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Ice Part 2

Jul 08, 2009 2 Comments by

Part 2

Part 1 here

Types of ice yachts here

European Championship in Monotype-XV 1937.

Monotype-XV ice yacht
by Mats Åkerblad


The Monotype-XV ice yacht was designed in 1932 by the legendary Erik von Holst of Estonia. It became popular in a very short time, and more than 200 yachts were built in but a few years. The yacht is a strict monotype construction; in broad outline, it looks the same as in the nineteen thirties. The structural elements are nowadays joined by modern methods and the use of epoxy adhesive. The bronze runners have been replaced by runners in stainless steel. The sail is of course made of Dacron or an equivalent material. The Monotype-XV is the largest monotype class in Europe today, and the only yacht for two for which European as well as international championships are arranged.

Starting in European Championship 1997 in Haapsalu, Estonia

A very beautiful Monotype-XV built in Nederland by Ge Been and Hans Versteg

more here

Scuttlebutt Photos:
The Deuce

The world’s largest iceboat, the 54-foot stern steerer ‘Deuce’ in 2006 at the Harken 40th Anniversary party. Submitted by Frank Betz.

John Harwood-Bee: Regarding ice sailing speed records

John Harwood-Bee
(December 10, 2008) When the subject of ice sailing speed records surfaced in Scuttlebutt 2741, John Harwood-Bee, Chairman of Project 100 Ltd, offered to provide information that his company gathered for their client, noted adventurer Steve Fossett:

“We at Project 100 spent some time researching and evaluating the three significant sailing speed records, those of land, ice and water. This was on behalf of our client Steve Fossett. As you know Steve was always looking for the next challenge and we presented this trio as a possible goal for him. He and Peter Hogg gave consideration to the project but it was shelved whilst Steve made attempts on the outright Land Speed record and the Oceanic Depth record.

“Our research indicated some confusion in the verification of certain claims. With the water record it was and is easy to check for existing data. Similarly with the land speed record. What was most difficult to establish was an accurate and verifiable ice yacht speed. The fastest speed claimed was 143mph, supposedly attained in 1938 by John Buckstaff on Lake Winnebago. Buckstaff had a 60′ long ice yacht carrying almost 1000 sq feet of sail. It is impossible to verify this now and there does not appear to be any record of the equipment used to measure it. The Guinness Book of Records did list it and they are normally very thorough. They however have only been around since 1955 so were probably working from historic detail.

“There is controversy surrounding that claim and it is ‘examined’ in detail by modern ice sailors who, working with the latest GPS equipment etc, have only managed 84 mph. The biggest argument is based on physics. The claim is that the speed was achieved in 72 mph winds. Given the size of the vessel, the sail area and the venue modern thinking considers it would have been highly unlikely to have kept the vessel upright never mind on a record setting course. We consider that 84 mph can be beaten and there is a ‘model’ that suggests that given the correct surface and wind condition, this could be achieved by some margin. Theoretically, with lower friction co-efficient, it should be possible to travel faster on ice than on land.

“Perhaps the WSSRC would care to become guardian of the records for all these disciplines. They have the expertise and the credibility to do so. If anybody fancies funding an attempt at any or all of these records, I should be interested to hear from them.”

Here is a report by Bob Dill, the designer of the current land sailing speed record, regarding ice boat records titled, “Reality and Folklore”.

Ice Scooters


READY TO SAIL Michael Soldati, left, and Bob Pulsch with the ice yacht Rocket’s restored cockpit, under glass at the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club in Red Bank.


Published: January 8, 2009


EVERY few years, winter bestows an icy gift on this borough, better known for its chic shops and summer festivals. With the right combination of frigid nights and cold dry days, the Navesink River freezes. Residents lace up skates and thick boots. The river takes on a carnival air as brave souls try to windsurf on skates and ride bicycles on the ice. And as the Navesink turns into a long white highway, the iceboats begin to appear, hoisting their sprawling sails and zipping past at breathtaking speed.

