From: jory squibb
Subject: first walk on ice!
Date: Nov 28, 2010
ahhhh….the first walk on ice…..like the first steps on the moon…..dickie
and i met at howe hill swamp and very carefully stepped out on the ice……lots
of cracking. the thickness was well beyond my 1″ micrometer….. just under
2″……we talked about donning skates…..just too risky with the muck
below and the difficulty of getting back on such thin ice after a break-through….
soooo, gonna let it grow with another 19 degree night…..and meet at 8 AM
tomorrow with skates and skimbatts and hope….
meanwhile tolman pond nearby, is 1″ , and plymouth pond is 3/4″ with
some wetted and unwetted snow on the surface.
From: Buchholz Family
Subject: Plymouth Pond
Date: November 29, 2010
Spotter Jim MacDonald measured two inches of hard grey ice with a light granular
surface this morning on Plymouth. He could see no open holes except those at
the bridge off to the left of the pit area. With below freezing temps there
today and tonight, we hope for three inches by morning.
A bunch of us are taking boats and skim bats, planning to meet around nine for
recon, and if the wind comes in, a bit of light sailing. Wednesday could be
a possibility, too.
From: Richard Saltonstall
Subject: Plymouth Surprises
Date: November 30, 2010
Stayed hard till noon for epic November ice sailing in steady light air and
Plymouth dawned cold in the mid 20s. The ice is layer cake; about an inch to
three quarters of an inch of old black ice upon which about an inch of grey
snow ice formed with an additional inch of new clear black ice underneath. The
sheet is really pretty homogenous. The usual open holes and treacherous ice
over the current which flows down the axis of the pond were not there.
As temps warmed up above freezing the snow ice became very soft. We realized
we were sailing on a thin sheet of new black ice which started to shift a bit
under loads. Cracks would race away from the sailor as the thin unstable ice
succumbed to a grey winter sun.
The sailing was excellent in a perfect breeze for the DN. Long controlled hikes
on nice grabby textured snow ice, I used a harness with my wing; about two and
a half glorious hours of wind and skate chatter.
Pretty nice to get such a sailing adventure this time of year. The 2010-11
ice and snow sailing season is off to a great start in Maine.
From: jory squibb
Subject: plymouth pond ice
Date: December 3, 2010
he plymouth store reports this morning that the ice never disappeared in the
recent rain storm. maybe when the cold returns on tues-wed, unless they’ve had
too much snow, we might get a second wack….jory
From: Richard Saltonstall
Subject: Ice Report
Date: December 8, 2010
This is not for general distribution. Dont want to share early ice with ice
boats or fools who blindly set forth on new black ice. I will post my own reports
on line when the time comes.
We do have some nice looking prospects for the end of the week.
Grassy had very large plates floating around this AM before NW breeze picked
up. The pond had set up over about %50 percent of its surface with ice crystals
floating in the waves. Suspect this evening when the breeze lets off we could
pick up to an inch by tomorrow.
Levenseller is really nice with about an inch of ice which will almost support
a man standing. There was a uniform 3/8 sheet there yesterday. The ice formed
with the last influence of falling snow and so it is textured a bit. The new
ice which formed last night is pretty clear, but still influenced by the original
crystals so it is not quite as clear and strong as it could be. Suspect Levenseller
is a nice ace to have in our deck. Sailing wings and skating could be nice there
Moody is open.
Bog bridge is set up with cellophane ice to ice around the edge left from yesterday.
Skating there might be OK Friday. Not great for wings. There was an open hole
in the middle of the cove off the entrance to the stream from under the bridge.
Older ice at launch is already an inch thick. Be careful and dont assume this
plat is uniform if you get on it, initial ice thicknesses could vary up to an
inch and a half from launch to coves end.
Toman looks nice but I dint check the thickness. Want to avoid sailing or skating
there as it attracts the law to the parking lot.
Weather forecast is a bit dicy as we are on the edge of an impulse going by
to the N Friday and Sunday storm track is too far out to really nail down. If
predicted flurries and light snow do not disguise the ice Friday night, I think
it would be worth venturing onto Grassy. It is a long shot to expect strong
enough ice by Friday there.
