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"I love my wife, but oh, you ice."
January 27, 2014 6:18 AM   Subscribe

It only happens once every few years: a brackish river in New Jersey freezes over, and the iceboats come out. It's happening all over the Northeast, where an unusually cold winter is welcomed with delight by aficionados of this sport. Lightly constructed, beautiful, and fast (the record stands at 84 miles an hour propelled by wind alone), iceboats provide a winter thrill ride like none other. Iceboating or ice yachting has thrived in pockets of North America and Europe since the nineteenth century. When conditions are right, see them sailing and racing in Wisconsin, on the Hudson, in Maine, Minnesota, Prince Edward Island. and wherever else "hard-water sailors" congregate.
posted by Miko (14 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, as a long time "soft-water sailor", this makes my heart pound. Can you imagine a knock-down at 85 mph?
posted by stinkfoot at 6:27 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


A bunch of the sailors in Chicago head up to Wisconsin to race DNs in the winter. Hope I have a chance to try it someday, it sounds like so much fun.
posted by enn at 6:30 AM on January 27


I lived a block away from the Navesink River for about 9 years ( moved away three years ago) and only saw the ice boats two winters. They were so beautiful to watch.
posted by jenjenc at 6:54 AM on January 27


Rick Mercer and ice sailing near Trenton, Ontario.
posted by jb at 6:57 AM on January 27


Someone near here has an iceboat that they take onto an area pond when conditions are right. It looks amazing while skimming across the ice, though given the size and overall boundedness of the pond, I hope the pilot has complete control over the craft.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:59 AM on January 27


That Flickr set looks like a bunch of Russian Constructivist paintings. Great slim design on those things.
posted by mediareport at 7:15 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


Used to see these every winter growing up on Lake Hopatcong, NJ. Little salty language at the end of the clip.
posted by Mister_A at 7:28 AM on January 27


At first glance of this post, I thought ice-boating would involve sticking a mast & sail in a piece of ice floating down the river or in the ocean (and - very slowly - racing your friends). Then I was all, "P.E.I.? WTF, surely Newfoundlanders are all over that shit".

Anyway now that I have learned to read properly, I should say that this is post is

*sunglasses*

super cool.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:44 AM on January 27 [1 favorite]


I was just talking about this with my SO as we were driving over the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge the other day! The Hudson has been the most frozen this year since we were kids (the river keeps on freezing back up even after the icebreakers come through) and we were wondering if the conditions were conducive for the ice yachts. (Apparently they are further up the river, not so much in the Mid-Hudson).
posted by KingEdRa at 8:08 AM on January 27


Skaters gonna skate
posted by thelonius at 8:26 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


These people are crazy and also awesome.
posted by rtha at 8:30 AM on January 27


The Prince Edward Island link describes something entirely different - a passenger and mail ferry where, for a slightly cheaper ticket, passengers would walk alongside the boat and push it over the ice between PEI and the mainland.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:57 AM on January 27


People haven't heard of iceboats before? I thought everyone who read "Around the World in 80 Days" had heard of them.
posted by happyroach at 11:10 AM on January 27


Too hasty with the PEI link over my breakfast this morning. :(
posted by Miko at 12:54 PM on January 27


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