February 6, 2007 in Keepers Log

Ice boating

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Ice boat at sunset on Tivoli Bay

Captain I. R. Dangerous called me on the phone this morning. “Is Ballast there?” When Captain Dangerous needs dead-weight in his boat, he calls me. Yesterday, he phoned me asking for a fool and found one. Either way, I’m happy to oblige, because it means I get to ride in his antique ice boat. On a windy day, an extra person in the cockpit of the ice boat helps to keep the boat from spinning out on turns or toppling in sudden wind gusts. He drove us to the south end of Tivoli Bay, where the fleet of Hudson River Ice Yacht Club has amassed–a dozen or so ice boats, half of which are antique, dating back to the end of the nineteenth century. A weekday, there were just a couple of other die-hard ice boaters raising sail and taking a spin on the ice. Today, the captain let me take the helm and solo his boat. What a thrill! Responsive to the wind, the boat zipped along the frozen surface the bay. Captain Dangerous dubbed his boat “Floater” after a wet incident with its previous owners. I wasn’t about to test its namesake, so I steered clear of the spots of open water, where the Sawkill Creek empties into the bay. A lull in the wind allowed me to enjoy the orange sunset.

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