Levenseller is pretty nice looking right now. It seems bigger than Tolman though
it doesnt look that way comparing the maps. Access is really good right at the
SE corner of the pond off route 173. Levenseller is at the top of a ridge running
SW to NW, it may also turn out to be a good light air sailing site due to its
Not going to drive to Plymouth myself unless some one else goes and tells me
it is great, you never know until you go. I know this AM enough snow fell there
to dust the ice and hide it pretty well. Cars were off the road going into Bangor.
I am a home boy at heart and so the small nice ice close to the hearth looks
good to me.
Grassy may very well be nice by Saturday conditions permitting. Access is dicy
due to walk in on private road.
Spring Mtn subdivision ponds likely to be nice skating as well by tomorrow.
Early black ice is as treacherous an ice as any ice can be. Spring holes and
warmer upwellings can maintain holes which are hard to spot. Ice thicknesses
can vary a lot and for us intrepid adventurers setting forth from a marginal
condition, we must be very vigilant and check everywhere before you let down
your guard and start ripping it up. Early ice is not great ice to explore. You
can coast a hell of a long way over a very thin sheet before you eventually
go in. Picks may not be enough to save you; they wont work on a big thin sheet.
Check the area you decide to use and dont let folks wander away from under a
watching eye. Early black ice is rescue tube ice; drag one out with you. Throw
reels are a must.
From: James Macdonald
Subject: Re: Unity Pond
Date: December 19, 2010
I can’t endorse this, but apparently my feet had skates on this morning and
with some 10 other feet wearing skates may or may not have skated on Unity Pond
which may or may not support the weight of a small group of humans.
From: Buchholz Family
Subject: Clary Pond
Date: Dec. 20
Taking Lloyd’s ice report yesterday with just a grain of salt, we decided this
weather window was closing fast and it would be a shame to waste this #10 grade
ice. Jory, Fred Wardwell, Scott Woodman, Lloyd and myself agreed to avoid the
known thin areas, which left us with the south end. The wind was north 10-15,
a handful at times considering the ice was hard and very fast. We set up a windward-leeward
course of about a mile and had at it.
Scott was shaking down his new boat “Outlaw”, recently imported from
the mid-west. As with many rumble seat boats, he had to add lead to the springboard
to help steer on the hard ice. It was built by Jack Jacobs and finished to an
exceptionally high degree. Jacobs said it was easy: “take it to an auto
body shop and they rub it with hundred dollar bills until you tell them to stop!”
We’ve all heard of Jorys’ melding of Dicky’s Icywood with his DN rig and ten
foot plank. Today was the maiden voyage and aside from loosing a shroud shackle
and the rig coming down all went very well. I was behind him when the shroud
let go and of course he couldn’t hear me yelling over the shrieking of the wind
so I just settled in for the show, knowing he’d have to tack sooner or later.
Sure enough: down it came. But as usual, it rode the sail down and landed gently.
We swapped boats at one point (I was in my DN) and he came back convinced he’d
found the boat of his dreams. His DN hull is now available for a fairly good
price. Act Now! Icywood hulls are also available.
Fred is eighty-eight this year. An honorable tip of the helmet to you, Fred!
From: Buchholz Family
Date: Jan 5
Bill, Scott and Jory set up boats while Dicky and Cam frolicked with SkimBats.
There was a long open spot in the middle, which is usual for early ice on this
lake, but there was enough solid stuff to make a great day of it along the west
and north sides. The wing sailors could tip-toe around the thin stuff and back
behind the open water, leaving the boats to tear around with abandon. Scott
and Jory continue to tune their new boats, while I keep learning more about
sailing the DN. After years in the big skeeter, this is like riding a go-cart.
I love the physicallity of the boat, the close connection to the wind and ice
and the immediate responsiveness. I’m looking forward to some racing this season.
Date: Jan 6-9
Four great days on a variety of surfaces, but with so much wind it didn’t
really bother. The first day was a thin layer of bonded snow. The N-S pressure
ridge blocked access to the body of the lake, but Jory and I eventually found
a pass at the southern end. We tore off into the great beyond and were hit a
few seconds later by a tremendous gust. I hiked and bore away a bit, giving
the boat no mercy as this was the first great burst of speed in the old girl
this season and it felt great!. The big bang came a moment later and the sail
slowly sailed the mast down onto the ice. We coasted for a long time befor coming
to a stop. I managed to turn back upwind headed for the pits, dragging the rig,
all while coasting. Just before melt down, the GPS clocked 64.8mph.
