Copyright John A. Sperr

Preserving and Sailing the Historic Gaff Rigged Ice Yachts of New York's Hudson River Valley


Wednesday 7 am -- March 4, 2015

JACK FROST wins the first contest with ROCKET
for the NSIBYC "Class 1 Ice Yacht" Trophy Cup

See more of David Disbrow's work here                                   photo copyright David Disbrow


New USCG Aerial photos -- Red Bank, NJ to Troy, NY

Snowed Out -- No Sailing on the River or Tivoli Bay -- More snow Tuesday thru Thursday

Active weather pattern this week -- Heavy Snow Thursday on the Jersey Coast?

Tuesday BUFKIT GFS Forecast Prediction for Atlantic Highlands, NJ -- 12 inches of snow Thursday?

Wednesday's model run has a different outlook -- only 2 inches -- more rain and less snow.

Hudson Anchorage

Ice Flight Photos Mar 03, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 01, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 27, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 26, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 25, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 24, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 21, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 18, 2015


Weather  Links

Check out the  WTEN Futurecast product
(I've made it very easy to customize this link to suit your own preferences)

Iceboat Launch Site Maps & Directory for the Eastern US

Email John Sperr      On-the-Ice Cell # Request

AIS Ship Tracking

ADS-B Aircraft Tracking


right click and select "view image" to see photos in full resolution


Surfaces slowly improving, but more snow is in the offing

Snow, sleet, and rain fell Tuesday afternoon making a mess of the evening commute. The initial burst of snow accumulated to an inch and a half, but by Wednesday morning, the rain had reduced it to under an inch of heavy stiff stuff that needed to be shoveled from the driveway. More precipitation is in the forecast for Thursday, but the track and amounts have been hard to pin down -- witness the complete change in the model forecasts for Red Bank in the graphics above.

Cayuga Lake, the second largest of the Finger Lakes, is reported to be frozen over -- a rare event. Closer to home, there are ice floes in NY Harbor and people sailing on the frozen waters of Long Island. The USCG has all they can do just to keep the track open north of West Point to Albany -- there's a new set of very colorful aerial photos posted that were flown last Tuesday. NBC had a live feed out of Rhinecliff one morning with one of their weather reporters onboard the Coast Guard icebreaker working the track in the Kingston area.

The weather will stay active this week by most reports -- all locations may see more snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain. While the Miller type A storm is out of the picture in the short run for a blizzard or immense nor'easter this week, do not discount the near term possibilities for one more large storm. There is still plenty of cold air being delivered by the "Siberian Express" and there are a lot of moisture laden systems ejecting out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Arctic Cold Returned in Force Last Week

The headline picture demonstrates it best -- a week of cold weather with several sub-zero nights has hardened up the Hudson River from West Point north. The area of detail is the Hudson Anchorage, a place where convoys of ships and barges moving in opposite directions can pull out of the track and wait for the convoy moving in the opposite direction to safely pass. This is an important dance that the USCG choreographs -- there's a lot of volatile fracking crude being moved south on the river today in barges and ocean going tankers as well as the steady stream of gasoline, diesel, and heating oil flowing north. If you look carefully in the full Ice Flight compilation, you can see one of the big USCG Icebreakers working the track further north while a smaller cutter works the ice at the anchorage and monitors the passing. These daytime convoys are the rule today when the ice gets thick and get the cargo delivered safely without unnecessary delay. Years ago, we would routinely see underpowered barges get stuck in the ice when operating alone -- all movement in the track would come to a standstill until they were broken out and got underway again.

USCG Icebreaker THUNDER BAY docked at Rhinecliff -- with sister ship
STURGEON BAY, these two vessels have done the heavy icebreaking this week. Often the season is nearly over at this date -- not this year.

Bob Wills sends the following two aerial photos of Orange Lake he captured both outbound from Stewart Airport and then again inbound almost a week later. If you expand them, you can clearly see the the snowmobile tracks in the fresh snow.

