Guertin’s Iceboat Repairs

Denis Guertin is fortunate to have his iceboats stored at his summer place on Lac St. Francois in Quebec. So while everyone else is out sailing and water skiing, Denis is working hard in the basement to repair the damage from Pushaw Lake. We were a big fleet on the first excursion down the lake after its “recovery” from a wet-out. We all agree there might have been a whiff of ice-narcosis in the air as we reflect back on how fast we flew into unknown territory. Indeed, there were the remains of the pressure ridge from the week before which was still a few days from full recovery. As Denis moved into the lead position he gave us all a front row seat for disaster. One moment he was the envy of all, the next he was at the center of a pile of iceboat parts. We all rounded up, Wolfie stopping just as his runner dropped into yet another hole.

But Denis is nothing if not resourceful. We managed to re-fasten the stud plates, tape the loose plywood around the cockpit, and tip-toe back through the swiss cheese to solid ice. The rest of that week on Pushaw now sets the bar for grade 10 ice.

So he’s patched up all the damage, and while he was at it added wedges under the stud plates to level out the plank. Planks which are not level when sailing do funny things to runner alignment when they bend.

He did a nice job of cleaning up the gouges caused by the stud plate screws as they ripped out. He wasn’t rigged with whisker stays that day, so the question is what would have happened if he was. Would he have pulled through the hole, or would there have been more damage?

Anybody else doing anything interesting with iceboats this off-season?

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Ice Verse Monday

This is the last poem from the archives of the CIBC newsletters. They will all be at iceboat.me soon. But don’t let it stop here: place visions of ice up there in your breen and let the words flow from fingers to screen.

Speaking of fingers, here in Finland where even sailing in summer produces cold fingers, they have a trick for pumping warm blood down there. Standing with arms by your side, wrists bent ninety degrees so the palms face down and the fingers slightly bent, shrug your shoulders repeatedly.

It’s January now; winter in Maine
And most us are out on the ice again.
This obsession of sailing the hard is in place,
So off we go every Saturday morning to race.

And racing’s a hoot, nothing finer all year.
Not candy nor fishing nor women or beer.
The faster we go the funner the scene,
And if you’re reading this now then you know what I mean.

But be careful my friend, there’s always thin ice.
Check your steering gear well and your parking brake twice.
Wear your picks and your helmet and don’t go alone.
Have some rope and a suit and a charged up cell phone.

Good judgment for all, and watch out for each other
We’re Family out there, and this guy is your brother.
But mistakes have been made, it scary for sure.
Our best heads up behavior is the one cure.

But we as a group have a service to do.
Sure we wanna have fun but there’s more to it too.
Like children and wives, careers not to mention.
Our health and our safety or retirement pension
These things really come first,, iceboating’s just fluff
Beware obsession and know when enough is enough.

Life is sweet and is long, so cherish each day.
Happy households are key, the stuff of which we’re made.
Moderate wisely and then sail with your brain
Cause iceboating is not supposed to bring pain.

Dave Wilkins, 2002

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Poems to think ice

When T says that winter is in the air, he has no idea how close to the truth he is. Here in Finland we haven’t seen 70 more than once, 50’s at night, and water temps in the low sixties. I went for a morning dip today and feel like my core temp dropped. We have lit yet another fire in our little woodstove.

For those of you in more balmy climes, here’s a little something to tinkle the crystals:

WANING

Remember when our sails were straining.
Laying flat, these necks were craning.
Racing, cruising, speed trial, training.
The days are long, our ice is waning.
Air is warm or foggy, often raining.
We’ve had our fun, there’s no complaining.

David Wilkins 3-2003

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POETRY MONDAY. Memorized One Yet?

60 Proof

Regattas are fun and touring’s real nice.
But some of us think there’s more fun on ice.
How fast can we go? Someone exclaimed.
No, no, just stop at 60 you fiend.

Rattle and rumble, a DN can fly.
This must be 40 with a gleam in the eye.
Faster and faster, so it’s all just a blur.
At 50 man, she’s starting to purr.

Bear off in the puff and strain on the sheet
Now Ron Sherry’s got someone to beat.
At 60, OK now we’re movin some quick.
Oh damn, this ice had better be thick.

70, ahum, has it ever been done?
Will this rig stay together? Is this really so fun?
White knuckles, palpitations, adrenaline rush.
Snow drifts, a shoreline, lumpy hard slush.