The hound had failed from metal fatigue, but no other harm was done, except
to spoil an otherewise wonderful day of sailing. Jory came along side and we
lashed up the mess and pushed back to the pits. Needless to say, the rest of
the fleet had switched to storm sails.
We were all back the next day, as the bonded layer of snow had blown about
75% clear, leaving snow islands on a sea of grade nine ice. The wind was still
up, and the new hound held together just fine thanks to epoxy and heat lamp.
A small, radical fringe group attemped to cruise south through the narrows into
the southern region of the lake, but were thwarted by thin ice and peer pressure.
Enough about that!
See the video of these days in the photo archive.
From: jory squibb
Subject: pre-weekend ice round-up
Date: Feb 4, 2011
Here’s a short synopsis:
Vermont–via Paul Gervais–totally snowed out and will be for a while. They’ve
been losing the roulette game with wind, snow, and ice recently, but gotten
some nordic skating in little windows, and of course, good skiing.
Maine–zilch–deep snow everywhere.
Mass–via jeff brown:
The Cape got mostly rain from Tuesday-Wed storm and most lakes look resurfaced.
However, most lakes were also in a state of barely able to be sailed with many
hazards, open areas and thin concealed ice, ect.
After this past rainfall, each location will likely need extensive scouting
before being able to sail.
Lakes to consider:
Great Herring Pond- Likely the thickest and least hazardous, but had the least
amount of recovery from snow. Probably a good bet!
Mashpee-Wakeby lake- Still unsailed territory, but has reasonable thickness
launch to consider further investigation. Last checked, had known open areas
Lake Wequaquet- What was the HUGE open hole (30% of lake) appears closed, or
mostly closed. The problem here is; we know the hole froze with snowfall onto
skim ice, hence NO clear base ice established. The site was probably safer to
consider when it was wide open, at least then you could know the exact
boundaries. Iceboards are sure to explore this over the next few days, as well
as a huge fishing clan as usual.
Long Pond Harwich- Sailed on last Sunday with major concerns for many thin
and a few open ones. The thin areas likely got burned out from rain. Very
limited sailing at best here.
Seymore Pond-(accross from LP) Is thicker, had one small hole. Very limited
The forecast for Friday seems very good to explore these sites further and
hope that ANYONE WHO DOES SO would please input what they find here.
Saturday’s forecast is bleak for sailing, more snow and mostly rain, which
this point only aggrivates hazards on the already clear ice.
Sunday looks to be a fine day to try sailing, but will likely be spent in
pursuit of reasonable ice. I am sure if people really wanted to sail, they could
travel here Sunday, stop by all of the mentioned lakes, and see just where
people end up.
Fact is, no one will really know until Sunday AM and after some extensive
let’s keep in touch—jory
From: jory squibb
Subject: joy and loathing in lakeville
Date: feb 13, 2011
Bill and I left on thursday at 6AM and were munching portugese sausage breakfast
sandwiches in Freetown, Mass by 11AM. Gosh, it’s great to get outta Maine. These
southerners, so much more cosmapolitan, jive so naturally, with complete strangers,
and speak with that lovely broad Boston accent. I felt let out of a cage!
We pushed on to lakeville, sadly shocked at spotting a snow-covered surface
on the little estuaries as we approached the launch area. And there at the ramp,
was the ugliest ice i have seen in 11 years of iceboating. We plunked our planks
down and their chocks fell totally into nasty deep craters of frozen snow and
ice. Wordlessly, we continued with the set up….
Which proves what scientists have recently discovered. When human lab subjects
are chained next to full dog dishes; as the days pass, they eventually will
chow down without restraint.
Soon, we were happily encouraged by Billy Bluefeather, who told us his little
secret: Off in the NW corner of the lake is beautiful smooth ‘blue ice’ which
will reflect the baby blue of the skies. It seemed impossible, but…..
We flicked off our emergency brakes, and just as the church bells were striking
noon, we shot off in the 15 Kn. NW wind, crunching over the snow ice, crinkling
over the shell ice, juddering across the snowmobile tracks, and banging, bone-jarringly,
across 2″ high blocks of solid ice…..ever thinking: I drove 4 hours for
this horse manure?????
