- Yellow Bird is for sale, $2500 (7/2/2014)
Yellow Bird is a small skeeter, 16 feet long (including the spring board) and uses a DN rig and sail. Built as a 7/8 scale North Easter, she is light, responsive, well balanced and easy to sail. A spruce mast and fir boom carry a Shore wide range medium sail which is trimmed by Harken blocks. The ten foot airfoil shape spruce plank has nice cast aluminum chocks and oak-body tee runners with a runner carrying box and sharpening jig. The cockpit is snug and comfortable with an upholstered seat and wheel steering.Yellow bird is complete and ready to sail. Located in Arrowsic, Maine. Call Scott: 207 446 3918
- Building the Strip-Plank Hollow Runner Plank (7/4/2014)
A very interesting boat showed up here at Iceboat Central last month in desperate need of a new plank. She came down from Nova Scotia, and in classic Novi style the plank was made with maple and birch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: H.M.S. Bounty, built in Lunenberg in 1962 for the movie, was built of the same stuff. And during a re-fit on the old ship a few years ago I found chunks of birch in fine condition with the bark still on. But glue joints on the plank were failing and it weighed 110#. The old A Skeeter was built in the early 60’s by Hagarty, in Cohasset, Mass. The unique design might be from Ray Ruge, but we’re still investigating that. Buddy Melges owned the boat for a while, and there were a few more built to the same design for guys on Lake George but their whereabouts are unknown.
She looks more like an early hydroplane than what we are used to seeing on the ice, but the melonseed shape reminded me of the hollow plank that I learned how to build in Estonia. The sectional shape of the plank is very sympathetic to this particular fuselage. I believe this strip plank system would work for other large skeeters, but I don’t know about the Whizz, for example. The plank needs a certain amount of thickness for the strip planking to make sense. On the other hand, it’s often challenging to find the nice wide boards needed for building the plank so we’re gluing strips together anyway. But maybe the strips can be thinner for a smaller plank. I don’t know. The whole thing is a bit of an un-known and I’m just making it up as I go along. So we’ll build the plank and add stiffness to taste.
The old plank has a nice shape, if a bit un-fair, so I used it for a form. The building mold is set up on 1/2″ ply, and draped nicely over the old plank. I followed the Renegade thickness: 2 1/2 to 1 1/4. The chocks are twelve inches wide, same as the plank aperture in the fuselage, so there’s could be no taper in width. (Sorry, Lloyd.) The mold sections are all sections of an arc. A simple lofting yielded the arc for each station, 10″ on center.
The choice of wood is always interesting: a combination of what you want and what you can get. I wanted Doug Fir on top for it’s compression strength, and spruce for the bottom for lightness. But our local lumberyard sells a clear grade of Port Orford Cedar for decking which comes a full inch by 5 1/2. It’s actually more like a spruce than a cedar, with some physical properties right up there with Sitka spruce, but for about a third the cost. And to get it in smooth, milled boards saves a lot of millwork. Unfortunately they were out of stock on the sixteen footers so I scavenged the local boatyards for Sitka rippings and came up with just enough.
The first plank it set very carefully to an accurate centerline marked on the mold. The planks are all 3/4 x 1″milled with an 1.5 degree, which averages out nicely over the changing radius. Epoxy takes care of the rest!
Stack four or five planks together on the bench on edge and apply epoxy to all of them at once. If your mixture isn’t too thick there’s no need to wet out the other edge. I used finish nails to hold them in, and did all the planks in one session, along with the centerline stringer. The stringer isn’t part of the original design, but I though it would be a good idea.
A couple of hours of pleasant work planing it down to the centerline and the bottom half is done. Now the whole set-up is dismantled and the old plank flipped over so we can make the new top on the old bottom. There was only 3/4″ of spring-back when the nails were pulled, and the part was surprisingly stiff. I became hopeful that the whole thing might actually work.
Stand by for part two!
- Strip Built Runner Plank, part ll (7/10/2014)
There’s less guess work in setting up the second half. I used the first part (the bottom) along with the old plank flipped over to establish the shape. A shim or a shingle here and there brought the two halves to a very nice fit, allowing for the bottom’s slight springback. Then the planking proceeds pretty much as before. I decided to use staples this time as the fir was a bit too hard for easy nailing. Staples are much harder to pull than nails, though, even with stapling through a piece of rope which, when you yank on it, theoretically helps get the staple started.
The other downside with the string & staple system is that I couldn’t add the centerline stringer at the same time. But the staples all came out, the stringer and the blocking at the ends for the chocks went in, and the sharp plane worked it’s magic.
Because of the large radius, fairing was very easy once the gobs of glue were knocked back. The big shock was how stiff and light it is. After fairing it weighs 59#. And it feels great in the hand with the thin edge. Lifting a thick plank of the same weight takes a bit more finger power. I had expected to add some uni directional glass to the top and bottom to gain stiffness, and It still might need it, but preliminary flexing shows it’s just a bit more flexible than the old one. I have yet to set the boat on it, but would never have imagined it being so close. In the photo below, the little section on top is from a Monotype plank, which was the inspiration for this project. Imagine the weight they saved by going hollow! The plank still needs blocking on the bottom for the chocks.
According to THINK ICE, Spring Constants for DN planks fall between about 90 and 120. Without correcting for length, skeeter planks have a much lower number. They need to travel further to get to flat because of their higher crown. So we can’t really compare planks of different lengths using the Spring Constant of weight divided by deflection (in inches). We need a math pro to find some sort of cosign or something to level the playing field. But I did discover something interesting about crown to length ratios: every plank I checked, all of varying lengths, fell between .3 and .37. The new plank and my DN plank are both .37. What does this mean? Beats me, but it’s fun trying to figure it out. If anyone has a nice Renegade plank, I’d love to know what its deflection, weight and length/crown ratio is.
- New Whizzes (7/15/2014)
The plural of Whizz should probably be just Whizz, but then how would you know that there are so many new ones? What’s great is that we need to worry about how to pluralize the name for a class which didn’t even exist a few years ago. Jeff Knapp of Rye, NH is completing #14 in time for the coming season, and Denis Guertin in Quebec continues to make good progress on the pair he’s building. His sailing buddy Frank, for whom he’s building the second boat, has dismantled their DN trailer and is rebuilding it to fit the new boats as well as the DN’s. In Maine, Bart Chapin got a great start on the fuselage before leaving for his annual summer cruise. Bill Bernhard in New York and Carl Jelleme on Nantucket are done building theirs and are now just waiting for ice. Well, maybe they’re doing other interesting things with their summer but surely in the back of their mind while messing about on the water with summer boats a small voice is wondering about all this soft water and mightn’t it be nice if it were a bit harder…?
Jeff Knapp’s #14 Whizz-Bang. Jeff’s planning to build a bright finished strip plank mast, and by the looks of the workmanship here, he’ll be varnishing the fuselage, too.
One of Denis’s pair getting fit for the springboard. He’s nicely mirrored the elliptical shape of the nose block in the tip of the springboard. He reports that the bottoms are on, steering installed, with the sides ready to go. We’re only assuming that there is a stern back there…
He has decades of interesting lumber in his shop, saved from all kinds of projects over the years. We all have those special boards that get saved, moved from here to there, too nice to actually use because then we wouldn’t be able to imbue them with possibilities. But Bart’s tough. He’s gone to the heart of the pile, picked out the best stuff, and is milling mercilessly. What better use for a special piece of wood then in an iceboat? The quantity isn’t much, the quality is important, and then that wood becomes a part of one of your most fabulous passions. It grants you flight; a weightless peel off at the windward mark. It whisks you to remote coves deep in the North Woods and by some miracle of its strength brings you home. I do love those special boards, but a life as an iceboat sure beats gathering dust on some lumber rack.
The guy that started it all when he was searching for a small skeeter design and discovered the Whizz, Doug Sharp, had a stroke this past spring. I’m sure I speak for the entire iceboating community we all wish him the best of recoveries. We look forward to seeing you on the ice, Doug!
- The Hagarty Is Back (8/19/2014)
After a couple of weeks in the shop, Buddy Melge’s old A Skeeter is ready for the ice. She has been bought by two new CIBC members, Chris Biggert and David Jones, who many might recognize as the nice guy who offers us access to Lake Megunticook at Bailey’s Cove. He competed against Buddy at the ’72 Olympics, so this boat has special significance for him. Not to mention that it’s a totally cool boat in it’s own right. Built in 1962 by Francis Hagarty of Cohassett, MA, the fuselage appears to be built of one layer of 1/8″ fir plywood, covered with a diagonal layer of the same thickness. But how Hagarty got the first layer to conform to all that shape is a mystery to me. The boat was designed by Ray Rouge, about whom we’d like to know more.
Chris Biggert checking the tell tales. His hair is already in full wind blown mode. The hollow plank, featured in some previous posts, worked out very well. It actually came out a little stiff, so we knocked a bit off the top out towards the ends. The next plank could be built with 5/8″ stock for a boat this size.
Thanks to Warren Nethercote for sending this skeeter our way, to his buddy Alex Watters for caring for it so well for so many years, and Tom Nichols and Deb Whitehorse for helping with the historical research. Her second lease on life begins now!
- Ray Ruge, Yachting Magazine, December 1939 (8/27/2014)
Our last post, describing the Ruge designed Hagarty skeeter, has un-earthed a thick file of articles written by him in the thirties and forties. This is the first in what will be a weekly series of articles written by Mr. Ruge here in the tail end of the off-season.
Apologies to our stern-steering buddies, both here and abroad, for any slights obvious or inferred, as there are quite a few! Then, as now, there’s room for everyone out on the ice.
Best wishes to Lloyd Roberts, who’s recovering nicely from heart surgery last week. Reports indicate he’s THINKING ICE!
Time was, not so long ago, when the real iceboat fan had to be either a millionaire, able to pay hired professionals to rig and sail his boats, or else a confirmed lover of discomfort and hard work, willing to suffer strains, bruises and frostbite for a few days of sailing on ice each winter.
Boats were big and heavy, simply because no one had been able to design or build a small one that would really perform. Size was considered synonymous with speed, until boats had actually attained a length of over 50 feet, and spread anywhere from 500 to 1000 ft.² of canvas. A good 6 inches of ice was the least that could carry them. The time-honored sloop rig had proved its superiority to the cat and the lateen, and was used almost universally. The Hudson river type of boat, though she racked and twisted and often spun out dramatically, was accepted as the pinnacle of iceboat design. Discomfort while sailing, a cramped, twisted driving position, completely exposed to the bitter wind, was accepted as inevitable. For how else could an iceboat be built? And the number of prospective fans who found one ride under these conditions to be all they could take was legion. Iceboating was not popular for the simple reason that it couldn’t be made reasonably comfortable, reasonably inexpensive, and reasonably accessible.
Today, iceboating is growing rapidly. New clubs are being formed each season, and the older clubs report a lively increase in membership and activity. The summer sailor is finding a way of sailing all winter and of getting 1000 thrills that his waterborne craft can never give him. Every winter weekend sees cars by the dozen pulling up beside mountain lakes -ten, twenty or sixty miles from town, wherever there’s 3 inches of ice- with iceboats on the roof or pulling them behind the car on trailers. And these are not toys. They are fast, sturdy racing boats. Light, simple, comfortable to drive, and able to trim the huge champions of past years with amazing frequency.
What has happened? What took out the hard work, the physical suffering, the lack of interest by all but a few hardy souls? Several things- and they all came at once.
The aviation industry showed us how to get rid of mass and weight; how to streamline and even how to cut a sail. It gave us aluminum, airplane spruce, stainless steel, tiny wire and turnbuckles that will stand thousands of pounds. It taught us how to build up laminated wooden members for lightness and strength. It gave us the idea of a streamlined fuselage, with only the pilots eyes and forehead showing. It gave us the boat we sail in, almost from stem to stern, and it gave us the clothes to wear to sail her: flying suit, helmet, goggles and all.
The automobile industry grew so fast that roads had to be improved. Cars were no longer laid up in mothballs at the first frost, but were expected to give service all year round. The highways were kept open regardless of weather. Then someone built the first trailer, and the iceboating enthusiasts discovered that, instead of waiting in their own backyard, all they had to do was lash the old hooker on the trailer to go to the ice.
Sailing on the water continues to grow every year. It has given us any number of improvements in rigging, sailmaking, etc, but its greatest contribution has been to awaken a love of sail and spread it to every lake and pond in the country. More and more numerous, and more and more youthful are the sailors. Small wonder that they have responded to the chance of sailing all winter, too.
Then these water-bound, rule-bound sailors discovered that they have miraculously left all design restrictions behind. Here, in iceboating, was that long awaited chance to try out all their pet ideas, and what sailor worthy of the name doesn’t cherish a few? They found they could build anything they liked, yet were permitted to race against other boats – no matter how long, short, wide, or narrow they might be – just as long as their sail area was the same, and their brainchild was not considered unsafe by the regatta committee. It was natural enough under these little rules that no two boats should look alike. And, with the recent tremendous increase in the efficiency of rigs, plus lightness of hull, it is now possible to design a really small iceboat that is not a toy but a capable racing craft able to sail in light airs and carry a man as fast as any man could want to go.
At first, these design experiments followed the pattern of the Hudson River boats, with her rudder aft. And the typical wild gyrations of the stern-steerer when headed off the wind continued to be the rule; in spite of all the designers could do, skippers and crew were still wont to leave their craft for an impromptu slide across the ice. One such experience by the average beginner was about all he wanted.
Then, one wonderful day, someone built a boat that went the other way: rudder first! Lo! No spin! Even if you tried to make her spin she wouldn’t. The Meyer Brothers of Milwaukee, Wisconsin developed the front steerers in a famous series of racing boats in the early 1930’s. Among other things, they discovered that in the larger classes, over 175 ft.², front steers are dangerous in case of an upset and are extremely difficult to keep supplied with backbones. But the interesting fact remains that they were amazingly fast in all sizes.The Myers early boats were converted stern-steerers and carried jib and mainsail rigs. The cat rig never had been much good on an iceboat before, so why use it now? But these men weren’t satisfied with the action of the jib on the front steering boat. They tried the cat rig. To get the center of effort far enough aft they raked the mast until she looked like a bugeye. Everybody thought they were completely crazy, which usually seems to be a good sign. She licked everything in sight so badly that they are still talking about it, and nowadays a front steerer with anything but a sharply raked cat rig looks out of date, and doesn’t usually finish in the money. The combination of all these developments has given us the little speed sleds of today and has caused a tremendous upswing in the number of devotees of iceboating. More and more the interest centers in the smaller classes; only on rare occasions do the big ones get out in the East and, although the few fine big boats continue to scrap between themselves for the Hearst and Stuart Cups in the Midwest, the action today is with the smaller bow-steering classes. In Wisconsin, skeeters (75 ft.² of sail) outnumber all the larger boats put together.
It was natural that racing should be the most popular occupation of the iceboatmen. Some attempt to standardize racing classes has been made in each district where the sport was enjoyed, but not until recently were the differences between the East and the Midwest ironed out. The Northwestern Ice Yachting Association, which includes the leading clubs in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois, had accepted the rise of the Skeeter and, by 1935, was conducting annual championships for four recognized classes: class A 350 ft.², Class B 250; class C 175; and class E, the now famous Skeeter 75 ft.². The fifth division, class D, 125 ft.², was recognized unofficially.
However, the situation in the East, where iceboating is enjoyed at many widely scattered points, was entirely disorganized. The greatest activity was in a small area, practically a circular arc centering in New York City and with a radius of about 50 miles, which included the Shrewsbury River area at one end, swung out through northern New Jersey to take in Lakes Hopatcong and Musconeteong, hit the New York State line at Greenwood Lake, and finally arrived at the Hudson River via Orange Lake and the city of Newburgh. It also strikes Lake Ronkonkoma and Great South Bay on Long Island. Points outside of this are seemed to get too much snow for much real boating; inside it there were no lakes of any size. Here was a surprisingly concentrated area, yet no effort had been made to get together and do something about it. Finally the idea of an Eastern Association was born, and after a few months of talking about it, representatives of five or six leading Eastern clubs met at Larchmont, in November 1937, and formed the Eastern Ice Yachting Association. All the classes of the N.I.Y.A. were adopted by its eastern counterpart. In addition, class D of 125 ft.² was made official and one extra class, a long established Eastern class B of 200 ft.², was recognized and allowed to keep its time-honored name. Accordingly, the 250 footers were dubbed class X, though they correspond exactly to the Northwestern’s class B. This gives the Eastern fan six classes to choose from, four which are also recognized in the Northwest. It is not improbable that intersectional racing may soon be revived, at least in Class E. Meanwhile, both associations conduct annual regattas and award championships in all their recognized classes.
Assuming that the bug has bitten, the questions that immediately arise are these: shall I join a club? What class so I get into? Shall I buy a used boat, design and build my own or buy from a professional builder? What will it cost? The answer to number one, Shall I join the club, is emphatically Yes. Advantages to be gained are many, and the expense extremely small. For not only do the attractions of congenial companionship and organized racing present themselves, but all the other questions of the average beginner will be more satisfactorily answered if he joins a recognized club. The answer to the next question, What class shall I enter?- will depend largely on what is the prevailing class in your club. The one exception to this might be in the case of the oldest and largest of the clubs who’s fleets grew up in the good old days and who’s boats therefore are mostly big and heavy. In this case it would be more advisable to adopt the ever present Skeeter and, if necessary, pioneer her for a while. You won’t be the only Skeeter owner for long!
