Ice Reports–February 7

The recent snowfall has left us scouring around for possible ice. Tom Childs reports that part of Sebago was open during the snowstorm, but if that open water now freezes, it will be surrounded by snow-covered thin ice. He wisely suggests waiting until everything thickens. All of our other New England favorites are snowed out, as far as we can tell.

But….we have a nice report from Tom Nichols in New Jersey. They will be sailing this weekend on the Navasink River, in Red Bank, NJ–using the clubhouse of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club. There may be even better ice nearby on Barnegat Bay from the public beach at Lavallette, NJ.

Tom Nichols gave me a little of the physics of sailing on salt ice, which both the Navasink and Barnegat Bay give us. Salt ice freezes about 28 degrees, and therefore slushes out at about 30 and above. It is noticeably slower ice to sail on, but it forms a level platform for subsequent rain and snow to build fresh-water ice upon. Once the fresh water coating is 1/2 ” thick or more, sailing becomes lake sailing, which is what exists in New Jersey in the unusually cold year.

So…Bill and I are standing by, considering a Saturday-Tuesday drive down there because, even if the boating isn’t spectacular with wind prediction is 5-10 Sunday and 10-15 Monday; still, we get to connect to a wonderful iceboat community and to our own iceboat lineage. We’re gritting our teeth: The drive is daunting, especially with a trailer. We’d be going beyond NYC. But, as with all ‘chercher la glace’ trips, there is the perennial excitement of gambling.

An update may follow on Saturday

Posted in 2014 Season | 1 Comment

Whizz Building Taking Off

We have four new Whizz under construction, one hoping to hit the ice this season and the others next year. With W-1 Whizz Kid dominating the C Skeeter class this year it only seems fitting that from this evolving fleet of now eleven boats can be found a worthy competitor.

Carl Jelleme is building his W-9 on Nantucket.

This is a good shot of the kerfs in the stringers that allow you to pull them in and down (and the chines up). Note also the nice radius on the chine in the cockpit. It’s nice to have a soft corner to bump into a you’re bouncing around on rough ice, like today on Damariscotta for example. W-3 Whizzard bottomed out of a pile of frozen stuff today and put a crack in the bottom.

Meanwhile in Quebec, Denis is building W-10 for himself, to be christened Whizzper, and W-11 Whizzkey for his buddy Francois.

Bill Bernhard lives in Adirondack, NY and sails a Nite from his front yard on Schroon Lake. If all goes according to plan he should have W-8 sailing before the end of the season.

As we all know by now, Paul Zucco launched his W-7 earlier this season and reports that he went as fast an he wanted for the first time out, if not faster. Steve Lamb is working to complete W-6, but he appropriated its wing mast for the Renegade El Diablo. She sailed beautifully, Steve reports. Frank Able has yet to find time to launch W-5 Gee Whizz but is just itching to go.

Can we muster this group to a start line some day? The ISA regatta has been called ON for this weekend on Champlain at Westport, NY, assuming the snow doesn’t nail the plate on Wednesday. Could we see more than one Whizz on the line? Paul? Pete? Rodger? Frank?

Posted in 2014 Season, Whizz

Damariscotta on Monday Feb 3

The faithful returned to boats waiting under grey sky on rain greyed ice, some of the small bumps smoothed off, the larger ones hard to see. It was hard to find avenues of smoother ice. The wind lightened around lunch time and laden with lunch skippers had a hard time keeping going.

The photo below is Doug Raymond with his vintage home made Cheapskate, somewhat smaller than our current model and sized to fit into his Volkswagon with NOTHING hanging out (take note Squibb). It sports a “Sunfish II” sail, I believe a small Laser sail. The runners are welded up plates. He did not get to sail because of steering problems. It is cute. How small can ice boats get and work?

Posted in 2014 Season

Saturday on Damariscotta Feb. 1

The ice that got left behind in the rush to Plattsburgh was sailed, bumps and all, by seven ice boats and one wind surfer/runner rig and several more sailors who tried out “Cheapskate”, the prototype low cost entry level lumber yard/hardware store sourced Sunfish rigged ice boat sponsored by the CIBC.

Either the bumps have weathered somewhat or the skippers have hardened somewhat, it didn’t seems so bad. Eight ice boats, one Nordic skater, and a windsurfer rig named Cheapskate. A nice little Southerly came up in the afternoon and hung in there so there was not much pushing. The guinea pig skippers who tried out “Cheapskate”, two of whom had never sailed an iceboat, came back all smiles and thumbs up. The only person who aborted his sail had to stop to corral his dog who was trying to hump a cute fuzzy little dog wearing a pink sweater. Having fun on ice is what it is all about. We should provide dog sitting.

