Once-in-ten-years ice on the Hudson - time for a sail!
|'Ice sailing on the Hudson' .|
only happens when it happens. While traditional sailing is in recess
for winter, conditions on the Hudson River in New York State in the USA
are perfect right now for ice sailing, and enthusiasts claim that
conditions as good as this come only about once in every ten years.
While the thought of hitting ice when you fall off a yacht might strike fear into the heart of most warm water yachties, ice yachters from as far away as Montreal in Canada have been rushing to a boat launch quaintly called Athens to grab the conditions while they at the optimum.
Reports are that there's an 8-inch ice cover on the Hudson River at the moment, and last weekend the conditions were near perfect. The days were crisp and bright, warming temperatures hadn't yet turned the ice to slush and the wind was just strong enough to allow craft to speed along without a yachter losing control.
Hilary Hawke, reporting for the Daily Mail, said that most of the enthusiasts who showed up in Athens were either from the Shrewsbury Ice Yachting Club or the Hudson River Ice Yachting Club.
With the help of modern technology, the National Weather Service, websites and e-mail, members know up to a week ahead of time whether conditions are right in any particular spot.
Yachters anticipated the near-perfect conditions at Athens as early as mid-January with this announcement from their website:
“Several days of subzero temperatures have added some welcome thickness to the ice sheet on the river. This bodes well for us — the sheet is locked in place, gaining thickness, and snow is on the way. The snow will eventually saturate from above and below forming more ice and leveling the surface. Look for good ice around the middle of February.”
...and the middle of February it is!
Enthusiasts check the websites regularly. So many have headed to Athens
that sometimes the launch area can't accommodate all the cars and some
had to park along the freeway shoulder.
Warm weather over the past few days has been great for ice conditions, leveling the snow and making the gliding smoother.
Traveling at speeds of up to 40 to 70 mph, clubs and individuals often hold races with the prize being merely the bragging rights. Each weekend until the ice deteriorates one is likely to find the spectacle of ice skating on the Hudson.
For more information on ice yachting in the USA go to http://hriyc.org or http://www.nsibyc.com.