These two back to back meetings provide total in-depth pre-season ice boat saturation after the long hot Summer.
The first is just off Rte 495 in Westborough MA at an Elk’s Club. By the time we Mainers get there the parking lot is full of cars, people, and ice boats and ice boat stuff for sale or swap. Prices for starter grade DN’s seemed quite reasonable, $1000-1500 ready to go. This for plate runners, generally aluminum masts, decent sails and boats in good enough condition to sail without embarrassment. There is usually also strange or ancient stuff, sometimes for free and bits for larger boats, often trailers etc.
Too soon it is time for dinner, wholesome high protein buffet, salad, etc. and the sometimes endless business meeting This year the officers seemed to have dispensed with tedious administrative stuff and the affair was quite interesting. Officers have been shuffled a bit to compensate for the vice commodore defecting to South Carolina. John Stanton, webmaster and recently Secretary has been promoted to vice commodore and Treasurer Bob Haag absorbed the Secretarial duties. Eric Anderson has become Vice Commodore of the IDNIRA, quite an honor for which he is eminently qualified. Oliver Moore, a young enthusiastic competitor is NEIYA competition chairman. Eben Whitcomb is Eastern Region IDNIYRA Regatta chairman. T. Theiler, serious Gold fleet competitor, remains Commodore. I am not sure I have all of these responsible parties properly sorted out, it is all a quantum jump in complexity from our good old almost disorganized CIBC.
The exciting news is that the DN WORLD Championship will be sailed in the Northeast region the end of January if we have suitable ice. Suitable ice is defined as a circle of ice 1 1/4-1 1/2 miles in diameter, not frog pond stuff. Champlain is hoped for, Sebago and Winnepessauke are possible and maybe a lake or two in Canada. Big ice plus accommodations and parking for 150 boats and people within 30-40 miles of the ice make it all more interesting and will provide distraction for all of the above luminaries. Help in ice scouting is expected from CIBC.
CIBC president Buchholz put in a plug for increased sailing on Moosehead in March. It is a unique venue with spectacular scenery, vast thick ice, accommodations etc. He has spearheaded these adventures for a couple of years now and is spreading the word.
All of this plus awarding of trophies was accomplished in an orderly manner in reasonable time. Nice work NEIYA.
The Caterers for the NEIYA lunch thoughtfully put out several pans of unserved food which was scarfed up by the parsimonious CIBC hard core who were heading off to Biddeford Maine to continue partying at CIBC Commodore Dave Fortier’s. Waste not, want not.
The sometimes raucous Saturday evening was somewhat sedate due to the last minute absence of our Canadian friends who come down to stock up on cheap (by their standards) US booze and then find they have to drink quite a bit of it to reduce the quantity to what they are allowed to cross the border with. After last year’s frustrating effort to find a restaurant on a Saturday night we warmed up the NEIYA meat balls and mashed potatoes, bought some beer and had a pleasant evening of talking iceboats, catamarans, and related phenomena and looking at photos of same on Dave’s large screen computer.
Sunday morning started slowly with cereal, coffee, and toasted NEIYA cornbread. Dave gave a seminar and demonstration of how to train goldfish. Notice that the fish have appropriate scenery. He has five who have been in residence for several years. They are named and have varying IQ’s. Dave has two tanks next to each other with a “U” shaped siphon connecting the two tanks. There is a reversible pump system which pumps into one tank or the other, sort of tidal except the siphon keeps the water levels equal. The fish are fed only in one tank but they seem to prefer being in the other except at breakfast time. Then when the tide changes they swim up and over between the tanks through the siphon to get to the food side. One of them hasn’t figured out how to do this and looks a bit scrawny. When questioned as to whether there is a world community of goldfish trainers Dave didn’t know, he may be onto something.
Eventually a dozen or more of the faithful turned up to freshen the conversation and refresh the food supply so we had a respite from meat balls. Notable by their absence were Peter Ashley and his brownies. There was some thought this spared us from spoiling our appetites but the point was made that if you left dessert until last there might not be room for it, unless it is the Bunting Pie.
Also notable by absence were Stu Nelson and wife Judy. Stu has had sudden appearance of extensive lung cancer which is untreatable. Judy seems to be standing up under the strain. Don Sterns visited him Sunday morning and reported that Stu had moments of clarity and humor but tired easily. We signed best wishes cards at both meetings. Stu has been a perpetually enthusiastic member of the fleet for decades, he will indeed be missed
The business meeting was mercifully brief. The membership at large is supposed to elect directors to replace vacancies but the secretary forgot to bring the books so we didn’t know who the directors are. The directors then appoint the officers who remain unchanged. John Eastman did an exemplary job of collecting dues at the NEIYA meeting finding some 8-10 new members. For this performance he might win the office of treasurer at the pleasure of the directors. The treasury is comfortably flush at this point, some $1600 dollars. We have paid for new marks and of course have newsletters to send out at around $1.50 each per issue.
Pres. Buchholz often appears with a trailer bearing a relic of some kind. This year it is a 1930’s tandem cockpit skeeter, possibly repairable but badly weathered. This came from Tom Childs who found it as it was about to be burned by its owner’s wife. Tom rescued it because he has one too, in better shape. A total of five were made by a fellow by the name of Ott. The best part of the boat is a lovely close grained spruce airfoil shaped plank, the side boards are nice too. These will perhaps grace a Whizz some day. He’s hoping the guy from Deer Isle who called a few weeks ago looking for a restoration project will call again ASAP!
On top of the boat was a pile of Lloyd’s of London certified marine grade 1/8 plywood and an accompanying car load of 8 Dacron skeeter sails and one gorgeous hand sewn cotton sail, and a couple of arm loads of ash battens.
So endeth the weekend. Thanks for the party Dave, it is always fun.