This was then: The Ice Yachts
Published on March 26th, 2016
By Chris Baer, Martha’s Vineyard Times
Before the 1938 hurricane (and the subsequent dredging of a wide, permanent channel into Vineyard Sound), Tashmoo was mostly fresh water and prone to freezing over mid-winter with a layer of ice more than six inches thick. A popular spot for ice-skating, Tashmoo was also home to a more unusual sport: iceboating.
As the Boston Globe wrote in 1898, “There is probably no place this side of the Hudson where there is as much interest taken in ice yachting as on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.” That winter, 11 ice boats regularly raced each other: Dude (Arthur C. Francis) and Diabo (Frank C. Tripp), considered the fastest of the fleet that year; Tricksey (Frank and George Golart); Blue Bird (Carlton Lair); Fanny (Leroy Lair); Foranaft (Dr. Edward Roth); Game Cock (Charles Brown) and Skip Jack (John Randolph.) Dude and Tricksey suffered a serious collision in 1897, breaking the leg of Dude’s owner.
John “Crocker” Andrew and Charles “Duffie” Vincent and the iceboat “Miss Flapper,” about 1930 on Tashmoo. Courtesy of Chris Baer