A Story

Once upon a time on an un-named frozen lake on a fine spring day, a good sailor bore away in a puff. Unbeknownst to him, just to leeward was a long lead of fresh, clear, soft water. Into it he went, the boat skimming out into the middle. If a flash, the boat was blown onto the lee shore. The shore was found to be rather rotten, so with faithful picks in hand our hero clawed his through the slush to safety.

By and by, the rest of the fleet assembled at the “Scene of Stupidity” to see what could be done. The boat was unapproachable without going through. A line was got on board by lashing a vice-grips to the center of a long one and swinging it from each end, jump rope style, and dropping it over the runner. The rope tossers dosey-doed, thereby looping the line snugly around the end of the plank. A fast sailor was dispatched to the shore to get a float of some sort. The float was tied to the end of a throw line which was tied to a couple of others for good measure and the whole thing left to its devices.

Some while later, on another fine spring day not long after ice-out, a rescue flotilla was dispatched to see what could be seen. The position was provided by a tech savvy iceboater who always sails with her GPS running. The boat was just where it was left, but sixty feet lower. She came up by the muddy runner without a struggle.

The side stays were disconnected and an inner tube secured to each end of the plank. It was then easy to haul up on the headstay until the bow breached.

Another pair of inner tubes under the springboard completed the floatation package, and with the sun on the face and the wind at the back it was homeward bound.

The only damage, aside from that to the ego, was excessive swelling of the mast and springboard. The mast swelled such that the boltrope came right out without much trouble. The moral of the story is, of course, keep your boat dry.

Posted in 2019 Season | Leave a comment

Sailing From Home, Italian Style

The ability of humans to find joy in adversity never ceases to amaze:

https://www.facebook.com/andy.erceanu/videos/3226083870757904/UzpfSTYzNTA1NjUyMzoxMDE1NzExMDI4MzQ4NjUyNA/

Posted in 2019 Season | 2 Comments

Fat Lady Still Detained at Border

Today from Denis Guertin:

“Yesterday night, I heard that Lake St-Francois was mixed slush and very thin wet snow. Forecast for the night was 27 deg. and 10 mph NE wind in the morning. So I made a late decision to come early in the morning to take advantage of the hard surface, if any.

I was on the ice at 9:30. The wind was already there, but my biggest surprise was that amazing ice, again. It was half grey ice, half high density styrofoam. I had chosen to use my skunners because I expected that it would be too soft, but I really didn’t need the skis. They almost never touched the snow. It was hard and perfectly even all over the plate.

I sailed 3 hours with just a couple of stops to talk with ice fishermen. According to them, there is still 16’’ of ice. So I practiced social distancing during those 3 hours, sharing this big sheet of ice with only 2 fishermen!!

I know we say that each and every time we sail, but it was one of the best ice and wind of the season!! It became soft at 12:30. So I quit, but I had an awesome and unexpected morning of sailing. The only thing missing was my best sailing buddies to share this, but you were in my mind every time I hiked, tacked, reached, jibed …..

W-10 does it again.

Posted in 2019 Season | Leave a comment

Sailing Across the Border, Grand Finale

NEWS FLASH FROM DENIS GUERTIN: Lac St. Francois, Lampton, Quebec. Sunday March 29.

“Weather forecast is not an exact science! Before going to bed yesterday night, I checked the short term forecast. No more freezing expected, no more early wind, which was replaced by early rain. My hopes to sail today also changed with this new forecast.

When I woke up this morning, first thing I did was to check the forecast again. And it had changed again. Rain postponed to about 13:00, not much wind until 11:00, and 46 deg.

I raised my sail at 9:30 and decided to run away from this big lee where my camp is on a SE wind. I knew I had to get very far from there to get some wind when it would raise. So I walked my boat for about 1/2 mile… but no wind. Surprisingly, the ice was hard, no styrofoam. I waited…. At 10:22, I felt a nice breeze and jumped into the boat to get going, and it got me right to the middle of the lake, at about 1,5 mile from my place, and died. So I waited again….

10:45: Nothing… 11:00: Nothing… I checked the stock in my spare parts box to spend some time… 11:15: Nothing… I checked how many residents were looking at me and thinking that this guy is stupid or what??? There is no wind!! 11:30: I felt a small breeze, and it remained steady instead of dying as usual. 11:34: The small breeze seems strong enough to get going and get closer to the camp, just in case. So I jumped in the boat and sailed all the way to the shore, but as this breeze was holding, I jibed again and went back far away from the camp and… it died again !!

I was a bit depressed, but this wind came back not too long after it died, and I could sail all the way to the shore again, and again I jibed when I got there, but the wind stayed steady and built more and more. So I sailed non-stop for more than one hour, and the wind was building and building. I had many many hikes… Is there an award for a 1/2 mile long hike?? Speed was good, ice was smooth and hard, and at 13:00, I decided to go back home because… the wind was becoming too strong for my big rig…!!! Amazing, isn’t it??

The rain began to fall as I was getting my mast down. I never packed my boat so quickly!!!

That’s about it… I have been waiting for the wind since Friday afternoon, and my patience was rewarded… and well rewarded.”

