Copyright John A. Sperr
Preserving and Sailing the Historic Gaff Rigged Ice Yachts of New York's Hudson River Valley
9 am Monday, January 15, 2018
Tivoli Bay Fleet being Removed Today at 1 pm
Friday's Thaw and Rain has halted Sailing
New USCG Air Auxiliary Photos show the Damage
right click and select "view image" to see photos in full resolution
Ice is on the move on the
Zero Degree Arctic Air Mass
Snow on Tuesday?
January 15, 2018
Tivoli Bay is such a mess, that people have given up on it. We will be down there about 1 pm to take the boats apart, carry them off the ice, and truck them home. Extra hands are always welcome -- getting them up the steep bank at the shore can be taxing without a good crew on hand. With little or no wind this afternoon, and the temperature in the mid twenties, it should go fairly quickly. High tide will occur shortly after 2 pm so the ice may be wet near the shore.
Forecast snow amounts are on the rise for Tuesday and Wednesday. Some of the models from the latest run show a coastal low developing, which could bring increased amounts of snow, mixed precipitation, or rain to the Hudson Valley. It will then turn warm again to close out the week. Our early ice on the Hudson River has come to naught so far -- I don't see any possibilities looking ahead at the next ten days for it to become a safe and viable sailing venue. The polar vortex is fading and does not look to be replaced for another three weeks in the long range forecasts -- look for a warmer and stormier end of January 2018.
January 14, 2018 am update
Heavy runoff from Friday's rain and warm weather had the river running very high yesterday so we had to scramble to get two iceboats off the ice at Athens. A dozen or so friends and members heeded the call to help disassemble Vixen and Boreas and move them off the tiny spit of ice they were tucked in on and hanging on by a thread.
Ice was breaking up above us and flowing down Murderers Creek while the small piece we were working on was ever thinning and showing signs of fatigue. It was high tide and the water was at the top of the bulkhead at the boat launch. Fortunately we were able to complete our work without mishap -- going through the ice would have been a very bad situation.
Bob Wills reports that Tivoli Bay is a mess -- the ice is brown with mud and littered with debris. I suspect that the ice was stuck to the mud at low tide and got flooded by the deluge coming out of the Sawkill and the small stream in the south end of the bay. I'll try and get some pictures this afternoon. Wear creepers if you go out walking -- the snow is gone but there is a layer of very slick black ice covering the trails.
The temperature dropped to 8° F last night here in Red Hook and it might be as cold again tonight -- that will help a bit to stabilize things but until the river sets up again and rebuilds thickness we won't see any sailing there. Given the lack of any enduring zero to ten degree weather on the map beyond this evening, there will not be any safe ice on the Hudson anytime soon. The latest pictures from the USCG Air Auxiliary show the damage -- the ice is gone south of Sturgeon Point below Rhinecliff. We probably lost half the thickness above the Rhinecliff Bridge and we are almost starting from scratch with the tide and wind shuttling what's left around.
BUFKIT shows both the NAM and GFS3 forecast models predicting an inch or two of snowfall on Tuesday for the area from Newburgh to Albany. Six inches or more would serve us better, but I doubt two would put Tivoli Bay back in business next weekend even should it wet out quickly.
January 13, 2018
Friday's temperature rose to 62° F at the Poughkeepsie Airport and 63° F at Albany -- both new record highs for the date. Accompanied by heavy rain most of the day, the ice sheet on the Hudson River loosened up with many cracks and drain holes forming to carry away the surface water. Ice Station Glasco awoke this morning to see a 20 foot swath of open water and ice damage to its waterfront.
Similar conditions likely exist on Tivoli Bay -- the snow cover was melted and the warm water working down the drainage leads has likely thinned them to the point where they cannot be sailed safely. The Sawkill has likely opened up its channel across the bay as well. The high volume flow will be cut off by this evening, but it will take a week of cold weather to seal the drainage leads again, keeping the fleet boxed up in the south end of the bay.
We will get out and explore tomorrow after a cold night has firmed things up a bit and the ice is safer, but I expect the thin spots and the high wind, gusty conditions will prevent sailing. Monday may be better if a second cold night firmly seals up the south end of Tivoli Bay again.