Departure from Runway 27                                                       Photo Courtesy of and Copyright by Bob Wills

Downwind for landing on Runway 27                                          Photo Courtesy of and Copyright by Bob Wills

Sun Dogs over Orange Lake


and NORTH WIND -- sister ships -- at Orange Lake, NY


Mystery Photo

Large Marconi rigged stern steerer with a Hudson River style skeg.
I'm trying to deduce the location of this photo and the name of the boat.
The mirrored image offers several new clues -- looks like "J A Roosevelt" scrawled in chalk or grease pencil on the cockpit bottom,  but I have no definitive answer yet.
Mirrored Image

Special thanks to Ray Chipault and Underwood Archives.

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

February 26 - March 1, 2015

With near continuous snow having shut down all the sailing in the Hudson Valley, Jack Frost and Rocket were dismantled last Thursday morning at Orange Lake and trailered to the recently formed up ice in Red Bank, New Jersey. Both boats were rigged and ready to go by Thursday evening and a great day of sailing was had on Friday. Saturday was rather windless -- but there was good energy on the ice amongst everyone -- the sailors and many visitors -- as word spread throughout the community about the big show going on down at the waterfront.

Sunday started cold and calm, but as the snow boundary approached late morning, the wind picked up, and the assembled fleet at the NSIBYC Clubhouse sprung into action.

The real action came Monday as the ROCKET and JACK FROST had their first formal duels ever on the ice. Both of these big ice yachts were built with the intention of winning the iceboating sailor's equivalent of the "America's Cup" -- the "Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America" -- a 30 foot long silk pennant endowed in the late 1800's. JACK FROST, a five time winner of the trophy, was the clear favorite, and under the steady and well practiced hands of the Lawrence family (Rick, Danny, and next generation Kevin), the "Frost" swept the contest in three races and earned the bragging rights to the handsome new trophy that the NSIBYC has created for the express purpose of fostering this friendly new competition. Do not discount the ROCKET -- this boat will be a force to contend with as they tune the newly restored ice yacht and hone their skills in sailing these largest of all ice yachts. ROCKET has 900 square feet of sail compared to the JACK FROST's 750 -- this will translate into an enormous horsepower advantage in light air when they get the kinks worked out in the coming seasons. I had the privilege to skipper the ROCKET this weekend and it is one very fine, well mannered, and capable ice yacht -- congratulations to John Holian, Robert Pulsch, and everyone at the NSIBYC who brought the project to fruition.

One of the unsung people whose efforts go largely unnoticed but make these events work -- this gentleman walks five miles to the clubhouse, is the first to arrive and the last to leave every weekend. He tends the old coal stove in the clubhouse and enjoys his role as gatekeeper and manager of the parking lot.

Ice Flight Photos Feb 6, 2015

Onboard Photos Feb 3, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 21, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 17, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 11, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 8, 2015


Web Page Archives

January 24, 2015 Archive

January 24, 2015 Archive

January 15, 2015 Archive

December 13, 2014 Archive

September 1, 2014 Archive

April 20, 2014 Archive

February 5, 2014 Archive

January 18, 2014 Archive

January 3, 2014 Archive

December 8, 2013 Archive

September 22, 2013 Archive

May 24, 2013 Archive     August 1, 2013 Archive

April 14, 2013 Archive     May 1, 2013 Archive

February 20, 2013 Archive     March 17, 2013 Archive

 September 23, 2012 Archive    December 22, 2012 Archive

June 4, 2012 Archive        July 14, 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

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 Forecast Snow and Precip Type Forecast Loop
NE US Radar from Intellicast Current Snow Depth Water Vapor Forecast Loop
Albany Storm Precipitation Totals Saugerties Lighthouse Live Image US Hazardous Weather Outlook
Day 1 Quant Precip Forecast Map  WTEN Interactive Radar and Futurecast 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

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Links to Field Reports of Ice Conditions

IDNIYRA Ice Conditions Reports

Yahoo Group  "IceReports"


Iceboat Launch Site Maps & Directory for the Eastern US



Galatea's runner plank failed at the hole for the gammon strap. 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.        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 MMXV