Posted in 2019 Season | Leave a comment

Sailing Over The Border

As we watch little waves lap the muddy shores of our beloved lakes, there’s a different story up north. It seems that the Fat Lady was stopped at the border and could not get into Quebec. Denis Guertin has this to report:

MONDAY: Today was just crazy speed sailing. The south portion of the lake is a North – South orientation. Today’s wind was South and really good for our DN rigs. We just sailed tacking upwind to the South end of the lake, and then sailed high speed downwind to the island near my camp.
We had to stop at 3:00 because Frank had a side stay just about to break. In fact, it is the short cable used to lengthen his DN sidestay to fit the Whizz that was the problem. We were lucky that he saw it before it breaks far away from the camp !!
More sailing in the forecast for us… maybe Wednesday if Frank is free from work. Just a bit of snow expected tonight, but nothing serious. Forgot to mention that we had 4 DNs sailing with us this afternoon…

“FRIDAY: I got here in Lambton at about 2:30. I did not even care to walk on the ice and decided to rig my Whizz to enjoy that nice little breeze that I felt on the shore. So I put my skunners just in case the surface would be too soft.
I jumped into the boat, downhill from the shore to the lake because the water level is so low… and stalled in 1,5’’ of sticky wet slush. I tried to get going but the wind was not strong enough for this sticky slush. I went back to the shore!
It will freeze hard tonight, giving me one of the best ice of the season tomorrow.., oups! Sorry… I should say an acceptable ice tomorrow!! But the wind forecast is one of the worst of the season!!! But the boat is ready to go… just in case!!

SATURDAY: My boat has been laying there all day, waiting for just a little breeze to come, but nothing came. I know it must be difficult for you to have this ice just under your eyes and not be able to enjoy it, but can you imagine how it is for me to have it just under my FEET and not be able to enjoy it.

It will freeze again tonight, rain expected tomorrow at around noon, and SE wind early in the morning. Guess who will sail in the morning tomorrow?? The ice is amazingly smooth… oups, sorry again!! The ice looks OK, but we have seen better!! The frozen slush made like a topping of icing on a cake!! No more snowmobile tracks, all even and smooth as far as I want.

Stay tuned for the end of the story tomorrow… hoping for a happy ending!!”

Posted in 2019 Season | 1 Comment

DN class rules change vote

If you are a member if IDNIYRA (and if you aren’t maybe you should be) please vote on the proposed rue changes. They will affect us all at some point. You should have received a ballot by email.

Pau Goodwin chimes in below.

This is from Paul Goodwin, a guy who knows and cares about the class- read and VOTE!!!

My take on the 2020 Proposals – Paul Goodwin

The first two proposals are to change specs that were written when the class first made the transition from wood to composite masts. It was clear at the time that the composite mast would make the older mast technologies obsolete, at huge cost to class members. This was justified because we were breaking the older masts at an alarming rate. The idea behind the minimum weight and balance point specs was to reduce the incentive to constantly look for the latest, greatest, high-tech (and expensive) composite mast material.

1) Deletion of the minimum weight for the mast –

I think removing the minimum weight will not be good for the class. The intent of this spec is to discourage using exotic (and expensive) materials. High modulus carbon fiber comes to mind, but there are potentially more exotic and expensive fibers available. I believe eliminating the min weight will accelerate a technology war leading to lighter and more expensive masts. Sailors will have mast envy, with the perception that lighter is better, driving the cost of masts ever higher. My Vote: NO

2) Deletion of the balance point on the mast –

The reason for the balance point was to make a builder put some of the ballast up higher in the mast, rather than building a super light mast with a big chunk of weight at the base. I think the spec is still valid. I don’t want to make it easier to build super light, expensive masts. In the overall cost of building a pre-preg carbon mast in an autoclave, the time and cost of adding ballast is insignificant. My vote: NO

3) Allow runners to be built of any material –

I think this proposal has no merit at all. I challenge everybody to think about how they would use this change to design a runner body that reduces the cost, and at the same time remains competitive against the super stiff lightweight carbon bodies that will be coming when there is no restriction on design and material. The DN is not the class for a rule that allows unlimited use of exotic materials. My vote: NO

4) Amend the minimum thickness of insert plate to allow commercial material tolerance –

This one makes sense. The reduction in thickness allows use of commercially available steel, which can reduce the cost and is easier to find. The change is so small that it is insignificant for performance. My vote: YES.

Posted in 2019 Season | Leave a comment

Spring Meeting

As if there were any doubt by this point, our spring meeting has been canceled. We will award trophies and appoint directors, which we do at the spring meeting, at the fall meeting instead. It’s too bad because we had lined up the use of the dining hall at Camp Kieve, with a nice view of Damariscotta Lake. Hopefully we can hold it there next year.

And while we’re down we’re getting kicked by the forecast from the northern lakes. They still haven’t wet out, and the nights aren’t going much below freezing for the foreseeable future. It looks like they will just slip quietly away. If I’m missing anything, please holler. Denis and Frank expect to sail again this coming weekend on Lac Ste. Francois, just across the closed Canadian border.

The closed border is a minor irritation to we iceboaters in Maine. Many countries in Europe are also closing or tightly controlling, the borders. But the real way to beat this is at a personal and community level. Simply don’t go out unless absolutely necessary, and then only with taking the precautions with which we’ve become so familiar. Did you know that the better quality shop dust masks carry the 95 level that we’re supposed to use in public? Check your shop: you might be pleasantly surprised.

Stay in touch with your iceboating buddies. Talk ice, boats, travel, plans for next year. Take this time to go through your boat and take care of that list you’ve so carefully made over the winter of repairs and improvements. Do it now while you have time on your hands and the season is fresh in your mind.

Keep the season in your mind by laying down, closing your eyes and re-running the film of some of the season’s most memorable sails. You’ll hear the clickity clack of the runners and your fingers and nose will begin to freeze.The G forces are what’s most heavily imprinted for me. Maybe it was an epic run to the the downwind mark and a perfect rounding if you are a racer, or doing fast figure eights around two islands if you’re a tourer. Or best yet the camaraderie in the pits after a great day on the ice. We all have them: keep them alive!

Posted in 2019 Season | 3 Comments