Webster and Winnipesaukee

Webster Lake was all it was promised to be this past Friday: tons of wind, sunshine, great ice, and good company.

This is probably the most delicate pressure ridge I have ever seen. The ice was this good everywhere. Bobby showed us the entire lake system: south end, broads, and the north end. Often they are separated by pressure ridges which are tough to cross, so this was a real treat. Ramblin Roger showed up as we were de-rigging. He had arrived at the yacht club too early and found the gate closed, so launched in the south end. He saw sails in the distance, but could never find the tricky entrance from there into the broads. But it was good to see him again as he headed off to Vermont to sail with the Easterns on Lake Champlain. Thanks to Rodger Livingston for opening the yacht club for us. The access there is excellent, aside from the hairy downwind approach!

Here’s Billy Bluefeather in his Viking making his classic fine-as-a-feather close pass.

Meanwhile, Winnepesaukee has not fared as well. Eric Anderson and I sailed it Saturday, searching for a decent plate on which to hold the Worlds next weekend. It was blowing twenty, temps about 3. We scouted on foot first, checking the drifts that Lee Spiller had reported on. Two days earlier they were covering thin ice. But we found that they had mostly wetted out and the ice under them was now four inches, while the bulk of the plate was six. We agreed to wait until the temp hit ten before going sailing, so I parked the car in the sun where the thermometer shot up to fourteen, so off we went.

If it was all looking like this we’d probably still be there, but while there were patches of nice stuff big enough on which to make a couple of tacks, mostly it looked more like this:

With so much wind, we were able to beat slowly north past Welch Island. Anything resembling a reach was just too fast. We found nothing promising, so headed dead downwind for a delightful drift at true windspeed, full sun, and nothing but miles of Winnie ahead. There were a couple of small ridges to cross, but it was quiet cruising all the way to Rattlesnake Island. It was obvious by now there was no race course to be found so we turned around to face the reality of the whipping wind and beat back to the beach at the state park.
The forecast had been for rain there, but it’s now calling for snow. We’re getting rain at Jordan Bay, so by Tuesday or Wednesday it might be good to go. If there’s anybody in the neighborhood, please go have a look and let us know what you find. It still might be a Worlds alternate sight. And we might even get some home ice for a change.

Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season

Sebago Ice

Our spy, Phil Lowe, says the new ice on main body of lake blew out a couple of days ago. Southern area not known. Jordan Bay not known, presume snow melt down needed.

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Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season

Jordan Bay Today

Just in from Lee Spiller:

Bob from Brunswick with his new, and very spiffy cheapskate, Karin Wilson, and yours truly sailed Jordan Bay. As we were setting up boats gusts were lifting snow high in the air down the lake. We did get a couple of hours of fun sailing but the wind was coming down the entire time. We went out with flat sails but wished for more power later. I brought a 10′ plank out to the reef but it had frozen tight in places and wasn’t needed. If I’d been on the ball I’d have a great shot of the cheapskate sailing across the pressure ridge. Nice boat, Bob sailed it well and it really went.
The bay remains snow covered. There are some stiff drifts especially near shore and wherever features in the ice collected snow.
We went past the reef but not far. Nobody wanted to be trapped far downwind with 2″or 3″ snow. A worthwhile outing. Should have been there earlier to catch the wind… Lee

It should be noted that this was Bob’s maiden voyage in his new Cheapskate; he’s been chomping at the bit all winter! Hopefully we can find some actual ice for him, although it’s not looking good. Massachusetts reports nice ice on Long Pond and Webster Lake, although snow is threatening both as we speak. There may be CIBC plans to go there on Friday if the snow misses. Stand by, tank up on the cheap gas and go!

Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season

Jordan Bay Tomorrow

The ice on Jordan Bay is now covered in about 2″ of snow. It doesn’t seem to have blown and drifted, so it probably can be sailed. Wind forecast is good. Lee Spiller and Karin Wilson will be there with boats and would love to have some company. Launch at Raymond Beach, watch out for the pressure ridge as you leave the inner bay. Acres of ice beyond that.

Have Fun!

Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season


Can’t win ’em all. All that ice on Jordan Bay and no boats in sight. Tom Childs told us about it and Lee Spiller sent this tonight, reporting 4″. An inch of snow is forecast for tonight, then full sun with a nice breeze Tuesday. Any takers?

Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season

All Kinds of Action

Long Pond Lakeville had boats yesterday and today, Webster has been scouted and maybe sailed today, There are A Skeeter bubble boats on Bantam Lake, and Leavitts Bay on Winnipesaukee was toured and explored Saturday while the DN’s held the Doc Fellows Regatta. It was very windy, so the race was called off after Oliver Moore spun out at the leeward mark and broke his collarbone. We wish him a speedy recovery in time for the worlds.

Meanwhile, it’s been a quiet week in Maine. All we could find worth sailing was Walker Pond. Not that there’s anything wrong with Walker! it looks as good as Winnie: a lovely sheet of hard black ice plagued with thin wind packed drifts. While the buckets of wind on Winnie worked wonders for those smart enough to show up there yesterday, we had a light sou’wester today with just enough oomph to keep you going. And Walker Pond is the only sailing venue I’ve ever seen with bleachers.

You can see how steep the approach is; the wooden structure in the foreground is the top of the bleachers. They cling to the cliff all the way to the ice. Imagine having the leeward mark right off the beach here? It’s a long way from everywhere (except Larry and Kevin’s) but it would be worth it just for the view.

Tom Childs just sent in this report of his Sebago scouting today:

Lower bay of Sebago is well-covered with ice. The shore-line area is very rough, but 3” thick according to the anglers who dare to go on it. There is a rough swath crossing the middle of the bay where the wind had broken up the ice, which re-froze. Further out, there is fresh ice…no telling how thick. This is deserving of further investigation! Probably sailable in a day or so.

Jordan bay is frozen all the way to Raymond Neck, there is NO activity on this part of the lake – no telling how thick the ice is! CAN WE GET SOMEONE TO CHECK THIS TOMORROW AND REPORT BACK? THANKS!

Nason’s Beach is wide-open water as far as the eye can see.

Lastly, we hear from Damariscotta that it’s afoul with trucks, shacks and ATV’s. Must mean the ice is good, but it’ll take a lot of weather to clean up the surface.

Thanks so much to Kevin and Larry for keeping this pond on our radar. You know it’s the only decent ice around when you see Bob and Karl skating. Earlier they had been skating a narrow river in the woods which was magical except for getting the occasional stick fetched up in the skate and ducking under low hanging branches. They were all smiles on Walker in spite of the snow. As a matter of fact, so were Kevin, Larry and your correspondent.

Posted in 2014 Season, 2014 Season1, 2015 Season

Jordan Bay

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