Monday, February 08, 2010

Iceboating 2

From Ice Yachts! 2-7-2010

Well, Tugster has begun to wax eloquent & informative on the topic of yesterday's adventure, with fascinating technical details.

I will not be able to do so until tonight. The Really Big Children's Publishing House does pay people to write eloquently. I'm not one of those people, can't do more than a quick lunchtime post right now - but I just can't resist going ahead & giving the link to the extensive photos I uploaded last night, along with an email I sent (with the link) to the Sebago Sailing Committee in the morning. The photos are as of yet uncaptioned, but they should be pretty self-explanatory (ice yachts! sailing! beautiful day! yay!) -- still, there is a section that might need explanation, plus there was a good story to share, so here was that email, repurposed into a blog post!:

I tried something new yesterday. Iceboating!

Took "a few" pictures - you can see them here: Ice Yachts! 2-7-2010

BTW, the pictures that look like people organizing a wrecked ice yacht for transport back to shore are indeed pictures of just that. These are beautiful craft & most of them very old. The Galatea was having her modern debut after restoration & the runner plank (the crosspiece that holds the runners) turned out to have some undetected dry rot at the heart. My friend "Bowsprite" was riding when it went... Fortunately the boat sagged first & the owner said that the friction probably slowed them enough that when things really went to pieces (literally) they were both fine. Sad sight, but the owner said he can probably repair the plank with a scarf (there was at least one other boat that had had that done) & Galatea will rise again.

After that, I was thinking that this was a wonderful thing to see but there was no effing way I was getting on one. But I got over that -- when the owner of the most amazing boat in an amazing fleet (Vixen, lateen rig with the interesting rigging where the sail is actually suspended from an A-frame arrangement of masts)asked me if I wanted to go for a ride, I just couldn't climb aboard fast enough!

And it was awesome. We were tacking across Tivoli Bay, which was too narrow for this one to get anywhere CLOSE to up to speed, but the acceleration was still impressive & at least gave a hint of her speed*!

The Vixen was built in 1885 & she was a famous racer in her day. I heard a good story yesterday about how she came to be in the Hudson Highlands - she was built in NJ, her owner came up the Hudson to race & proceeded put the best boats of the Hudson Highlands area to shame, and at the end of the day one of the Rockefellers walked up with a fistful of cash & said "You're not taking that boat home"!

*it was a bit like watching a good horse playing in a small corral - you can't see the ultimate speed, but you know it's there. I think that snippet of video gives a good sense of that, you can see how she picks up speed after the tack!


JP said...

That looks a lot fun and a beautiful classic ice yacht (though seeing an ice breaker in the distance slightly worrying)

Reminded me of the pictures in "Winter Holiday" of Nansen's ice yachts - which might not be a co-incidence as it sounds like they came from about the same time.

bonnie said...

Oh, we stopped near the Esopus Meadows Light for a little tugspotting. The iceboating happens a bit north of there in Tivoli Bay. There's a railroad embankment there that preserves the ice & makes it a venue for iceboating. There's also a lake in the area that works. The icebreakers, the wakes of passing tugs & the strong tidal currents mean that the ice in the open Hudson is alway broken & jagged.

PeconicPuffin said...

Fantastic! It looks like a great day.

Don't trade in your kayak, though...the ice sailing season can be quite short (on LI we had none at all in 08 and only a week in 09)so enjoy it while you can!

O Docker said...

Bonnie, this is some great stuff on your day on the ice. Great photos and video. I love those old wooden boats.

I'd just gone through your photos, when an Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations) episode came on the tube. Subject? The Hudson River Valley. He didn't mention ice-boating - it was filmed last fall, I think - but, and here's the spooky part, the show opens with him sailing down the river in the Cape Dame, a hundred-year-old cat boat, with the boat's owner, who supposedly runs the Ear Inn - where youse guys have had your blogfests.

Long way to go, but there's that two degrees of separation thing again.

PS: He also spends some time on the tug Cornell (Hello, Tugster?). I think the show airs again on 2/11.

bonnie said...

Oh, that sounds great. The catboat's skipper didn't happen to be one Captain Rip Hayman, did it? Actually, wait, let us see what Mr. Google has to say...ha, check #44, it WAS Captain Rip!

Oh, it is a small world indeed! I've sailed with him a few times. Great guy!