Jack12477

1912 Hudson River Ice Yacht Manhasset by Jack12477 - RESTORATION - Scale = Full Size

 A piece of history returned home to the Hudson Valley recently.  The 32 foot ice yacht Manhasset built by George Buckhout in Poughkeepsie NY in 1912 was acquired by the Hudson River Ice Yacht from a family in Iowa who has owed, maintained and sailed it on Black Hawk Lake since they purchased it in 1946. It is the only ice yacht Buckhout built that has a double cockpit. The full story and history can be found on Brian Reid's blog site White Wings & Black Ice. I recommend that anyone interested also bookmark Brian’s blog site, White Wings & Black Ice,  as well since he will also be chronicling the restoration. I will be participating in that restoration and will document it from my perspective and will try not to duplicate what Brian has already covered on his site.

On Sunday, Oct 2nd, a number of club members gathered at another member’s, Dock & Kate, home on the banks of the Hudson River for a pot luck dinner and our first glimpse of the newly acquired ice yacht.   Dock and Kate drove their RV to Iowa, hitched up the boats 3 axle trailer and drove it back home to the Hudson Valley. Upon examining the trailer more closely, it appears to be 3 small boat trailers welded or bolted together to form one very long trailer. Attached to the rear corner is a custom built electric powered crane used to lift the boat from its trailer and place it on the ice and vice versa. A stabilizer rigger is cleverly attached to the trailer which can be extended when needed and stowed for travel.

 

Edit: I probably should note that the Manhasset is 104 years old and all of the equipment shown is original to the boat, in other words, the wood is at minimum 104 years old as well as all or at least most of the rigging.

Pictures from that gathering follow:
 

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This past Sunday, Oct 22nd, a smaller group of club members gathered again on the river bank to assess the work needed to restore her to sailing condition. The consensus was to start removing parts from the runner plank and begin restoring it, while other members pursue locating a suitable heated  barn or garage large enough to contain the 32 foot long backbone and needed work space so we can begin restoring her to sailing condition. Until then she will rest in her 45 foot long custom made trailer.

Pictures of the runner plank and other components follow:

 

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Chocks to hold the runners to the plank removed to show the underlying dados

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Bronze end cap to protect end of runner plank - one on each end - will be removed to inspect ends of plank

 

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Tiller (runner) attachment point

 

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Forward and stern baskets or cockpits - for crew and passengers - the forward basket was detached for transport.

 

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..... to be continued .......

Edited by Jack12477

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Mike, there is no "hull". The backbone is essentially the keel of the boat. The original design was copied from the Dutch in the 1800s - the sleds with ice runners they put their hulled boats on so they could sail on the frozen canals. The Americans stripped away the "hull" frames/ribs, etc and kept the keel (backbone) tiller and runner plank (in the shape of a cross), added mast, boom, and spars or gaff and created an ice boat also referred to as an ice yacht.  Brian's blog has a more extensive history. 

 

Here's a couple pictures of two of our ice yachts under sail on the Hudson River.

 

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Edited by Jack12477

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Some additional history on Manhasset.  The Manhasset  was originally built for a naval architect name Gardiner, who was a member of the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club of Port Washington, Long Island New York.  The first owner (Gardner) gained attention by the wonderful qualities of the schooner, "The Atlantic", which won the race across the Atlantic Ocean in 1905. Gardner's performance with smaller yachts stamped him as one of the leading naval architects of the world.

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This past Friday I finally got a chance to join my fellow ice boaters at Dock's workshop in Glasco (no! not Scotland ;) ) right on the bank of the Hudson River for some work on the runner plank. Previous work parties had removed most of the old varnish, repaired the end cracks in the wood with West system's marine epoxy, also filling in the old bolt holes with epoxy - to be re-drilled later).  The work Friday consisted mostly of finish sanding the 25-26 ft long plank, removing old paint, varnish and caulk from the bronze end caps.  I should note that this plank is now 104 years old. The consensus of those working on the plank was that it is most likely American Chestnut wood.  Some photos follow:

 

Runner Plank:

The chocks that hold the runners to the underside of the plank were removed, cleaned, sanded, epoxied as needed.  Note the shallow mortises cut into the plank to receive the chocks. Also you are looking at the underside of the plank. The bottom fore and aft edges are beveled and rounded slightly while the top edges are squared.  Four large bolts hold the chocks to the plank.

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Chocks dry fitted - The runner fits between the two chocks with a thru bolt running thru the chock and runner allowing the runner to pivot slightly.

 

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Chocks

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Two Gammon straps to hold the runner plank to the underside of the backbone. The two squared-off U shaped straps go over the top of the backbone - one fore and one aft of the runner plank. The two curved straps go under the runner plank to the port and starboard of the backbone and are bolted to the U shaped straps.

 

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Bronze end caps for the runner plank being cleaned up.

 

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And finally the stern steering runner (measures 37 inches in length, 5 inches in height, and 2 inches in thickness) the runner is cast iron, beveled to almost 90 degree angle at the point where it contacts the ice; the iron is set into an oak frame, the squarish steel plate near the center is the point where the fastening bolt passes thru to secure it to the runner chocks. This is the smaller runner blade, the two forward runner blades which attach to the runner plank measure about 5 feet in length. The blades weigh about 50 pounds for the stern and close to 100 pounds for the forward runners.

 

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Next up: Remove any residual sawdust with a vacuum cleaner, damp cloth, and finally a tack cloth, prior to applying 6 to 8 coats of varnish - first coat will probably be a 50% turpentine - 50% varnish mix, working down to 100% varnish. We'll have to see how the wood absorbs the first coat.