- Boats for Sale and Swap (9/15/2014)
The natives are beginning to stir. Boats are getting dragged out of storage, dusted off and tuned up. In a few cases, guys are moving to different platforms. We have two classic DN’s available, one custom skeeter, and one who’d like to swap his 5.5 mylar KiteWing for a DN. For the swap, contact Mark <email@example.com>
For the Captain America DN, contact Curtis Rindlaub: firstname.lastname@example.org. The boat is in Portland and has complete covers for car topping, and sails remarkably well.
The other DN is near Bath, in Arrowsic. Bart Chapin writes: I will put a coat of paint on the hull just to spruce things up a bit. All else is good. It has Sarns runners that are good as new, a Kenyon mast and Shore sail. Standing and running rigging is all new last year. The sail is a bit stained but otherwise good. All Harken blocks. Contact Bart at <email@example.com>
Then we have this truly unique skeeter built by a fabricator from lightweight stainless tubing, skinned on the sides with aircraft fabric and dope, decks plywood. Has a rig and sail from a Tornado catamaran, Sarns plate runners and the trailer. Check out the double cockpits. Somewhere down there is foot steering. The owner would like to find the boat a good home, and with that in mind has priced it right. Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of these fine vessels might be at the Swap Meet if they don’t move before, so make it a date. Come check out all the great gear, boats and folks. And take part in the NEIYA meeting. October 25, Knights of Columbus Hall, Westboro, MA.
- Another Starter DN (9/17/2014)
This just in from Charlie, in Wolfboro NH. 603-455-2862. <boataddict05>
I too have an older DN for sale if anyone is interested. Hull has been repaired and glassed, sail pro cleaned with a new window, new side stays, aluminum mast and standard Sarns runners. Would like to get $1000.
- Words Of Hope and Wisdom from NEIYA (9/19/2014)
New post on New England Ice Yacht Association
by NEIYA Admin
With shorter days and cooler nights we are all thinking about ice boating and the miles of black ice we hope to find this winter. Just as there are a few months till we sail again, a number of things MUST happen and individual efforts MUST take place before groups of pilots can safely congregate and sail.
Most of you know what occurs prior to setting up your boat in the pits and pushing off toward a nice plate.
Someone watched as the lakeside trees shed their leaves.
All manner of boat building advice and help is freely given.
Boats and equipment is bought, sold, traded and loaned by fellow sailors prior to first ice.
Runners are sharpened individually and en mass by skilled sanding volunteers.
Someone watched as fog and mists wafted over the body of water in the early morning hours.
Eyes were on the lake while morning frosts crept toward the water from the shore.
People gazed upon the first mirror black ice to skim out from shore.
Occasionally taking the long way to work or home to check on ice conditions.
One or more people poked at the new ice with a stick even though they know
Swung blunt instruments, a wise man from Rockport swears by the blunt end of an axe, and drilled test holes.
Talked to ice fisherman who are generally happy to break their solitude for a conversation about fish and ice.
Scouted off shore with skates, or sailing carefully stopping periodically to check grade and thickness.
People reporting back whether positive or negative. Insufficient ice or unsafe conditions change a bodies history plays an important role for future safe sailing.
Who where those someones? Who were those eyes? Who spent countless hours helping to others get ready to sail? Who communicated observations so that others would benefit?
The answer is simple. Heed the call. Members of the NEIYA. Please remember this when asked to contribute time, knowledge and skills toward club activities. Ice may form all by itself but it’s a team effort to bring people a group to the ice.
To follow is a first hand account by former Commodore Eric Anderson on the herculean efforts that he and others made to find (big) ice for last year’s DN North Americans. Eric thanks for all your contributions over the years.
Ready to help out? Contact me or any of the other officers
As we come into season let’s all sail fast, sail safe and think ice,
508-377-6100 aka the hotline
P.S. Our annual meeting, swap and lunch are ON for October 25th Westborough, MA Knights of Columbus Hall. More on that shortly.
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- Runner Alignment (9/28/2014)
There are probably as many ways to align runners as there are to skin a cat, but I’ve always done it just like Lloyd Roberts taught: with the dial indicator on a long pole. I’ve settled on a windsurfer mast, which is nice and stiff and will do planks from ten to sixteen feet. We’ve always tightened the runners in the chocks so they don’t move, leveled them and go for zero. Once it’s there, we tiptoe out the door taking pains not to sneeze or slam the door which could create enough of a sonic boom to move the chock. When the epoxy has cured the next morning, I always check the finished product with the runners loose in the chocks, essentially in sailing trim. They are usually no longer perfect, so a bit of shim tape sets them back to within a couple of thousandths.
Recently, I had the opportunity to rig and align chocks on three new Whizz in three days. The first boat had plates, so in the morning I was able to lightly sand some burrs on the stiffeners to bring it back into alignment after loosening the runner bolts. The second job was with inserts, so a small spot of shim tape did the trick. On the last boat I decided to set the runners in sailing trim for the alignment; just tight enough to almost flop. It came to zero with judicious tightening of the chock bolts, and the next morning it was still the same. I loosened and then re-tightend the runner bolts: still zero.
The top DN guys have gone way beyond all this, of course, and Tom Nichols new C Skeeter will have adjustable chocks, but this might help the rest of us get that much closer to a perfect alignment. And don’t forget to compress the plank the same amount as your weight plus that of the boat when you do the alignment.
Check out the excellent reverse plank curve on Denis Guertin’s Whizz #10.
And Bill Bernhard came all the way from western New York state to have his W-8 rigged and aligned. While he was in the area, he and his wife Judy went up to stay with Rick at Five Lakes Lodge on the shores of wonderful South Twin Lake. If we can get back on that lake before spring, we’ll make another expedition to the Boom House museum of river driving.
Bill will be selling his Nite at the NEIYA Swap Meet on 10/25, Knights of Columbus, Westboro, MA. Includes trailer, all covers and two planks.
The two cockpit Skeeter featured in the post of 9/15 will also be there, and could turn out to be the bargain of the day!
Back to Whizz news: NEIYA Race Chairman Oliver Moore has offered the Whizz fleet a start of their own at the Doc Fellows Regatta. We’ll need at least three boats to qualify for this terrific offer. If it works out, the other regattas will have a Whizz class as well. For all you cruisers who might feel a bit intimidated by a formal race, just look at it as a bunch of boats all with the same destination in mind. Same rules of the road as when reaching around. By the way, it’s always good give yourself a refreshing look at the rules before the season begins. Lastly, welcome Ryan Haskell who has bought Curtis Rindlaub’s Captain America DN. Curtis had sent him a video of the boat sailing on Plymouth Pond, and lo and behold there was Ryan in the background!
- Stu Nelson (10/6/2014)
Stu’s wife Judy just sent this in. I can only guess that the last two letters in LRGH stand for General Hospital.
Just to let you all know that your super ice boater is in LRGH and not feeling too well.
- Mystery (10/6/2014)
Everyone, it seems, loves a good mystery. It’s part of human nature to search for that which is not known. We perch on the edge of our seats at the movie theatre, grip dime novels with sweaty palms, and lean in close to the campfire hanging on every word of the cliffhanger. The small time crimes of your little home town exert a fascination way beyond the significance of the deed itself. What’s going to happen next, we ask?
What has this to do with iceboating? Do we not live with mystery five or six months of the year? Instead of the tidy structured who-dunit from Hollywood we are involved in a full blown unknown every week from Thanksgiving to Easter. Where’s the ice? Who knows where the ice is? Someone knows someone who knows where the ice is. Is it any good? How many holes and pressure ridges are there? Will my boat survive, or will I have to bring it home in pieces and re-build it before next weekend? Are all these weather forecasts for real? Do I just show up and pray? What’s a good mystery without a little prayer, anyway.
Don’t forget the Swap Meet coming up on Saturday, October 25th. Knights of Columbus Hall, Westboro, Mass.
- FALL MEETING (10/15/2014)
The NEIYA fall meeting and Swap Meet will be held at he same place as last year, Knights of Columbus hall in Westboro, Mass., ten days from now on Saturday 10/25. This is the time and place to find everything from blocks to boats. The lunch is always great, as is meeting everyone without their helmets on!
As is traditional, our CIBC annual fall meeting will be the next day, Sunday 10/26, at Commodore Dave Fortier’s house in Biddeford. Pot Luck lunch at about noon, followed by the meeting. We have quite a few new sailors this year and hope to see them here: 12 Chretien Rd., Biddeford, ME 04005.
Long time sailor and builder Doug Sharp is selling most of his boats and gear. Have a look at the New England Ice Yacht Association site for full inventory. If you can’t make it to the Swap Meet but are interested in any of the stuff contact Bill Buchholz or Lloyd Roberts and we will bring it back to Maine for you.
- A Little History (10/20/2014)
On a recent road trip, we were able to stop at the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, NY, to have a look at the Ray Ruge collection. Close readers of this site will remember the skeeter discovered in Halifax by Warren Nethercote, once owned by Buddy Melges. A little sleuthing revealed that she had been designed by Ray Ruge and built by Francis Hagarty in Cohasset, Mass.
Ruge’s papers fill fourteen boxes in the museum’s vault, with a dozen or more files in each box. I was assigned a desk in the corner of the research room and the boxes began to pile up. I was looking for references to this boat, hopefully the plans, but couldn’t help being distracted by the overwhelming collection of iceboat history. There were writings by Lloyd Roberts from the eighties, letters between the eastern guys and the midwest planning regattas, even a correspondence with invoices about the Ice Yacht Challenge Pennant of America: “to be bound in fine red silk…” It seems this Pennant was last awarded in 1950. Where is it today? There are two pages of stern steerer main sail dimensions from the Hudson River boats. Reams of race results and countless small yellow newspaper clippings in individual wax paper folders.
After the third box my time was running out. I’d need to come back with a full day to examine the rest, so I read the table of contents for the fourth and final box. There was an item tagged as “Hagarty ice boat ad”. This must be something; the first reference to the builder, so I dug out the appropriate folder and there it was:
No mention of the date nor the publication in which it ran, but what a thrill. In addition to this find, we’ve also dug up some home movies from the Cohasset Historical Society of Hagarty and Ruge test sailing one of the new boats. One part of the movie has a new boat, “Gone With The Wind”, getting her hardware bolted down as racing is taking place in the background. We’ve all been there with new boats: after an all-nighter you still don’t get her to the line on time. Sadly, she never shows up in any of the subsequent racing footage. But she has a lovely varnished deck, apparently three pieces of plywood with a whole lot more compound curve than one should expect from plywood. The deck crown in the drawing above is far less than the built boat, so we still need to find the plans to help de-construct this beautiful boat. The actual stern is more graceful than the designed version. I love it when a good builder “interprets” the plans a bit here and there. So, she’s all tuned up and ready to go at first ice just as soon as Chris builds his trailer!
Another one of Ruge’s collected magazines featured this cover. It was so evocative of Lake Megunticook, specifically Cheney’s Narrows, that I just had to share it. Remember when boys actually did cool stuff like this? Also, note the small pennant on the side stays just above the plank. They are nicely detailed on both sides. Anyone know what they could be? The rest of the detail on the illustration is pretty good, too, and it’s one of the most interesting sterns I’ve seen since the Hagarty.
Hope to see many of you at the Fall Meeting at Dave Fortier’s place in Biddeford on Sunday. Detailed directions in the newsletter, along with the membership roster. Didn’t receive your newsletter? Have you renewed? Have some followers not yet joined the CIBC? For the most fun, go to the top of the page, find Lloyd’s address under “Officers” and send him twenty bucks for the first year’s dues. You’ll be glad you did!
- NEIYA SWAP MEET AND MEETING, AND CIBC FALL EAT AND TALK MEETING, by L. Roberts (10/28/2014)
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.
- Smelling The Ice (10/31/2014)
The ice is definitely in the air. As Lloyd reported, we have a brace of new members, all of whom appear to be of sailing caliber. Bob Able drove up from Long Island to repair the steering on his small side by side boat at brother Frank’s place. It went awol on Chickie last year with no harm done aside from a lost day of sailing. Steering always need to be absolutely bulletproof.
New member Guy Pollyblank has purchased the big skeeter from Vermont. We picked it up yesterday and set it up outside the shop in the fading daylight. It all went together well and, with the exception of a few small projects, is ready to go. Both cockpits have access to steering.
We just sold Whizz plans #15 to a fellow from Deer Isle who likes to have building projects during the winter! Can you imagine? But he’ll be picking up an older DN to get him through this season. We expect to see him on the ice with #15 next year. He was the one we’d hoped would take on the restoration of the 30’s tandem cockpit skeeter (see previous post for photo). The shape is good, side boards sublime, and the plank dreamy. Mast is shot, not much hardware. Free to a committed home. Actually being “committable” might help…call me. About the boat, not getting committed.
Bart Chapin has developed an excellent trailer for his Whizz, but will be sailing and trailering Yellowbird this season. Yellowbird is another nice pocket skeeter, even smaller than the Whizz; someone should take her lines and create a set of plans. She is reported to be a 7/8 model of the NorthEaster. Do we know if those plans exist?
Hoops are metal electrical conduit, cover is good old shrink wrap and should easily last a few seasons as long as no one skewers it with a runner. Has yet to pass the mile-a-minute test, but it looks great to me.
Next up is the Tune-Up clinic December 13th at Steve Lamb’s shop in Canton, MA. It’s just like the Swap Meet, but with lots of cool tools and no meeting! Actually, our NEIYA meeting went very well this year and we covered critical subjects and issues that interest and affect all of us as iceboaters. Big thanks to the officers for pulling it off so nicely.
- The November Panic–Nov 1, 2014 (well…almost) (10/31/2014)
Dear Ice Buddies,
There we were, standing around Sunday morning, at Admiral Fortier’s place, scarfing Bill Bunting’s grass-fed spare ribs—actually his cattle’s ribs—yakking 12 to the dozen, waiting for General Buchholz and Private Curtis to arrive. It was absolutely the best of gatherings….we missed the old guard, of course, Stu Nelson, Pete Ashley, and many others; but the hard core, the real ice-hounds—minus Doug Raymond–were all there. We were even joined by two promising new members.
So there we were, and, though a 40-year vegetarian, I was keeping up well on the ribs and sausages….but in the back of my mind was an old subliminal panic: what if….just what if….I know its a long shot …but, what if….have I mentioned this before?….what if there’s no ice this season? what if iceboating is called off this year?
so when I got back home, I went thru 7 years of archives:
2008 Plymouth Pond Dec 2; 2009 Tolman Pond Nov 23; 2010 Plymouth Dec 12; 2011 Plymouth Nov 30; 2012 (gads!) Plymouth Dec 19; 2013 Plymouth Nov 30; and 2014 Canada Dec 8. That makes an average of December 5, and there’s no clear pattern to the season’s opening. Reading the beginnings of those seasons, it’s clear that it’s not just about temperature, but rather the entire drama of multiple cold nights, snow, wind, and thaws.
so I felt a little better—history is soothing!– and I happily continued work on the conversion of Icywood-DN to Icy-Whizz. I had the misfortune of sitting in a Whizz last season, ensconced in the tight cockpit, looking up at the sailing rig—the wing mast and the stiff, flat, high-aspect sail blending together almost as a single airfoil….and for the first time since sailing Icywood, I felt the green dye of envy slowly seeping into my blood.
A little later, Bill began setting some squirrel traps: if I bought a Whizz sail, I could always re-sell it, what with all the Whizzes a’building. He had a Hobie-cat aluminum mast in his junk pile, which would be just the right length…and before long, what with Bill not having much paid work, and me not having had a long iceboat season last winter; before long Icy-Whizz began to take shape.
Here we are shortening the Hobie’s shrouds, and building an aluminum boom. This boat will have no springboard, only a 10’ runner plank, and a 3”X6” oval aluminum mast; so it should be slower than the Whizzes. But I fully expect to see Bill Bunting back there astern choking on my ice-chips; and I’ll get to look up at something approaching the slickness of the Whizz rig. Surprisingly, the mast isn’t much harder to raise than a DN’s, and I’ve added an 8” diameter PVC sewer pipe to my trailer’s box to accommodate its 3’ added length.
Soooo, dear buddies, I hope the virus is spreading your way. I hope your ready to spy on the ponds, chop the holes, get a little atrial fib going, a little neurosis, a few necessary domestic squabbles……and that about 27 days from now, in spite of the Republican’s last ditch effort to ruin our planet….you’ll join us on our earliest-freezer, and launch the best season in living memory.
- Sailing Rules Quizz (11/5/2014)
Test your knowledge of the sailing rules with the interactive test from DN Europe. The test contains a pool of 16 questions with drawings. Three of the questions are randomly displayed and there are 2 answer options. Your results are immediately displayed after the test on a scoreboard. All questions and the terms used in the test are in accordance with the ones used in the original NIA Rules. Take the test here. Want to study the rules first? Read the nine racing rules of the National Iceboat Authority on page ten of the NIA Constitution here. See the NEIYA racing rules graphic here.
Thanks to Deb Whitehorse and www.iceboat.org for bringing this to our attention.
