Copyright John A. Sperr


July 14, 2012

Town of Red Hook Bicentennial Celebration

Montgomery Place, River Road, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Historic Ice Yachts VIXEN and WHIFF displayed for the event



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Iceboats in July at Montgomery Place

(right click images to view in full size and higher resolution)

We had many visitors to our exhibit at the Red Hook Bicentennial Celebration. Montgomery Place opened its buildings and grounds to the public for the day where a small fair was organized exhibiting life as it was in the past. Friends and members of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club transported two historic ice yachts to the grounds on Friday evening and completed the bulk of the primary assembly work by dark. By mid Saturday morning, VIXEN had sails bent on and hoisted -- an hour later WHIFF was taking young passengers aboard who were eagerly manning the long tiller, tugging at the sheet line, and enjoying the luxury of the large cushioned cockpit. WHIFF was built in 1875 with no expense spared  for display at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Commodore Irving Grinnell of New Hamburg commissioned George Buckhout to build the finest example he could of a state-of-the-art ice yacht. After languishing briefly at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club reclaimed the historic yacht and restored it to its current condition. The boat is still sailed on the Hudson River when we have good ice. VIXEN was constructed by the Merritt Brothers near Low Point on the Hudson River. It was a novel lateen design and a very fast boat -- when it arrived in Poughkeepsie it quickly dispatched all challengers. FDR's uncle, John A Roosevelt, an ardent ice yachtsman, purchased it on the spot and campaigned it successfully for many years. In the mid 1970's, Reid Bielenberg, a long standing member of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club, acquired and restored the boat. It sails almost every winter that conditions allow us on the ice.

The Aerodrome is represented

Horse Drawn Ice Cutter, the Ferry, and the Cooper's Shop

 Marie, Joanne, and Mary carrying blocks of ice -- Bob handling the iceboat

Cynthia and I trading photos

Many people were surprised to learn that we still actively sail our fleet of historic old yachts and that the Hudson River still does freeze with a regularity that makes our sport possible. When you look at the evidence, it is hard to deny that global warming is occurring -- but there will be "normal" winters and "colder than normal" winters for many years to come that will continue to fill the river with a foot or more of ice for weeks or months and allow us to keep the tradition of ice yachting here in the Hudson Valley alive.



Wild Blueberry Farming in Maine Update

By early June, the field of wild blueberries that we burned this spring and that was showing little recovery in late April, was nearly filled with rapidly growing new stems and foliage. During my recent work stint, I cut the bulk of the stragglers from the field -- woody brush, creeping juniper, and stands of black huckleberry we missed or passed over during our initial round of clearing last summer. The new wild blueberry stems gained an inch of growth during my nine day stay and appear to be doing very well. I think we will have a very good crop to harvest next year.

After a week of cutting brush and ferns -- June 9, 2012

April 21, 2012 -- a mess of unwanted brush and stands of black huckleberry after burning

John Marshall cutting ferns and weeds with a scythe

A new covering for the kitchen countertop and the new sink is roughed-in at the cabin

Maine sunset from the hill

Brooklin Boat Yard

Early launchings at the Brooklin Boat Yard


Mary's Graduation Party


Clearwater's Great Hudson River Revival Festival

Dead tree at sunset -- a popular perch for all manner of birds

Which side up?

Our encampment down at the point

 Commercial traffic and pleasure boats share the waterway

Web Page Archives

June 4, 2012 Archive

January 16, 2012 Archive

Wreck of the Galatea Archive

December 26, 2011 Archive     December 15, 2011 Archive

October 2011 Archive          Early Summer 2011 Archive

May 2, 2011 Archive                    March 1, 2011 Archive

February 24, 2011 Archive     February 19, 2011 Archive

Current Jetstream Forecast and Surface Conditions -- Image by Environment Canada


The Mansion

Here comes the parade...waterwheels on the Sawkill Creek

The Band

Rosalind and Roland with the historic diner's symbolic "Big Chicken" roadside sign

The band plays on as Reid and Ricky observe

People love to hang out around the boats -- summer or winter


View to the west across Penobscot Bay from the new land

Wild Blueberry plants recovering and filling in very nicely

A Porcupine sought refuge in a tree as I went to photograph it

New communication tower just to our west  -- no cell carriers yet, but 4G soon?

Late afternoon fog and cold drizzle in Brooklin at the Wooden Boat Waterfront

Iceboaters take note -- the new road and launch site at Walker Pond

Loons on Walker Pond at the new boat launch


Rhinecliff Day at the Town Dock

Fish Printing

Fish Printing

More Festival Photographs

Palisades on the western shore of the Hudson River looking across from Croton Point

 A restored B-17G WW II era bomber, "Yankee Lady" (N3193G), does a flyover.

We run the Dutchess Outreach booth -- a very popular spot with kids -- and raised nearly $300 in donations to help support persons in need of food, clothing, and assistance.






Recent Photo Albums

2011 October     2011 IRENE


Weather Links

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 4 Panel Forecast Snow and Precip Type Forecast Loop
NE US Radar from Intellicast Current Snow Depth Water Vapor Forecast Loop
Albany Storm Precipitation Totals SailFlow Wind Forecast for Kingston NY 3 - 7 Day US Hazards Outlook
Day 1 Quant Precip Forecast Map  Wind Speed and Direction Map 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 Northeast Temperature 5° F Contour Quantitative Precipitation Discussion

Links to Field Reports of Ice Conditions

IDNIYRA Ice Conditions Reports

Saratoga Lake Ice Report

Yahoo Group  "IceReports"


Brakes On? 
photo Copyright Brian Reid, December 2002



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 the day has to offer.         ŠJohn A. Sperr MMXII