Experienced ice boaters were pleasantly surprised at how well and easily Cheapskate sailed. We are greatly encouraged in the project and will draw up plans forthwith. These will be simple 8 X 11 sheets, as used for “Gambit” plans which have stood the test of time and sufficed for many builders who have not complained. Fred Wardwell wants the plans ASAP so he can retire his veteran DN. We intend to put the plans on the club website in the near future along with accounts of building and sailing which will also appear soon in the CIBC newsletter as the “Cheapskate Chronicles”.

Bill Bunting’s “Trixie” tries out Cheapskate

Posted in 2014 Season, Cheapskate

Saturday on Damariscotta Feb. 1

The ice that got left behind in the rush to Plattsburgh was sailed, bumps and all, by seven ice boats and one wind surfer/runner rig and several more sailors who tried out “Cheapskate”, the prototype low cost entry level lumber yard/hardware store sourced Sunfish rigged ice boat sponsored by the CIBC.

Either the bumps have weathered somewhat or the skippers have hardened somewhat, it didn’t seems so bad. Eight ice boats, one Nordic skater, and a windsurfer rig named Cheapskate. A nice little Southerly came up in the afternoon and hung in there so there was not much pushing. The guinea pig skippers who tried out “Cheapskate”, two of whom had never sailed an iceboat, came back all smiles and thumbs up. The only person who aborted his sail had to stop to corral his dog who was trying to hump a cute fuzzy little dog wearing a pink sweater. Having fun on ice is what it is all about. We should provide dog sitting.

Experienced ice boaters were pleasantly surprised at how well and easily Cheapskate sailed. We are greatly encouraged in the project and will draw up plans forthwith. These will be simple 8 X 11 sheets, as used for “Gambit” plans which have stood the test of time and sufficed for many builders who have not complained. Fred Wardwell wants the plans ASAP so he can retire his veteran DN. We intend to put the plans on the club website in the near future along with accounts of building and sailing which will also appear soon in the CIBC newsletter as the “Cheapskate Chronicles”.

Bill Bunting’s “Trixie” tries out Cheapskate

Posted in 2014 Season, Cheapskate

Damariscotta, the ice that got left behind

Three of us sailed Dammy Friday Jan 31, Doug Raymond, Bill Bunting and your scribe. The ice was definitely bumpy but the bumps seemed less obnoxious than two days ago on Chickawaukee, they must have sublimed (evaporated, solid to gas). The forecast heavy air came in predawn and wind was pleasant and decreasing as the day progressed. Doug found that driving his DN hard was unpleasant in the morning. By afternoon there were down periods of light to little air. We had a fine time weaving about to stay on smooth patches. We have raced on worse in past years. It is sailable and we will return Saturday. “Damariscotta Farm” is not labeled as such any more, it is a meadow edged with cabins with a sign “Damariscotta Watershed Association”. The meadow is about 50 yards West of the intersection of Rte 32 and Rte 126 on the NW edge of “great bay”, the largest body of water on the lake. You can see the ice from the road.

If you don’t want to drive 6+ hours to Plattsburgh and would rather sail than twiddle your thumbs come join us. We will give you a sail in CIBC’s economy iceboat project “Cheapskate”, a “Sunfish” rig on a minimum lumber yard frame, it works and is fun.


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Posted in 2014 Season, Cheapskate

Damariscotta, the ice that got left behind

Three of us sailed Dammy Friday Jan 31, Doug Raymond, Bill Bunting and your scribe. The ice was definitely bumpy but the bumps seemed less obnoxious than two days ago on Chickawaukee, they must have sublimed (evaporated, solid to gas). The forecast heavy air came in predawn and wind was pleasant and decreasing as the day progressed. Doug found that driving his DN hard was unpleasant in the morning. By afternoon there were down periods of light to little air. We had a fine time weaving about to stay on smooth patches. We have raced on worse in past years. It is sailable and we will return Saturday. “Damariscotta Farm” is not labeled as such any more, it is a meadow edged with cabins with a sign “Damariscotta Watershed Association”. The meadow is about 50 yards West of the intersection of Rte 32 and Rte 126 on the NW edge of “great bay”, the largest body of water on the lake. You can see the ice from the road.

If you don’t want to drive 6+ hours to Plattsburgh and would rather sail than twiddle your thumbs come join us. We will give you a sail in CIBC’s economy iceboat project “Cheapskate”, a “Sunfish” rig on a minimum lumber yard frame, it works and is fun.


This email is free from viruses and malware because avast! Antivirus protection is active. http://www.avast.com

Posted in 2014 Season, Cheapskate