What do ice boaters do in the summertime? Dream about frozen water and varnish their boats. Last night, the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club organized a varnish party to spruce up one of the historic stern-steerer ice boats. A group of men gathered in Straatsburg, NY at the old Burger-family barn and lowered the Whiff out of the barn rafters. The Whiff was built in 1875 to display at the U.S. centennial celebration in Philadelphia the following year. The last time it received a coat of varnish was nearly 10 years ago when it was refurbished for a display at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Not merely a display model, this Whiff actually gets out on the ice from time to time. There are plans to sail her this winter. Thus, the varnish party. First, the boat needed a thorough dusting after several years of collecting cobwebs in the barn. So, we wiped it down with rags. Then, with 220 grit sandpaper in hand, we went to work roughing up the surface. With six of us working together, the sanding was done in no time. That was enough for one night, aside quenching our thirst and talking about sailboats. Next week, apply a coat of 50/50 (50% varnish/50% mineral spirits).