News and Views of the

Ice Yacht Rocket Restoration Project

On the New Jersey waterfront, at the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club in Red Bank, the 50 foot long historic ice yacht Rocket is being reconstructed. With little more than the original cockpit and runner plank having survived the previous century, most of the boat is being reproduced from a few old pictures using traditional wooden boatbuilding and rigging techniques appropriate to the period of its original construction.

The two 40 foot wooden backbone halves have been fabricated and the original cockpit is intact and ready to go. Work still to do includes fabricating the spars and rigging, finishing the runner plank, and working out the hundreds of details of fitting it all together so it will survive the enormous power that a new suit of sails will bring to such a large craft.




Your support is welcomed in this endeavor. A contribution in the amount of $100 will go a long way towards helping us complete this project. Send your tax deductible contribution to:

Rocket Ice Yacht Foundation
65 Washington Street
Red Bank NJ 07701

click to enlarge   Thanks to  for digital image of the old photo.



Fall 2007 -- Sanding the New Spars




September 19, 2009

The frame of the boat was assembled over the last two weeks and the new Henry Bossett / North Sails were bent on today.


March 20, 2010
Moving Day -- off to Summer Storage

A day of sailing was followed by a wonderful party hosted by Ricky Aldrich at his family's Rokeby Estate and another day on the ice on Sunday. Below is a sampling of links to the many, many, people and organizations that provided great coverage of this historic event.


Glen Burger's Video of the Brass Quintet playing to the Ice Yachts

WNYC / NPR Interview

Glen Burger's 38 mile sailing day on the ice

Dan Clapp's video of the Rocket launch

Peter Slack's Video shot with a drone helicopter


Paul Sulock Video

NBC Nightly News Video


We would love to have a friendly big boat regatta with the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club's Jack Frost, J. A. Roosevelt's Icicle, and the NSIBYC's Rocket at some date in the not too distant future.

For more information, see
or contact John Holian at 732-842-9078



November 18, 2006

Both halves of the backbone have been fabricated and joined together . The cockpit was also made ready for final attachment, and then moved upstairs to its traditional home in the NSIBYC clubhouse kitchen for the winter. Next on the list is the fabrication of the hollow spars, making the blocks, and hand splicing the wire rigging for the big yacht.

The original trussed runner plank was set up on horses in the yard this morning so we could fit the backbone. Note that the lower half of the backbone slips through the center of the truss -- this required quite a bit of adjusting to get the proper fit.

December 2011
Runner Plank Repairs

Dry rot was discovered in one end of the plank which has necessitated a new repair before the boat can be sailed. New pine was scarfed in by crew and shaped to the old profile. The runner chocks were carefully refit and aligned, and the upper arch of the trussed runner plank was plugged and drilled. Mark Petersen will work his magic with the sanding and finishing over the holidays -- it should be ready for the ice in 2012.

March 1, 2014
Launching Day
After years of work and a few seasons with no suitable ice, the ROCKET finally took to the ice and sailed. With the "polar vortex" generating a cold winter across the mid-west and the north-east, one third of the country was experiencing the coldest temperatures seen in the past ten years. A sheet of ice 20 miles or better in length developed on the Hudson River that was 15 inches thick and reasonably clear of snow cover. The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club extended an invitation to the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club to bring the ROCKET and their fleet up and join them on this lovely ice. In short order, a fleet of 30 historic stern steerers was gracing the ice at Astor Point just north of the Rhinecliff Bridge. With much fanfare and media coverage, the restored ROCKET make its successful return to the ice on a lovely Saturday morning to the delight of the assembled crowd of nearly 500 spectators.

Send Email to John Sperr




HRIYC.ORG is neither the official website, nor am I the webmaster, of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club or the Rocket Ice Yacht Foundation. I am member of both organizations --,during the sailing season,  I post photos and information on this, my own personal website, about current ice boating 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 much of my time on the sailing and far too often fail to capture the best images the day has to offer.                                                    JAS

ŠJohn A. Sperr MMXII