We passed the little lighthouse island on the right (see map below), and slowly,
and then dramatically, the lake shifted it’s gears: there, was the mother lode:
blue ice. We tried to pass east of the second island, only to find genuine open
water totally blocking the strait. But the western side of the island was clear,
and we blasted up into the far north end onto amazing ice. Round and round we
sped in perfect winds: a plate only 1/3 mile by 3/4, but worth every weary mile
between here and Maine. Soon Billy joined us, and we pic-nic-ed on the sunny
shore, traded boats, and had a beautiful afternoon.
About 4, with an orange sun approaching the horizon, we parked our steeds at
our beloved ‘ Eagle Club’, climbed the chain-link fence and were welcomed into
its dark comraderie and stiff drinks. This is one of long pond lakeville’s major
assets. and…..though i know it’s politically incorrect, and downright stupid
to drink and drive, we then chased our long shadows in the dying but still adequate
wind, the boats absolutely sailing themselves, the jounce magically smoothed,
back to the pits, where work-a-day commerads had arrived to check out conditions
for the morrow.
We decided to leave our boats set up, and headed off to a cozy B&B and
a lushious dinner in Sandwich.
On Friday morning, well-rested in a queen-sized bed we had separated by the
no-man’s-land of a long bolster, plus a gorgeous breakfast by our 86 year old
host– we checked out and skated Mashpee Pond, to find it even better ice than
Long Pond Lakeville. This beautiful forrest-bound pond is about the size of
Chickawaulkie up in Maine. Alas, our boats were set up back at Long Pond, so
we backtracked and Friday brought us equally perfect winds, the comaraderie
of about 10 boats, and a handly lunch at the Eagle when hunger prevailed.
It was tempting then, Friday evening, to switch to Mashpee; but the promise
of 40 boats, that exciting flashback to the way things in iceboating used to
be, lured us into a third day. And, as new experiences are almost always worth
it, we had a great day in the deteriorating conditions of Saturday. Gads, the
wind was gusting into the 20’s. The ice was softening, letting us lock deep
into the styrofoam. It was truly gear-testing weather. a steady stream of broken
boats was being walked or towed back to the launch as the afternoon progressed.
Fred Wardwell’s son-in-law, new to iceboating, was learning the ropes in the
worst teaching situation possible, and headed into the open water east of the
Finally, back at the pits, with Bill’s gooseneck shattered, me with bent shackle
pins, and with a general sigh of relief that we were still functional after
the day’s acid test, we packed up, jabbering with this lovely community, every
one a character, every one a buddy, gradually getting more names connected with
bodies. Even Eric Anderson, pulled by his new role as commodore, was grumpily
on the sidelines. “Me, out there on that S—?”, he grumbled. “no,
my sense of self-preservation is too intact, thank you!”
So, leaving Mashpee as a holy grail for the future, we happily pointed North,
trading stories and comparing notes. Daring to quote scripture, “We had
fought the good fight, We had finished the course, we had kept the faith.”
***There wasn’t much action in Maine for the nest week or so until Sebago was
discovered. In addition to Jory’s report below and an attempt to have the New
England DN Regatta on the tenth we had another six days of fabulous sailing.
We were are just too exhausted from the long drive and hard sailing to write
a report! We should all suffer such…Ed.***
From: jory squibb jsquibb
Subject: report from sebago
Date: Tuesday, Feb 22, 2011
One of the nicest things about iceboating is NOT iceboating the day after an
intense experience. How I love poking around today, even doing Brenda’s errands.
Got home last night, shedding layers as i crossed the hall, slumped into the
rocker, staring numbly at the carpet patterns. Brenda entered, moving her lips,
but I had lost the power to comprehend human speech, somewhere back among 217
road miles and 68.2 sun-drenched, wind-whipped ice miles, sometimes travelling
as fast as 51.7 near-panic mph. My apgar score, at that moment back home, was
Partly, it was the fun of sailing among 5 Saltonstall-designed boats all at
once. There were Bill’s Indigo, and the brand-new DN-Icywood he’s been building
for Ron Buzzell, Dickie’s Black Fly, and the new Black Fly just built by Randy Rice,
plus my Icywood and then 2 DN’s. I arrived at 10AM just as others
were setting up, but we didn’t get going until about 11:30 since both Bill and
Dickie were helping the set-up of brand-new boats.
