We all know that the big elephant in the room of iceboating is that we like everything associated with the actual sailing and racing: building, repairing, scouting, connecting, traveling, and then, finally, maybe: sailing. We didn’t quite make it to that last item today. Eleven o’clock skippers meeting canceled due to 18-25kt. winds. Ditto at one, ditto at two. So we socialized, old sailing buddies became re-aquainted and talked old times, secrets were shared, and new contacts were made.I learned that the oldest boat in the fleet was built by the same guy who made that incredible movie on Monotype racing in the thirties. It’s on this site under videos. A wonderful connection to the past. And I met the Polish team, and Robert Slavinski, their chief. He has a grand hotel on a lake in Poland called Robert’s Port that sometimes host iceboating regattas. By all accounts a fabulous venue. He has three Monotypes and is a very good sailor. He managed a fourth in yesterday’s World Championship, edging out team CIBC at sixth place. (I’m burying this incredible statistic deep in the text not wanting it to go to my head, but believe me, that’s exactly where it’s gone: WOW!!!)
Between meetings and chit chat my Russian buddies and I went shopping, came back to a sunny spot out of the wind and enjoyed a terrific picnic lunch, watching the ice get darker and softer by the hour. It’s in the low forties here and the SW wind is not cold. Yesterday an ATV towing the trailer full of ballast back from the race pits (remember the long push home? The boats needed to be light) went into a slush pocket, was stopped, and a few seconds later went through in ten feet of water. Some of the sails were pulled out, but all the extra runners and ballast bags went to the bottom. This morning a diver was called and we hauled his gear to the site on a DN. He passed up all the hardware, separated the trailer from the ATV, and then led ropes around both. People were then able to haul the vehicles up, slide boards under, and slide them onto the ice.
Between tomorrow and Friday we hope to get the European Champs in the books. Temps forecast to drop below freezing so we plan on an 11:00 start for the benefit of those without slush runners. The devotion to this class is incredible. Some of the guys will allow that bow steerers are just as fast if not faster, handle better, and are lighter but it’s just not what they sail. The happy result of this is that everyone sails the same boat and agrees to all the rules (most of the time). So if you want to race something that’s not a DN this is what you do. It would be the same as if everyone in New England that didn’t sail a DN sailed a Renegade or a Whizz. But we’re so individualistic, we Americans. Is iceboating outside DN’s suffering as a result? I believe we are holding our own, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could say to a new sailor that “this is what we sail so please build or buy one and join us”?
Anyway, it remains incumbent upon all of us who love this sport to relentlessly promote just to maintain the status quo. The kind of boat we actually sail is just the ice-ing on the cake.
Photos generally make ice look better that it actually is; here’s a rare example of the opposite.