- Scouting Ice (11/6/2014)
If there is ice somewhere that no one sees, does it actually exist? Or is that something to do with a tree falling? Anyway we all understand that finding the ice is the secret to winter happiness. With that in mind, here are some guidelines for developing the skills needed to make the tough calls. They are from the Swedish ice hound Kerel Van Der Voort. Using these techniques he was able to organize a skating weekend for a small group on a series of lakes and rivers 600 miles north of Stockholm last month. Yes LAST month! They were there in the middle of October!Most of what he’s discussing has to do with skating, but they can certainly be applied to sailors as well.
Thanks to Karel for sharing these with us, and we wish you many miles of black ice.
The right timing of a long distance skating trip without much available local information takes a lot of planning and studying of weather models and maps of the area. It is very challenging and if done appropriately, an extremely rewarding learning experience. Strangely enough, it is kind of neglected. Practical matters that should be paid more attention to are for instance:
– how to interpret weather forecasts
– which forecasts tend to be most reliable
– when do you decide to go based on what data/assumptions
– how to know which bodies of water in chosen remote area will catch
– preparation and choosing itinerary
– where to find that extra centimeter of ice thickness
– building a network of local residents/hotels etc. in particular area
– list of webcams, which directories or weather sites have included them
– conversion of a lake, to which extent can webcam images be useful to determine
– how to find that glossy corner of ice for most spectacular reflection of sunlight
– ice safety margin: how thick must black ice be to safely cross a small size or medium lake
– how to establish/avoid possible weak spots or areas driving around a lake, escape route
– how to judge the amount of cracking and pitch of the sound of thin ice as a useful measure of how safe the ice is to skate on
– how to find snow free ice or ice with converted snow when the area you are in is unexpectedly struck by (light) snowfall. Finding snowfall borderline, submergence of ice by the weight of snow etc.
– frost covered ice surface: in what kind of conditions does it occur.
Considerations for an ‘after rain’ skate window, in other words existing ice with wet/refrozen snow converted surface, including:
– how much thaw/rain is needed to clear black ice from a certain amount of freshly fallen snow
– how to know if a slush surface is hard enough to be skated when observed from a webcam.
– rain/water on ice; how many extra days of skating when a relatively thick sheet of ice is covered with a layer of water in continuous thaw.
– heat flux: in what conditions will a converted snow ice surface refreeze in plus zero temp.
– ice in decay: red flags etc.
As we all know, ice timing takes total flexibility. My adventures may or may not help provide you with some tools for long distance ice scouting and ice trip planning.
Knowing ice in and out and a lot of experience will help perfecting the ice result and joy. Use your intuition, but think methodically about ice result.
- deep philosophy: November 10, 2014 (11/10/2014)
Where do we come from?….where are we going?….such meaty questions….but my biggie is: How can I get thru November?…..and it’s only November 10th….November is my nemesis….i don’t know exactly what that means, but it’s the right word….definitely a RPITA….(hint: A is a 3 letter word)
Keeping the iceboat set up in perpetuity out in the driveway helps the waiting move along….sometimes i even hoist a sail….and late Sunday afternoon, deep in gloom, i headed to Bill’s shop….i knew Sunday is a workday there…i wanted to check on the new boom he promised to help me finish, which would finally allow me to sheet my new Whizz sail to the very limit….and give an essential lift to my sagging moods…
….there was Bill in a paper jump suit which—a long time ago!—had been a spiffy Ebola protective outfit….but was now patched about with duct tape….he looked like kitchen help, low on the food chain….he was leaning in on a two-handled plastering gizmo… skimming epoxy on a tired 40 foot Atkins Ketch, which i call the incredible hulk….we immediately began chattering about the coming early freeze….turns out the gulf stream is being goosed by the polar vortex because of a frown from El Nino…and sometime next week, ice-people’s prayers are to be answered in spades…
“uhhh…Bill”….I queried…”you’ve got two skimbatts right?” I knew we were both thinking of all the ‘early ice extacies’ we’ve been thru….Toleman, Grassy, the Swamp….the very names are sacred…and of how much a skimbatt is the needed chariot….Bill stared fixedly at me, as he paused in the skimming….”Noooo, I absolutely do not! You dithered back and forth, and finally asked me to sell your skimbatt at the swap meet. So, forget skimbatting!”
we had been skimbatting last February on Sebago, which was still open water, but frozen inside Outer Island, north of Nason’s beach. Late in the day, I had blasted into an ice scab and now, 8 long months later, was still healing a bad knee….I now sighed…”aging”……is that how it’s spelled? …looks like ague-ing….is it physical?…or maybe just mental?….maybe it’s just thinking “old”? …maybe i should just keep on keeping on?
but i also keenly feel a mental part….some sort of tardy cost-benefit calculation….some of our past stupidities i haven’t even dared to share on this site, for fear of discouraging the sport. last fall, for example, i shared this, early Plymouth Pond adventure:
“so we strapped on skates, Bill assembled his Skimbat, and we started swinging our ice axes, as we made our way out over deeper water. Hooray! After weeks of piddling ice, something was solidly talking back to our swings! Soon we came to smoother ice, without orange peel, which measured noticeably less than the previous 4″: 2.5″! Bill abandoned the skimbat, as our worries increased, and I headed back to the pits for a forgotten pair of claws. This was not going to be bullet-proof ice!
Once we were back together again–Bill not having moved an inch in my absence– we espied two areas about 2′ in diameter, just faintly different from their surroundings, which turned out to be only 3/4″ thick! We made a note to mark them later, and–still gripped by ‘early ice extasy’– continued on the 2.5″ ice to the South. We soon found that the ice was far from monolithic: it was a potpurri of textures, overlapping plates, and brash ice sandwiches; which occasionally measured as little as 1.5″ thick. It was almost impossible, in this variety of surfaces, to spot the ice junctions which are so vital to see and check. (*) Then, a moment of total panic set in: It suddenly seemed like we were surrounded on all sides by dangerous, unknown, unpredictable ice. A high-stakes roulette game with nasty odds. We gingerly turned around and, inspecting the glassy black ice carefully, exactly followed our skate scratches back to the launch area, where we skated and skimbatted safely in the light air, keeping to the 2 acre patch of 4″ thick orange peel ice.”
……that report gives a happy ending to our folly of skating beyond the initial 4″ ice….but…dear confessors…. IT’S NOT THE WHOLE STORY!….in truth, at the (*), we were skating South, parallel to each other, 50 feet apart when, simultaneously we broke through the ice, and sunk into the frigid juice. Luckily, thicker ice, not thick but thick enough, was right behind us, and with picks we clawed halfway up onto the ice, slowly swung our skates up and, with our picks, slid prone to the North and eventually stood up…Bill, without insulated clothing, headed for his car and its heater….I skated around on the thick ice, just to rub in the advantage of correct clothing, and then we changed clothes and drove home.
hmmm….i’ll be 74 next spring….there are many ice buddies far younger than I, who don’t even think about ice until the Christmas tree is at the dump. They let the young immortals jump around on the thin early-season ice, and then join us later on tested ice….could i stand being that wise?….could I stay on the edge of Plymouth in those glassy first days…and watch others head off across the ice?….could i live with the trouble Bill would certainly get into without my steadying influence?
as you can see, deep philosophy is happening…
- It’s Getting A Bit Deep… (11/10/2014)
Steadying Influence? Jory Squibb? Excuse our bit of pre-ice psychosis but Mr Ice Ecstasy could hardly be mistaken for a steadying influence. He was just yesterday begging me to loan him my spare SkimBat regardless of the fact that he begged me earlier this fall to get that thing out of his sight because he knows he won’t be able to control himself come first ice. He’s still nursing injuries from crashing on Sebago last year. Any co-dependent drunks out there? Does this sound familiar? My steadying influence dictates that we will not be seeing Mr Squibb sailing a SkimBat this season.
- STU NELSON (11/10/2014)
Thanks for sending this in, Don:
Stu Nelson, 88, died last night in Laconia, NH. He was one of the most energetic and knowledgeable of our skippers. He knew how to set up a nearly perfect boat and handle it by feel. His knowledge of the history of our group will be missed and I hope I remember half of what he told me over the years. Some of my best days iceboating were spent with Stu….the days that were gifts that keep on giving.
As you may know he was sailing coach at MIT for many years and has a collegiate regatta named for him (it was run 2 weeks ago). There will be a service in a few weeks. I will pass on details as I get them.
I told Stu many times, he will always have a seat in my iceboat.
Fair winds my friend,
- Stu Nelson’s Service (11/11/2014)
Stu’s wife Judy sent this invitation to all of us at the CIBC. All who can make should please go. Stu’s hospitality was epic. Lloyd and I stayed with the Nelsons during the once-in-decade conditions on Winnie in 2010. For a week, Stu fed us, entertained us with iceboating stories and photos, and then led us through the islands on a fantastic tour of the northwest corner of the lake. I first met Stu at the Narrows on Damariscotta Lake. It was my first year with a new boat and he came right up and exclaimed what a beauty she was. There is no greater compliment than to praise a man’s boat (with the exception of his wife, of course…).
The greatest memorial we can erect in Stu’s honor is to emulate his enthusiasm, humility, kindness, and his wicked good ice scouting nose. Lloyd’s note to Judy is below:
Stu died on Sun. at 7:30 pm. We are having a Memorial Service Fri. at 11 AM at the Congregational Church in Laconia. Please send this our to all his great friends in Chickawaukee. The best to you and your family Love, Judy
Judy and Stu; I was told and I called you some time ago and can’t improve on wishing you both God’s blessing and the strength to get through the ordeal. We will all miss him, he has been part of my memories of iceboating for decades and will remain firmly lodged there.
- A Little More History (11/15/2014)
First, a quick note to mention that Toleman Pond was frozen around the edges late this afternoon. How much ice was there in the morning we’ll never know but the lakes are tuning themselves up!
Paul Zucco was so taken by this exceptional example of twentieth century illustration that he searched on ebay for a copy of the magazine, found one, and informs me that the year is 1937. Skeeters were a new breed at that time, so this must have been a very cutting edge publication.
There has been quite a lot of local chat about the Cheapskate and her lateen rig. Here is a long, scholarly, but interesting discussion of the history of iceboating in Toronto. They adopted the Lateen rig early and never “evolved” to the gaff sloop rig so typical of the Hudson River fleet. In spite of the fact that he lateen rigged Vixen was a great success, local builders kept on doing what they had always done, and it took the development of the bow steerer and a Depression to end the reign of the mighty stern steerers. Thanks to Lee Spiller for sending it in. Don’t be intimidated by its length. Take a deep breath and just start. You won’t put it down:
Just like the headline says, Doug Raymond’s friend Brianna Partridge, below, heard the call and has signed up as a new CIBC member. Welcome Brianna! It look like Doug’s boat, and we love the sail.
Back to the future, we have word from Quebec that the Polar Vortex is sniffing around their door. Denis Guertin will soon begin to check his small local lakes and report to us here. He sends along this little vignette from last season to help get the juices flowing:
- IIIIIIIICCCCCCEEEEEE (11/20/2014)
We have some thin skim developing around Camden with more cold on the way, ahead of a warming trend next week. But Denis has the real thing just across the border.
Lake Abenakis is all frozen!!!
I measured 4″ near the shore, 3″ a bit further and 2″ at another spot.
We received about 2″ of snow this afternoon, after I scouted the lake.
Weather forecast for Ste-Aurelie is as follows:
Ice thickness should increase tonight and tomorrow.
Will it be enough for the weekend??
Much warmer temps on Sunday and Monday, with chances of rain (zamboni!?!).
And back to colder temps during next week?
To be continued…….
Envoyé de mon iPhone
- Taking the Plunge–parts I and II (11/21/2014)
Taking the Plunge Part I is when you actually go through the ice. It’s a particularly nasty prospect, just now as our days shorten, the puddles freeze, the house settles down to its winter temperatures, and that furry-animal pre-season whimpiness afflicts us. Let’s build up the fire, Miranda….no ice-capades for me!
But…..If you read Bob Dill’s wonderful website:
you’ll learn that people exploring ice, either on skates or iceboats, have a pretty predictable 1% chance of going through. Let’s see….I’ve been out about 12 seasons….about 33 days on the ice each year….that’s 400 days on the ice….1% chance of a “bath”…that’s 4 baths…which is the exact number that i’ve taken!…hooray!….i’m not a total numbskull….just a typical gambler….
Taking the Plunge Part II is the harder part for me: the plunge into spending money to be safer…. i’ve recently been turning a few quiet corners: A sort of “You can’t take it with you” calculation keeps coming up, which was never a concern before. There I am: Frozen stiff to the edge of the ice with a sufficient bank account…. doesn’t seem like a wise way to end life’s adventures….also, last year I read an interesting book, called “Die Broke” , which was another influence in this new direction….so today, I went in to our local sports store to try on a Kokatat “Meridian” model dry suit. This sports store is one we dearly love….to try stuff on before heading to the Internet…..
The suit wasn’t clammy, nor heavy, and only a moderate contortion to get into. Doing research back home, it appears that this brand is quite trusted and comes in either Gortex or their own clone, Hydrus which is cheaper and about 80% as breathable. My complaint with my present “wet suit bottom/float jacket top” arrangement is simply that, when put on at home for the whole day, it becomes so clammy and stinky.
Sooo….dear buddies….I’m taking Plunge Part II….you apparently wear these things with some sort of hi-tech first layer inside, and maybe you still wear a float jacket on top for extra flotation. And for “relief” you can get either a front zipper or a seat zipper depending on your affliction! … many many thanks to Bob Dill for his tireless evangelism on this important subject. The rest of his website, when you have the time, is fascinating. You’ll notice that his final reason for buying a dry suit is: “Strongly recommended for people with bad habits”….I don’t know anyone like that….do you?
- Plymouth Pond Frozen (11/21/2014)
Bryan Hitchcock checked Plymouth yesterday at 10:30am and found one big sheet. Judging by the chunk in the dog’s mouth it looks like about an inch. With the sub-freezing temps for the past twenty-four hours it could be two inches today. Forecast for Plymouth today offers high of 30, tonight low of 17, tomorrow, Saturday, high in the low thirties and sunny. Am I dreaming?
- Plymouth Pond 11/21 (11/21/2014)
Our connection to Plymouth Pond goes back so far in the CIBC that it feels like it just came with the club. Certainly all the people who sail with the club get to know this early bloomer well. It’s like you get the Newsletter, Lloyd’s beans and Plymouth as soon as you sign up. And now she’s back. Not the thickness we’d hoped for yesterday. I might have been a bit off judging the ice thickness by the jowls of a dog, or else it was a really big dog. Who knows, but the bottom line is that we have 1.5″ of very uniform clear black ice as of this afternoon. Grade ten hands down, except for thickness which probably disqualifies from the ratings system. The area by the bridge is more frozen than usual, but on the far side from where the woods end all the way to Grassy Point there is a strip of open water. We checked it along side the road well away from the pits and found the same 1.5″. It was easily walkable without zippering. Weather forecast for Plymouth: .TONIGHT…CLEAR. LOWS AROUND 12. WEST WINDS 10 TO 15 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 25 MPH
- 11/22 Plymouth Pond (11/22/2014)
I get to keep the ax: 2.5″ all over the pond. There are two open holes and one sealed hole out in the middle, in addition to the open water along the eastern shore. Some of that has frozen, but it’s still very obviously a trouble spot. The holes in the middle have been marked with branches and one basketball. They are directly out from the pits and a bit to the right.
Bob, Karl, Deborah and a gang of skaters did endless tours around the perimeter while a gaggle of wings sailed the middle. The SW wind was gusty and shifty; more like our winter NW, but with an honest grade ten flashing along under the skates there was nothing to complain about.
Rick Hobbs made the trip from Massachusetts for the day, Cam Lewis, Jory and I rounded out the sailing fleet while Lloyd skated around chopping holes pondering the structure of the ice. He marveled at the miniature pressure ridge at the south end being pushed up by such a thin plate. All kinds of magic this day.
But Frank and Denis get the prize for first CIBC boats on the ice. There was enough wind on Lac Abenakis to drive them through the thin snow and keep a grin frozen to Frank’s face. They will set up their new Whizz’s tomorrow if the weather allows.
Our weather is a bit bleak: 45 degrees at noon with a 4kt wsw. It goes downhill from there all week until next weekend when we spend some more time in the land down under (freezing). Not sure if this plate will survive the week and need to start from scratch, so we will be setting up boats tomorrow. Jory is hot to try out his new rig, and what’s wrong with pushing an iceboat around in light air, full sun, and in the forties? If you want to come, best to make it early. The wind will be slightly better and the ice harder. Also, it’s just the kind of day one needs to shake down the boat and make sure all the bits and pieces are there.
- Ode to Plymouth (11/22/2014)
when our lovely Plymouth Pond
Offers with her magic wand
to leave our doldrums far beyond
let’s not delay a single day
the coming thaws will have their say
we’ll have our break soon anyway
and so, dear Plymouth, I’ll respond
I’ll hustle gear, I’ll trust our bond
and travel where my heart is fond
I’ll hope again in this dying year
I’ll cross again your crystal weir
For life is short and passions dear
- Spring Sailing 11/23 (11/23/2014)
Lloyd Roberts can’t remember ever sailing this early in the season, nearly a week before Thanksgiving, and he has a looooong memory. The pond probably skimmed over last Wednesday, was discovered on Thursday, checked Friday and then sailed yesterday and today. And now it’s done. We barely got off with dry feet as the launch area was breaking up because of the concentrated weight of boats and people at the end of the day. The ice was still 2.5″, but was quickly going to pencils. It became so flexible that if two people were standing side by side it would begin to dish and fill with water.
