Iceboating Meets Woodstock

Ice sailing enthusiasts know that the Hudson River and its Stern Steerers are where it all started in North America. A short film about the historic Stern Steerers still sailing the Hudson is being showcased at the Woodstock Film Festival. A group of talented high school students from the Hudson River area created the film.

Via Brian Reid’s Facebook post:

Nathan Burger & several classmates made a short film on ice boating for their American Studies class at FDR High School in Hyde Park, last spring.
It was accepted at the 2023 Woodstock Film Festival, going on this week. film summary Link here:…/on-the-ice…
The teen shorts showing will be Sunday, October 1, 2023 6:30 PM at the Woodstock Community Center. ticket link here.…/teen-shorts-youth… you can buy a virtual ticket which allows you to stream until midnight Sunday.
Nathan is 3rd generation ice boater in the Burger family; The film is also a beautiful tribute to his grandfather Emerson.
Congrats to Nathan Burger, Mia Ferrara, Frances Gorres, and Kalighan Pelish, for their film!!

Hudson River Stern Steerers Come Out to Play

VIXEN, Photo via White Wings and Black Ice. Photo Credit: Robert Near

It’s always a big occasion when America’s founding iceboats, the classic Hudson River stern-steerers,  are able to get on the ice. Stay tuned to Brian Reed’s “White Wings and Black Ice” in the coming days keep up to date on the Hudson River iceboating scene.

The extended cold in 2022 has brought us good ice in several locations in the Hudson Valley. On Saturday Vixen was assembled at the NYS boat launch at Murderers Creek, in Athens, NY, and by Sunday afternoon there were 5 vintage stern steerers and an Arrow. Continue reading.

Hudson River Ice

Source: White Wings & Black Ice: Vixen, a lateen-rigger ice yacht, was built in 1885 in Chelsea ( Low Point) by the Merritt Brothers. It raced several times for the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America. It was owned and sailed by FDR’s uncle John A. Roosevelt for many years.

Ice has returned to New York’s Hudson River Valley, the origin point of American ice sailing, and the historic stern steerers are coming out of the barns. Keep an eye on Brian Reid’s indispensable White Wings and Black Ice website for the next few weeks for the stories and photos.


Palmer Boat Company of Lake Geneva


Photo of a Palmer iceboat,  LINGWES,  from Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club website. PS. This boat is still for sale. Contact Bill Bucholz.

Waiting for ice sailing conditions to return gives more time to post the historical items. The invaluable Brian Reid of New York recently shared some history in the form of a letter from the Palmer Boat Company written in 1936 to a New Jersey iceboater. Brian wrote:

I was going through some images on a snow day here and came upon a few things from out your way. These come from a scrapbook that Greg Strand recently acquired on behalf of the North Shrewsbury Iceboat & Yacht Club of New Jersey; Greg is archivist/historian of the Red Bank crew.The scrap book belonged to George Seger – an active NJ ice boater in the 30s and 40s – he’s in Wings on the Ice (p. 59). Greg called me and I took digital images of as much as I could. Great stuff.

As you see in their elegant letter head, the Palmer Boat Company of Fontana, Wisconsin was an early builder of scows and iceboats. Many vintage Palmers have come across the Buy and Sell page of this website over the years. A quick internet search about Palmer boats turned up some interesting facts.  Buddy Melges’ father, Harry Sr., worked for Palmer before starting Melges Boatworks. Maine iceboater Bill Bucholz wrote a story about a Palmer, LINGWES, for the Chickawaukee Iceboat Club that referenced the same Richard Moeller as in this letter to Mr. Seger. Thank you, Brian, for sending this out our way.
Previous: Palmer on the Prairie,, December 2, 2016 on

If you interested in the early history of ice sailing in the United States and efforts to maintain and sail historic Stern Steerers, Brian’s website, White Wings and Black Ice is a must read.