Great Pond ON

Reports late this afternoon from skaters, blissfuly gliding through a half inch of dry powder, indicate that we’re primed for a good stretch of sailing with the next two days bringing big wind.

Ryan Haskell found similar conditions at Unity Pond, above.

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Great Pond Update

Lee and Karin skated the big pond yesterday and had this good news to share:

“Great Pond ice is thick and safe for skating and iceboating. We didn’t see any sketchy ice besides pressure ridges on a long skating tour today. We went from the boat ramp out between Hoyt and Long Point. There is some refrozen snow ice and old frozen snow drifts in this section. There was an active pressure ridge between Hoyt and Long Point but we crossed it on skates today. We toured down the lake and around Oak Island. There is a significant pressure ridge from Oak running west to the shore. We crossed at Oak Island. The southern bay was big grey smooth ice as far as you could see. We crossed another pressure ridge on the NW corner of Oak that ran to the NE probably all the way to shore.
There was significant old funky rough refrozen snow ice, unskateable north of Oak so we went back west and up to the south end of Hoyt. There is a pressure ridge then a huge plate of unbroken black ice from shore to shore up to Indian Island. The ice goes back to grey here and then around me the top of Hoyt. We skated down the West side of Hoyt. A big pressure ridge part way down goes from Hoyt across to main shore. In this area is a big plate of black ice. Heading south towards the boat ramp is more frozen crud and some old frozen drift ice. Close to Hoyt on that west side is a big plate of black ice to avoid the bad stuff.
There is a variety of ice and some big pressure ridges. There are also really big plates of great ice. All the black ice patches we saw, big and little, were at least 5″ thick. The ice is tight to shore. I think it would be well worth iceboating.”

Looking north to Indian Island, east side of Hoyt.

One can almost close their eyes while reading this and do the great tour in their virtual iceboat. Excellent report, Lee, Thanks so much.

Sadly, snow is threatening. It’s been flurrying on and off all day in Camden, and tomorrow doesn’t look much safer. Forecasts are mixed about the snow, but they are unified in promising wind and sun for the weekend. The one saving grace is the cold snow and big winds Saturday. It might blow off. If you’re lucky you’ll be tearing away off the wind riding on a magic carpet of blowing snow, the ice below slowly revealing itself. We’ve been there before and it’s a fabulous sensation.

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Understand Ice?

Here’s a rather conventional shot of the decent ice on Sabattus. There are various patterns and colors, but nothing too dramatic. Best viewed on a computer, rather than a phone.

That same ice, as seen from 1000′ feet up by Steve White:

We sailed over that very spot in silent, smooth wonder yesterday. Some small patches of shell broke the reverie, but this looks lunar! The black spot had 2″, might be three by now.

Note the single iceboat in the pits.

Thanks for the flyover Steve; next time land and say hello!

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Great Pond

We seem to have a nice band if ice between the coastal melt zone and the upland snow belt. Sabattus, Androscoggin, Great Pond and maybe Pushaw. Great Pond now has 5.5″ of older grey ice and 4″ of newer black. There are 8-10″ at the launch.

Looking south from the west side. The narrows at Hoyt Island appear to be tight as viewed through binoculars.

Older ice in the foreground, 4″ black in the distance. There’s a pressure ridge developing a bit to the north, in the usual spot near Camp Curtis.

Meanwhile, Bob Lombardo put some miles under his skates at Pushaw and has this to offer:

“Skated 20miles on some serious junk headed to north end from Goulds. Lots of smooth patches coming back downwind [yes we had lots of wind here today] Pressure ridges posed a real challenge, about 4 major ones pretty much wide open and dangerous looking. Really bumpy sections and really smooth but ratio would be 80% bumpy and 20% smooth. Rock hard ice though. If the ridges healed you could sail but the bumps suck!”

Some of the nicer stuff:

Thanks Bob, and sorry about that wind. It was meant to be delivered to Sabattus.

So where does that leave us? The wind is marginal the next few days so the plan now is to sail Great Pond on the weekend. Nice winds promised, and the ice will thicken in the cold nights. Hopefully the entire lake will be good to go. Hundred Mile Race anyone?

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Sabattus In The Bag

Funny how things work out. When the MIT DN team had it’s first ever outing, it was on Sabattus Pond in 2015. Today, the kernel of a Northeastern University DN racing tam was planted in to the very same fertile ice of Sabattus. Below, Jack and Ted; missing from this shot are the three women: Julianne, Sandra and the mystery room mate.

Three DN’s and the five very enthusiastic and skilled sailors took turns doing laps with the big boats. We had set up marks for them to which they took to like ducks to water. The wind was variable, switching from west to north and back again. One lap would be a reaching drag race and the other your classic upwind-downwind: great training conditions. As often happens on the ice, a new guy was interested in giving it a try so he was offered one of the DN’s and brought it back in one piece with a big grin. The hook was set. Tom, you hearing this?

Eddie Zelonish had his new Cheapskate out and Andy Donovan and Lee and Karin with their Gambits. Ralph Ferguson had his new Pocket skeeter, made famous at Loring last summer, on the ice for the first time. Rob Dmitrof has moved up from his Lockley Skimmer to a DN, biding his time until his Renegade restoration is done.

The shell ice never quite got the recovery last night we had hoped for and so breaking through just became part of the day. It seemed to heal as the day went on, even with above freezing temps. It was always a treat if the guy in front of you broke through, got slowed, and you could sneak past him.

Charlie sends this report from Wentworth:
“Ice skates holding good with 5-6” of textured grey and no snow. Eastern plate is best and biggest but a few drain holes have formed on the far end. New long open lead between Triggs Island and the old ridge by Albee. South end of stamp act had a 4-10 foot open lead all the way up to shore. Kitewingers here today with a newbie dn.”

Thanks Charlie!

Rest of the week up in the air for now.

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