Lloyd, dressed in his dry suit and still recovering from heart surgery, scootched in to get a line around the airborne runner. It took him a minute, just enough time for the ice to slowly stretch under his weight before breaking. We used his line to haul him out and he found that he was completely dry except for a couple of wet toes. As often happens, the wind prevented us from rolling the boat out of the hole, so we took down the rig and used the mast to lever the plank up and out. Here, Jim Gagnon hauls from the bow after Jim Matthews flipped the bow runner up over the edge.
Jim had been informed of the hazzard locations, but the lesson here is that once you’ve been told where the bad spots are, go out and find them. Plot them on your mental map of the lake and update your location relative to the hazzards continuously. Thankfully it was fifty degrees outside and there was no harm done. We saw this exercise more as a pre-season drill than a rescue operation. Thanks to Jim for providing us with an excellent learning opportunity. Two of the three boats that came to help were carrying throw lines. Is there one in your boat?
Bart Chapin had his maiden sail with Yellowbird, ditto with Jory’s new rig. The Icy/Whizz sailed beautifully, and combined with work Jory’s done on the steering and upholstery, ICW is a whole new boat. He’s got Red Herring in his sights! Bart was so excited to sail today that he left home at 5:30 for the two hour drive to Plymouth, arriving there first.
Doug Raymond arrived right after Bart and said that the runners ran absolutely silent until the ice began to soften at around 10:00. But even then the little zippering was only in the surface and we pushed our luck until about 1:00. Oddly enough the wind held all morning and was still blowing as Jory was wading out for the last of his gear.
Stand by for the next round of Black Ice! Commodore Fortier still wants to hold the Linc Davis Regatta while we’re still in 2014.
- One For The Road (11/24/2014)
Without intending to rub it in, the great photos of this weekend on Plymouth just keep on coming so the editor really must post them. This one is from Bryan Hitchcock who felt we needed Lloyd in the line-up, even though he is in the background.
On another subject, we have just installed an excellent article on how to build an inexpensive iceboat trailer. Find it under the PLANS header at the top of the page. Thanks to Bart Chapin for that.
- Close… (12/1/2014)
Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so the saying goes. But Denis and Frank thought it might apply to iceboating, too. The forecast was dubious for their fair corner of Quebec yesterday, but they hauled their new, as yet un-tested, Whizzes down to Lac Abenakis anyway. Show up and pray was the mantra of the day. Alas, it was not to be. The 4″ ice was slushy on top and there wasn’t a breath of wind. But being the enthusiastic good sports they are, they set up the boats in the parking lot anyway.
We’re not sure if this counts as a sailing day; the rules committee will have to decide this one. But it was much more of a day of iceboating than had by any one else. We’re in a waiting mode while the weather tries to make up it’s mind which season it wants to be. Today is spring again, with melting snow and thawed earth. The ice is disappearing from Hosmer Pond. Nothing hopeful on the forecast. If anything positive is happening in your own neck of the woods, please let us know.
Lastly, is any one from Maine going to the tune-up clinic at Steve Lamb’s on Dec.13? I have an iceboat that needs a lift there, and a new Renegade mast to southern Maine. Thanks.
- speed as metaphor–Dec 3, 2014 (12/3/2014)
As I look out at the rain/snow/ice mix on my back steps….and scan the weather ahead… woefully devoid of extended hard freezes…i am still enchanted by our inaugural days on Plymouth Pond…i remember journalling the next morning:
> couldn’t sleep last night….ice formation has its myriad variations….that ever-seductive crap shoot….and our first iceboating day on Plymouth has given us an unforgettable day of strong impressions….i had gotten up in darkness, attended to some last-minute iceboat tweakings, and sped the trailer—without a license plate!– to an 8AM arrival at Plymouth. >
> Doug Raymond, Bert Chapin, Jim Gagnon and others were already there, in the powerfully bright sun and fast-warming temperatures. As I stepped out into the glare of perfect ice, into the powerful squinty yellowness of the still, warm morning….i was instantly in love again…reunited with a long-absent passion…I immediately shed clothing and, seized by a calm, methodical mindfulness which is quite foreign to me, began setting up the new Whizz rig on Icywood: a rig I had been working on through the fall.
> Bill had nagged….guilt-tripped…seduced…even reasoned me into stepping above my deep-seated sleaze. I don’t like working on iceboats. I pride myself in sailing a fairly-fast assemblage of jory-rigs…bits of chain extending shrouds is a favorite!….but this morning….perhaps the result of listening to zen-buddhist tapes on the hour-long drive north….I slowly put all the new pieces together for the very first time…i stared and stared, feeling a calm deep satisfaction: there she sat, with John Eastman’s long pennant waving at the masthead…..a perfect, perfect creation! >
> I enjoyed a few careful runs, amazed at how demanding the high-aspect sail was. This baby could move you like stink, but would luff or stall with even a tiny miss-trim. Doug stopped his DN nearby and warned me that the ice was now zippering between the two areas of open water we had marked the day before. Then he jumped on the ice, to prove his point–cracks shooting out beneath his boots– and the ice oscillated up and down. I had never experienced ice of this amazing elasticity.
That day, we left the ice early, spooked by its creaking as you moved along. The open holes became progressively more difficult to see as the ice puddled in the rising temps….
the next day, I received this from my dear sparring partner, Bill Bunting:
> Congratulations on your upgraded Icy Whizz. I surrender. I give up. >
> Considering that I had enough trouble passing you with your old hand-me-down rig, obviously it would be ludicrous to think that I could ever do so again. Well done. >
> May Whizzy Ice now make history dispelling old chestnuts regarding the supposed necessity of having wide-track planks, and sophomoric phallic springboards, in order to make a proper skeeter. More power to you, and to Whizzy Ice! >
> However, and I almost regret having to tell you this, I will not be gnashing any teeth nor losing any sleep over eating your chips. Indeed, I welcome their taste. As I approach my LXX annum, come this January, I realize that now is the time to slow down and smell the ice fishermen’s wiener roasts, as it were. In the grand scheme of things, what is the point of going faster anyway? Are we not all hurtling through space and time quite fast enough? Is it not time to leave behind our childish competitive games? >
> But please, do not let my epiphany lessen your pleasure from your tricked-out Phizzy Ice. After all, to each his own. However, having read of your intention to reach your demise on the very day that your bank account reaches zero, I am concerned that in your quest to best my old $200 Red Herring you will have unnecessarily hastened that day of reckoning. >
> Bill Bunting
….one of the joys of our community is having another sailor who is exactly matched with oneself: Whose runners are sharper, or better aligned this year?….who has finally bought a new sail?….who is yanking in that last few inches of sheet?….who is faster in the tacks or jibes?…. having a ‘stalking horse’ to train against….not a Buchholz off on the horizon, but a Bunting runner to runner….this opens the adrenalin valve…..
and I admit that these thrills may, among other things, reach back into our reptilian brain, when speed and competence once meant food and mates and survival. But I don’t think speed and skill are only ‘childish competitive games’. I had come to a crossroads with the lovely DN rig….I had sat in a Whizz and pulled the sheet to the limit….I looked up into an angular, modern, sort of “industrial” rig, where mast and sail seemed to blend….and where the limits of flatness—so necessary at higher speeds– go far beyond the DN….
speed may be the icing on the cake, perhaps less necessary in the oldster’s diet…. but it is also a metaphor: the quest for speed masks a subtler need to change, to grow….and i’m not sure that has an age limit.
Buchholz’ comment was, typically, blunt: “Gents: it ain’t over ’till it’s over! Let the Childish Competetive Games begin!”
- This Coming Sunday on Plymouth Pond (12/4/2014)
Doug Raymond had a look at the pond yesterday, and reports that the entire plate is still there. It was a bit misty so he couldn’t see all the way out, and there was water over the ice at the pits so we don’t know thickness, but given the near zero temps this night and the next we could be back in business on Sunday. There is a wintry mix coming Saturday, but no accumulation is indicated. Sunday is sunny, mid 20’s, NW wind 10-12.
We will scout it tomorrow and report back.
- The Phantom (12/5/2014)
- No Go Sunday (12/6/2014)
In spite of everyone trying so hard to find a sympathetic forecast, the reality is that we are iceboaters and this is just one of those toughening-up exercises which helps prepare us for the real bummers later in the season when a blizzard covers a freshly scouted 4″ plate of black ice. Jim Gagnon had a look at Plymouth on yesterday and found 3″ of ice, snow covered. With the additional snow they got last night and not enough rain to wet it out and not enough cold to freeze it even if it did wet out leaves us on the beach, sad to say. Some of the water may drain off, but without a cold night the surface will be marginal.
No good news from Quebec, either. Denis reports: “Lac Abenakis is not sailable anymore (already). Patches of 1/2″ styrofoam and icy snow bumps. We may try petit Lac Lambton tomorrow, but we expect styrofoam there also. So, nothing very interesting here this weekend, and snow forecast for next week. We will have to wait for larger lakes to freeze, or for better conditions in Maine.”
A nice tip of the helmet to David Godine who flew over Plymouth yesterday and reports some open water at the east side, but pretty much solid evertwhere else. Perhaps he’ll adopt the Guegon Bros. technique of gently touching the ice with his landing gear to get a sense of the thickness. As far as I’ve heard, they never actually broke through. David?
The plan is to power it with a DN rig. Why? Why not? Anyone out there ready to move into a cockpit and take your DN gear with you? Much thanks to Tom Childs for donating the plywood, and the lousy weather for keeping my next job at bay.
- Maiden Voyage (12/7/2014)
Congratulations to Denis and Frank for their first sail with their new Whizzes! They weren’t gonna let a little snow and styrofoam keep them at home. He includes a nice montage of the building process, too:
These are the first Whizz to sail with the 8″ mast and it sure looks good to me!
Here in Maine, we’re building ice under a lousy surface on Plymouth Pond. Mid week warmth and rain should wet out and set us up for the weekend is the promised cold snap shows up. If not, we’ll al be coming to visit you, Denis!
- Just Checking (12/7/2014)
This morning I’m off to check the ice
though I’m darned if I know why
the mercury’s yoyo-ing madly
its numbers way too high
this house, though lovely, feels a cage
my work-out’s a deadly bore
and somehow I’ve simply got to know
what our beautiful swamp has in store
will this morning’s chilling 18 degrees
slow those frisky H-2-O’s
so a frustrated hundred and sixty pounds
can skate where it dreams to go?
but down at the swamp, the one-inch ice
sang it’s same-old song to me
and I sat at the edge like an ancient sage
there was no better place to be
with a sailor’s life-long instinct
I checked the swamp-edge reeds for wind
as the sun crept down and gladdened
the far-shore’s pines again
but the silence wasn’t quite total
or I’d hear the heart’s slow throb
there was the drone of commuters
heading to school or job
I thought of the decades that lay behind
when my routines well were bound
by deadline hustles and raising kids
and so rare was leisure found
so here I sit and I wonder
have these years a Buddha made
or only an old fart washed ashore
with body and mind a-fade?
- ice at last!–Dec 8,2014 (12/8/2014)
6AM….Brenda’s honey-do list to me:
XXXXXXXXXXX (very important!)
YYYYYYYYYYY (long overdue!)
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ (absolute must!)
and P.S., mister gluten-free retired person, cook a nice dinner for your working-class, and still-working wife……OR ELSE!….even my pre-caffinated brain could read between those lines….
…..chasened, I put on 16 items of clothing and headed for the swamp….temperature 8 degrees, sky clear…and there it was, at last: 4 solid inches of ice…..grey, slightly orange-peeled, with deep stress cracks lazily going here and there, and beautiful well-healed sunburst drain holes….and sun…now beginning to touch the far wooded hills….on with the nordic skates!….. scramble carefully into verticality…scrape-glide, scrape-glide ….the skater’s wind slowly builds….as those unique muscles relearn their jobs…
it seems there’s always one particular day, in each early-ice season, when….as Carol Cold and Willy Warm teeter-totter in the playground, bully Freddy Frigid puts his heavy foot on Carol’s end….and the game changes…..
back home, I revised my honey-do:
1. tell the world about the ice
2. rest and pray for wind
3. skate and skimbat on the swamp at noon
5. skate in the wonderful late afternoon gloaming; skate right into the sunset
6. order a pizza
hmmm…. did I leave something out?
- Baxter Lake is Starting Early Again (12/12/2014)
Paul Delnero found this today. There’s not much happening here in Maine, but the natives are restless and a drive to New Hampshire would be great. One our first days last year was New Years Day on Lake Attitash, also scouted by Paul. Keep up the good work! The more eyes on the prize the better.
Went over to Lake Baxter here in Rochester NH. I did some scouting on Monday before the monsoon(here). The cove froze with about 1″ a couple weeks ago. Ice fishermen had been on the cove over the last weekend so I started by checking their holes. After finding 5″ of something on the cove I decided to see what it really was. Chopped a test block and found 2″ real ice and 3″ of frozen slush. Sounded my way out to the transition to the main lake and found 2″ of black ice. I turned and tip toed back into the cove and to my car. Nothing but a rain here with maybe a dusting last night. The cove is possible soon. Main lake needs a few cold days to gain a couple of inches.
- CIBC Membership Caught Napping (12/14/2014)
And daily scouring of the weather report would never have led any of us to believe that we could have been sailing Plymouth today. Winds 10-12, sunny, hard frozen surface. Doug Raymond called late this afternoon after driving to Plymouth on a hunch. He wasn’t equipped for scouting, and he broke his axe trying to chop holes, but he did find SIX INCHES of solid ice.
Tomorrow is forecast to be a twin to today, so SAILING IS ON FOR PLYMOUTH POND! It will need thorough scouting, so the first people to arrive should get out early and there and have a look. And then we need to decide as a club how to avoid this sort of situation in the future. The last thing an iceboater wants is to be caught with his pants down!
- Plymouth Pond 12/15 (12/15/2014)
On very short notice, and without much information on the conditions, eight sailors show up to sail today. I was a bit nervous having called this day, but desperation can drive one right to the edge. Fortunately there was no edge on the Plymouth plate today. Where we had open water last time there was the same six inches that we found everywhere. The surface has a dash of styrofoam and touch of shell; one could be generous and grade it a 7.5. Very sailable. Lloyd had his 1/8″ Cheapskate bedframe runners and marveled at the way they moved through the crud. The sun never did come out, which might have saved the surface from softening. The wind began to soften after lunch, though. There was a great puff along the shore just to the south of the pits, such that once you’ve worked the boat back, thinking it was time to pack it up, you stumble into this pedal to the medal rush so you run down along the trees, jibe, and go blasting back out to where the others were still trying to get wound up. Not everyone discovered this, and it became too heartless a game after a while.
Bunting, Buchholz, Bart Chapin, Jim Gagnon, Bruce Brown, Squibb and Roberts.
Missing from this photo is Curtis Rindlaub who was just having too much fun with INDIGO to take a break. He’s improved the sheeting yet again, and has brought the performance to the point where he’s almost the one to catch. She has topped 70mph before, so she’s got it in her. It felt so wonderful to hear the crunch of cleats on ice again, and to analyze every single flag on the long drive north, trying to get a read on the wind. One flag is too stiff, next one too lazy; what stress. And then the town of Jackson, in some sort of patrio-christmas fervor, put a flag on every telephone pole for about three miles. One could have a break-down along that gauntlet.
There will be a few people sailing tomorrow. Wind is forecast to be light, but Jory says he’s happy just to come push the boat around. Bob Lombardo reports that Pushaw Pond, in Old Town, is pretty good and could have a great surface by the weekend. So maybe we’re getting into a decent stretch of sailing. It takes all the eyes we have to find this stuff. Thanks again to Doug Raymond for scouting this. Sadly, he had roofers working at his house today and couldn’t sail.
- “Iceboating” on Plymouth–Dec 17, 2014 (12/17/2014)
Iceboating is not just about iceboating……roaring, rattling, bashing across ice….….it’s also about community….it may even be fundamentally about community….many of us humans–especially we of the male gender—need a context around which to nucleate community….and monday on Plymouth was like that….
there was really no reason to go….fog predicted…. almost certain calm….but i knew Doug Raymond would be there, and though the intervening temps couldn’t have destroyed yesterday’s safe ice…..i know how we hate to be alone on ice in the early or late season…so i headed North thru the freezing rain.
there was Doug setting up the original ‘Cheapskate’ for a daughter showing interest in her dad’s passion. I assume this is the boat which has brought the design to our knowledge. we set it up together, and in the light southerly, Doug was just able to keep her going. I set up Icywood, which i had left on the ice overnight, and had about the same luck….
then, wonder or wonders, Bill Cunningham arrived with a cunning ice bike, a Surly Pusley with enormous studded snow tires, and we all experienced the wonder of this new technology…..gliding fast, effortlessly, with a graceful sure-footedness across three different ice qualities: dusted snow, wetted snow orange peel, and occasional shell ice….this is surely a machine we will see more of…it’s an additional way–with skimbatting and nordic skating–to enjoy this vast and wild environment.