This year, if conditions are right, a rare sight could appear. The Rocket, a behemoth Class 1 iceboat with a backbone of 50 feet and 900 square feet of sail, is poised to take the ice, after a lengthy and loving restoration. There hasn’t been an iceboat of this size on the Navesink in decades. “Pray for ice,” said John Holian, president of the nonprofit Rocket Ice Yacht Foundation. “We need 10 to 12 inches.”

The last time the Navesink froze thick enough for smaller iceboats was in 2007. But iceboaters have to look back to 2005 and 2003 for conditions ideal for a boat of the Rocket’s size.

A good cold snap with temperatures plunging into the teens at night is forecast for the middle of this month, said Todd J. Miner, a meteorologist with Pennsylvania State University. But will the winter be cold enough to build 10 to 12 inches of ice? “I put the chances at less than 50-50,” Mr. Miner said.

At the iceboat club, members remain hopeful, but realistic. Iceboaters sometimes spend years waiting for ice and the right wind conditions.

“There’s no other feeling like it in the world,” said Bob Pulsch, a Port Monmouth member of the Rocket Foundation, describing the rush iceboaters get on the river.

Iceboating is so firmly entrenched in Red Bank that the borough’s official seal contains an image of an iceboat. And for the holidays, an iceboat draped with white lights traditionally stands guard at the entrance to the borough’s Riverside Gardens Park.

Iceboats can be described as skeleton sailboats with runners. A backbone holds the cockpit for the driver; the runner plank sits at right angles to the backbone and carries steel-shod runners. Iceboats can be one-person operations, like small Skeeters and speedy DNs (named for their sponsor, The Detroit News), or large enough for a crew of four, like majestic A-class boats bearing names like Dreadnought and Phantom. The Rocket dwarfs even the largest A-boat. Built in 1888 for George Coley, one of the eight founding members of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club, the Rocket raced until 1920 against fellow giants, like the Jack Frost, owned by the Roosevelt family, on the Hudson River. The Rocket was eventually dismantled and stored under the Red Bank clubhouse.

After a 1970s restoration project stalled, a new project began in 1998. First, the cockpit was restored; it now rests temporarily under a glass tabletop in the club’s second story meeting room. A group of dedicated iceboaters began meeting every Thursday night in the club’s downstairs workshop, piecing together a new mast, winding and splicing wire stays, and sanding the massive backbone.

Last summer, for Red Bank’s centennial, the foundation assembled the restored Rocket for public display. The mast towered 38 feet. In the fall, the sails were completed and paid for.

Now all the foundation needs is ice.

“There were a lot of people in the club who kind of thought we were crazy trying to restore this old boat,” said Mark Petersen of Little Silver, a foundation member. “But once it physically started to come together, everyone got behind us. It’ll be a piece of history, come back to life on the ice.”

Iceboating has been popular on the Navesink — also known through history as the Neversink and the North Shrewsbury — since the 1840s. The North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club, one of the oldest continuing iceboat clubs in the nation, was formed in 1880; today it has 155 members. The two-story wood-shingled clubhouse was moved to its current location in 1923, and members have carried on a longtime rivalry with the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. Three times since the 1880s, the two clubs have competed for a silver Tiffany trophy, the Van Nostrand Cup, with the Red Bank club maintaining its hold on it in 2003, on home ice.

Club members liken the sensation of the sport to the feeling of barreling downhill on a sled, multiplied several times: cold air tearing at your face as the runners chatter over the ice and the wind propels you downriver at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour. It’s on record that the Scud, an iceboat in the Rocket’s class size, was clocked on the Navesink at 109 m.p.h. in the early 1900s. Club members have fingers crossed for the right conditions for good ice, Mr. Holian said, “so we can get the ride of our lives.”

Happy Sailing

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2 Responses to “Ice Part 2”

  1. Yachtyakka Index says:

    […] Ice Yachts – P2 […]

  2. Yachting News 2nd April 2010 says:

    […] er een keer mee ophoudt. Dan kan ik in ieder geval altijd veilig een haven aanlopen.more heremore ice sailing hereCape Horn at LastI rounded Cape Horn today!!I didn’t get to see it as I was around 50-60 miles […]

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