Copyright John A. Sperr

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


Sunday 5 pm -- January 25, 2015

Open water and thin ice dominate the River from NYC to Troy

3 Inches of Snow fell Saturday at Tivoli Bay

Blizzard warnings have been hoisted for Tuesday, Jan. 27

Snow accumulations of 1 - 3 feet are possible

January 17, 2015 -- Astor Point is just right of center at the top of the photo -- last season's prime venue.
It has since refrozen with a thin layer of ice, as can be seen in the Jan 21 ice flight photos,
but Sunday it was open and on the move again with the strong incoming afternoon tide..

Ice Flight Photos Jan 21, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 17, 2015
(Pictures 15 - 17 highlight the open water and thin ice situation)

Ice Flight Photos Jan 11, 2015

Ice Flight Photos Jan 8, 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


Sunday, January 25, 2015 update:

Snow all day yesterday and the threat of an impending nor'easter kept us off the ice this weekend. A strong afternoon had all the ice on the river in full motion this afternoon -- blue water was everywhere north and south of the Rhinecliff Bridge.

The northern branch of the jet stream has finally come into play with a classic dive south across the central US and a return hook up the east coast. The morning news was filled with talk of blizzard warnings and whiteout conditions as a powerful nor'easter takes shape Monday afternoon and carries on throughout the day Tuesday. Forecasters are comparing the potential of the looming storm with the the monster nor'easter of March 13, 1993 that brought 31 inches of snow to Red Hook.

"Snow in January makes Ice in February" is an oft heard saying in the iceboating world. The snow saturates from below and refreezes into "snow ice" -- a softer ice that lacks the strong flat thin hexagonal plate structure of black ice due to air being entrained in the snow and then trapped in the ice during the conversion process. Eventually the sun and rain work the last bit or remaining snow off the surface and we may find a sheet that is smooth enough for sailing and and thick enough for safety.

Thursday, January 22, 2015 update:

The weather models have been having a difficult time over the past few weeks. I'm not convinced that throwing more petaflops of computer power at the simulation of world wide weather will ever result in a high forecast confidence beyond 72 hours. While the recently upgraded computer cluster that produces the NOAA / NWS forecasts seems to be performing better lately, all the models including the vaunted ECMWF (Euro model) seem to be struggling to define a forecast for this weekend. A zonal flow of warm moist air out of the Gulf of Mexico in the southern jetstream and no strong northern jet pulling down cold air to define the precipitation and flow patterns spatially, seem to be confusing all the computer based solutions this evening. Weather is just too vast and complex to be boxed into a series of equations trying to embrace all the vagaries that exist.

South Tivoli Bay has cleaned up nicely with the rain of last Sunday and is ready for action providing we do not get any significant snow with the coastal storm Saturday. All the models seem to be waffling on this storm -- we will probably not have a clue until the storm has come and gone by late Saturday afternoon as to what the outcome will be. There is no sailing on the river at this time -- please do not arrive at Astor Point in anticipation of enjoying a day on the ice such as we had last March -- it is largely open water with a few large floes occasionally bumping up against the shore with the wind and tide -- not a safe or desirable situation for anyone. See the latest series of Ice Photos as linked in the headlines for the complete picture.


Sunday, January 18, 2015 update:

It will be a rainy Sunday in the Hudson Valley -- the GFS has held the course with a slight delay in the onset of the freezing rain early this morning. At 9 am, the weather radar imagery showed the area of freezing or mixed precipitation had progressed to Poughkeepsie and Stewart Airport. The NYS Thruway has just been closed south of Newburgh due to freezing rain causing many multiple vehicle accidents.

High winds destabilized the sheet of ice below the Rhinecliff Bridge on Friday afternoon. Most of the ice south of the bridge was loose and moving around Saturday morning -- by afternoon, the ice above the bridge was on the move as well with huge expanses of open water showing in front of Astor Point. The tides are approaching their maximum high elevation over the next five days of the current lunar cycle -- this does not bode well for the ice below Saugerties.

A good shot of rain will further destabilize the ice at Astor Point, but it will help clean up some of the other areas that were put out of action by two recent light snowfalls. South Tivoli Bay is currently out of action as it is covered with a Styrofoam like coating of snow. From Saugerties to North Germantown, the ice is snow covered with patches of rough ice -- these venues will all benefit from a good grooming of warm air and rain this afternoon.



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

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, 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





Drawing by Reid Bielenberg

Drawing by Reid Bielenberg


Web Page Archives


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

Hudson Valley weather forecasts were a bust during this stormy week. With no well defined cold jet stream flow aloft, an upper
low parked itself over central NY while a surface low drifted lazily up the coast. Warm air mixed in aloft between the centers and many places
 saw rain instead of snow. The computer models rarely handle these scenarios well -- inaccurate "busted" forecasts are the result.


Links to Field Reports of Ice Conditions

IDNIYRA Ice Conditions Reports

Saratoga Lake Ice Report

Yahoo Group  "IceReports"


Iceboat Launch Site Maps & Directory for the Eastern US



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 of the day.                    ŠJohn A. Sperr MMXIV