Bill is another of the ‘forever young’ inspirations in our community….how rich we are in role models for moving against the norms of aging! details of his amazing bike will appear shortly.
without wind, Doug and I lunched at the Plymouth Store, and finding calm on our return, he began teaching me about runners: to lubricate their pivots with bar and chain oil, and to tighten them just snug, but able to pivot easily….this is extremely important….then, as i decommissioned Icywood, Doug showed me how I—having arrogantly sharpened my own runners without instruction for 12 seasons—was sailing on a totally ruined set of blades!…..he offered to teach me, if i stopped by his shop on the way home….i didn’t realize that the day’s wonder was just beginning…
Doug is buried in the woods of Montville….his shop is unremarkable….i had expected a Dave Fortier ‘tour de force’……before we got started, he invited me for a bite at his house nearby…you walk a hand-made bridge across the bend of a large stream…..and…..arrive…in a total fairyland!….here i am…a wordsmith of some caliber….awed to silence….inside the house or out…at any moment you open your eyes widely and see a depth of field, a layered collage of magic….tile, paint, wood, steel, windowing, sculpted doors, woodwork, carving, inlays, cabinets….everywhere…. a Gibran said: “work is love made visible”
But the best is the site-ing….the house seems to float on its cement piers above the river with its buildings connected by airy walkways….and….dear fellow iceboaters….should you sit in his living room…. as though sitting in the river itself , you have a long view up its playful wooded watercourse….the movie of your day stops-frame….there isn’t the slightest reason to move from that room….
soooo…i learned not to be awed by runner-sharpening….how to reprofile a runner…how to move the V-notch right on center….how to round the ends, dull the first and last 2 inches…. not polish with finer grit belts…and eventually headed South into the bleak 4 o-clock drizzle…
home to cook a hasty supper….we feed two lovely children every tuesday, who lost their mother to cancer….and are blessed thereby with two ‘grandchildren’….. while our own hyper-independent progeny show little fecundity…and then blubber my way thru our annual Messiah sing-a-long.…Lloyd and Marge Roberts always come…when will i ever dry up?…this ancient story of comfort, of wonder, of renewal in the dark of the year….why am i so moved?….this Scrooge, since the age of 12….excoriating the off-trackness….the missing-of-the-mark… of an annual human passage so necessary of notice and ritual.
and though…gripping my Buddhism against the storm….i can’t conceptually grasp the meanings…i just enter in….willy-nilly….i just give up…and sing and feel with all i have…
- While We Wait (12/17/2014)
As Jory says, iceboating is very much about community. I couldn’t agree more, but it’s also about building and tinkering. Since Jory has moved on from sailing his DN rig on Dickie’s old Icywood I’ve been thinking about how much boat you could have and still use that rig. Doug Sharp has the BDX line of DN powered pocket skeeters, but to my knowledge there has never been a front seater powered by the DN rig. I found myself with motive and opportunity a couple of weeks ago, so have set out to see if it will work.
By using an existing plank, she should be ready to go this coming weekend. Mother nature might just throw us a bone this weekend, so stand by for a Plymouth and Pushaw report later this week.
Meanwhile, please forgive the crass commercialization, but this pocket rocket will be for sale after sea trials. All up weight is about the same as the Whizz, which sails pretty good with this rig, so if the weight distribution works out we might have a winner. If not, it is set up for a springboard, 20′ mast and big plank: all the goodies to get the gold in the C Skeeter class.
- Pushaw Pond Ice Report 12/19 (12/19/2014)
Bob Lombardo skated around Pushaw today and shares this report and photos:
Okay here we go. Karl and I skated about 2hrs today around the perimeter of the new plate that slushed out and froze up . Its big, but not 5056 acres, maybe 1/3 of that. The good stuff is about 1/2 off of Goulds Landing which I will show a photo of. You will maybe need an 8′ plank in morning but maybe not, 14 degrees tonight and I almost was able to stand on the moat. The ice from shore out to the to good stuff is white with some slush underneath, and may not be solid in the morning so it may be a struggle to get out of the cove. Not being an ice boater or ice specialist I can’t say. But if you can get out there, which I know you can, then there is lots of firm grey orange peel ice to sail on. Pressure ridges yes, and you will have to scout them. The thing with them now is they are slushed over and some are hard to spot, but at 14 tonight you may be able to sail right over them. Goulds Landing is at the end of Essex St., the same Essex St. that runs thru Bangor. Best to drive outer Broadway past the shopping center and take one of those right hand turns that will take you over to Essex and then head out of town. Call me with questions 944-6802. Unless of course you have somewhere else to sail. I feel like I am going out on a limb but the ice is so nice to see after that shit weather yesterday. The pickpole hole and measure stick measures about 6″ mixed bag.
So there you have it. Thanks Bob. Any takers for this? North winds 5-10 forecast. Get the phones ringing!
- Pushaw 12/20 (12/20/2014)
Nobody else showed up this morning, so after checking in with the Skaters to see if they were coming I started to rig. I figured their presence would satisfy the “don’t sail alone” rule. Turns out the bow runner was left at home, so I took one of my ice skates, found a block of 1″ wood, jammed it into the bow chock and lashed the skate to it. The boat would go straight, but wouldn’t turn. There were a few cracks around the island in the background, so I decided it was best if I went back. Had a nice downwind sail until I found that I was in the wrong bay and had to stop at a house to ask directions. One of the challenges of a variegated shoreline on an unknown lake.
I’d call the surface a five: not lovely but very sailable. See the directions to Gould’s Landing at the end of Essex Avenue in yesterday’s post. Set-up between 9:30 & 10:00. Pray for wind. Thanks to David and Karen Godin for this quick look at the worst crack:
- Runners (12/20/2014)
David Godin did a fly-over of Pushaw today and send a video clip which did not come through on the recent post.
Meanwhile, here’s news on Jeff Kester’s runner project:
I have received them back from the heat treater and am starting to edge. I have 2 extra sets of three:
· 1.4028 chromium martensitic stainless steel
· 0.246” thick
· RC 52-53
· Styled after Jack Jacobs alligators
· 42” side runners and 34” steer
This is a knife stainless steel, it has better corrosion resistance than 440C and at this hardness has much higher impact resistance. I am interesting in selling in any of the following conditions:
· Cut, Heat Treated, Straightened $ 550/set available now
· Cut, Heat Treated, Straightened, surface sanded, & edged $1175/set available within 4 weeks
· Complete with Carbon over wood core stiffeners $1850/set Ready for next season
I am edging mine to 80 degrees and have 90, 95, and 105 degree options as well. I added a reversing switch to my runner sander so both sides will be sanded from the same direction, this should make centering the edge more accurate.
- Where We’re At (12/21/2014)
No wind on Pushaw Lake today, and as we couldn’t muster enough hope to pray we stayed home and did Christmas stuff. We are hoping the plate survives this next storm. This lake just cries out to be sailed and explored. But the ice on Sebec Lake is the best I’ve seen so far, and I would advocate for that venue post storm:
Is there anybody out there willing to drive to Dover-Foxcroft in the next day or two to have a look? CIBC used to sail there quite a bit. Please give me a call: 975-6980.
Doug Raymond and his daughter got some sailing in today on on Woodbury Pond in Litchfield. It happens to be right out Brianna’s back door, and they had just enough wind. Atop Mt. Washington today they had a 15mph breeze. This is basically light and variable for them, and means generally no wind to speak of anywhere in New England.
Notice the nice plank compression and boom bend.
And just if you have any doubt as to how much fun iceboating can be, check out these guys. DO try this at home:
- Christmas Ice, Sailing on Saturday (12/26/2014)
These were taken yesterday, and this morning Bob called from the lake to say the the surface has dried and hardened over night. It could probably be sailed today, but let’s plan on tomorrow at Goulds Landing.
Forecast is sunny, 40, north 5-10. There are still some cracks and small drain holes, but the entire lake has not been scouted. Let’s do it tomorrow!
- Pushaw update (12/26/2014)
Bob Lombardo kindly sent this in after his and Karl’s long skating tour of Pushaw Lake:
The big pressure ridges [2 of them] have healed over and frozen shut. There are 2 points where water started to leak but off into the middle not much happening as of 11AM today. Wind really picked up and the ice started to soften at that time of day so we got off giving us a 3hr skate top to bottom of lake [thats 9mi. up and 9 down] 5056 acres of hard black to gray ice. We were going to grade the south end this morning as a #10 not knowing anything about grading until we got up into the north end and had to downgrade the south to a 9 because up north the ice is gorgeous. Maybe the dial could go up to 11? What can I say its really nice ice. Get here early and prepare for softening ice at around noon if its same forecast as today.
Bottom line is bring slush runners just in case, even though it’s supposed to be a bit cooler tomorrow. Anybody coming?
- Pushaw Lake 12/27 (12/27/2014)
We all know, or should know, that we get into the most trouble on the ice at the beginning of the season and at the end. So what do you think would happen if we had both conditions on the same day? Well you shoulda been there. It was the best of times and almost but not quite the worse. Seven boats set out for a three hour tour to the north end.
The conditions were mesmerizing: light cloud cover to protect the fragile ice, ice so smooth the runners ran silent, and plenty of breeze from the right direction, steady as a fan. We made our way north at a moderate speed, sitting up high and looking around. The leaders circled back a few times to bring in the stragglers. Denis was in the lead with his new Whizzper when right in front of me he went down. He’d sailed into an invisible hole along the line of the old pressure ridge. The rest of the fleet rounded up. Just before Wolfie came to a stop his side runner dropped into another hole. We were parked on a sheet of Swiss cheese.
Denis was ok and dry. The plank tore away, took the rig down, and the fuselage came to rest on its side with Denis in it. A few of us picked our way over to him, sorted out the mess, and began to re-install the stud plates. He had just enough screws to do the job, but no screwdriver. Normal for the second sail of the year. But Jim Gagnon had one and we had Whizzper back on her feet and sailing in no time at all. Denis threaded his way back to the good ice and we all headed south at a leisurely pace until Denis blew by all of us and the game was on.
We spent the rest of the day ripping around the south end on safer ice, but Wolfie decided to leave early and head for the pits. But as happened before, he headed into the wrong cove and had to backtrack. He didn’t know he’d gone around behind another crack, but on the way out he found it and went in. Full body immersion. He had home- made picks which he lost in the scuffle so he couldn’t get back onto the ice. But clever and clearheaded as he is, he simply walked out on the mast. We hauled him out with no harm done and he found his way back just fine.
Curtis had Indigo running very fast today, and Denis and I had all the fun we could handle chasing him around. Well, that’s not totally accurate: best fun has was actually passing him, but what a workout.
Just as we all decided that we were a bit too spooked to continue, Bill Bunting showed up. Friends don’t let friends show up to the ice, rig their boat, and not go sailing, so we went back out for another romp. While the wind held spades, the ice was getting a tad soft. The cove was well slushed while the main plate looked as above. Plates still ruled. I could see that every time a boat was headed for the pits as if he’d had enough he’d peel of at the last minute, jibe, and head back for more. We felt pretty good about our plate by now, and there were plenty of ruts to follow if in doubt.
We held a short de-briefing later to try and figure out what we could have done better, considering the conditions. We probably wouldn’t have seen Denis’s hole even at skating speed. We did know there had been a bad ridge in that area before and should have focussed on finding it. Staying off the ice was not an option anyone considered. It was just too nice and we are hungry. One’s boat will never suffer a scratch if it stays at home. Every time it goes sailing it risks collision, immersion, dings and destruction.
And hopefully every time the sailor goes out he learns something that will make the next time safer and more fun.
Ryan Haskell and David Godin had their first outing today. If we ever see them again after this kind of maiden day, it will be to the credit of their character. It isn’t always like this, Gents. No sailing tomorrow as we wait for a small rain to pass and the temps to drop Sunday night. Monday could be could, but Tuesday better. Nice breeze and hard working temps all week expected. Ideally we’d scout it Monday and call a full blown sailing day for Tuesday. You’ll hear all about here.
- Off to Pushaw, near Bangor, Tuesday Morning (12/29/2014)
rarely have i seen such a weather prediction from the Ice-Gods!….day after cold, windy day….So Bill and I are off, with full gear, to Pushaw Tuesday morning for a planned arrival about 9:30…..
so far, it seems like Pushaw is our best bet, with the southern plate almost certainly safe….we will carefully check the northern plate, and mark the junction with traffic cones if it is unsafe…..
soooo…..if you’re hungry for iceboating, you have two choices: come tomorrow and carefully check–and quite possibly–sail with us tomorrow…..or come Wednesday after our full report Tuesday night.
ice at last!….jory
- Pushaw (12/29/2014)
Contrary to Jory’s observation, the southern plate IS NOT safe. Wolfie’s crack is now larger. Access to the north end is tricky. But we will be having a look at it and welcome the company of all. Here’s Bob’s report from today:
Spent 5hrs out there today. The ice is so nice I cannot describe it. Most of it has gone down to clear and maybe 4-5″ thick. Hazards? Yes. The big crack east of the landing is bigger and will not likely freeze overnight because of wind. A few big holes in the south end that we saw and Denis’ holes are quite big and noticeable along with a few other holes in that same pressure ridge. Up north there is incredible big ice with a few hazards. One being a pressure ridge off a point just beyond Twin Islands and just north of that a few sneaky holes. If you get up in the north end [I hope you do] its pretty much big smooth clear ice until you get near the inlet which is wide open into the lake about 100yards. We think you can get around Denis’ crash site by going way east of it or even west shore where we were. We did not go along the east shore much because of the wind. We did skate down the middle most of the way from the top and saw only a few hazards.
Zambonied, but thickness unknown. Thanks to Bob Lombardo for the photos and report.
These holes might heal by Wednesday in the predicted cold, but tomorrow will just be skimmed. If the plate itself is in good shape then it will be capable of supporting a regatta regardless of the holes. They are outside a potential course area and can be well marked.
We will post a report early tomorrow so the New England guys (and the Nova Scotians) can make plans.
- Ice Up-Date (12/30/2014)
When you think of the number TEN, does Bo Derek still come to mind? Slowly slinking about in your cerebral canyons? It certainly makes sense, but for the four of us who sailed Pushaw today, the number TEN will forever be associated with this plate on this day. The best way to describe it is to imagine the sensation of freely jumping off a cliff and the silent rush of air and acceleration. That’s what peeling off was like today. Up and down the nine mile length of the lake. The wind was brisk, and had a nice angle for beating up into the north end. There is one active and one latent pressure ridge about a third and two-thirds of the way up. We established a windward mark at a buoy and as soon as one of us rounded it we all went deep, back south. One of the top five sails ever.
But, there are still two open holes in the vicinity of Denis and Wolfie’s demise the other day. Other small holes have all healed with 2″ of hard ice. Cold temps tonight will lock them in further. If the big holes skim over they will be impossible to see. There is a line of three orange cones to the east (on your right) as you leave the pits. There are at least three big holes behind them. The other two are about halfway across the lake adjacent to Lakeview Landing.
The NEIYA will be running the New England DN Champs tomorrow. Anyone with a DN is welcome to race. The course is on a well scouted plate with no hazzards found.
More boats will be showing up New Years Day, and there’s nothing threatening in the forecast until Sunday, with good winds throughout the week. If you don’t come get a piece of this before then, well, you might as well just move to Florida.
Aside from that, I’m speechless. Cooked by the sun, burnt by the wind, then, every time I sail I’ll remember this TEN.
- News From Lake Champlain (12/30/2014)
Andre Baby has been busy scouting:
Bob Dill and I scouted Mississquoi bay off Venise en Québec today. Snow Ice is 6 to 8 inches thick, we didn’t see any hazards and drain holes have healed . Access from the beach was easy. The surface varies from smooth to pockmarked, 8 to 6 so I’d say overall it’s a seven. Course could be a mile +. Bob took many pics, which I will forward later. I would have sailed it today, but Bob didn’t have his boat.
Bob agreed the venue is fantastic.
I’m looking for sailors to join me tomorrow, then Friday and Saturday.
514 426 4066
- Pushaw 12/31 (12/31/2014)
Another epic day in paradise. The DN fleet completed the 2014 New Englands with hours to spare, while a dozen or so touring boats took long trips up and down the lake. We’re beginning to poke in to remote coves and explore the west side of the islands. The ice around the Twin Islands is tight, with an excellent puff blowing right down the straights. There is still a big open hole just south of the Twins, about a third of the way to the pressure ridge. And this lake just keeps on giving: one of the guys had a pair of extra track cars rattle off the boom somewhere between the bottom and the top of the nine mile, five thousand acre lake. Three boats headed back to find them, and with the help of the skaters (one of whom had nearly tripped over it earlier) they found them at opposite ends of the lake.
THis photo of the pits doesn’t do justice to the teeming masses of great boats and people who came sailing today. More boats will be showing up tomorrow, and the pit area seems able to accommodate cars and trailers easily. Sunshine, days in the twenties, nights in the teens, and wind all the way to Sunday. So when someone wishes you Happy New Year tonight, you’ll know that the start of this year could hardly be happier.
Thanks to Bob Lombardo for the photo.
- Missing Pix from Lombardo (12/31/2014)
- No Pix, So Here’s a Video from Sweden (12/31/2014)
- Too many to count (1/1/2015)
It feels like too many sailing days to count, but it’s really about the boats. People kept showing up all day, and by early afternoon sails could be seen from top to bottom.
The racers set up the marks again to continue training for the worlds, later this month. We scouted the remaining hazzards south of the pressure ridge and put a cone at the western most hole. Leave it to starboard heading north. A small fleet did cat and mouse figure eights around the Twin Islands as the wind began to build into the mid teens.
