She’s Sung

No one has accused the CIBC of not pushing conditions right to the limit. We’ve had some fabulous sails over the years on super marginal conditions. But today the limit pushed back. The plate took a hit from the sun yesterday and we didn’t get the cold we needed last night to firm it up. Fortier, Gagnon and myself plowed upwind through deep slush hoping to find some better ice. A few miles north of the pits, approaching Sugar Island, shades of grey did appear. In these hard spots the boat would accelerate, letting us head up higher until the slush hit again and we’d have to bear off a bit to maintain speed. A great game.

One of the hard spots. As long as you tacked on these you’d carry speed through the tack. It never would have happened without the 12-15kt. breeze.

I really need to apologize to Rick Bishop and his gang for failing to mention the importance of slush runners at this time of year. The plate was hard when checked yesterday morning, but things change quickly when it’s almost to May. They made the drive up from Cape Cod yesterday, got the boats nearly set up this morning when it became obvious their plates would work, and they probably made it home for dinner. Slush runners and storm sails are two of the most overlooked and forgotten bits of equipment that can usually mean the difference between sailing and going home. Call Steve Duhamel: buy the nicely shaped stainless angles. Make slush runners. Sailing slush is fun!

The run back down was more water sailing than ice. The boat would get airborne out off one slush pit and make a very soft landing in the next, feeling like soft water waves in a motorboat. There were a couple of very deep ones, but as long as the boat was going fast she’d pull right out in a fountain of ice balls. Dave Fortier, of all people, was caught going too slow and was swallowed up to the fuselage in one of them. Jim and I took a deep breath and actually sailed back out into the stuff to help him.

No regrets today, we had over two hours of very dramatic sailing, but this is SO what done looks like. There was no chance for tomorrow. Doug Raymond and Bryce showed up, but the Cheapskates’s runners finally net their match, and Doug was in a cautious mood. One of the guys from Mass was running a drone as we came blasting downwind and I hope he got some footage. I’ve never seen a slush sailing video, and today would easily qualify as the most extreme ever. As Lloyd always said, there’s no shame in pushing your boat nearly to the point of destruction on the last day of the season. I wonder if he feels that way even though it was with his old boat today!

It’s been a challenging winter, as we all know, and a long one. Our first sail was November 17, and today is April 21: six months of watching the forecast for countess lakes, calling spies and scanning web cams. We didn’t get in quite a few regattas, and even the mighty ISA didn’t happen. Well, not yet anyway. They are big on postponement; is has been postponed until November. Which is a great way to approach the off season: a mere six month postponement. So sharpen and oil the runners, take the sail to the sail maker and endure his abuse for for bringing him iceboat sails in May. They’ll never understand. Most importantly, it’s the start of the iceboat building season. Start now. Be ready. It’s only a short postponement.

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Moosehead Ice

It ain’t pretty, but it’ll get ‘er done, as Dave says.

Up close, there’s a thin layer of fresh snow in places but the sun will be working hard on that all day. Will be interesting to see how it turns out by morning.

Sunday morning might be pretty good as well, given the cold temps forecast for Saturday night. Bring a tooth brush just in case! Kelly’s has rooms. Set up at 9:00 or earlier, Kelly’s Landing, Greenville Junction.

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Maine State Championship 2018

I have just received a call from Bill, and the report is that there is ice. With Bill’s experience, and measurements of the ice condition we are scheduling the Maine State Championship for Saturday. Bill has checked the North and South end, and the ice in Greenville is the best. It is even forecast to be a bit colder tonight and tomorrow so that is a good thing. Bill said the ice surface seems to be much as it was on Lake Memphremagog a few weeks back. Most everyone was sailing well with plates, and I sailed with angles on the third day and those worked quite well.  We think that racers should attempt to arrive at or before 0900 so we will have the best chance to get er done.

Dave US4690

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Hail Mary Regatta

There has been some interest in holding a regatta on Moosehead Lake this Saturday. The forecast trend isn’t perfect, but it might be good enough depending on what the structure of the surface is now. We are sending a scout first thing tomorrow morning to evaluate. If it’s halfway decent then the temps in the high twenties Friday night will be cold enough. If there’s too much moisture in there, then probably not. Wind forecast is excellent, so even if it goes soft we’ll fly.

Stand by for a report by 11:00am

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Sorry, This is Gonna Hurt

I was wrong earlier with my rabbit-out-of-a-hat magic metaphor. This was sound science, not magic or a stroke of luck. It’s the result of watching countless weather forecasts, trying to average them out, and getting solid intel from on the ice observations. Thanks Denis!

This video shows the ice conditions Friday, Saturday, and then today.

Of course there’s some good sailing footage in there as well. If you can dub in a short piece from the fat lady you’ll get the total picture.

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More From Quebec

That last post went out without the picture, and the name of the lake is Lac St. Francois, in Lambton.

Guess that tune:

Everybody’s talkin at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of the ice.

People stop and starin, I can’t see their faces, just the shadow of the ice.

I’m going where the sun keep shinin, through the blowing snow. Going north where the weather suits my clothes.

Peeling off with the ice cold wind,
Sailin on a winter breeze,
Skippin over the frozen lake
like a leaf.

Everybody’s talkin at me, I don’t hear a word they’re sayin, just the echos of the ice. No, I won’t leave my iceboat

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Nice Day For A Sail

Frank and Denis have pulled another rabbit out of the hat. It wet out Friday, froze yesterday and last night. Some shell ice but nothing too bad so far. Quebec is expecting a week of crazy weather, so this plate could pop out the other end in good shape.

Thanks to everyone who came to the meeting yesterday. Lloyd has retired as club secretary, replaced by Curtis Rindlaub. We made an attempt to convey to Lloyd the depth of our gratitude for all he’s done for the sport, but couldn’t even come close! Lloyd, we’ll see you on the ice.

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