I love these cold november mornings……20 degrees at 7 AM…..The jungle telegraph has been tapping: Jory to Bill: “check the swamp! I’m trapped in Thanksgiving”…. Bill to Jory: “0.382 inches. Will probably blow out”…. Jory to Paul, an avid skater: “found any ice?”….. no response…. I know exactly how to interpret that…..Last year, as I sat on the edge of the swamp, trying to meditate it into a weight-bearing thickness, Paul had found a river estuary shielded from those early-ice enemies–wind and sun–and was skating his heart out amid the cat-tails.
Last year, wonder of wonders, we were on Plymouth Pond on November 22 and 23. This year is an “El Nino” year with predicted mild weather. That may mean a late start and early end, but, as Bill points out, we may have more resurfacings of the ice in especially good thaws, for the “middle season”. Maybe we won’t even have a middle season! Actually, after the trials of last season’s frigid temps, the entire weeks when we were below zero, the early snow cover, the weeks of snowed-out frustration; I’m ready to take my chances with El Nino.
I’ve improved my iceboat with a jam-cleat for the sheet (Lloyd would be scandalized!). I’ve improved my body with shoulder surgery, and a strong committment to thrice-weekly strength training. And–especially in what may be a quirky season–I’m more determined than ever…..absolutely hot-dipped galvanized….to grab every snippet of ice, any time and any where! Watch out 2016 season! Here we come!
There have been a flurry of comments asking for Peter Randall’s e-mail.
Try this: email@example.com
Glad to know there’s a deep passion out there for the old stern-steerers.
If these two boats aren’t sisterships, then they certainly are cousins. Both come from Rhode Island, both gaff rigged, and both have the same lovely hollow in the bow of the fuselage.
The one below is located in Mass and is available to a good home for $500.oo. Write to Peter at:
The other is in Brownville Junction, Maine. It’s been hanging in the garage for many years. It is complete and comes with a couple sets of runners, but the cockpit floor needs replacing. There are no digital photos, but I’ve seen old fashioned prints and am fairly convinced that she is related to both Tippy, below, and the one for sale above, in Mass. She has a mixture of bronze and galvanized hardware, is driftwood grey, and is called Grey Falcon. $200.oo Call Walter Cook at 207-965-8410
In an ideal world both these boats would sail in Maine with Tippy, forming a rare beast: a stern-steerer one-design class.
Ben is looking happy here, but imagine the joy to have all three of these craft zipping along together. Also curious that Tippy’s shade of green is identical to the boat in Mass.
And there’s room for the whole family:
Bryan Hitchcock made the drive and was rewarded with this:
It’s only about 1/2″, but if it survives this warm but overcast weekend, it will get some freezing time next week. There’s a blip of warmth and rain mid-week, but then some decent cold late in the week. Thanks Bryan. Let the game begin!
We had a few dunkings early last season, and even though the mercury is struggling to get below forty here in Maine we will have ice eventually. It’s the perfect time to find your picks and throw line and make sure they’re ready to go. If you don’t have them here’s the site for Nordic Skater where you’ll find them all:
Nordic Skater | Ice Safety Gear Please have them when you’re on the ice!
Don’t forget about ice screws as well. I had my boat tied down with just one at the bow last year on Sebago and during the night the wind shifted and she was blown off the stands. These are much cheaper than the mountaineering type:
Early in the season on the black ice of Plymouth Pond.
This one has it all: the travel: by jet from Holland, the heartbreak of the weather: rain and slush, the camaraderie: getting the boats down to the ice in spite of it all, and after all that, the sailing: Bantam Lake Connecticut 1967. For Frank Able, there is a skeeter called G-Whizz. Check out the sign in front of the CT Ice Boat Club.
1967 Dutchies goes USA – YouTube
We had a number of submissions for a burgee design at the annual meeting last week. We winnowed them down to two, and then chose this one. Any comments before we begin to order patches and flags, hats, beer mugs, coffee cups, etc?
CIBC Logo Final Nov. 13.pdf
Many thanks and tips of the helmet to Denis Geurtin for evolving this design!