RED BANK, NJ – Saturday, February 2nd, 2019.  Iceboating.  Get it while you can.

You know the “Polar Vortex” that brought sub-freezing weather to our local area?

Most people complained. 

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Iceboaters aren’t most people.

A couple of the boys from the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club took a walk on the ice early this morning, chopped several holes with an axe and measured the thickness at 3 ½ to 4 inches.  Well…

Good enough.











But only for the smaller boats, the “Icebirds.”  Below photo courtesy of Jeff Smith Photo.









Larger boats need at least 6 inches plus.  That’s about a week of zero-degree temperatures. 

So close

Get it while you can.

To watch a video of these Icebirds sailing an impromptu race, click HERE.

Iceboaters live on hope.  Calling for temps on the 50+ range next week, this could be it for Red Bank.  

Organized in 1880, the North Shrewsbury Iceboat & Yacht Club is celebrating its 139th year.  It is the longest standing active iceboat club in the world that has its own club house. 

Next time you see a Red Bank Borough vehicle, take a close look at the round logo - that's an iceboat.

Downstairs is the workshop where members repair and prep their boats for the upcoming season.  There’s one rule: show progress or move the boat out.

Upstairs is where it’s happening.  The original pot-bellied stove is in place, though a heating and fire suppression system was added several years ago.

Covered wall to wall are photos of regattas, past Commodores and the people who sailed ice yachts throughout the years, plus trophies from past races.  

“This is our first home ice for 2019.  We got lucky that the snow didn’t come down to our area.  It’s blowing about 7 – 10 knots, gusting to 13 and it’s perfect for the smaller Icebirds who are having a great time,” said Commodore Michael Soldati,

An iceboat was the first man-made vehicle to be clocked at over 100 mph.  A rule of thumb is that an iceboat will accelerate to 3 to 4 times the speed of the wind.  Do the math. 

People always ask, "How do you stop?"  Just sail into the wind.

But that's not the point.

It's the acceleration rush.  There’s very little friction between the iceboat runners (blades), and the ice.  When sitting in the cockpit of an iceboat you’re only about 12 inches off the ice, which makes it more dramatic.  

You go from zero to 20, to 40 to 60+mph in seconds.  No sound, just the champing of the runners as you rip down the river.  Nothing like it.

Get it while you can.

To see a few past pictures of iceboats on the Navesink taken from aerial photography, click HERE

To view a drone video of some iceboat action, click HERE.   Both were provided by Jeff Smith Photo.

Full disclosure and a story.  I’ve been a member of the NSIBYC forever.  I was iceboating before I was born.  My mom told me the story that our father, local veterinarian Dr. Emery G. Wingerter, asked if she wanted to go for a ride on our B-class iceboat “Winny.”  Pregnant with me, she thought, “Sure, it’ll be nice to take a cruise up the Navesink and look at the mansions and pretty scenery.” 

Needless to say, it was rocket-ride.  “Never again,” mom said.

Think ice.

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