Snow is in the forecast for early Tuesday -- the computer models are wavering on this event with the trend being the forecast amount decreasing while the hand crafted extended forecast discussion cautions:
"AMPLE ENERGY IN ADVANCE OF THE MID-UPPER LEVEL TROUGH WILL HELP DEVELOP SEVERAL COASTAL LOWS THAT HAVE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE HEAVY SNOW FROM THE ERN MID-ATLANTIC AND ESPECIALLY NEW ENGLAND."
A good shot of snow at this time could do a good job of leveling out the rough ice on the river and burying the flotsam on Tivoli Bay to set us up for some good sailing come mid or late February.
Stay tuned -- I may get out this afternoon for a drive and receive other scouting reports that warrant an evening update.
January 6, 2018
Thursday's snowstorm caught many forecasters off guard and produced double their predicted amounts. Combined with the powerful wind field of this cyclone and a warm and wet start to the precipitation in the upper levels of the atmosphere, the snow is now hard packed to the ice of Tivoli Bay and has shut down our sailing from the south end. With today's bitter cold wind chill, it was a day to retreat to the relative comfort of my vehicle and visit the various venues where we could be sailing in the future.
At the Town Dock in Rhinecliff, the sheet has taken a set and is nearly fully closed. There's some open water in front of the water plant -- frazil ice has been a problem the past two days in several municipal water supplies that source their water from the Hudson River. The sheet of ice is a jumbled mess of plates frozen together at every which angle and height caused by the high tides of the super moon shuttling them back and forth in a series of collisions until finally they are thick enough to weld together in the frigid air and form a structure than can resist further breakage.
Should we get a good dump of snow in ten days or two weeks, this field of ice could level out as the water bleeds up from below and makes "snow ice". There's an old saying in our sport -- "Snow in January, makes ice for February." -- stay tuned.
Further north, above the Rhinecliff Bridge between Barrytown and Saugerties, the River narrows and the forms a choke point for ice on the move. Here large hummocks have developed as millions of tons of ice collide with nowhere to go but up or down. Shallow water accentuates the process outside the navigable channels. Looking down from the Rhinecliff Bridge, it does appear that a decent sheet of ice could develop off of Astor Point if we get some warm weather to reduce and level the snow.
Last Week's Photos
January 3, 2018
The river has taken a set over the past few days and it appears there may be a good sheet of ice just north of Cheviot. We'll have to take a better look at it after the snow ends on Thursday evening. The big questions are how much snow will we get and will it blow off or drift into a sticky unsailable mess? We'll know by the weekend.
The Coast Guard Air Auxiliary grabbed a few photos on the weekend -- I'll post them here when I get a chance, probably this evening. There may be a new set by then to add as well. Off to work now -- more later with perhaps some excellent user contributed photos.
December 31, 2017
Having been skunked for the past two seasons, it is very encouraging to see an early season Arctic air mass draped across the mid-west and northeast. The average temperature in Poughkeepsie was 8° F Thursday and 9° F Friday -- Drift ice measuring 2 - 3 inches thick has accumulated in the Hudson River from West Point to Albany and is filling about 50% of the surface from shore to shore. With even colder air moving in tomorrow and New Year's Day, the sheet will likely be fast by Tuesday morning even with the moon waxing toward full and producing strong tides. I think the sheet will continue to gain thickness throughout the week, although it may be a jumbled mess and impossible to sail in the near future. There is always the possibility that high wind may blow part of it out and create some black ice in the void, but that is difficult to predict -- we just need to wait and see what happens. Quite likely, we will get a strong nor'easter or Type A Miller storm hooking up out of the Gulf States dumping a foot or more of snow across the northeast as the cold air starts to retreat in another 10 days. Over time, this will saturate with water bleeding up from below the ice sheet, refreeze, and become a fine sheet of ice around Valentine's Day.
