Last week we saw footage of the beautiful stern-steerer Vixen. This week we travel not to the Hudson River, but to Michigan for this fascinating footage of a 1930s Chevrolet racing one of those rocket-style iceboats than began replacing the wooden old stern-steerers.
Ice boats were at one time the fastest vehicles on earth - able to race trains and win. Automobiles were just starting to push the limits of speed, and this film was part of an advertising campaign by Chevrolet to illustrate just how fast their new vehicles were.
Front-steering iceboats like this one were popular in the Hudson Valley in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s as well. Streamlined and looking more like rocketships than boats, they pushed the limits of speed on ice.
Ray Ruge, who in 1964 helped revive the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club to save the old-style wooden stern-steerers, was in the 1940s and '50s racing more modern ice boats. In 1940 he won the Championship Race of the Eastern Ice Boat Pennant of America, held at Orange Lake, NY.
Although not as popular as the old wooden stern-steerers, you still see wooden or, more commonly, fiberglass "rocket" iceboats on the Hudson River.
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