First Ice!

And we’re not talking about the rain barrel variety. Here’s Tolman Pond in Rockport this afternoon. Don’t know how thick it is, but at the moment it is surviving a very strong northwest wind. Tonight will be in the single digits.

Tolman Pond has generally been fairly reliable as a proxy for Plymouth Pond, so it might be time to rouse the sleeping spys. The long term forecast isn’t wonderful, but it’s fine to hope and fun to imagine the possibilities.
A few years ago we had Plymouth come in on a Thursday, thicken nicely on Friday, and we sailed it all weekend. It was penciled by Sunday afternoon and gone Monday.

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2019 Fall Meeting Minutes


Some 20 members, most old, several new-whoopee, gathered at Dave Fortier’s for the traditional Fall meeting. President Buchholz was in transit from Boston with a load of ice boats. Treas. Jim Gagnon was the only officer present and appointed Lloyd Roberts (president emeritus, secretary emeritus) as the most qualified to run the meeting, these days usually to precede the lunch. However, the assembled multitude was already eating. We ate well. Bill Bunting’s companion Patsy organized the food and later, clean up. Many thanks Patsy.
A brief review of Saturday’s NEIYA meeting: John Stanton, our vital web master, is now NEIYA Commodore, T Theiler is retired. NEIYA Secretary is now Karen Binder, Stanton promoted from secretary. Old timer Jay Whitehair is NEIYA Vice Commodore. John Stanton played a video of a portion of the NEIYA meeting where there was recognition of the past contributions to ice boating by your humble scribe who is now hard of hearing (life time exposure to heavy wind and runner noise) and had no idea what was being said, but I appreciate the effort and thanks to all for the nice gesture.
Treasurer Jim Gagnon reports bank balance of $3341. Also on the positive side of the ledger is some 150 copies of “Think Ice” perhaps enough for 2-3 years before the book is OUT OF PRINT. Warner StClair the coauthor is long dead, he provided much of the content, Roberts did the writing and pictures. Roberts is years behind the cutting edge of DN sailing, especially racing. Secretary Curtis Rindlaub, President Buchholz, and Bill Bunting, all good writers, had their heads together a year or two ago about rewriting the book, so far they have not left the starting line. Roberts was dragging his feet about being involved in anything. Now post heart surgery he has a new outlook on life, intends to sail this winter and might be coerced into action of some kind.
Pres. Buchholz showed up, shook off the cobwebs of interstate trailering, and took over. The launch site at Damariscotta Farm is now the beach. This was used last year despite development of a pressure ridge along the beach, this was breached and access was successful. We now are about to have a web cam camera down in the South end of the lake looking out over “Muscongus Bay” see fine print in the Maine Gazeteer where Vanna road runs up from Rte 1 toward the South tip of the lake. The Vanna road access was used last year successfully. What we are finding is that a good access is a place where a boat trailer can be unhitched from the tow car, which remains on terra firma, and the trailer rolled by hand onto the ice which is likely these days not thick enough for a car. A light trailer with minimum tongue weight is the way to go.
There was some discussion of ways for racing small mixed fleets of different kinds of boats. Various ways of handicapping have been tried in past years, none have been embraced with enthusiasm. Buchholz last year tried “Orienteering” for ice boats, setting up a course with several check points where the sailor has to find the check point from a provided map, stop, get out of the boat, pick up some tag or object from the check point, get back in the boat, read the map and proceed to the next check point. This would be most fun on a complex lake with islands and coves. The first boat to get back to start with proof of all check points wins. Do the check points have to be done in a particular order? Course set up needs prior effort by some one, plus map copying and likely other things. This would be more treasure hunt than racing, ice boat speed might not be a factor. It might be a niche for the “Cheap Skate”, easy to get in and out of, down wind starting ability, light air, etc. A two seater would enable crew pick up of evidence while the skipper turns the boat into starting position to be poised for a rapid get away to the next check point.
Tom Nichols, skeeter skipper, started a spirited discussion of the true meaning of a one class ice boat comparing the Renegade with strict dimensions maintained over the years to the DN class with somewhat flexible dimensions and evolving structural design over the years. The DN class allows for innovation by the builder within specific limits, perhaps part of the charm of the DN. Performance of the DN has certainly changed over the years. The Renegade of 40 years ago in theory should be no slower that a new Renegade built from the unchanged rigid class defined plans. Both approaches are fine depending on the owner’s philosophy of sailing and tradition.
Eben Whitcomb and John Stanton made their usual and welcome visit on their round robin NEIYA/CIBC meetings all the way from Conecticut, further than some of us drive to sail. John keeps the NEIYA and CIBC web sites running and now will keep the NEIYA running as well. Eben sometimes brings a complete race outfit, racing marks, start line markers etc., for DN regattas.
Considering that we started the party in our usual informal way with no leader and no agenda but plenty of food, it turned out well and was a fine start to the new season. Many thanks to our host David Fortier. I missed the display of his performing gold fish, often a feature of Saturday night beer and BS sessions.
The meeting really began in his shop with a demonstration of state of the art runner contouring and runner/plank attachment options for both DN and “A” skeeters using carbon and exotic plastics. The skeeters have an annoying habit of destroying their traditional ball bearing/pillow block runner attachment systems with resulting loss of alignment. David has a system of universal chock and runner alignment so any of his runners can be used on any of his planks with assured alignment. Fiddling around with triangles and wires or telescopes under runners aimed at distant window frames and tweaking chocks around on sailing day is no longer needed.
The meeting was as good as being on the ice, a good start.

