Memphremagog 1/4/14

With a date like 1-4-14 how could you go wrong? All the pieces fell neatly into place for an epic sail on Saturday. The forecast light wind built to a fine 10-15 from the south just as we finished setting up, and the south wind brought a breath of the tropics, boosting the mercury above zero. Amazing how good it feels to go from -15 to +3. Day finished at +10. Were we cold? Of course we were! But we kept going until the headlights of the cars leaving the ice indicated night was coming.It was the three of us in the video below, as well as super DN, a gaggle of kite sailors, and a local Skeeter: a hybrid Whizz/Nite. From the cockpit forward is built from the DN Goodchild Whizz drawings, and the stern from a Nite but narrowed to carry one person.

We carried long tacks down the lake ten miles to the little island just visible in the mist from Magog. Beyond that we found a brash area and stopped. We walked across and found a later freeze of lovely black ice. I wish I could tell you that there was no snow on it, Believe me I do! But there was a bonded inch, and the plate was only two inches thick. So we deep reached ten miles back to the pit area, throwing up great clouds of snow and trying to spot the clear patches to gybe. Yves rattled a pin loose and lost the rig. No harm done as Denis and I carried spares, but do tape your pins on a long tour. We got back to the pits for lunch and then went back out and did it again. Absolutely first class sailing. I was reminded of what Jory said sometime last season while tearing around in the snow. He allowed that Black Ice is way over-rated: miles and miles of the same old smooth. Sort of like the weather in Southern California. What you long for is an Event! Snow drifts give it to you: dodging them, smashing through them and launching the windward runner off the hard ones. As long as the wind holds, and this one blew strong well past sunset.

This morning the wind had vanished and the snow had softened, so we went for a skate on the municipal skate trail which winds along the shore at the head of the lake. It had just been Zambonied with a rather crude rig, but the results were superb. “Magnifique” I told the guy and he seemed pleased.

I asked if he could do the entire lake, but I think the request got lost in translation.

The night before, this was filled with smiling families and smooching young couples. An absolutely enchanting scene. If this lake comes back in, I would suggest you drop everything and go. The food and hospitality are excellent. There’s a bar and restaurant 100yds from the launch site, and the holiest of grails is the one reach-non-stop sail to Newport forty miles to the south when the wind is WNW. Here’s a video that Denis made which gives a much better sense of the day:

If it doesn’t play from this post, go to the web site and try it there. Eric and Eben are scouting the American end for a possible Easterns site scheduled for next weekend. Their local forecast tells of rain tomorrow and then cold temps coming back. No snow expected. And I heard that in English, not French!

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