Tivoli Bay was subject to several "blowout" tides this week. With the bay so shallow and partially cut off from the main river circulation, one might expect that the water would quickly freeze and build thickness. Such is not the case there anymore. The bottom sediment has accumulated to a depth that during low tide, the bottom mud flats are above the water level. For two of the coldest mornings this week, there was no water available below the thin surface ice to be frozen into additional thickness during much of the tidal cycle. The situation has improved since as we advanced through the lunar cycle and the blowout high wind and coastal low pressure conditions have eased.
Four ice yachts arrived at Tivoli Bay yesterday afternoon and more may find their way onto the ice today. Through the courtesy of the Unification Theological Seminary, we have access to the south end of South Bay. Visitors should following the parking signs and directives to "Father's Trail". It will be a very cold day on the ice -- if the wind comes up above 15 mph as forecast, things will likely wind down quickly. Dress in layers for sub-zero (-15 F) wind chill conditions.
Ice has also been reported to our south, but snow from the Christmas storm accumulated on the sheet and did not completely wet out. Central Massachusetts reported similar conditions where the snow froze to the ice and created a "Styrofoam" surface that cannot be sailed. The US Coast Guard has just begun issuing daily ice bulletins for the season -- if tomorrow is clear, perhaps their air auxiliary will get a plane up and we will have some aerial photos to examine.
More news tomorrow after I get out and explore the latest developments.
Photo Albums on the Web
Ice Flight Photos
January 6, 2018
Where we launch in the south end of South Tivoli Bay, there are heavy drifts of wind packed snow that cannot be sailed through. Above the Sawkill, the situation appears better, With warm weather and a bit of rain forecast for the upcoming week, this area could clean up nicely, although we would still have a problem of getting boats up there. Perhaps the south end will saturate enough over the next two weeks to get things working there again.
Cheviot, being farther north, received less snow than the venues in Dutchess County. Areas both north and south of the old steamboat causeway could clean up nicely this week. If the current forecast holds for light rain next Saturday before turning colder again, my current thinking is that we will be idle again next weekend. Then another snow storm will hook around the base of the arctic high and give us a good shot of snow. That could set us up for a good run around Valentine's Day or President's weekend.
Last Week's Photos
Web Page Archives
|Stevens Tech SSWS & NYHOPS||Zone Forecast Tivoli Bay||15 Image 5 Day GFS Forecast|
|Northern Hemisphere 850 Temp||Regional Summary -- NY, NJ, CT, MA||5 Image 2 Day Forecast Maps|
|USA Radar from Intellicast||Jetstream Forecast||Snow and Precip Type Forecast Loop|
|NE US Radar from Intellicast||Current Snow Depth||Water Vapor Forecast Loop|
|Albany Storm Precipitation Totals||North Germantown Landing Live Webcam||US Hazardous Weather Outlook|
|Day 1 Quant Precip Forecast Map||Interactive Radar||10 day GFS Forecast|
|Day 2 Quant Precip Forecast Map||Northeast Wind Speed (Kts) & Streamlines||31 Frame Forecast Animation|
|Day 3 Quant Precip Forecast Map||US Temperature 5° F Contour||Quantitative Precipitation Discussion|
Links to Field Reports of Ice Conditions
IDNIYRA Ice Conditions Reports
Yahoo Group "IceReports"
Iceboat Launch Site
Maps & Directory for the Eastern US
Note: new racing rules were adopted in 2015
Galatea's runner plank failed where the plank was bored for the gammon strap through some very funky wood. Rigging carried the left side runner and plank across the boat.
With no gammon strap securing the backbone, the cockpit rolled with the mast and the rim broke.
Pilot and passenger were gently ejected into the sail. No injuries were sustained. photo Copyright Dock Shuter, Feb 2010
Email John Sperr
HRIYC.ORG is neither the official website, nor am I the webmaster, of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. I am a long standing member of the Club and during the sailing season I frequently post photographs and information on this, my own personal website, about current iceboating activity in the Hudson Valley and beyond. I am the sole person responsible for the presentation of content and the opinions expressed herein. Interesting photographic contributions are welcome and appreciated -- I spend most of my time on the ice skippering and far too often fail to capture the best images of the day. ŠJohn A. Sperr MMXVIII