Roaring of runners and well bended mast.
Straining so hard to complete the task.
I don’t know if I can get much quicker.
Oh heck, sheet some more cause I need the sticker.

Quit now? No way, I’m no fool.
Cause ego’s in charge, I’m out of control
These boats really are fast and I am the best.
Here’s the proof from the GPS in my vest.

David Wilkins 1-2003

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CIBC Poem of the Week

SEBAGO

There was rumored big ice, extending for miles.
Sebago’s set up, the first time in a while.
An expedition ensued to sort out the facts.
Iceboats were loaded and lashed to the racks.

They drove and they steered, like migrating geese
Converged as a group on the shore wearing fleece.
Traveling miles finding ice, what’s the reason?
Cause cold spells like this don’t come every season.

It was smooth, shiny, dark, and more like an otter.
This black pane of glass, surely must be water.
Closer inspection found a crystalline glare,
With clear, feathery branches and tiny bubbles of air.

With perfect reflection, an inverted tree line.
Clouds at their feet, the sun up it did shine.
The distant horizon, it too formed a slick plate.
Unloaded the iceboats; no one would wait.

Ice tales such as this have rarely been told.
Elders have said, but now they are old.
The winters are warmer, the seasons too short
Iceboats stay in lofts, the heck with this sport.

Now blades, spars and sails were merely implored.
To fashion the craft for this lake to explore.
Missing this day would be an error no doubt.
Ice pilots were chafing at their sheets to head out.

The air began stirring and soon had filled in.
The boats were assembled, the sailors willing.
Runners now cutting imperceivable grooves.
Sails billowed full and the boats they did move.

Away they now flew toward the sky in the east.
Lusting and hungry approaching the feast.
For no hell bent flake had yet soiled the sheet.
This great film a virgin, the deflowering sweet.

David Wilkins 2-2003

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Poem of the Week

Without intending to un-joint summerlovers, we observed to passing of the summer solstice yesterday and the longest day of the year. It can only mean that now the days are getting shorter. In spite of all the fun to come these warm days, you ARE on an iceboating site so please forgive our excitement over the turning of the solar page and the countdown to ice.

With that in mind, here’s another gem from Larry Hardman:

Maineboys

This chill December day
The Maine Boys
Come out to play.
Stalk onto the ice with toys
Of their own making,
Bone shaking.
Needled coffins
Steel bladed,
R-rated
For risky.

The wind and the boys are
frisky, speed their whisky.

The blow
Chill factors at fifty below.
Fire on the skin.

Ice

Makes cellophane sounds
As they make the rounds.

Nice.

Thunder
Out from under
Racing blades
Echos off my hill
And fades,
And their metallic roars still
The breathy voices of the
trees,

On the inky gloss below,
glowing fins
Graze the orange pins,
Circle lazily between,
Cluster, sit and preen,
Climb and fall again for the
win.

But, down there, I know,
Witnin steel reverberations
wrenching
Taught wood, wire,sinews
stretching,
Nothing seems slow.

Adreneline and wine, the
surface streaking past,
Giant howl of air,
Grind-rattle of runner glide,
Perilous bend of mast,
Plank jump,
Finish line slide
as rooster tails grow.

Tucked in their needles thin,
Maine boys grin
Their delight,
Living best in flight
Horizontal.

Posted in 2014 Season, Poem of the Week

Poem for the Week

Crocuses

The Crocuses have croaked the season,
Brashly up through frosty dew,
Mushed the ice for no good reason,
Turned it into sloppy goo.
Soon will come the tulips too.
But I haven’t had enough, have you?

Why sleep late, take comfy pleasures
Read Sunday paper in puffy chair,
Instead of more heroic measures?
Why did I sometimes doubt the air?
Why the devil wasn’t I there?

Ice racer now to leaney shed,
To musty basement, or stuffy nook.
Now, to dreaming far, instead,
Beyond the bubbling, sunny brook,
Beyond the green, garden bed,
Far, far, far ahead.

Dream honkers cruising in raucous V’s,
Chill rain bruising the sodden ground,
Red leaves falling from the trees,
Cold embracing my whole world round,

Dream when liquid pools will freeze,
And I can fly when I please!

L. Hardman

Posted in 2014 Season, Poem of the Week