Editor's note: The following text was originally published on June 4, 1887 in "The Cumberland Mercury", Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia. Thanks to volunteer researcher George A. Thompson for finding, cataloging and transcribing this article. The language, spelling and grammar of the article reflects the time period when it was written.
ICE YACHTING AT POUGHKEEPSIE.
Sir,—I thought I would send you a little account of the sport an old subscriber of yours is enjoying at present. My profession — that of a civil engineer — carries me into all parts of the country, and sometimes I am fortunate enough to run across good sport of one kind or another, fishing and duck shooting being my general pastime; but at present I am located at the head-quarters of a sport less common, viz., ice boating, which beats everything I ever engaged in in this country. You cannot credit the amount of speed these boats gather until you have ridden in one with a good stiff breeze blowing off shore. The frames of the boats are mere skeletons. The chief timbers are placed in the form of a T; the centre timber, including bowsprit, is generally about 50ft. in length, and the cross piece or runner plank about 20ft. The commonest rig is jib and mainsail; the cat rig is sometimes used, and this season the lateen rig is coming into favour. A boat this size can be built for £100. The sailing is very simple; she wears without gybing, and tacks without trimming sails, which are always trimmed flat aft, unless the wind is very strong on her beam, then the sheet is allowed to go off a foot or so. A mile a minute is common speed, and is often beaten. Here are some records: The Snowflake made nine miles from here to New Hamburgh in seven minutes; the Haze made the same time, at one part of the run doing two miles in one minute. In 1879 the Comet, Phantom, Zephyr, and Magic together sailed ten miles in ten minutes; most of the time the wind blew so hard that their windward runners were elevated at an angle of 46°. There is very little friction on the runners, but the boats never make any leeway except with a very high wind and smooth ice.
If any of your subscribers should happen to be in this country this time next season, they could not enjoy themselves better than by coming up here, where they will find a good hotel, and will be very well received by the members of the club. This is the height of the season, the afternoon sun melting the snow, and the night frost making a hard smooth surface for morning. To-day, if there is any wind, the champion pennant is to be sailed for. — Edwr. T. N. MACDOUGALL. Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Feb. 14. — Field. The Cumberland Mercury (Parramatta, NSW, June 4, 1887. 1887-06-04 -- The Cumberland Mercury (Parramatta, NSW)
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