Copyright John A. Sperr

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


7 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ice is Nearly Gone on the Hudson River

Latest Aerial Photos (3/25/2015) Linked Below


Lowering Rocket's Mast using Phantom as a gin pole
(click for time lapse sequence)


Brett Kolfrat send the following videos and photos he took with his cell phone at Red Bank NJ

Race 1 Start                    Rounding the Mark

High Speed Tacking Duel                    Rocket Hike

Rocket Reset                    Rocket Disassembly

ROCKET flipped over in gusty winds on Monday afternoon

Very minor damage


HRIYC members and JACK FROST crew on a windless Friday afternoon



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


Ice Flight Photos Mar 25, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 23, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 19, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 15, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 12, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 11, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 08, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 03, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Mar 01, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Feb 27, 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


Weekend Review

Light rain fell this weekend while the snow missed us entirely. The latest I have ever sailed on the Hudson River was on Saint Patricks Day, but Ricky Aldrich recalls sailing on the day of Eisenhower's Funeral, April 2nd. I think we are done for the season unless we should get one last push of cold air this week that could set up Cheviot for a few days of sailing. A big push of arctic air could also bring on a big nor'easter as well. It's time to head off to Downeast Maine and get the brush burned before we lose all the snow cover.

Snowpack is now covered with a hard crusty layer

March 9, 2015.   Sailing has come to a halt once again -- snow, sleet, and rain has put a new crusty layer on the snowpack in the Hudson Valley. New Jersey and Long Island, the only places with any sailing in the area last weekend, got the same treatment Thursday and are now out of action. A few days of cold weather will follow, but next week the weather is forecast to turn warmer and the real melting will begin.

We may completely miss out on any sailing of this huge sheet of ice on the Hudson River. Once it gets soft, we cannot sail on it -- it will rapidly thin under the warm sun and spring runoff which will quickly come up in volume this week -- and then it will be gone. NSIBYC pulled their fleet of "A" boats and the ROCKET off the ice on Saturday morning -- the JACK FROST was packed up and off the ice on Friday. This all goes quite quickly and easily if there are many people available to help with the lifting and carrying -- we started at 8 am, and by 12:30 pm we were largely done for the day.

March 1, 2015

March 7, 2015 -- only a few DN's left on the ice


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.


Ice Flight Photos

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. David Disbrow took some great photos of the action.


Web Page Archives

March 3, 2015 Archive

February 19, 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

Top of Page

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 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 MMXV