note the unidentified (and from an iceboater’s POV) “dreaded” USCG icebreaker in the distance.

Race time!

Note the portside runner hiked off the ice in a blustery turn.

Iceboat pics from Feb 20 in the next post.    As I said, see previews in Flickr gallery to the left.  Click here for the info clearing house for ice boating in the Hudson Valley, site maintained by webmaster . . .  the ever-gracious John Sperr.   Be careful . . . there are enough links to fascinating stories at the HYIRC site to engage you all day.

All fotos above from Kate and Dock Shuter.  Thanks much.  Their fotos have appeared here (Clearwater) and here (departure of the Dutch sailing barges) previously.

Thanks to all for your kind words related to the NYTimes article.

Now that John and Bonnie have revealed that the vintage ice racer named for a water nymph, Galatea, crashed, I’ll postpone the gear post.  And right here at the top, refer you to bowsprite’s just-released video of the last 56 seconds of Galatea here.  I just caught of glimpse of myself pushing them off at 3 seconds in.  Remember to enlarge a foto, just double click on it.

The instant Galatea rolled  onto its side on the ice, a crowd hurried in that direction.  My first fear was that the starboard runner had broken through the ice; seeing John and his passenger (bowsprite) get up and walk around the wreckage was reassuring.

Looking at the wreckage from behind, notice the stern runner and tiller and the port side of the cockpit  folded over about 135 degrees;  below it, the starboard side of the cockpit is snapped off.  See the two c-clamps.  Also, midships, the port side of the runner plank has been pulled over to starboard about 135 degrees, the boom sandwiched between the runner plank and the mast.

The beauty of wood is  . . . you can just scarf in repairs;  it’s organic, so forgiveness and healing come with the material, just as with our bones.

But let’s turn the clock back to a few minutes BEFORE the wreck, to when we first met John as he completed a solo run.  Notice the c-clamps and brace about where his right elbow meets the cockpit.  Also, the see the jump skeg, explained in yesterday’s post.

He offered us a ride;  bowsprite climbed aboard and away

the wind took them, tacking toward the north end of the bay, all captured in bowsprite’s

video, linked above.

Before the final tack, Galatea gets some adjustments, tweakings.

Fortunately, John had the most important piece of gear ever:   unflappable grace.  Wood heals, be happy, and here’s a toast to Galatea’s next run, soon.  Prior to January 2010, Galatea had not sailed since 1914!!!!  96 years  of hibernation!

Here’s a quote from John’s website:  “On January 31 [2010], Galatea took its first sail since 1914 on light southwesterly winds. The boat is nicely balanced and a very comfortable ride with its large ten foot cockpit. The wind did not last long, though, and by mid-afternoon there was more pushing than sailing. I still remember the day in 1982 when John Somma pulled into my driveway and said “Get in — we’re going for a ride. I think I found Galatea’s cockpit.” So off we went to Mrs. Gray’s Hudson River estate, and there in the rafters of the carriage barn, it was — probably exactly where Robert Livingston Clarkson stored it many years ago. Arrangements were quickly made for it’s acquisition and Reid Bielenberg and I had one more original piece of the boat. We did a lot of work fixing the backbone that first year, but then other projects took center stage and it languished in the barn for almost another 30 years.”

And before the sun set any lower in the sky, Jeff and Dock sailed off in Floater (nearer) paralleling Vixen.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

By the way, on more reflection, I realize the good ambiguity in “”wood heals.”  Yes, it does.

Unrelated:  Check out soundbounder’s series on oystering in Long Island Sound;  third in the series is here.

Also unrelated:  check out this article on the Ethiopian Olympic ski team.

A reprise of the approaches to ice:  some vessels (Is Morton towing Esopus light?) and loads need to fracture it, whereas

these skim over it, harnessing the wind as was done in the past and will again happen in the future . . . not to suggest there has ever existed a hiatus between the two.

A gaff-rig trails a lateen-rig.

And here two gaff-riggers compete, Galatea pursuing Puff.  A few names:  backbone is supported by the perpendicular runner plank, which itself supports the port and starboard runners.  On Galatea, I estimated the backbone to be 30′–35′ with approximately 15′ runner plank.  Someone correct me?

I was quite taken by Vixen with its lateen rig.  It reminded me of the rig I’ve not used for years on the canoe, which I wrote about here two years ago.    This shot also clearly shows the jump skeg, near the stern just below the cockpit and forward of the stern runner.    The purpose of the jump skeg is –in the case the boat glides over some open water and then back onto ice, the substantial wood there would “jump” the stern back onto the ice, preventing the stern runner from catching on the edge of the ice.

Like most boats, iceboats have name boards.

Vixen alone.  With people, of course, two of whom look unmistakeably like frogma and bowsprite.  See frogma’s gliding at –dunno . .  at least 100 kts here, AND her second post about the experience here.  Check both, as the first has great video and the second has dozens of fotos.  We’ll soon see what bowsprite and Jeff come up with.

Vixen juxtaposed with 999.  Note:  over 200 years of wooden boat are posed here, many more years than the years of people admiring the rich wood and sail colors.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.  More on some gear tomorrow.

And the options are:  crush it, or

glide over it.  The latter is preferred by the Hudson River Ice Yachting Club on Tivoli Bay in Red Hook, New York, at least for today.  Click on the Hudson Ice Yachting link (and scroll down a bit) for a great juxtaposition with DonJon’s Atlantic Salvor.  Double click on a foto to enlarge it.

These boats are old:  Galatea, dating from the 1880s.

Might frogma be thinking to trade her kayak for an ice yacht?  Here are three gaff-rigged boats, the nearest with the jib lowered.

This lateen rigged boat . . . Vixen, is over a century old.

Another shot of Vixen in the foreground, and other iceboats, gaff with jib, jibless, and marconi, or bermuda.

Also over the one-century mark is 999, sailing east of the Hudson from

the Catskills.

Timeless, these boats.

All fotos taken this weekend by Will Van Dorp.  More iceboats soon.

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