The Higher Power’s Personal Vendetta!

6AM…..TARNATION!……fine-powdered leprosy swirls around the eves in the dawn wind…..the drifted disease sculpts the back steps almost 1/2″ deep…. how can this be?….Yesterday, I waded across the almost completely puddled-out Megunticook, and salivated at the ice feast sure to be served up this morning……now….Why would the Higher Power do this?….why carry on a personal vendetta with an essentially innocent old fart in an obscure Maine village?….Why would he/she hold a g……that’s it!…….”she”!….. the HP’s feminine aspect!

I can so easily confess with the Episcopalians, ” I have left undone those things which I aught to have done. I have done those things…”…. the recycling overflowing its container and even the additional “overflow” container…..the compost bucket secretly emptied into the kitchen trash instead of trudged out through the deep snow….this is surely a well-deserved pay-back….

bundled in the familiar gear, I stepped out onto the lumpy white lake…..squish!….the unhealed sandwich–3/4″ of snow ice over 1.5″ of water–hadn’t had any chance of jelling with only 5 hours of 20 degree temperatures…..what will another day of cold bring?…..I can’t speculate now…..I’m emptying the compost ….

Posted in 2014 Season | 1 Comment

The Curse On Chickawaukee

Somebody has done something wrong here. At 11PM Monday Jan 6 lights were reflecting from the wet reasonably smooth ice of Chicky, snow all gone at last. Some drain holes from 1/3 inch of rain seen at 4 PM, fish holes up to 18 inches diameter. Ice for sure by Wednesday after drain holes heal up.
Tuesday morning at sunup it is snowing with 1 1/2 inch on the ground/ice. NOAA weather radar showed a small ink blot right here maybe 15-20 miles across, NOTHING ELSE anywhere in New England and 10 inches of ice out there except skimmed over drain holes lurking under the snow. Maybe it will blow off, maybe we will blow off to somewhere else.


Posted in 2014 Season

A couple of more things.

Firstly, Saturday was bitterly cold, realistic only with hand and foot warmers. My wonderfully supportive wife bought me hi tech insoles for Christmas which were put to the test on Memphremagog. I was wearing boots, soles to the wind in the DN, and they were toasty all day:

Then there’s the issue of the food committee. We all love corn bread and beans, of course, but with a little cash in the CIBC coffers perhaps we should do as the Russians do:

Any volunteers?

After all, now that we have our own clubhouse shouldn’t the food follow suit?

Posted in 2014 Season | 1 Comment

Memphremagog 1/4/14

With a date like 1-4-14 how could you go wrong? All the pieces fell neatly into place for an epic sail on Saturday. The forecast light wind built to a fine 10-15 from the south just as we finished setting up, and the south wind brought a breath of the tropics, boosting the mercury above zero. Amazing how good it feels to go from -15 to +3. Day finished at +10. Were we cold? Of course we were! But we kept going until the headlights of the cars leaving the ice indicated night was coming.It was the three of us in the video below, as well as super DN, a gaggle of kite sailors, and a local Skeeter: a hybrid Whizz/Nite. From the cockpit forward is built from the DN Goodchild Whizz drawings, and the stern from a Nite but narrowed to carry one person.

We carried long tacks down the lake ten miles to the little island just visible in the mist from Magog. Beyond that we found a brash area and stopped. We walked across and found a later freeze of lovely black ice. I wish I could tell you that there was no snow on it, Believe me I do! But there was a bonded inch, and the plate was only two inches thick. So we deep reached ten miles back to the pit area, throwing up great clouds of snow and trying to spot the clear patches to gybe. Yves rattled a pin loose and lost the rig. No harm done as Denis and I carried spares, but do tape your pins on a long tour. We got back to the pits for lunch and then went back out and did it again. Absolutely first class sailing. I was reminded of what Jory said sometime last season while tearing around in the snow. He allowed that Black Ice is way over-rated: miles and miles of the same old smooth. Sort of like the weather in Southern California. What you long for is an Event! Snow drifts give it to you: dodging them, smashing through them and launching the windward runner off the hard ones. As long as the wind holds, and this one blew strong well past sunset.