After a restful line up we drag raced flat out for the final two miles to the top of the lake where we found a nice lee on the funky dock of swamp squatter’s camp. Back at the pits we met Michael Young from Mt.Desert and his son. They’ve built a narrow Gambit with tandem seating, much more aerodynamic than the standard model:
We know that aerodynamics are everything in iceboat design and building. Michael made some very nice inserts from solid aluminum with stainless blades.
Pushaw will be open for business tomorrow as usual. There’s a couple of more days before this comes to a messy meteorological end. Then we’re back into the other great iceboating activity: scouting ice and watching the weather!
- Important Typo (1/1/2015)
The hazzards are to the NORTH of the pressure ridge, not to the south as indicated in the post. Your editor is a bit wiped out…
- New Ice (1/1/2015)
IN THE MEANTIME
While everyone is focused on the Pushaw Fantasia…..
Everything else at home is freezing up.
Chickawaukee closed over New Year’s Eve with one or two holes toward SE corner as usual. 2 1/2 inches of lovely ice at Lloyd’s end for about 1/4 mile then thinning out to 1 1/2 with thinner 1 inch spots. Skated New Year’s morning out to the 1 inch stuff, marked with spruce branch.
Went on an ice drive by New Year”s afternoon. South Pond looks closed in, nice surface. Ditto Pemaquid Pond both at Rte 1 end and at launch ramp.
Photo of Great Bay, Damariscotta courtesy of Dave Lampton.
Clary Pond has been mostly frozen for some time with a large open area west of the usual pressure ridge at the end of the narrow bay the ramp is on. This looked a bit messy from the road, probably now frozen.
Ice fishermen reported on ice at Bog Bridge on Megunticook.
Being forever optimistic, perhaps the snow forecast Saturday will get watered down by the forecast Sunday rain on these near coastal ice sheets to be firmed up and thickened by forecast cold weather early next week.
In the meantime we push off for Pushaw first thing tomorrow, Friday.
- Pushaw Still Great (1/2/2015)
After so many days of ideal conditions we had a reality check today in the form of Big Wind. Steady 20kts gusting easily to 25, measured between the pits cove and Dollar Island. And I haven’t even loaded my storm sail this season. Others found themselves in the same position, and still others had runners that had been dulled from all the hard work of these past days. One gust and you were going sideways faster than you were forward.
But on such flawless ice there wasn’t much to worry about, so we explored behind Dollar and Hardwood Islands. The bay there is easily as large as Chickawaukee with ice as lovely as everywhere else. A few folks ventured south, but with the pressure ridge running the same direction as the wind, crossing was tough. One guy lowered his sail to make it easier. His buddy didn’t, but probably will next time! But speaking of tough, at last sight Ramblin’ Roger and Paul Delnero met at the pressure ridge, introduced themselves, and rattled over the ridge, vanishing over the horizon. The rest of us had enough and flew back to the pits to de-rig.
There will be a bunch of sailors tomorrow taking advantage of the moderate winds and the last of the ice. Our paradise will be covered in snow by dawn Sunday. The more coastal lakes should be getting rain. We’ll keep an eye on things next week. Meanwhile, here’s something to meditate upon as you’re shoveling snow Sunday morning. It’s today on Phillips Pond.
Bob Lombardo photo.
Lastly, a tip of the helmet to Chris and his buddy from Nantucket. They get the furthest travelled award, and they brought storm sails, in spite of which they still got an awesome Nantucket Sleigh Ride!
- Thank You, Pushaw Lake (1/3/2015)
It’s snowing in Maine this evening. We’ve had one of the most remarkable runs on amazing ice in recent memory. More than one guy compared these days with the epic ice of Winnipesaukee in 2010. About a dozen or so boats chased the rare puff today in the calm before the storm. It was very cold, so one of the neighbors living near the pits came out and built a fire out on the ice. Skaters and sailors gathered around to get warm and contemplate this great plate.
Thanks to all those who traveled long distances to sail with us. It’s the good company that’s the icing on the lake. Denis came down from Quebec a couple of times and made this video:
And one from Doug Raymond’s daughter Briana: http://youtu.be/BYuudk8cFQQ Note the amazing reflection of the clouds in the ice.
We also had a nice write-up in the Bangor Daily News:
Kudos to new iceboater Guy Polyblank for getting top billing.
Meanwhile, ice has been building everywhere. The snow is supposed to change to rain along the coast, so some of our new ice might survive. We’ll be rallying the spies after we all have a well deserved rest, and maybe even get a little paying work done.
- New Ice (1/6/2015)
CHICKAWAUKEE Hurray, we’re sinking. Overnight and at -5F sunup most of the lake is grey, waterlogged snow on sinking ice.
SEBAGOCAM.COM Shows what looks like new ice. Open water with waves yesterday.
DAMMYCAM Looks like snow still.
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- Tuesday Jan 6 Ice report ctd. (1/6/2015)
CHICKAWAUKEE : Sunset stroll on grade 1+ coarse cobblestones, thinnest I could find 5-6 inches but would be a very rough ice boat ride, the sort of thing you could get used to but not likely enjoy. I did not get to the glossy black pools visible in the distance at SE corner and S end but similar black ice around the Eastern edge which had been open water yesterday now 1 1/4″ thick, likely 2″ by tomorrow. Is this mess good for anything? Well around the Eastern edge there is a path 6-10 feet wide of skatable snow ice, plenty thick, 4-5 inches, next to the new black transparent edge. Does this go all the way around? I don’t know, I ran out of light. Might try skating around on Wednesday out of desperation.
There now seems to be a good foundation that won’t blow out.
PEMAQUID POND: Drive by, snowy and paving blocky looking. A couple of folks seen standing on ice edge in distance, not visibly skating.
MACES and ROCKY Ponds (on Rte 17 Rockport) smooth looking likely skatable patches, just a drive by.
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- Wild goose chased (1/7/2015)
Two mornings running, Tuesday and Wednesday Jan 5&6 the very nice SEBAGOCAM>COM which looks West across Jordan Bay, the NE corner of Sebago Lake has shown grey flat ice, no snow. So Ramblin Roger and I set off to find the weekend ice. We get to Raymond Beach, the northern most tip of the Bay and there is a little rim of intact and broken ice. The rest is water. It is hard to tell new ice from old water.
Thus disappointed we drove around the West side of Sebago and down to Pump House Bay at the South end where there is often first new ice. Indeed the whole bay was covered by lovely clean new ice about 1 inch thick, last night’s handiwork. So zero tonight and seasonal cold the rest of the week we should have 4 inches of new ice to play on for the weekend. We called from the parking lot to President Buchholz, beavering away in his boat shop, to pass on the excitement. Then we headed home toward No. Windham and Rockport. A mile or so down the road there was another vista of the Eastern part of the bay and we pulled off to look through the trees at our growing playground. We were astonished to see the playground breaking up in a fresh Westerly with snow showers. Thinking that this might not be affecting the main ice plate we turned around and went back to the parking lot,( plowed this year!) Our lovely sheet was growing waves and had moved away from the beach. The waves in the ice were breaking it up into strips.
Very likely it will be gone on the morning. We will try to get one of the resident spies to report.
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- ICE HO! (1/7/2015)
Lloyd and Roger rambled down to Lower bay on Sebago today and were rewarded for their efforts with the discovery of one inch of new black ice. A guy with binoculars there could see white caps on the open water way out there, but the bay itself is locked in.
They will go back in the morning to skate and scout, with plans to sail on Friday.
Leavetts Beach on Winnipesaukee flashed two inces in the last couple of days and there will be skaters and Skimbats there tomorrow.
Stand by for a great weekend!
- Pump House Bay Sebago- Follow Up (1/8/2015)
Thursday AM Jan 8 Ramblin Roger reports that the 1 inch ice we saw there is all stacked up on the beach. A new band extending maybe 200 yards out has formed, not quite World’s course, with visible outer band of new trash. If the new band gets thick enough to support people they will be there ice fishing. Roger has gone on to Winny.
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- Sebago, Jordan Bay update Jan 8 (1/8/2015)
Jordan Bay now caught, but windy forecast Friday.
- Doc Fellows Saturday on Winnipesaukee (1/8/2015)
- Walker Pond Looks Possible (1/10/2015)
Kevin Grindle sent this report, along with the photos:
Larry and I plowed the ramp this morning and had a quick look at the plate of black ice on the lower third of the pond. Thickness is in the 4-5” range with a thin layer of snow cover. A fair amount of ice is showing through the snow. Bright sun and no wind this morning so the showing black ice might melt down the snow. The scramble is on to have boats on ice tomorrow but I want to stress the point that Walker can not be trusted. Being spring fed and subject to crazy wind she is notorious for thin spots and non consistent ice. A couple of test holes off the ramp don’t represent the entire pond. Please come prepared to ice check before sailing. The more the merrier. The ice fishermen are working onto the pond from the Town landing and should have some input as to how things are looking up there. I will post info as it comes in.
This looks a lot better than what we have around here, so after many yeas of promising Kevin that we’d come sail with him, it looks like tomorrow might just be the day. The wind forecast looks strong enough to blow through the snow drifts.
- Jordan Bay (1/11/2015)
- All Kinds of Action (1/11/2015)
Long Pond Lakeville had boats yesterday and today, Webster has been scouted and maybe sailed today, There are A Skeeter bubble boats on Bantam Lake, and Leavitts Bay on Winnipesaukee was toured and explored Saturday while the DN’s held the Doc Fellows Regatta. It was very windy, so the race was called off after Oliver Moore spun out at the leeward mark and broke his collarbone. We wish him a speedy recovery in time for the worlds.
Meanwhile, it’s been a quiet week in Maine. All we could find worth sailing was Walker Pond. Not that there’s anything wrong with Walker! it looks as good as Winnie: a lovely sheet of hard black ice plagued with thin wind packed drifts. While the buckets of wind on Winnie worked wonders for those smart enough to show up there yesterday, we had a light sou’wester today with just enough oomph to keep you going. And Walker Pond is the only sailing venue I’ve ever seen with bleachers.
You can see how steep the approach is; the wooden structure in the foreground is the top of the bleachers. They cling to the cliff all the way to the ice. Imagine having the leeward mark right off the beach here? It’s a long way from everywhere (except Larry and Kevin’s) but it would be worth it just for the view.
Tom Childs just sent in this report of his Sebago scouting today:
Lower bay of Sebago is well-covered with ice. The shore-line area is very rough, but 3” thick according to the anglers who dare to go on it. There is a rough swath crossing the middle of the bay where the wind had broken up the ice, which re-froze. Further out, there is fresh ice…no telling how thick. This is deserving of further investigation! Probably sailable in a day or so.
Jordan bay is frozen all the way to Raymond Neck, there is NO activity on this part of the lake – no telling how thick the ice is! CAN WE GET SOMEONE TO CHECK THIS TOMORROW AND REPORT BACK? THANKS!
Nason’s Beach is wide-open water as far as the eye can see.
Lastly, we hear from Damariscotta that it’s afoul with trucks, shacks and ATV’s. Must mean the ice is good, but it’ll take a lot of weather to clean up the surface.
Thanks so much to Kevin and Larry for keeping this pond on our radar. You know it’s the only decent ice around when you see Bob and Karl skating. Earlier they had been skating a narrow river in the woods which was magical except for getting the occasional stick fetched up in the skate and ducking under low hanging branches. They were all smiles on Walker in spite of the snow. As a matter of fact, so were Kevin, Larry and your correspondent.
- LATE BREAKING NEWS: (1/11/2015)
- Jordan Bay Tomorrow (1/12/2015)
The ice on Jordan Bay is now covered in about 2″ of snow. It doesn’t seem to have blown and drifted, so it probably can be sailed. Wind forecast is good. Lee Spiller and Karin Wilson will be there with boats and would love to have some company. Launch at Raymond Beach, watch out for the pressure ridge as you leave the inner bay. Acres of ice beyond that.
- Jordan Bay Today (1/13/2015)
Just in from Lee Spiller:
Bob from Brunswick with his new, and very spiffy cheapskate, Karin Wilson, and yours truly sailed Jordan Bay. As we were setting up boats gusts were lifting snow high in the air down the lake. We did get a couple of hours of fun sailing but the wind was coming down the entire time. We went out with flat sails but wished for more power later. I brought a 10′ plank out to the reef but it had frozen tight in places and wasn’t needed. If I’d been on the ball I’d have a great shot of the cheapskate sailing across the pressure ridge. Nice boat, Bob sailed it well and it really went.
The bay remains snow covered. There are some stiff drifts especially near shore and wherever features in the ice collected snow.
We went past the reef but not far. Nobody wanted to be trapped far downwind with 2″or 3″ snow. A worthwhile outing. Should have been there earlier to catch the wind… Lee
It should be noted that this was Bob’s maiden voyage in his new Cheapskate; he’s been chomping at the bit all winter! Hopefully we can find some actual ice for him, although it’s not looking good. Massachusetts reports nice ice on Long Pond and Webster Lake, although snow is threatening both as we speak. There may be CIBC plans to go there on Friday if the snow misses. Stand by, tank up on the cheap gas and go!
- Sebago Ice (1/18/2015)
Our spy, Phil Lowe, says the new ice on main body of lake blew out a couple of days ago. Southern area not known. Jordan Bay not known, presume snow melt down needed.
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- Webster and Winnipesaukee (1/18/2015)
This is probably the most delicate pressure ridge I have ever seen. The ice was this good everywhere. Bobby showed us the entire lake system: south end, broads, and the north end. Often they are separated by pressure ridges which are tough to cross, so this was a real treat. Ramblin Roger showed up as we were de-rigging. He had arrived at the yacht club too early and found the gate closed, so launched in the south end. He saw sails in the distance, but could never find the tricky entrance from there into the broads. But it was good to see him again as he headed off to Vermont to sail with the Easterns on Lake Champlain. Thanks to Rodger Livingston for opening the yacht club for us. The access there is excellent, aside from the hairy downwind approach!
Here’s Billy Bluefeather in his Viking making his classic fine-as-a-feather close pass.
Meanwhile, Winnepesaukee has not fared as well. Eric Anderson and I sailed it Saturday, searching for a decent plate on which to hold the Worlds next weekend. It was blowing twenty, temps about 3. We scouted on foot first, checking the drifts that Lee Spiller had reported on. Two days earlier they were covering thin ice. But we found that they had mostly wetted out and the ice under them was now four inches, while the bulk of the plate was six. We agreed to wait until the temp hit ten before going sailing, so I parked the car in the sun where the thermometer shot up to fourteen, so off we went.
With so much wind, we were able to beat slowly north past Welch Island. Anything resembling a reach was just too fast. We found nothing promising, so headed dead downwind for a delightful drift at true windspeed, full sun, and nothing but miles of Winnie ahead. There were a couple of small ridges to cross, but it was quiet cruising all the way to Rattlesnake Island. It was obvious by now there was no race course to be found so we turned around to face the reality of the whipping wind and beat back to the beach at the state park.
The forecast had been for rain there, but it’s now calling for snow. We’re getting rain at Jordan Bay, so by Tuesday or Wednesday it might be good to go. If there’s anybody in the neighborhood, please go have a look and let us know what you find. It still might be a Worlds alternate sight. And we might even get some home ice for a change.
- Jordan Bay (1/19/2015)
We have lots of wet-out on local lakes, but are very interested in what’s happening on Jordan Bay. Is there any one down there who could go have a look at conditions today, thinking about sailing tomorrow?
Give me a call any time: 975-6980
- Jordan Bay in Recovery (1/19/2015)
Pat Keely and Jim Gagnon checked the melt today, and it is looking good for sailing this week, and as venue for the Worlds this coming weekend. Other sites we are looking at are Kingston, Ontario, and maybe the west side of Lake Champlain. Arctic air will pour into Maine tonight. If it’s not set up by tomorrow, it certainly will be by Wednesday.
At this point, I would suggest sailing on Wednesday. We might discover ice closer to home, but we need to explore this plate as we approach the Worlds. Why not have some fun and do it as a group? Raymond Beach, Rt.35, west side of Lake Sebago.
- HOLD THE PRESSES! (1/19/2015)
It’s been a while, so for those who might have forgotten what the launch site looks like, here it is. And if it turns out not to be so great, de-camp to Jordan Bay on Wednesday!
- Sorry, just one more (1/19/2015)
- decent ice on megunticook lake, camden (1/20/2015)
7” thick…..average grade 7.37….. :>)….areas of grade 9.5……..i’ll be sailing there from bog bridge about 9 AM….jory
- Megunticook Conditions (1/20/2015)
- Chickawaukee Ice Jan 20 (1/20/2015)
Chicky ice looks about a grade 6 and sails at 7+ over a mixture of black, grey, sometimes slightly wrinkled but surprisingly smooth sailing ice. There are a few narrow drain holes associated with old cracks about 1/3 down the lake from Lloyd’s beach. At that beach there is a loose mine field of drain holes from eaten out fishing holes drilled Saturday Jan 17th, before the rain. All of the above have 1 inch of ice and should be healed by Wednesday. In the meantime the thin crack based ones were marked with pine branches and the ones at Lloyd’s beach with cones.
We had 3/4 of the Maine Cheapskate fleet on the ice, Bob McEwan, Fred Wardwell, and myself. This was fred’s maiden voyage in his CS. Despite sometimes light and fluky air he sailed a couple of hours and was all smiles.
I did not sail any where near the public beach which was heavily fished Saturday, this should be OK by Wed. Launch from Lloyd’s is welcome, especially if cars are removed in AM before lawn softens in sun.
