Interview with Ron Sherry

The Sailing Anarchy Podcast by Alan Block on iTunes

Scroll ahead to the 48 minute mark for a very interesting and informative discussion with Ron Sherry, taped a few days ago. It’s a bit long, but with no ice around yet it’ll help pass the time in a productive way.

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A Long but Great Iceboating Story, 1970

This from the days when language was sacred and iceboats common. February 15, 1970 – Article 5 — No Title | Chicago Tribune Archive

Thanks to Deb Whitehorse and the Four Lakes Club for sharing this. They had a great day of sailing yesterday, by the way.

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Ice Should be on the Lake, not in the Heart

Happy Valentines Day!

Thanks to Bill Kosgard for the card.

Snow everywhere, but Jordan Bay froze last Friday and then had a great load of snow which has submersed the plate enough to wet out. After tomorrow’s snow we’ll know more about the possibilities for the weekend. Warm temps don’t bode well, however. Scratch racing on Lake Mendota, WI tomorrow. Just so you know…

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Suggestions for first iceboat article concerning boat types matching owner needs & style.

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What kind of Iceboat?

John Eastman gave a bunch of Gambit rides to non ice boaters these last days of great ice. He likes to do this and gets a gold star for ice boating public relations. Some of the passenger/sailors, after 15 -20 minutes of the sport are entranced and “want an iceboat”, which one? Ice boat designs and fads come and go over the last 100 plus years. One stands out, the DN of course, now in its 80th year. It is affordable, portable, buildable, sailable by any one from 100-300 Lbs, tourable, raceable, and, most importantly, available. A used DN suitable for training as a first boat can be had for $1000-1500, sometimes less. They are easy to acquire and, if the thrill wears off, easy to sell without significant fiscal risk. Up grading to race ready, touring comfort, passenger carrying, ego enhancing size and speed, vintage/antique addiction, latest unique design, only makes sense after learning the basics, for which the DN is ideal.

The erstwhile ice boater needs attributes of frustration tolerance and tool using ability reasonably good physical condition.

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New Mini Skeeter For Sale

Brian Langley built this nice Mini Skeeter, but now needs the room for more projects. We’ve had nothing but fun with the one here in Maine.

Write to Brian for full specs and price:

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ten days on the ice!

2PM: I sat in that heavenly situation: a sun-facing, windless shoreline, back to a rock. Although it was 25 degrees, you could see the snow melting on the black rocks as February’s brighter sun gained now against the cold. Along the shore were the varied ice caves of dynamic ice meeting static rock. My sated being radiated peace and gratitude: Wow: ten ice adventures in a row!

Eleven days ago, I looked at a forecast direct from ice heaven: 10 days without a thaw, without a flurry, and usually with sun and wind. I wondered: would this old body, used to intermittent abuse, hold up if I committed to be on the ice every one of those days? I decided to add to the fun by leaving my boat set up on Megunticook’s impeccable ice. I would miss the vastness and community of Darmiscotta, but be able to seize little snippets of activity– sometimes even two a day–yet return to the flooring project so dear to my wife’s heart.

The experiment started with spectacular sailing over the weekend. Surrounded only by skaters, I found myself a lost puppy, following them around, sheeted out, sometimes chatting as we moved along. I found that a good skater could make progress to windward almost as fast as a tacking iceboat. Then followed two windless, amazing days of skating—so good that my wife threw caution to the wind and joined in the mania which gripped our little skating community.

And then it snowed! Long-term forecasts proved their basic unreliability. Yet, wonder of wonders, a strange thing happened: the snow made no difference. The weather was so consistently cold, that skates and runners simply pushed the un-bonded snow aside. More days of bliss followed, including fellow iceboaters Lloyd, Bob, and Ted. We even set up racing marks to add inspiration, and though my mini-skeeter, “Ice and Easy” had a faster boat speed, I had to keep on my toes as the cheapskates made amazing speed downwind toward the leeward finish. My confidence, as I lollygaged around the course, was often shattered.

Then today, the last day. I frankly just wanted a rest. Each day I felt older, moved more slowly. It surely was the effect of the flooring project. Now, out on the ice, the wind had piled half the snow on the other half, leaving deepish snow drifts and bare ice. Worse, tumbled by days of wind, the snow was now dense, and gave a strong braking force, even as the 10 knot wind did its best. By early afternoon, the wind mellowing, the challenge of movement was lost, and I sadly loaded the gear. What an amazing season: 17 days on the ice so far.

At some point, I hope to write about the trials and joys of our newest iceboat class: the mini-skeeter:

(Saltonstall Photo)

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