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Epic is such an overused word that it has become trite in our lexicon. However, for this one exception, I have to agree with those who have used it to describe the current ice sailing situation on the Hudson. Epic.

Today I took our ice boat the Cold Front down to Astor Point on the Rokeby Estate. Due to timing issues she sits on the ice, but is not quite fully rigged. That will be completed tomorrow.

However, I did enjoy a ride on the Rip Van Winkle, a 37 foot 6 inch long gaff-rigged sloop built around 1905 and owned by our most gracious hosts, the Aldrich family, who also own Rokeby and Astor Point. The Rip Van Winkle is the fourth longest boat in the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club fleet. The wind was howling and we went very fast. We stopped at the channel to salute a member of the HRIYC who is a professional river pilot and he was taking a large oil tanker down from Albany on his final trip before retirement.

There were a half dozen historic stern steerers out today, with maybe another dozen parked at Astor Point and South Tivoli Bay. They are all expected to be sailing over the weekend.

Glen Burger, who owns The Hound with his father, made this video of his 35 miles of sailing today. From end to end, the ice sheet that we are sailing is 20 miles long, which is extraordinary in scope for our current era of warm winters.

 

March 1st, 2014

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