'Ice yachts' turn frozen river into speedway

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by Robert Bumsted, Associated Press

azfamily.com

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 12:25 PM

WITH A GUST OF WIND AND A TUG OF THE ROPE.. THESE GUYS.. ARE THE FASTEST THING ON THE HUDSON RIVER.

A FRIGID WINTER IN UPSTATE NEW YORK.. MAKING PERFECT CONDITIONS FOR THE LITTLE KNOWN SPORT CALLED ICE YACHTING.

BUT DON'T LET THE NAME OF THESE BOATS FOOL YOU -- THEY'RE MEANT.. FOR SPEED..

SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Soldati, the "Rocket"

"I do a lot of soft water sailing in the summer too and I think the exhilaration on the hard water you can't beat it you just keep going and you feel the whole.. you're with the wind and it's just awesome."

MICHAEL SOLDATI AND HIS ICE YACHT CLUB TRAVELED UP FROM NEW JERSEY TO TAKE THEIR LATEST RESTORATION ON ITS MAIDEN VOYAGE.

BECAUSE OF THE SPECIFIC CONDITIONS NEEDED FOR A SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH -- FINDING THE PERFECT SPOT EVERY YEAR IS A CHALLENGE.

AND THANKS TO THIS YEAR'S POLAR VORTEX.. A 20-MILE STRETCH OF SOLID ICE.

SOLDATI'S BOAT THE S-S ROCKET.. LAST SAILED IN THE 19-20'S

SOUNDBITE (English) Michael Soldati, the "Rocket"

"you can get up to 30 miles per hour and when we were going you can just fell the power of the wind filling the sails and it was just an awesome feeling "

WITH LITTLE MORE THAN A WOODEN BEAM AND SOME ROPE TO HOLD ON TO THE RIDE IS BUMPY AND COLD.

FIRST POPULARIZED MORE THAN A CENTURY AGO.. SMALL CLUBS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE PRESERVING THE SPORT.

SOUNDBITE (English) John Sperr of Hudson River Ice Yacht Club

"That's our mission right now is to try to keep these old yachts going... living museum you know we don't want to put them in a museum where nothing ever happens with them."

RATHER THAN STAY FROZEN IN TIME.. THESE THRILL SEEKERS HOPE TO KEEP RACING THESE RELICS INTO THE FUTURE.

ROBERT BUMSTED.. ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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