In the intense cold, the ice was diamond hard, you might say 7.8 grade–that
is, good enough to worry, but not to obsess about breaking the gear; good enough
to try to get everything out of the old jalopy; good enough not to have to scrutinize
the surface at every instant– but bad enough to be sooo thankful to be sitting
upright, surrounded by wood.
here’s what sebago looked like
you’ll see that an immediate pressure ridge blocked exit from the pits, but,
even though it was a downwind crossing with the NW wind, it could be walked
across and not backed across because you were still in the lee of the land.
Wind was a frisky 10-15 and, later in the day, way out in the middle of the
lake, it was gusting into the 20’s and blowing snow streamers from the snow
patches. genuine arctic….
But, though the ice was jouncy, the wind strong, the sun intense; up at the
northern end of the lake near the state park, the ice was really quite quite
We had a nice picnic on an island in the NW corner of the lake, and then circumnavigated
the northern half of the lake, finding a linear degradation of the ice quality
as we proceeded south. By half way south, scolloping down wind, bleeding speed
as much as possible, we eventually lost interest in having to beat back to windward
on the worsening ice.
A big gang will be there on sebago today. I keep checking the wind to try to
imagine what fun they’re having. I hope to return in the tiny window of southerlies
on friday before the snow flies. Sebago is my Winnipasaki. nowhere do i get
those wide open spaces, and the view of mt. washington in the distant NW.
From: jory squibb
Subject: heaven be praised: ice at last!
Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2011
There’s a great electrical jolt which happens when the positive meets the negative,
when the female meets the male, when the yim joins with the yam, and when the
jaded ice fanatic, after dutifully clumping on his X-C skiis for weeks and weeks,
is again rattling and clattering across real live ice in the intense March sun….
after Bill, taking my dare, made his debut in an early morning yoga class,
we rushed over to Megunticook’s Bog Bridge in the 19 degree cold snap to test
the ice. Bill went up to his shin in the snow-covered slush at the edge, and
we looked out at a discouraging mix of water pools–some barely skimmed over–and
every other kind of unsailable detrus..
so we headed to Hosmer Pond and walked out on grade 8 snow ice which covered
about 1/5 of this small pond. A half-hour later, armed with skates and skim-batts
we worked this small plate, thanking our stars, but still…we were frustrated
by the smallness of the plate. Maybe the middle of megunticook, which we never
really checked, could be just as good.
so , with the determination of ice starvation, and the fact that neither of
us had anything else pressing, (work? what work…) we drove into Davy Jones’
driveway, which gives you quick access to the South Broads. The center of the
lake looked inviting, so we borrowed an extension latter and crawled out onto
the ice. Now we use the ice quality of “long pond lakeville” as a
measure of bad ice. This ice was far far better than long pond lakeville. about
like Sebago was two weeks ago….so we rigged skimbatts and nordic skates, and
with an 8-12 mph NW wind, blasted out onto the ice, luffing to stop and check
the ice frequently. The smoothest pools now had about 1.5″ of new ice over
an inch of water. There were occasional healed drain holes, and drain gulleys
to watch out for, and thankfully, the skate-gobbling spots of shell-over-air
did not break under our skates. In sum, with strong sun and a good wind, and
ice you had to watch but not worry about, we were like kids let out of a dreary
We worked our way up the west side of the lake finding the best ice in Big Bay
just south of Wooster Narrows, and even better ice up in Wipe-out Bay near Lamb’s
Folly. In this beauful bay, which funnels a NW wind, a full 2.5 miles north
of the launch, with the wind threatening to moderate, we reluctantly headed
downwind, wondering if we could keep up speed downwind. But the wind continued,
and we rattled South, winding-up our speed by curving upwind in the occasional
slowdowns.. With both of us weaving a cross-stitch, in that dance that makes
skimbatting such a joy, we finally cut East across the broads and began exploring
the other half of this vast lake…Everywhere, the ice was amazingly consistant
Finally, back at Davy Jones’ bay, having missed breakfast and lunch, hungry,
very thursty, at 1:30 we lay on our backs in the powerful March sun, and thanked
the universe. Thanks for being so incredibly beautiful. Thanks for giving us
the health–and the will–to enjoy such an amazing day.
