The Winter Of 1888 Was A Great One For Ice Yachting On Long Island

If you don’t believe in global warming, then please explain to me why Long Islander’s are no longer able to enjoy the great sport of ice yachting like they used to back in 1888. According to The New York Times article below from January 24, 1888, ice yachting was “being extensively indulged in” when the Great South Bay completely froze over that winter.

[via The New York Times]

An “ice yacht” or “iceboat” looks like a small bobsled with a sail attached to it, and according to Wikipedia, “in 1790, ice yachting was in vogue on the Hudson River, its headquarters being at Poughkeepsie, New York.” While ice yachting doesn’t appear to be very “in vogue” on Long Island these days, the past few winters have been extremely cold and perhaps we could see a renaissance of the sport if the weather reamins cold and the Great South Bay freezes over again.

If you’re not familiar with ice yachting take a peek at this video. The sport appears to be fairly popular in central Europe.

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  1. The vid is pretty cool, the boats in there are called DN’s. There is still a strong following for ice boating on the great south Bay. In Bellport there is the scooter club still in existence. The scooter is a type f ice boat that was long used by the baymen of the great south bay in the winters as a work boat. There is a hull shape similar to that os a sunfish with 5 runners running the length of the boat. there is a long bow sprit so that is the ice were to break under the boat the bowsprit and hull shape was supposed to keep you sailing long enough to get back to solid ice. If that was not the case the bowsprit was used to climb off the boat. I have built a couple of boats called shingles, they are basicly a sheet of plywood with two runners running the length of the boat. Both of these are steered with the jib, could turn you up wind or down wind. The jib actually has a boom as well to keep it rigid and assist with steering.
    If there is a stretch of four or five days of very cold temps, below 30, head to the Bellport docks to see the great collection of scooters, DN, shingles and Stern steerers. More often than not if you go down and talk to some of the guys they will be happy to take you for a ride. Lots of fun, but cold as all hell so dress warm!
    Happy sails!



    1. This is awesome, thanks for all the info Chris.




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