Photo is of your reporter placing pine markers in drain holes taken by Brian Hitchcock, probably from turn off on Rte 17. Thank you Brian.
- Lovely Megunticook, January 20, 2015 (1/21/2015)
December had been lean for iceboating, and I knew I would be driving out to Michigan to help my 99-year-old mother discharge from her fracture-induced hospitalization….gosh, this season might just be a wash-out…..so I prayed with especial fervor for a royal ice-capade send-off before I drove that 3000 mile round trip.
And there it was: 5 glorious days on Pushaw…..iceboating that happens only once every few seasons…..the memory sparkles…..6.5 north-south miles….sun and wind every day….lots of buddies….and a quality of ice—is it my fading memory?—tha I only remember twice before….and now, back from Michigan, ice-hungry again….why didn’t I sail Pushaw more? I could have skated those 13 miles at the end of each sailing day….but then, if you’ve been eating steak all day, could you face another one at 3 PM?….no, as the French say, ‘hunger makes the sauce’
This morning….7 AM….rosy patina on the Camden Hills….somehow the night-time temps had jelled 99% of yesterdays puddles….wind predicted 10-20 west….Pushaw is a tough act to follow…this 7+ grade ice might be a comedown, but I hurried back home for the trailer. Eventually, I pushed Icywood out of the lee of the Davy Jones’, into the open broads:
the sail swung over to the down-wind side
with a bump and crunch the runners glide
i vaulted in to my cozy nest
jerked the sheet to my gasping chest
i thanked the stars that i’m still upright
wheelchairs and walkers not in sight
but someday soon they’ll ring my bell
around my coffin, stories tell
the yarns will spin, the bottles pass
til someone shouts, with empty glass
“let’s lift the lid, let’s all have peeks”
Holy smoke!….he’s wearing cleats”
you can tell where my mind has been lingering…..this sunny morning was just the antidote….stopped for tea in my favorite sunny spots….enough wind to explore, luffing off the higher speeds, as i looked over the usual trouble spots in this variegated lake…. finally finding beautiful grade 10 ice right up at the far north end. As I stitched back downwind the 3 mile length, what a shock: there was Bill in his DN, just pulling out of the cove. Darmariscotta, his earlier destination, had been too rough…
so now the day was complete: a buddy to share the experience….what’s more, with me in a Whizz rig, and Bill in a DN, I just might have my day. Adrenalin pumping, we match-raced north, he always just ahead….but then….and this is exactly what happens with the Whizz rig….when the boat is already moving fast, some additional turbo kicks in….and I blasted thru Chaney’s Narrows with Bill far behind. That hasn’t happened in years!
by 2PM the wind was dropping, so I helped Bill de-rig and make for his iceboat talk in Cambridge, Mass. then I could linger, de-rigging slowly, alone, as the light mellowed….we often compare iceboating to love-making….in both cases, as we age…..it doesn’t take much quantity….but quality…..those occasional special times…..and after comes a calm….what’s that verse?….now let thy servant depart in peace….for my eyes have seen thy salvation….
- Ice, Ice, Everywhere (1/21/2015)
Cheapskates are set up on Chickawaukee at Lloyd’s beach. Doug Raymond plans to set up marks for Cheapskate and DN scratch racing over the next few days. We are getting spies on the elusive and never sailed Lake Cobbosocontee, near Augusta. Moosehead apparently is very smooth and lovely. Megunticook, as we’ve seen, is what it is, and will be sailed tomorrow by the might A Skeeter designed by Ray Ruge. ( remember the cool aerodynamic red boat from a summer post?)
Jordan Bay was awarded an solid 6 today, and chosen as an alternate sight for the DN worlds. The primary site will probably be called on for Kingston Ontario, but stand by for the official word later tonight. There is a tricky pressure ridge in the usual place which became very active while we were out sailing in the main part of the bay. We had to tip-toe back along the shore with the outboard runner submerged in order to get to the pits.
The breeze came in at about 5mph and just stayed there all day. Never altered speed or direction. Oddly enough, it was out of the south-east, but what a pleasure to get the boat wound up to maybe 15mph and then just cruise. It was a good day for a cam cleat. More interesting ice activity was this hole:
Your CIBC guy had just come from giving a talk on iceboats and iceboating to a group at MIT. And almost as a parody of itself, when I pulled into an alley I found myself alongside the large glass doors of the aerospace and rocket engine shop. Inside there was a guy sitting at a bank of three computers, flying a drone! It was a very flat and stealthy unit, and seeing it buzz around models of turbines and rocket engines was mind blowing. I knocked on the door to ask directions to my lecture hall, and he brought it down for a smooth landing.
About fifty members of the Outing Club showed up, seemed to be very interested, asked all kinds of technical questions, and began to formulate plans to get a couple of boats for the club. They were especially fascinated with the concept of apparent wind. Most were non-sailors, but they grasped concepts very quickly. They are, of course, the cream of the world’s engineering crop. So keep an eye out for student types prowling the pits in coming weeks and get them into a boat! What better place to plant the seeds of iceboating.
Lastly, is there anyone going to the Worlds who could bring back a mast for Bill Grernier on Sebago? Even if it could be brought back somewhere in New England. Check in with him here: William Grenier
- Saturday Ic e Boat Racing on Chickawaukee (1/22/2015)
Commodore Fortier is off to the world’s. He has authorized Harry Richardson to run the Commodore’s Cup Regatta this Saturday on Chicky. All boats are welcome, any size, any shape. There may be seperate classes. Skippers Meeting 10 AM, Race start 11 AM. Launch site Public beach and Park on Rte 17 South end of lake. (Lloyd,s beach and driveway are full).
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- Racing this Saturday (1/22/2015)
Doug Raymond is calling the Commodore’s Cup ON for Saturday:
This Saturday on Chickawaukee in Rockport we will be sailing the Commodore’s Cup Regatta. ALL BOATS WELCOME. Any size any shape. Launch at public beach on rt 17. (Lloyd’s driveway is full) Race Time: 11:00. Nice trophy.
We don’t have many big Skeeters in Maine, so what a treat to have this classic back in service. Sails like a dream, drives like a Cadillac, and just want’s to keep going faster and faster. Even in the light air today she had no trouble getting wound up. And the sensation of a big heavy boat accelerating all that mass with you in it certainly gets your attention. Sure was a shock to get back into the DN. The ice over toward the Turnpike side is the best we found so far.
Finally, there is a rumble in the distance about a Winnipesaukee Hard Way this weekend. All the scouting reports aren’t in yet, but we are trying hard to get one in the books before the paper goes to dust. Stand By. Charlie, you out there?
- What Now? (1/23/2015)
Snow is about to put most of us out of business for a while. From Webster to Winnie and here along the coast it’s nothing but white in sight. We had scouted a good shot at a Hard Way, but it looks now like it will be delayed. However, we’re planning to pull it off some time this season. Thanks to Lee and Charlie for getting out there and having a look. Lee sends this report from today’s final scouting mission:
“Today was a perfect sailing day on Winnipesaukee. 5 boats were sailing, 4 from Ellacoya. We went south down the broads till I could see Parker ahead. The gambit wasn’t being followed so we tacked up the other way towards Center Harbor and found the other boats. At 5 mile Island we were blocked by a large reef system. It’s possible to come around the other side of Bear Island as Ted did and avoid this reef system but it’s a convoluted passage. Today was the day to go long on Winni.
Tomorrow several inches of snow forecast.
The very active reefs are a problem right now. We sailed over several small active ones but the big ones are big, wide, wet, high… The Hard Way needs to wait a while.
We brought our boats and trailers home today. We’ll see what’s up in the morning. Next week maybe go to Moosehead, Lake George, or another big snow free lake?
Today one of my best sailing days ever…not wild and hairy but really really fun and fast and challenging without being scary…good active fun. And so much fun navigating the many passages and bays.. Lee”
No word from Chickawaukee today, but Jim Gagon and his buddy Jim had a fine sail on Lower Long Pond in the Belgrade Lakes area. The wind filled in after lunch and it was anything but “light and variable”, which is what was forecast. Just goes to show, yet again, that “ya just gotta show up and pray”. Title of this shot is “Sunset On All The Ice”.
The only ice that we know of that’s outside the storm track is Moosehead Lake. It’s reported to be clear and thick right now but hasn’t been scouted. We’ll try to get some good intelligence Sunday morning, after the storm has passed.
- Commodore’s Cup Race (1/24/2015)
Commodore’s Cup Regatta Sat Jan. 24 IS CANCELLED due to inbound snow.
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- Moosehead ON! (1/25/2015)
Turns out the snow missed Moosehead. Check out this web cam:
Jory, Curtis, Jim Gagnon and myself will take a shot at it tomorrow, meeting at 10:00am at the Greenville Junction boat launch. It’ll be cold, but winds will be moderate and with full sun.
Thanks to David Godin for keeping the reports coming in.
Not sure exactly what’s the orientation of this image, but wherever it is we’re gonna find it!
- Moosehead against the Odds–Jan 26, 2015 (1/26/2015)
5AM….530AM….the ‘let’s go iceboating’ deadlines slipped by….that left leg just wouldn’t leave the warm duvet….I knew it was cold….below zero….probably 10 below at Greenville Junction, our launch at Moosehead….so, to get going, I promised myself I would just drive to Greenville, sit in the warm car, and simply enjoy looking at the snow-free ice.
….602AM…the computer predicts winds 5MPH going to 3MPH….I call Bill….”Bill, there’s no wind and it’s 10 below in Greenville!’’ “…munch, munch….I don’t care….I’m going!….munch munch…and Curtis is coming too”. “All right, see you on the ice at 10” ….I imagine it’s like that in a war….Your buddies leave cozy foxholes to face enemy fire…and without the hesitation of any other mammal….you instantly join them…
Greenville 930….local snowmobilers, shanghai’ed by the snowless, glare ice, gather in the local greasy spoon…and sensing that I’m another ‘ice nut’…they pull out their Gazetteers and excitedly detail their beloved lake….trucks are driving everywhere on 12” thick ice…there is big ‘black ice’ patch out beyond the rough ice of our launch at Kelly’s landing….and there’s an uncrossable pressure ridge about 10 miles North…
we 3 drive right out onto the ice and, without unhitching, rig our boats keeping double gloves on against the bitter cold….it’s now warmed up to 0 degrees…and we cautiously head North in blinding sun and 5-10 Knot NW wind. the ice is hard, fast and punctuated by scabs of all kinds: plate shifts, frozen snow mounds, icy nubbles, large white plates like puzzle pieces set in black ice….boat destroying stuff at speeds much above idle…. but gradually the ice smooths somewhat…..we get used to the bash and bang….and we gradually explore the southern section of Maine’s largest lake ….finally, the ice becomes smooth enough to “step on the pedal” and we blast as a threesome just South of the pressure ridge….
by 1130, stomachs are grumbling and we are nagged by the big question: how to sail 10 miles downwind in only a moderate wind….If we can’t wind our boats up, it will be a long, long walk….but Halliluia!….on this fast ice, there is more than enough wind, and with long, long jibes, we are hurtled back to the pits. there…with some extremities now numb with almost-frostbite, we dash for Kelly’s restaurant… hot drinks, food, conversation….admiring our beautiful steeds in the distance.
After lunch it’s a tropical 18 degrees, with slightly more wind, and undiminished sun, so it’s off again…this time with more confidence, and more chance to enjoy our surroundings….and the next two hours somehow become…. that surreal time….a time when the senses are overpowered….overpowered by beauty, by light, by expanse, by speed….by the certainty that this is the most beautiful lake in the world: vast….mountain-bounded….blasted by a yellow sun and blue sky….and when we stopped… to wonder together…there was below us: deep deep clear black ice with bubbles suspended in its 12 inch depth….
we now found the smoothest ice of the lake…we argued exuberantly: is it grade 7.5 or 8.5?….and though tempted to stay and play, we sensed that out good voodoo might be just now running out…
So we rolled the dice and headed South….we delicately tried to broaden our reaches….to wind up sufficiently to peel off….but Curtis and I found ourselves married to this section of the lake…each pair of jibes found us only 300 yards progressed to the South…but then…. another of the day’s miracles: the wind strengthened just enough to give us solid, take-me-home, sheeted-in downwind blasts, often miles long, which, with a few nervous slackenings, brought us easily to the pits….
there….sadly….the pristine, the expansive…became the cluttered, the confined….but it couldn’t dampen the mood: our long-shot bet was won!….Maine’s most snow-bound lake–when all the state is muffled in leprosy, with more to come–had shared with us its rare and precious sparkle….
- Chill Time (1/28/2015)
With all our ice under snow throughout the east, we have time to reflect, catch our breath and sharpen runners. One of the great joys of this sport is finding the ice, but you never really know what to expect until you get there. Bob Lombardo sent this photo from Monday as he and Karl approached Schoodic Lake, north of Milo, for a little skating. This is what quickens the pulse, sets the butterflies loose, sends warm blood to the extremities: rounding the last turn or cresting the hill for the first look at the object of your devotion.
All that ice peeling off into the distance. It’s what you see from Indian Hill in Greenville. After hours of trees and small towns the road rolls over the top and there’s Mooshead, offering ice to the horizon. All the favorite lakes share this kind of approach, even Chickawaukee from the downhill on Rt.17.
So, yes, it’s only been two days since the end of time, but the best of the season is yet to come. We’ll probably hear from southern New England or New Jersey first. There might be a regatta at Red Bank soon. If you have any interest in iceboat history then make a point of showing up there and having a drink at the yacht club after the race. North Shrewsbury, NJ Ice Yacht Club.
- Spring Frolic 1991 (2/2/2015)
This turned up in an old file recently and we thought it might help inspire us to have a bit of fun when the snow is gone. It’s coming down here yet again, as it is all over the place. As far as we know, there is no sailable ice anywhere in North America. But eventually we’ll have tons of snow ice and then the opportunity to prove, as below, that there is indeed a “free lunch!”
- Sebago (2/2/2015)
According to Sebago spy Phil Lowe there is ice around islands at the edges of the main body of the lake with some sheets floating around, but basicly the lake is in freeze/blowout mode and with this current storm is is very cold for heavy snow, zero here all day. If the wind stops and the cold stays it will likely set up again. Often it does not ever freeze and often when it does it is in February.
This knee deep snow should sink ice soon and we often have a February thaw to start on the hoped for March sailing, only a month away. Do not despair.
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- Spring Frolic (2/3/2015)
- Spring Fling 1991 (2/3/2015)
Now live at http://www.iceboat.me. Use the control bar at the bottom to advance through the pages.
- Island Time (2/3/2015)
Carl Jelleme says this about conditions there on Hummock Pond, partially in response to our comments about sailable ice in North America:
“We are not connected but I think we are still part of North America and we have a snow free and smooth plate!!!”
- Under this Pile –Feb 5, 2015 (2/5/2015)
Under this pile
if you dig for awhile
there’s an oddly-shaped trailer
by a fellow ice-sailor
and a stunning ice yacht
the very best of the lot
is snuggled inside
hey! come for a ride!
i’ll meet you some day
in the middle of May
we’ll shovel some snow
and be ready to go
our runners will hiss
we’ll recover that bliss
and if someone should blab
of the skiing he had
we’ll unrove our sheet
tie a hangman’s knot neat
and hoist him quite fast
for a view from the mast.
- Chickawaukee’s snow blanket (2/6/2015)
Hurray, we’re sinking again. Snowshoe report: 1 foot of snow, moderately wind packed BUT 6 inches of that snow is slush! Of course the surface is a bit wrinkly from wind. The slush seems to have discouraged the snow mobilers.
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- Sebago Ice (2/6/2015)
Dave Fortier just checked in with the results of his Sebago Expedition. Nasons Beach is plowed, but the launch ramp is not. The black ice begins a hundred yards from the shore, defended by a layer of snow two feet thick. He decided not to walk out and chop a hole, but continued north checking down every small road he could. Same story everywhere. Even worse on the east side where there is a much wider plate of snow covered ice.
So there it is: set up last night, probably and inch by now; with tonight in the sub-zeros an easy two inches tomorrow. Are we mere men, or are we iceboaters? Will we mobilize machines from Nasons Beach to blaze a trail to the ice? Will we snatch this precious gift from the calloused hand of Mother Nature as she prepares to dump snow all over it on Sunday?
- Option Two: (2/6/2015)
This from Chris Gordon on Nantucket, who sailed with us on Pushaw Lake:
First time in ten years we are sailing our largest pond in Nantucket. If the weather man is on with rain for Monday and more cold, we would welcome all to join in on the fun.
And from Lee Spiller:
It may be a fools errand but I’m heading to Nasons Beach first thing Saturday morning with skates, wing, and DN. Maybe a one day window for black ice. Not sure I’ll bring my drysuit…but if there ever was a time for it this is probably it.
If it doesn’t work out I’ll turn my nose back towards the deeply snow covered hills and climb or ski something.
Anybody want to join him?
- Sebago Saturday (2/7/2015)
Lee hiked out towards the new ice in 6-7″ of snow, coming across a section of newer ice with only an inch of snow about a hundred yards out. Phil Lowe had mentioned this new inshore plate as well. Unfortunately the ice there was three inches of snow/slush ice. Plenty strong to walk on, but probably not great for any sort of iceboating, even though one could have sailed through the snow covering it.
At this point he was still a ways from the black ice sheet, but felt it wasn’t safe to continue any further.
Snow is forecast for Sebago from late today well into Monday.