From: jory squibb
Subject: Damariscotta report
Date: March 9, 2011
Darmiscotta Lake was a blast of sun, but not of wind. wind was 0-7 mph NNE.
we had a great time anyway, enjoying the wind when it was there, picnics, and
lots of chatting… the ice was about grade 7.8, quite fast, and with some very
smooth patches now and then. otherwise, rumble rumble. and push push… we all
agreed the ice was an order of magnitude better than long pond lakeville! you
had to watch out for healed drain cracks and gullys. bill and i cruised as far
South as we dared, and got just south of the first narrows. but with wind disappearing
in the narrows, and the constant threat of the ice getting crunchy unexpectedly,
in the strong sunshine, we turned North and worked our way to the pits at 1PM
in the dying wind….
beautiful day, made even better with the good company of Scott Woodman, Chris
Conary, Bill Bunting, John Eastman, Bill Buchholz, and myself. the access to
the lake, as Bill Buchholtz reminisced, was the big excitement of the day.
i think diehards could have fun tomorrow morning as a front comes through….otherwise
looks like a multi-day wait…
let’s hope for some more fun on that 2′ thick ice before the fat lady sings!
From: jory squibb
Subject: possibly the last hurrahs-Lake St. George,
Date: Monday March 14, 2011
Bill and I met at 8AM today, Monday, and drove to point “A” on the
The wind was NW about 4-8 MPH, Temp was about 20, and the ice was blue-white,
porous, at best grade 9, but with many types of hazards. Skimbatting would be
We donned skates, set up skimbats and sometimes glided sometimes rattled out
a surface made magical by its very improbability. Here was one of the last seats
in the 2011 “Icecapades” movie. We had a blast exploring most of this
large, island-filled lake, avoiding the 1/2″ skimmed drain holes, drain
gullies, and 1″ thick bridge ice over air–which we sometimes encountered.
Luckily, all was well frozen in this sunny 20 degree morning…..
It was one of those times when you just love the dance of skimbatting, and
once I had found a trustworthy area to put on speed without worrying about the
surface, I just logged in sailing time. stored it up. banked it in the bank
for the future. hoarded it away for awful april, measeley may, horrid and torrid
june and july, endless august, suspenseful september, expectant october, and
finally the countdown, the final countdown–if I somehow survive the famine
of summer– of good old late november.
at 12:30, with the porous surface softening–or at least we imagined it softening–we
chowed down in a nice restaurant up on Route 3 west of the lake, and, after
examining the state boat launch ramp (see map) for tomorrow’s iceboating, we
contemplated coming back and sailing iceboats in the ice-preserving cloudy afternoon…but…..one
ice activity per day….felt like enough….although we will surely regret it
later. at the boat launch ramp, walking without hindrance out onto the firm
ice, it looked like 4 WD vehicles could cross the snow at the ramp, and launch
boats onto solid ice at the edge.
tomorrow morning is supposed to be cold, about 18 degrees, getting above freezing
in the afternoon, and, alas, have winds about 4 MPH. not too promising, you
say? but the future is even grimmer, with temps above freezing for many days
to come. sooo, Bill and I plan to be at Lake St. George’s boat launch ramp on
Route 3 about 9AM. Others may go on up to Unity.
Hope we see you on this last ice…..jory
From: Buchholz Family
Subject: Unity Pond Today
Date: March 15, 2011
Optimists all, Bunting, Woodman, Squibb and I showed up with boats, while Unity
CBIC member Jim MacDonald and a buddy wisely only brought skates. Of course
there was no wind in the morning, although the windmills in Freedom were turning
nicely as we drove past. Five of us set out to the north on skates to get a
close look at the ice conditions and wait for the wind. Scott wise cracked that
he wasn’t looking forward to the skate back into the teeth of the southerly
gale. We all laughed, but sure enough it came up and we did indeed buck it back
to the pits where Jory and I set up boats. Trying to plot a course on the smooth
parts became the challenge. We managed to find a long stretch that crossed the
lake and gave up a deep reach and a close reach back. But the ice began to soften
by 11:00, so Jory had to quit and went for lunch while I switched to slush runners
generously donated for the day by Bill Bunting. The wind held at 6-8 which was
plenty to hike and power through the slush. I found that I could set the front
runner into a previous track and let go of the tiller. The boat would steer
itself and all I had to do was tend the sheet. Even when hiking the bow runner
would still follow the groove. I could anticipate sheeting requirements by watching
the road ahead: here comes a turn upwind, now downwind. Mesmerizing.
The skating was poor, Jory resorting to crawling at one point. The lesson of
the day: skate with ski poles.You can cover more ground with less work and use
them to poke at the ice here and there. If you go through they could be a useful
tool to help you get out. And on rough ice, you avoid having to crawl!
