There is absolutely nothing so absolutely awesome as ice boating. It was the greatest thrill in the world 200 years ago and it still is today, and I have no problem betting that it will be still be an astonishing thrill 200 years from now.
Ice boating is insane fun, but it is not just fun, it is about ultimate efficiency and that is why the thrill will never fade. To have the wind move you at such astonishing speeds will never become stale and provides memories that can displace the greyest clouds on any day.
Last Saturday was a landmark day when we all met on The Hudson River just north of Kingston, New York to see the first sail in 90 years of our home town Rocket and all the other ancient speedsters. (See this book for more on iceboating on the Navesink River)
There is no need for me to go into further superlatives here, just check out this multimedia coverage of the events on WNYC radio. Stu Anderson at the end of the audio link says it all. However, just so you really understand what he is talking about, sit back and take a look at this video of the Rocket sailing.
But this is an engineering website, so here is a photo of a structural failure that occurred on the Rocket. It was not fatal, but it deserves engineering pondering.
Poor 19th century structural detailing? Wood strength degradation (actually very common on these ancients boats), brash fracture (cold induced), or just mad overpowered operation by a bunch of late middle aged crazies?
Plenty of time to ponder; ice boating conditions like these rarely occur more than once every 10 years.
Until then there are the photos to enjoy.
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