1/21 Lake Chickawaukee

…..before heading for our rendezvous on Chicky this morning, I walked out from Bog Bridge on Megunticook out to Fernald’s Neck. I knew, from sailing Chicky on Sunday, that the latter would be a quite good surface, and Megunticook, while sailable, was notably less smooth….
The puddles had fully healed in the 12 degree temperature, but the snow ice was more noticeable….So, although, I love and prefer Megunticook, I was now ready to throw in my lot with the gang on Chicky…..Besides, iceboating is almost as much about community as it is about the joy of sailing itself….
And Chicky had absolutely luscious ice, with a wind in the high teens, when I arrived there about 830AM….I re-hoisted my storm sail, left there the night before, and cruised around alone, gradually remembering Chicky’s frustrating wind patterns in todays NW wind. Gradually a large gang of ice fanatics arrived and we had one of those amazing days which stone you to your very soul, when there is absolutely no other hobby to compare. Here is the list of suspects:
Lloyd, of course, played host, and built a fire for cocoa
Bill Buchholz rigged and sailed his “Fast Piece of Furniture”
Frank Able sailed his beautiful gambit, built by Randy Rice
Jory Squibb in the fast and rugged Icywood DN
the indomitable Fred Wardwell sailed his new Gambit acquired from Stu Nelson
Paul Delnero from New Hampshire repaired and sailed his DN from the public landing
John Eastman, with his Mead in the shop, sailed his gambit. Bunting sailed his very well tuned Nite
Mark Hannibal skimbatted long and hard in the powerful wind
Scott Woodman, slowed by a troublesome back, crewed for Bill in Fast Furniture
Dave Fortier had his speeding bullet, the orange DN
Curtis Rindlaub from Peak’s Island sailed his DN and took pictures and videos.
Ben Fuller had his antique stern steerer Tipsy out for the first time this season >

Here is the Furniture with Curtis taking pictures.

Here is the lunch crowd: John E, Mark Hannibal, Scott the Guy and Bill Bunting, Lloyd, Bill Buchholz, Curtis Rindlaub.

Much of the excitement was generated by Fast Piece of Furniture, a reference to a woman of easy virtue, which was in her second shakedown. She has a wicked turn of speed, is a little faster than a DN, and makes a very dramatic spin-out on occasion, with an absolute avalanche of ice chips. Bill sailed her both crewed and alone. Aside from the two flickers, she behaved very well. The seating is comfortable, and the big steering wheel gives plenty of leverage so the steering is very slow and easy. You know exactly how Barney Oldfield must have felt with all that power at hand through those large wheels. With the double ended sheet, the passenger can either work as the sheet trimmer, like Fortier, or let the skipper do the work and just marvel at the whole thing and take video, like Curtis. As the skipper, being relieved of sheet tending duties is a great relief: all you need to do is drive her around and nod to the crew when it’s time to tack. Some get it, others don’t, but no one had their head taken off. For most sailors graduated from DN’s ducking under the boom is second nature. The downside of the double ended sheet is when the skipper lets out his end every now and then just to ease things a bit and the crew hauls back on his end eventually all the skipper has is a knot at the ned of the line. This is where faith in the crew comes in…

It was a day to go very very fast, if you wanted, with great ice and wind in the high teens and sometimes gusty. We were also visited by Lauren, who runs an Inn right on Chicky….see lakewatchmanor.com or call 706 6424. You can probably keep your iceboat right out in front, since the inn is right on the lake.

As is the pattern this year, snow is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. It might not be much, and will be dry, so it may disappear by the weekend. Keep thinking, and searching for, ICE!

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