Our next hope for a spring sail is South Twin Lake in East Millinockett, scouted
by Steve Lamb. Keep us posted, Steve! Thanks to Scott for hanging around and
helping to lug boats off the ice.
From: jory squibb
Subject: the fat lady sings an encore
Date: March 19, 2011
Steve Lamb kept track of the ice conditions up at South Twin Lake, just west
of Millinocket, Maine; by talking with the owner of the 5 Lakes Lodge. The weekend
promised two mornings well below freezing, which would give the lake’s surface
a good chance of being sailable. So Steve, his son James, and Peter Coward headed
up from Massachusetts Friday night, and Bill Buchholz and I loaded an amazing
amount of gear, and we headed North from Camden.
We had thought of making a day trip, instead of an overnighter, but then,
in memory, the actual time of sailing is always eclipsed by, in this case, 6
hours of driving to and from the venue. So I booked us into a cheapo hiker’s
hostel in downtown Millinocket. But Bill voted for iceboater’s togetherness,
and we swallowed hard and paid the $175 “iceboater’s special price”
at “5 Lakes Lodge”, which is a high-end place catering to snowmobilers
at this season. Out your window, you have a view of the lake with Mt. Katadyn
and its range in the distance:
I got up at 6:30AM and was surprised to see the Mass. gang had iceboats already
pretty well set up. Throughout the weekend, Bill and I would reflect that we
were in the company of the “totally committed” fringe of the iceboat
community. The ice was dusted with a 1/2 inch of new snow, but the underlying
surface was fast. We set off for a pre-breakfast romp in the light morning airs
and then chowed down on a mammoth feed provided by the lodge.
Over a lengthy breakfast, looking out on the scene you see above, we compared
notes with Steve, Peter, and James, who sailed absolutely every weekend of the
season, never asking ‘should we go’ but always ‘where shall we go’, beginning
the scouting process with others from the club on Thursdays or Fridays. Such
a contrast with our smaller Maine club, which is so frustratingly beleagured
by the snowy, ‘middle-season’.
Finally, we pushed away from the table and, fearing an early slush-out, pulled
in the sheets to the still-light, but sailable morning airs. Bash! 500 yards
to the NE of the lodge, my bow runner sunk through 3/4 inches of skim ice into
5″ of genuine water. I walked forward to rescue the runner and sunk to
my ankles with both feet, and fell to my wrists with both hands, getting totally
wet in the frigid morning air. Tarnation! Of course there were 3 feet of ice
under our feet, but I was still just as wet. We might have been deeply discouraged,
since with the dusting of snow, there was no way of telling good ice from a
“slush trap” . But then, one of those fortuitous things happened:
nearby was a kite-skier who lived on the lake and told us the exact location
and extent of this limited hazard, and we were thus able to avoid it all day.
We finally gained the open body of South Twin, and with lots of wind, we began
whooping it up in the long long runs of this enormous, mountain-bound lake.
Bill, meanwhile, with the heaviest boat, was trapped in a windless “parking
lot”, and thinking that he would have to change runners, walked back to
the lodge for ‘skunners’ a kind of ski-and-runner affair, which, once installed,
proved no better than his plates. Switching back to plates, he soon joined us
in the body of the lake, where the wind was already showing it’s fickle nature.
Lured by the open horizon to the north called North Twin; Peter, Bill and I
decided to cruise NW and see if we could find the limit of ice in that bay.
Alas, my hands and feet were getting terminal, so I turned and headed back to
the lodge. The others however, continued 3 miles into the moderating headwind–always
an iffy thing to do, since you must eventually have the more difficult task
of moving downwind in light air–and when Peter at last urged caution, they
turned, and the wind totally died! For the next hour, they harnessed themselves
by ropes to the bow runners and walked the long miles back!
Once warmed up back at the lodge, I switched to slush runners. Soon the wind
rebuilt nicely and we had a great afternoon on softening snow, until Bill and
I decided to pack up about 3. Part of the fun was each of us trying James’ new
Whizz, built with his dad, Steve. This boat is a runaway success, and is one
of the easiest to handle boats i’ve ever sailed: good low speed grunt out of
the tacks, with the big wing mast giving a nice luff pocket. Impeccable steering
and balance. Bill was immediately smitten by the big boat comfort and speed,
plus small boat ease of set up and use on small ponds.
