The Great South Bay Scooter Club: A Prestigious Social Venue

Authored by Samantha Duffy

cover page of racing rules (1963) for the Great South Bay Scooter Club

Title page of a 6-page set of Racing Rules, approved in 1963. This is from the Great South Bay Scooter Club collection, currently located at the Brookhaven Free Library

When the temperature drops, and sleeves get longer, most people retreat to the comfort and warmth of their homes, to hibernate for the cold winter. But if you are one of the many ice boat racers out here on eastern Long Island, the freezing temperatures bring more than the holiday spirit. In fact, it can only mean one thing; another season at the Bellport Bay Yacht Club[1]. Meeting every first and third Tuesday of the months November-March[2], giddy ice boat enthusiasts gather to race, on the Great South Bay, located at the end of Bellport Lane in Bellport. Although the evolution of how ice boats came about is not well documented, the rich history of the Great South Bay Scooter Club is making its way into being digitally accessible for all to see. As early as 1900, ice boats and scooters were used, though at that point in time almost strictly for hunting and sport[3]. The very first organized scooter race took place in Patchogue in February of 1903. In 1904, the Bellport Scooter Club was organized and later oversaw the organization of other scooter clubs across Long Island[4]. From there, the Bellport Bay Yacht Club offered their building to the Scooter Club for the winter months. Since then, the club, and what seems like the entire village of Bellport, have enjoyed that space from 1922, on[5].

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Iceboating: A Local Tradition

Authored by Brittany LaValle

Photograph of an iceboat on the Great South Bay. Mitch Carucci, 2000

Photograph of an iceboat on the Great South Bay. Mitch Carucci, 2000

Bellport is a small town nestled on the south shore of eastern Long Island. Many know it as the waterside summer town that sleeps during the winter months. But during those winter months, a long held tradition comes alive. Residents dust off their coats, hats, and mittens and head towards Bellport Bay. There they gather to begin the long awaited iceboating season. Continue reading