 

Footnote: If you're wondering what the blue masking tape is for, we labeled everything before we removed it from the boat so we know exactly where it goes and orientation (fore/aft, port/starboard) when we reassemble it.

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Very Impressive!  I'd like to come up and see it when you're done.

Great work!.

Cheers.

 

Ken, everyone is welcome to come join us for a sail on the Hudson if and when we get sufficient ice.  I will post here or you can check the club's website HRIYC

 

But definitely when it is restored we will have some type of "re-christening" somewhere.

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I'm with Ken... impressive.  And considering the age, that wood looks to be in great shape.

 

Mark, almost all of the ice yachts in the club's hands or individually own have original wood dating back to around 1865 or so. I know the club boat Whiff was built in 1876 for the American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and it contains all original wood and nickle plated accessories.

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Welcome Marcus. Yes we Americans got the idea from you Dutch. And thank you !

 

Oral history says that Ben Franklin as Ambassador to France brought back woodcuts of the Dutch boats with their <what I will call for lack of a better term> ice cradles sailing on the canals of Holland in the late 1780s to early 1800s, another variant of the history says it was Robert Livingston (signer of Declaration of Independence and patron of Robert Fulton) as Ambassador to England also brought back woodcuts of Dutch boats. Oral History also says that many of the Dutch who settled in the upper Hudson River valley around Albany area used the same design brought with them from Holland. The Dutch design was more for cargo transport in winter. In either case, we Americans decided that we wanted to design a boat for winter time sport  and leisure recreation, and that the ribs, hull planks, etc were all unnecessary and added weight so we took the cradle design and came up with the Hudson River Gaff-rigged Stern Steerers we have today. 

 

Carl COG sent me this link, IJsschuiten , some time back. While more modern than the Dutch boats of the 1780s to 1800s, the design is pretty much what we Americans find in the woodcuts from Franklin and Livingston and drawings of early Dutch settlers to this region. The backbone replaced the keel, the oval basket which straddles the backbone at the stern more or less replace the hull cargo space, the remainder of the design closely resembles the original Dutch design with the runner plank perpendicular to the backbone with two ice runners/skates at each end and a stern runner/skate replacing the traditional rudder.

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I looked at the pictures again and that boat is solid. I wonder what the weight on it is and one must have some thick ice to sail on the ice with it.

I am assuming there is a formula for that. Drill hole in ice. Take out core. Measure thickness, volume, length.

How is this done?

 

Looking back at the link from Carl - I like the way the Dutch do it. Just make a contraption with skates, put boat on it and have fun. Just think, if you are on a large lake and you are going pretty fast and then all of a sudden the ice cracks because it is thin. The boat enters the water and you stay dry. You could call it an 'amphibian craft' :D:D:D

 

Marcus

Edited by Marcus Botanicus

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Marcus, we estimate the Manhasset weighs about 800-850 pounds. It took 4 of us just to muscle the runner plank onto the sawhorse and even to flip it over. We'll get a better estimate once we remove the backbone from its trailer; actually the trailer has a lifting crane attached to it for that very purpose. ;)

 

Since this area was once a thriving ice harvesting business, we have a lot of antique tools from the period. One of them is an ice chisel and ice hook. One of the members placed colored tape on the straight part of the hook at 1 inch intervals with inch zero lining up with the point of the hook. Using the chisel (about 4-5 ft long and 4-5 inches across) he chops a hole in the ice, inserts the hook into the hole and grabs the bottom edge of the ice with the point, then notes what color tape lines up with the surface of the ice, giving him a rough estimate.  We will not go on the ice until the thickness reaches 9 inches minimum.  The largest ice boat, Jack Frost, is 50 ft in length and weighs 2,000 lbs; we require 11-14 inches of thickness to safely sail it. Before we put boats on the ice, the entire ice sheet is surveyed by members who are good at "reading the ice", measurements are taken at intervals across the entire sailing area. . Black ice is the strongest and most flexible ice. Here's a chart showing safe thickness. 

 

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Regarding the Dutch boats, one would think that the cradle would either fall away and be lost or create a huge drag on the boat if it encountered open water while sailing across the ice.  We have a boat that was designed to go across ice, onto open water and back onto the ice, it's called the Great South Bay Scooter. They were specifically designed for the Great South Bay off Long Island and there is a club that still sails them. One of their members brought his boat to the Hudson Valley in 2014. It has a hull with steel runners affixed to the underside, steering is done by warping the sail (there is no tiller), it has a small cockpit to keep cargo dry, it was originally designed for fisherman to move across the bay on the ice. See photos below:

 

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Here's a link to a WoodenBoat magazine article on the restoration of one.

Edited by Jack12477

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Jack;  When you get all of your Ice Boat Components out of the trailer, hook on to it and take it to a scale and write the weight down. When you get the Boat finished and back in the Trailer, weigh it and you will have an accurate weight for the Boat. You guys probably had planned to do that already. Nice project and I like preserving the old, don't let the tools get away.

jud

Edited by jud
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Not much to update on - due to impending winter weather we had to button her up in her trailer and move the trailer to another location for winter storage. Have a possible enclosed heated work space large enough to accommodate the 32 ft long backbone we're looking at. Here's photos of the move to temporary storage on a member's farm. Jockeying a 44 ft trailer into position took a lot of coordination between 4 of us.

 

Yes, that's a small crane built onto the rear of the trailer. It's used to lift the various heavy pieces in and out of the trailer. It came with the "package" when we got it from her previous owner.

 

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