On the long ride home, Bill cogitated how to manage his ‘too many iceboats’
problem, brought on by his building a Whizz, and selling his beloved “Indigo”
either as a skeeter or just a hull for use with DN components, as my icywood
is…..and we had those hours of travel to chuckle and groan over this past
season’s adventures. Maybe 25 days on the ice at most….. Like every season,
you’re amazed at each season’s uniqueness: slightly different lakes come into
prominence, different boats, meeting new people, and the limitless varieties
of ice and wind. It’s never the same….
have a great summer, buddies, and let us know what projects you have going.
all the best, jory
From: steve lamb
Subject: Re: the fat lady sings an encore–
Date March 19, 2011
The rest of the story,
Don’t walk out while the fat lady is still singing. Just after we saw the last
of your taillights the wind came up with a vengeance, the snow now blowing down
the lake it was the best wind of the day at least 15 knots. We sailed till the
sun went down behind the trees and went in and got ready for dinner. Rick, our
host at 5 Lakes Lodge told us the full moon that night was going to be 14% brighter
than normal, and as close to the earth that it will be in the next 20 years.
He asked us if we we’re going back out after dinner, not an uncommon thing to
do for snowmobilers. Of coarse we took the challenge and said if the wind was
still up when we got back we would.
Well, as it turned out when we got back from dinner and opened the doors of
the truck about 10 knots of wind blew through so we geared back up. James and
Peter taped bow light to there boats and it made it easy to see them. We sailed
in formation keeping close track of each other the whole time. The wind finally
backed off at 11:00 pm so we had to call it a day. We started setting up at
6:00am and finished at 11:00pm, a 15 hour day of ice boating not bad!
This morning after we finished breakfast we headed out to brake down and load
up. I walked out and found a nice light breeze so I couldn’t resist taking one
last ride. The wind had swung around the the west so I had a nice angle to sail
out of the cove to the islands and back. One last ride for the season.
This is how the three of us spent our winter, make a plan of attack on Friday
and go for it knowing full well that you not get to sail. Only one week end
did we drive around all day to find no sailable ice. Always in search for the
So glad you guy’s took a big chance and came up to join us knowing that you
may not get to sail. Had a great time sailing with you guys, always enjoy your
From: Buchholz Family
Subject: sailing The Sebago
Date: March 27, 2011
Thanks to Tom Childs initiative yesterday to explore the surface conditions
on The Sebago, three of us were treated to a superb day of spring sailing. Unfortunately
Tom’s vintage Renegade mast exploded under the impact of a mighty gust yesterday
and he wasn’t able to join us. But, like a team of mountain climbers, he sacrificed
to put a small group on top, which is exactly where we were. Scott Woodman,
Paul Delnero and myself set up at Pump House Bay. Scott was on plate runners,
Paul and I on slushies but it didn’t seem to matter once we were out of the
bay. The plates cut through the 3/4″ of snow to the hard ice under while
the slushies glided along on top. The snow was firm enough to prevent spin outs
or side slipping. A fisherman measured eleven inches in his hole and looked
like pretty good stuff. We beat out into the main body of the lake. It was smooth
and white from shore to shore. Pressure ridges had healed and only showed thin
bands of ice where water had leaked up and wet out the snow and then froze.
We could go anywhere with moderate abandon. And it was quiet. There was no sound
from the runners. None of the usual clickity clack slam bang, just a gentle
hiss. In spite of the strong WNW wind, we managed to find ourselves parked at
one point on the windward shore on Frye Island. Pushing out a quarter mile the
wind was up in spades.
We bore away and shot down the north side of Frye Island past Frye’s Leap emerging
at the entrance to Jordan Bay, giving the open water at the tip of Squam Island
a wide berth. Then it was a six mile drag race on starboard tack back to the
pits and a lunch in lovely downtown Sebago Lake.
The wind picked up after lunch and the snow softened, so after blasting around
Pump house Bay with the kite sailors (with whom we could not keep up!) we decided
to call it a day. We hadn’t broken boats or bodies and this might be the end
for sure this time. Phil Lowe, who is building a Gambit and is our other spy
on The Sebago, showed up to help break down the boats and was kind enough to
pass out charts of the lake to everyone. We look forward to seeing him on the
ice next year.
Thanks, again, Tom for finding the ice. We had a hunch there was sailable ice
Might there be still more?