How Many Boats Can One Lake Break?

If you were on Lake Chickawaukee today you’d know that the answer is ALL of them. It wasn’t the rock solid south west breeze or the deep ruts left from the slushmobiles, but some greater force. Maybe it was the last gasps of whatever it was that has made this such a challenging year.

There were four boats down the lake and a small gang eating beans around the fire when two sails disappeared within the same minute. The other two boats went to investigate and it turns out that Cheapskate had rattled loose one of the snap hooks securing (term used loosely) the shroud to the chainplate. First time iceboater Ted Vaughan, assisted by Frank Able, was able to make sense of the scramble of rigging, get the mast back up, and sail the boat home. Meanwhile, John Eastman had the wire pennant linking the shrouds to the hounds snap clean across. A very unusual break. A truck was dispatched and Clive towed home. So, after all this adventure the Able boys, Frank and Bob thought they could get back to some serious sailing. Bob pushed off first but came back moments later with his steering wheel in his hand. When he came to show it to Frank, we noticed a small tear at the tack in Frank’s new sail. He was the last to fall and now the ice was empty. For some reason, your correspondent had packed up earlier and Whizzard was safely in the trailer.

On an up note, however, we had four new sailors, all very excited to try sailing an iceboat. They went round and round taking turns sharing Cheapskate, and Ted Vaughan has this to say:

” Both Carolyn and I had one of those great experiences like our first flight or something equally exciting and revealing! WE definitely will be back for more! You are all so generous and enthusiastic! Having the “Cheapskate” is a terrific window into iceboating for first-timers like us! Thanks to you all! We want to be new members!”

In addition, this was launching day for W-5 GEE WHIZZ. Aside from the aforementioned sail detail, she sailed beautifully, with perfect helm balance, great acceleration, and very close winded. Nice job, Frank!

Sailing will be ON for the foreseeable future at Chickawaukee, but I would be remiss not to forward this announcement of EPIC sailing on the Hudson. A match race between the mighty stern steerers Rocket and Jack Frost? Sailing on the historical holy ground of American ice yachting? Touring down the Hudson watching the waterfront towns zip by? These conditions don’t develop every year. Make the drive! We’re iceboaters; it’s what we do! This from Bob Wills:

The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club will be sailing the Hudson River from Rhinecliff to Barrytown, if not Germantown! Fifteen miles of ice are within the realm of possibility! Thursday, Friday, and the weekend are the most promising days. For skaters, the ice is snow ice over black ice, so not perfect marathon conditions….But perfect for sailing!

Call me at 845.546.8375 for latest conditions. My intent is to be on the ice both Thursday and Friday, as well as this coming weekend. Currently, my boat, Orion, is at Rokeby. But colleagues have sailed from there to Rhinecliff this afternoon – so a ‘commute’ from Slate Dock is certainly a possibility – as far as you might want to go! Other planned launch points are Barrytown (from the property adjacent to the Red Hook Boat Club).

Be ready with suitable clothing for sub-20 conditions, and prevailing winds, or lack thereof. The Goddess of Ice Yachting is fickle, so be ready at a moment’s notice!

Jory and I would be on the road already were it not for other commitments. Yes, even we have those sometimes. So please go enjoy the extravaganza and let us know all about it!

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