Copyright John A. Sperr

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


Monday, February 15, 2016

River is Full of Thin Ice

No Access at Tivoli Bay

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Monday Update -- February 15, 2016

Sunday dawned with record cold temperatures being recorded for the date across New York State -- I reported -12 F to the Weather Service office in Albany, one of the lowest readings in Dutchess County yesterday morning. This morning it bottomed out at -3 F. Mid-afternoon Sunday there was an inch of ice covering most of the Hudson River north of Poughkeepsie -- an energetic rising tide and a strong wind from the west was busy chewing it up and moving it slowly to the eastern shore of the river. After last night's freeze, there may be as much as three inches of new ice in favorable places. That is generally not enough to hold the sheet fast on the main stem of the river and will probably prove to be the case this week as our next storm approaches this evening. I'll get down to Tivoli Bay later this afternoon and have a look and perhaps find some new pictures to post. Several inches of snow will likely accumulate before a 50 F air mass chases out the cold air by mid morning tomorrow. The precipitation is forecast to become all rain -- perhaps heavy at times with an inch total in amount. This could hurt or help many venues -- it depends on their current conditions, the new amounts and how cold it gets after the storm departs. We'll know better on Thursday or Friday our prospects for some of the local lakes, but we will most certainly not be on the river.

If you view the February 6, 2016 Ice Flight Photos linked below, there is a nice aerial photo of the Port of Coeymans where they are building the steel deck structures for the new Tappan Zee Bridge. Google also has some good recent imagery that shows quite nicely the yard setup where they roll the finished sections out over a barge, wait for the tide to come and lift the long sections clear of the assembly tracks, and then move it across the river to make it ready for the trip to Tappan Zee.

Saturday Afternoon Report -- February 13, 2016

It's early Saturday afternoon and the arctic cold front has finally pushed southeast across Dutchess County in the last two hours. The Catskills are white from the snow squalls embedded in the long plume of moisture streaming in from the Great Lakes. While it's 10 below zero at this hour in the Adirondacks, the Hudson River is still wide open here in the Hudson Valley. It will develop a thin coating of ice over the next two days, but the forecast calls for the weather to quickly revert to the warm pattern we have seen all winter -- we may see rain and 50 F come Wednesday. The pool of sub-zero air is forecast to quickly retrench  to an area north of Hudson Bay in the Baffin Bay / Greenland area. There may be some sailing on the local lakes across New York and New England as we close out the month of February, but it seems to me that we will be skunked this season when it comes to sailing our big old stern steerers on the Hudson River or Tivoli Bay.

Feb. 6, 2016 -- Rhinecliff Bridge -- USCG Air Auxiliary photo of an ice free Hudson River

The photo above, taken a week ago, illustrates perfectly the lack of ice in the Hudson River this winter as well as the lack of snow cover. If you zoom in on Tivoli Bay, it's hard to find much ice. With mild temperatures and no snow cover, the land mass is warming rapidly with the vernal equinox just 5 weeks away. The ground is barely frozen in most locations and many tributaries of the Hudson have been fast flowing for several weeks.

On the Navesink at Red Bank, NJ, the snow from the big coastal blizzard clogged the upper end of the River with a thick slushy mush. Unfortunately, it never got cold enough to congeal into a solid sheet of snow ice. It has slowly eroded away and the NSIBYC's flagship ice yacht, ROCKET, was moved back into it's summer storage home. Unless something spectacular develops at Sebago or Winnipesaukee, the big boats will not likely see the ice this winter.

If the wind eases off  by afternoon there may be some action across the northeast tomorrow or Monday when the thickness has rebuilt enough on the smaller lakes to safely support the lightweight DN fleet and the smaller skeeters.

A nice sunset after the Thunderstorm on January 10, 2016

 January 30th view from Olana -- ice is breaking up and flushing out

February 6 view from Olana -- river is wide open.



Ice Flight Photos

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

Road Trip to Winnipesaukee?

When the clock has all but expired on our season in the Hudson Valley, we start thinking about making a road trip. Dave Emerson was kind enough to let me repost these lovely aerial photos he took of Winnipesaukee on Saturday. Lots of open water still showing -- the local opinion is that Winni is not yet safe. Thanks to Jeff Brown for pointing me to the source of these images.

Photo Copyright by DAE Aviation Enterprises Corp

Photo Copyright by DAE Aviation Enterprises Corp

ROCKET Restoration News

Web Page Archives

January 24, 2016 Archive

December 6, 2015 Archive     June 30, 2015 Archive

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April 1, 2015 Archive     March 26, 2015 Archive

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Wreck of the Galatea Archive

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February 24, 2011 Archive     February 19, 2011 Archive


Ice being flushed down river at Poughkeepsie -- USCG Air Auxiliary photo

Tivoli Bay ice is thin and has a lot of debris embedded in the surface

Olana State Historic Site

Not much ice on the "ice pond" at Olana -- 45,000 cubic yards of clay was hand dug out of this area to create a water supply and source of ice for the estate.


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 North Germantown Landing Live Webcam US Hazardous Weather Outlook
Day 1 Quant Precip Forecast Map  Interactive Radar 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 US 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



Note: new racing rules were adopted in 2015

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 MMXVI