Respectfully submitted, Lloyd Roberts, Secretary Pro Tem.

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Patagonia jacket

Blue Patagonia jacket with hat and gloves in pocket found on a chair in the meeting area. Thanks all for a good club meeting, and all the terrific foods.

Cheers, Dave

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Weekend Happenings

Good day all. I would like to know who from Maine will be traveling to Hudson, MA on Saturday for the swap meet and lunch/meeting. Asking for a couple of reasons. Car pooling is one reason, and the other is bed rolling, curious if any will be staying over on Saturday night in Biddeford. All are welcome, but as most know I do not have many bunks, just plenty of room. So, who wants to drive to Hudson, then stay over for the night on Saturday? The weather does look like it is going to clear just in time for the weekend. Temperatures forecast to drop as well.

Cheers, Dave

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Meetings and Swap Meet

Next weekend is the big one for iceboating in New England. Saturday is the NEIYA Swap Meet and meeting in Hudson, Mass., and on Sunday at 11:00 is our CIBC meeting and pot luck lunch at Dave Fortier’s house in Biddeford.

Lake Winnipesaukee.

Visit for a great map and location for the Swap Meet. Fortier’s is 12 Chretein Rd,. Biddeford, ME

South Twin Lake.

And in case you’re a little rusty on just how to go about the sport of iceboating, here’s a refresher:

CIBC 10 steps for a Typical Day – YouTube

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Looking For Answers?

Find them at the annual boats and parts Swap Meet and New England Ice yacht Association lunch and meeting Saturday November 2. Buying and selling in the parking lot all morning, lunch at noon followed by the business meeting.

Hudson-Concord Elks Hall
99 Park Street, Hudson, MA 01749

The CIBC fall meeting will be the following day, Sunday Nov. 3 at Dave Fortier’s house in Biddeford, ME. Meeting starts at 11:am followed by a potluck lunch and still more discussion of iceboats and sailing!

Posted in 2019 Season

Barn Find DN…. Take a look!

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Steve Duhamel of NorthWind IceBoats sends in this slighty-less-than-accurate description of his latest barn-find…. Read and learn….

Barn / Shed Find DN

Late 30’s style DN Closely built to DN 60 Plans as published by the Detroit News Sunday addition projects to build at home work shop.

Great care of construction details were exercised in following the plan’s measurements.

Hardware is all Blacksmith formed.

Hemp rope rigging and sheet line was produced by the Cortege Park in Plymouth MA just before shutting down for good in 1939.

Sail material is Egyptian Cotton with corn starch sizing and black silk reinforcement.

Battens are slow growth Vietnamese bamboo foam core fiberglass.

Blades are forged from used horse shoes. Glue is suspected to be from that same horse that donated the blade material.

While walking in the woods one day, looking for a suitable mast. A bolt of lightning came out of nowhere and struck a nice straight wing shaped tree. Although burned black by the lightning strike, it proved to be just what the project needed. A branch from the same tree provided the boom.

Pulleys (from the sliding barn door from which the boat was pulled) were the only parts from the original design drawings.

Ready to be enjoyed again after a sympathetic cleaning.

Offers will be considered.

Steve’s description is amusing (who knew he had that sense of humor) and is even more so if you’ve ever seen this boat- It’s not a legal DN as it is made of carbon and God only knows what else. But is it ever sexy. If there is a piece of metal, it’s polished to a mirror finish. If there is a piece of carbon (ie the entire hull), it’s clear-coated to perfection. The sail is high aspect, high tech, and this thing is ready to blaze across the ice and elicit some serious drooling in the launch area.

I don’t know if he really wants to sell it or not but it can’t hurt to ask!

Contact Steve through to take a look and for all of your iceboating needs!

Posted in 2019 Season