Copyright John A. Sperr


February 15, 2010

Monday -- 10 am

Iceboat Lecture and Slide Show

Brian Reid, Commodore of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club

Wednesday, February 17, 2010  7:30 pm

Egbert Benson Historical Society, Red Hook NY




Photo Copyright Dock Shuter


US Coast Guard Aerial Photos of the Hudson River

Weather  Links

Iceboat Launch Site Directory for the Eastern US

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On-the-Ice Cell # Request

Photo Gallery

John Fasulo Iceboating Photos


Warm wind and a sunny day melted much of the snow, but Vixen struggled in  light air late Sunday afternoon. A more significant snowfall is in the forecast for tomorrow. Three to seven inches may fall by Wednesday morning.


Galatea's return to the ice after nearly 100 years in repose, was brief. While slowly tacking to windward on Sunday afternoon with myself at the helm and in the company of my intrepid passenger, Bowsprite, the runner plank suddenly cracked, then broke in two at the bolt hole on the port side of the gammon strap. With nothing to restrain it except the framing rods, the port side runner and plank were quickly launched over the boat by the shroud attached to the fully loaded sail while the mast and cockpit rotated 90 degrees and threw us gently out into the sail and boom. After the boat ground to a quick halt, we pulled ourselves to our feet and did a quick assessment of our situation -- neither of us was injured in the slightest -- just utterly amazed at what had just transpired. The whole event happened in 10 seconds -- freeze frame the video at 0:45 and you can see the runner plank starting to fail with the starboard side sagging and beginning to drag on the ice. At 0:49 the plank breaks, and flies over the backbone as we begin our 90 degree roll to the ice, boots flying, the sail parachuting us down. I roll out onto the ice as the right hand side of the cockpit breaks off and Bowsprite tumbles in next to me -- still in full command of the camera and her faculties as we grind to a full stop. I had considered the runner plank to be one of the most structurally sound components of this restoration project and had not given any serious consideration to its possible failure during shakedown sails in the prior week.

 We set to the work of getting the sails under control and dismantling while the rest of the fleet and nearly two dozen spectators sprang into rescue and recovery mode. Within 30 minutes, the sails, spars, and frame rigging were off, the plank splinted together in makeshift fashion, and we pushed it home. I've seen runner planks fail on three occasions on these big old stern steerers -- thankfully, personal injury has never been a factor when it happened.


Bowsprite documenting the aftermath.

Many thanks to all who helped in the recovery and for all the great pictures. We made many new friends Sunday. Check out Tugster, Frogma, and Jeff for pictures and commentary.  Bowsprite has provided a fabulous video shot from the cockpit that captures the failure of the runner plank. Click through it in stop motion, (pause, forward) to see the frame by frame evolution of the wreck.


On January 31, 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 her carriage barn, it sat -- probably exactly where Robert Livingston Clarkson stored it many years ago. Arrangements were quickly made for its acquisition, and soon, Reid Bielenberg and I had one more original piece for the restoration of the ice yacht, Galatea. We did a lot of work fixing the backbone that first year at Reid's place -- the former Odd Fellows Lodge in Germantown -- cutting out the rotten sections and bonding in new tulip wood with resorcinol glue. At home, I spent many hours in my kitchen at Rokeby fabricating a set of cherry and walnut shells for the blocks for the running rigging. But other projects soon took center stage, and the boat languished in storage in Reid's barn in Red Hook for almost 30 years. This fall, Reid took it off to his new large workspace, finished the ironwork and woodworking, and brought it down to the ice on Tivoli Bay for final rigging.


Galatea's first sail since 1914



Un-named McInerney boat is back in the Hudson River Fleet -- fast and agile.
(To be re-christened in the fleet as Orion, this coming Saturday)



Image by Environment Canada

The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club's VanNostrand Cup fleet headed for the black ice at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH for the weekend. Sebago Lake, ME, and Lake Champlain above Burlington, VT also have excellent ice.



Lashed together and pushed home -- photo by Alon Koppel not like here


Large, side branch growth material in the plank timber, close to the bolt hole for the gammon strap, appears to be the cause of the structural failure of the plank. Bad luck for Reid and myself, but invisible to the us during restoration.




Vixen and junior HRIYC members       --       photo by Alon Koppel not like here

Galatea, Vixen, and Floater      --       photo by Alon Koppel not like here



Galatea, Vixen, Floater


Weather Links

Composite Weather from UniSys Zone Forecast Tivoli Bay 15 Image 5 Day AVN Forecast
Northern Hemisphere 850 Temp  Regional Summary -- Albany & VT 5 Image 2 Day Forecast Maps
US Radar from Intellicast Jetstream 4 Panel Forecast Snow and Precip Type Forecast Loop
Albany Radar from Intellicast Jetstream Map -- Environment Canada Water Vapor Forecast Loop
Albany Storm Precipitation Totals SailFlow Wind Forecast for Kingston NY 6 - 10 Day Threat Outlook
Day 1 Quant Precip Forecast Map  Wind Speed and Direction Map 10 day Medium Range Forecast
Day 2 Quant Precip Forecast Map Northeast Wind Speed (Kts) & Streamlines 31 Frame Forecast Animation
Day 3 Quant Precip Forecast Map Northeast Temperature 5 F Contour Quantitative Precipitation Discussion

Links to Field Reports of Ice Conditions

IDNIYRA Ice Conditions Reports

Saratoga Lake Ice Report

North East Ice Reports


Brakes On? 
photo Copyright Brian Reid, December 2002



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