This morning the wind had vanished and the snow had softened, so we went for a skate on the municipal skate trail which winds along the shore at the head of the lake. It had just been Zambonied with a rather crude rig, but the results were superb. “Magnifique” I told the guy and he seemed pleased.

I asked if he could do the entire lake, but I think the request got lost in translation.

The night before, this was filled with smiling families and smooching young couples. An absolutely enchanting scene. If this lake comes back in, I would suggest you drop everything and go. The food and hospitality are excellent. There’s a bar and restaurant 100yds from the launch site, and the holiest of grails is the one reach-non-stop sail to Newport forty miles to the south when the wind is WNW. Here’s a video that Denis made which gives a much better sense of the day:

If it doesn’t play from this post, go to the web site and try it there. Eric and Eben are scouting the American end for a possible Easterns site scheduled for next weekend. Their local forecast tells of rain tomorrow and then cold temps coming back. No snow expected. And I heard that in English, not French!

Posted in 2014 Season

Sailing On Memphremagog Tomorrow

Our spy in the village of Magog, Jean, reports an inch of light snow fell during this last event. He sailed the north end of the lake before the storm and says the surface is pebbly, but very sailable. Temps forecast to be in the twenties Saturday and around freezing on Sunday, with south winds 5-10 and partly sunny. Sounds like a trip to the tropics to me, so I’m gone. Denis and Yves Guertin will be there, as well as Jean. Anybody else who hasn’t forgotten what iceboating is all about is welcome to join us. If the wind allows, we’ll try to sail south the the US border for a quick dip across. See if we can’t rouse the guards! Launch area is in the town of Magog, at the Club de Voile Memphrémagog. Drive on access reported.

Club de Voile Memphr̩magog РGoogle Search

Posted in 2014 Season

Homage to Lake Attatash

830 AM….light snow falling….i’m lingering in the magic of morning toast and tea…..why this trans-like calm?….not the slightest need to stir…is it 40 years of meditation practice?….no!…..its the reunion with a long-absent lover…..iceboating

I wanted to add a short post-script to Bill’s post. I don’t think he adequately described the miracle which greeted our eyes at 9AM yesterday as we left the car and walked out onto sunny, windy, glistening Attatash. I kept blinking away my disbelief….how had this lake maintained 8.8 grade ice, absolutely snow-less, against such impossible odds?….

And the lake is not really impossibly small….not with only 7 boats buzzing around. You point to the opposite shore and you’re there in about 2 minutes…not really frustrating…..before you get there, you’ll see another boat and the inevitable match race will ensue…and though the lake is bound on three sides by cottages and their paraphernalia, so exposed from the lake side…..on the fourth side is a reedy estuary as wild and beautiful as any…..that’s what it’s like in the suburbs…you especially enjoy your snippets of nature. In all the little bays around the shore, skaters had exploded onto the perfect ice, perhaps avoiding the zipping iceboats in the center. Here’s what the lake looks like:

it was a day for sharp runners, and both Bill and I came back for sharpening after the first exploratory round…..screechy spin-outs were a constant hazard in the lovely, all-day 10-15 kn. wind….why were the iceboat hordes not here?…I had to keep reminding myself that it was not only new year’s day, complete with hangovers; but probably a day of some big TV ball game….and tardily, lots of folks did show up, to talk at least. still…i’d swear our sport’s testosterone is trending downward….

It was great to see Luke Buxton again, John Bianci from retirement, Rick Hobbs, more than ever a terror of a skimbatter, and many others I can’t put names to…. an especial treat was getting to get to know Paul Delniro, over a body-warming lunch at the nearby fry-up. It was thanks to his persistent spying, that “The Miracle of Lake Attatash’ took place at all……gosh, what miracles still lay ahead?

Posted in 2014 Season | 1 Comment

Dammy Ice

On 1/1/2014 10:57 AM, David Lampton wrote:

My walk about on Damiscotta and my examination of 5 active fisherman ice boring s is almost the same as your report. The fisherman report nothing less than 9inches in the great bay. I measured 8 to 12 inches in my 4 fresh holes. The surface is hard to judge with some of everything. DLWA cam is up and showing the bright white Lake!

Posted in 2014 Season