- Chicky’s “Wrinkled Snow Blanket” (2/8/2015)
Two feet of ice, 0 to 6 inches of snow on slightly frozen slush. If this is rained on without a good meltdown or completely saturates it will be a grade minus five. Some thought we might be sailing soon, sorry. The drift in Right lower corner is about 6 inches high on the far sharp edge with a perpendicular face.
- Cruisers Racing (2/9/2015)
The photos of a flock of DN’s rounding the mark fully wound up are beautiful and dramatic, but many a good sailor is a bit intimidated by the idea. In trying to get the Whizz gang lined up to race I’ve suggested that it’s really just a group of boats sailing to the same place. It’s not often that crazy with the small groups we normally sail with. This video of last weekend’s Wisconsin Sternsteerers Association regatta illustrates the point.Ride with Joe Terry and see if you might get just a little bit excited: WSSA 2015 Race 4 – YouTube It’s a bit long, but we have an even longer wait to get back to ice here in the Northeast so get comfortable and enjoy!
- Remembering Pushaw, Hoping for March (2/14/2015)
- Skating on Champlain–Feb 19, 2015 (2/19/2015)
snow falling fast here in Midcoast Maine….2 inches in the last hour….snow on snow….piles of it, halfway up the windows….and frustration: how long will it take to ever resurface this fluff?….and will we have that end-of-season scenario where we never have enough ice thickness before the snow insulation comes, and our long-awaited Spring season ends abruptly and early?…
and amid these depressing thoughts, I call Bob Dill over in Vermont…..He’s been skating for 3 days straight on a beautiful plate which was open water a week ago, and is now excellent skating. The launch is handy for skaters, not iceboaters, near Shelburne Farms. Today, there’s now an inch of new snow, but ….knowing this particular plate, though slightly covered, he’s off with experienced buddies to skate again…
This is the way life should be…..careful, mindful, professional you might say… out there in nature….marvelling at the endless kinds of ice…the artistic magic show….not grumbling here in the backwaters, wondering if the snowblower will start or be able to throw high enough…
Three cheers, Bob….may we die with skates on!
- Good News! (2/19/2015)
NOAA forecast from today:
.SUNDAY...RAIN AND SNOW. HIGHS IN THE MID 30S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 90 PERCENT.
Isn’t that great? Can’t you just feel the snow withering away, turning grey, making ice for another day!
- Chicky Snowshoe report # 2 (2/19/2015)
Two feet of black ice (fisherman report and hole observation) with the same 6 inches of slush on top as last week except now the top 2 inches are frozen into snow ice to form a “slushwich”. Will the slushwich ever freeze solid with the 2-6 inches of snow on top. It has been zero every night for at least a week and around 10 during the day. The R value of snow is very high.
The rough surface and breaking waves of drifts has changed to hard wind packed drifts, often rounded and intervening choppy soft ripples. The wind has been howling for days. It has to get warmer, it has to rain sometime unless Karaktoa blows up again to give us 12 months of frost and drive people out of Maine again.
Foot Note: LL Bean toe warmers are better than the competition. They show placement either under the toes OR ON TOP of toes. I have noticed that they don’t seem very warm under the toes, they do indeed work much better on top in recent days of snow shoeing. Very likely they get more oxygen on top, oxygen is needed to support the oxidation (rusting) of the powdered iron, catalysed by salt, that makes them warm. My toes stay warmer than the rest of the foot, wonderful. Beans sells them, and hand warmers, in bulk boxes.
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- Fleet Racing on Long Island (2/20/2015)
Nine Lockley Skimmers duked it out around the marks on Great Pond yesterday. Bobby Able reports that the conditions were fine, with a good breeze, and the boats were zipping along beautifully. The snow seen in the photo below is scheduled to be wet out Sunday, followed by cold temps all week. They are also watching one of the large bays on the North Fork, not far from the New London ferry dock. It has 6″ of hard black ice today, bound to be improved Sunday. A dash of fresh water over salt ice really improves the surface. One way ticket from New London, car and driver: $55.oo. With trailer a lot more.
- Go South Young Man (2/21/2015)
Ramblin’ Roger has been sailing. Last week in Ohio just North of Columbus, 4 days of sailing. Our weather went South.
This week’s venue is Miles River in Easton MD, site of Nationals after rest of the country got snowed out in mid ’80’s in a cold white winter like this one. Upper Chesapeake Bay is frozen, the whole bay froze then. Five inches of salt ice being rained on now (same storm we have here) with deep cold forecast for tomorrow and a few days. Should be good fresh water ice on salt ice, sort of like case hardening of steel. Miles river was the birthplace of “Think Ice” courtesy of Jan and Meade Gougeon. So stop grumbling and feeling sorry for ourselves. The ice is somewhere, all we have to do is drive on cheap gas and sail.
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- Sailable ice on Lake Cayuga, New York (2/22/2015)
David Godin sent in this report on Feb 20 at 5PM:
Just received the report from upstate NY friends who flew back home from our place today. Lake Champlain snowed covered do not know the depth.
Cayuga lake in the finger lakes froze over earlier this week, it’s 30 miles long with great wind, A touch and go was done by Rob Kinyoun in his ski equipped Cessna 180 30 minutes ago. They have a handful of ice boaters there.
P.S. I hope everyone is enjoying our 4 lovely seasons this year: Almost Winter; Winter; Still Winter, and Road Construction.
- Chicky Snowshoe Report # 3 Sun Feb 22 (2/22/2015)
A sunset stroll on the snows of Lake Chickawaukee. Last night’s snow fall was 6 inches of dry snow with a brief rain at the end. The result is that there is a loose open styrofoam crust, not icy, that should keep tomorrow’s NW wind from drifting. The rough stuff from last week is filled in, the ground swell is still apparent. The surface is smooth with rounded pock marks from the rain, sort of like a great big thick pancake that is ready to turn over or gigantic small pox/acne scarring. Snow is 8 inches deep in places.
Foot Note # 2 If you use the Bean’s toe warmers for just a couple of hours, for shovelling snow perhaps, and peel them off your sock and put them back in their envelope and seal with masking tape they will hibernate all day and when exposed to air again get warm for your late day outing. Cool no? Warm yes.
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- FW: ICE ALERT! – Hallocks Bay, Orient (2/23/2015)
- Regional Ice Up-Date (2/23/2015)
The blues are over. As Lloyd says, tank up on cheap gas and go for the ice:
Here is Mike Acebo’s comments on this plate:
“This photo is from the pier in Orient Village looking to Shelter Island (+/- 2 miles away) ice as far as you can see. I personally have never seen this so iced in although the Club sailed the stern steerers off this area years ago.”
There are some Skimmers sailing there today, and the forecast indicates that the plate will survive well into the weekend.
Meanwhile at Red Bank NJ on the Navesink River, the NSIYC has tentatively called ON the Sweepstakes for this weekend. It’s a regatta open to all classes sailed out of the historic clubhouse right on the river in Red Bank. Their ice hotline: 732-747-5665 The final call will be made Thursday, but it’s looking very good so far. The NJ font has infiltrated this dispatch, so I’ll continue with reports from that state. Further south on Barnegat Bay, the ISA might be held this weekend if access can be found for the A Skeeter trailers. There is a lovely big plate there reported to be 5″, something the NEIYA might want to investigate for the Easterns.
There will be Mainers heading south; join the convoy!
- Help the Kids (2/24/2015)
There are some students at the Alberta Polytech University conducting a marketing/demographic study on iceboats. Liberal Arts may have over-reached a bit on this one, but let’s play along and see what happens. I had a long chat with the team on speakerphone, so they’re legit. They’d like us to take this survey: http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=qy2ffjm2spexpr7621755 There are just a few questions about the boats and the sport.
Meanwhile, Barnegat Bay is still ON for Friday and Saturday. Launch at Trixie’s Landing, Bayville NJ. Chance for an epic cruise through the marshes south of Barnegat (town) on Saturday, the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Refuge and the Gunning River.
- Barnegat Bay (2/25/2015)
Enthusiasm is building for sailing Barnegat Bay Friday and Saturday. Sunday’s weather appears to have been moved ahead to Monday so that day might be a good one, too. Or maybe Sunday’s weather has been moved back to tomorrow as there are rumblings of an inch of snow possible. Naturally, all the really serious iceboaters starved for weeks by heavy snow will have already been there and have had days of terrific sailing, but we mere humans need to wait for the weekend thereby risking calamity. So, just in case we never get to actually see the plate, here’s a link to a drone video shot today in the area of the bay between Bayville and Seaside Hights, the eastern shore of the bay behind which works the pounding surf: Frozen Bay – YouTube
Will the weather out to sea, show up and pray, think ice. Trixie’s Landing, Bayville NJ, Friday.
- Sailing down South (2/28/2015)
Two days of great sailing on grade 9 ice with lots of interesting boats and sailors. The plate was about the size of Plymouth Pond as the main part of the bay was blocked by slush/pressure ridges. A couple of guys from Rhode Island and Ramblin Roger rounded out the road warriors. All the other thirty plus boats were local. Imagine that: Nites, Arrows, Yankees, C Skeeters and DN’s. All in full sun with a wind that never quit, contrary to all forecasts. One more lesson driven home: just be there, no matter what say’s the weatherman!
There were two slush pits, one of which was discovered by a slow moving Yankee. We went back to get cones to mark the spots but everyone thought we were setting up racing marks and no sooner was this one set in place that a two-up Yankee came by and cut the mark pretty close. By some miracle he got across it with only a shocked look on his face. You can see his track above. The CIBC needs to be more proactive in setting marks. Traffic control is improved, sailing skills are honed, and it’s fun!
Remember ice like this? Eight hours in the car is a small price to pay after a month of shoveling. The weather this coming week calls for a warm spell with some rain. This plate might not survive, but Red Bank will, and be improved by it. The Sweepstakes are tentatively ON for next weekend. Both Jack Frost and Rocket are on the ice and have been sailing on the crappy ice. Next weekend will see them in their element, along with all kinds of iceboat fun. Stay tuned, tank up, and come for some southern hospitality.
Tom Nichols’ new back scratcher C Skeeter.
- Local DN Racing on Barnegat Bay at Lavalette (3/1/2015)
Unbeknownst to those of us on the mainland side of the bay, there was a nice sized DN fleet racing over on the ocean side. Their ice was very nice, too, maybe even better. This was filmed on Wednesday, before the dusting of snow graced the plate.
The weather down here looks like a mess this week, but keep tuned to Red Bank NJ weather and see if you can find any love there. If you can, come sail!
- Southern News (3/3/2015)
Andy Hudson sent this in about his sailing on Great South Bay last weekend. The ice is out there:
I sailed on Great South Bay, off Sayville Yacht Club last Friday and Saturday. The conditions were epic; I may never see them again. Most of the bay is frozen in a light breeze state. We sailed most of Patchogue Bay and out 3 miles or so most of the way to the beach. The limit was more about how far away was comfortable than anything else. I suspect I could have gone for miles in a westward direction. The YC was most welcoming. Blue point winter ale on tap was excellent. The club itself is located in Blue Point, so they were “early adopters” of the beer.
The “we” is interesting, as the racers were at Mecox Bay and Lake Ronkonkoma. At Blue Point, it was me in a gambit and about 12 scooters. They actually ran and maneuvered well, which is in itself an interesting thing. I am faster of course, but not 5 times faster. There is no rudder; you steer with the jib. There are 4 parallel “runners” running the length of the boat, with angle iron on top. Usually 2 are on the ice, at a time. They are a foot or 2 apart. It’s odd to see their “tracks.” They are designed to float, go over open water, and then (with luck) go back up onto the ice. It is a very comforting thing to follow a scooter over unknown territory. At 300 or more pounds for the boat, and 2 or three people, if they don’t sink, I surely won’t either. If they do, I can do a sharp turn. This does not apply on a pressure ridge. They get a nice little jump. It’s not quite the same for the rest of us. There were some areas that were obviously frozen later. I avoided them, but saw several many with the “tracks.”
The hydrology of the bay has changed. Bellport bay was the spot that usually came in, if only for a short time. Now this portion of Great South Bay does not freeze solid. A new inlet opened courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. The “old inlet” marked on the chart is now “a new inlet.” There is lots of nice warm salt water from the ocean pouring into Bellport Bay now. That makes for a much nicer, cleaner bay though, a good thing. A boat did go through the ice at Bellport Bay, after launching from Shirley, NY. They found some really rotten ice there. After looking at the bay, I am very surprised that they launched at all.
Meanwhile, the forecast for Red Bank is looking dodgy. Might wind up being fine for the big sternsteerers if Thursday’s snow does indeed come down white, but if it goes to rain then record lows Thursday night will flash freeze it. Carol Mittlesdorf took some great shots there on Sunday which will be posted soon.
We’re all rooting for T at the European Championships in Estonia!
- New Jersey Pix (3/3/2015)
Jack Frost and Rocket. Rick Lawrence just called – Jack frost won all three heats for a decisive victory!
Rocket’s accident did not happen during the race, but afterward. It took 20 guys to right her.
The first friendly race for the Class 1 Ice Yacht Challenge Cup was held Sunday in Red Bank. A sweep for Jack Frost.
This cup, raced for by the club’s biggest boats – Jack Frost & Rocket – was put up by the sailors of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club, but will now be spending some time with the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club. :
- Ohio Ice (3/5/2015)
Jeff Kester from New York shared this little gem with any of us hungry enough to make the trip. After this long drought for so many of us, doesn’t this look like grade 10?
“We received word from John Wargo today that Alum Creek Lake just North of Columbus has sailable ice. John sent a picture via text. The ice looks great. The wind will start on the light side tomorrow but get better as the day goes on. With wind 10-15 with gusts to 20 on Saturday. Colin,Taras and Jeff plan on traveling down tomorrow and I plan on getting there Saturday morning. We will be sailing out of the boat ramp on the west side of the lake at the end of Hollenback Road. The coordinates are 4012.748N,8258.294W. If Sundays wind forecast is good we will be staying over and sailing Sunday. If you have a question or need more information give me a call.
Just a quick note that Ben Shavits checked Lake Arthur and found 8″ of ice with 50% snow cover. Snow about 1″, grey surface rough, but not too bad. The wind is forecast to be 10 to12 mph. Dave Bishop reported that there is a Winterfest that will be going on tomorrow on the North Shore. Hopefully we will be able to sail to it.
Back on the east coast, actually well beyond the east coast, Carl Jelleme has launched his new Whizz on the lovely Nantucket ice. There are now two more Whizz a-building out there.
He’s in full light air mode with the mast step at the center hole and the sheet blocks set for keeping the mast in full rotation. He reports:
“Finally got #9 on the ice, what a joy to sail…..so comfortable!”
- Sebago (3/6/2015)
Lee Spiller spent some time on Sebago recently and found this:
> It’s a long way from being hard enough to iceboat on but I winged on Sebago today and found the surface to be quite firm…less snow than Squam. My skis barely left tracks and you could walk on it without leaving deep prints…I truly believe with the right weather we will be iceboating soon. > Lee
- Snow/Slush on Chicky Wednesday March 11. (3/11/2015)
We finally thawed a bit here after accumulating two feet of snow more or less on the ground, but worn down by the wind and infiltrated by water from below to 8-10 inches on the lake. Today with 50+ temp. and brisk breeze all of a sudden there is water and slush showing Ponds along Rte 17 toward Augusta have varying shades of green, yellow, blue slush and water, some of it looking promising. Driving down Rte 17 about 5 o’clock the north end of Chicky it looks quite wet but the surface gets whiter toward the South.
I have been exploring the surface by snow shoe for a week or so. The first photo shows a snow mobile track from near my beach at the North end toward the public park and beach at the South end. Note the reasonably smooth snow surface, a marked contrast to the windblown dunes and choppy waves of much of February. Today the snow on land was very soft and heavy from the warmth, large piles around the house shrank a foot or more. Snowshoeing out to the slushy stuff seen in the next two pictures was heavy going, the snow shoes sank into several inches of watery slush and came up weighing about ten pounds, very clumsy and hard going, I wasn’t sure I could turn around without falling over.
Another couple of days of 50’s would do the job of smoothing the surface but what will it take to solidify several inches of slush? We are forecast to have one more warmish day and then a cold front and maybe snow on Saturday. One step forward and two steps back it seems.
Looking toward Public Beach a few days ago after last gentle snow, looks not half bad.
Looking toward Rte 17 today, note water in snow shoe prints.
Looking the other way, toward the ocean, pretty rough surface still, more melting needed.
- A Change Is Gonna Come! (3/12/2015)
Watching these coastal lakes wet out over the pst 48 hrs is like watching an old fashioned soft water sailboat race: great drama at slow speed. Local lakes are now about 50-50 grade 3 ice punctuated with piles of persistent snow. But great things are happening on The Sebago. Phil Lowe sent us observations from his front porch just north of Nason’s Beach. Anyone who wants to take a chance on the light air forecast just give me a call.
Just grabbed this thread to get a note off to you. Big changes on big Sebago. After much snow melt yesterday which produced three inches of water/ slush on top, the main lake is now in the process of refreezing. There is now a one inch hard ice surface, two inches of slush under that, and then the old ice plate. It is walkable with cracking. I’m sure there must be some drain holes here and there but this may be a window of sailing opportunity. It is supposed to go down to the mid single numbers tonight, so ice is certain to be hard in the morning. The wind was great today but the surface was not all refrozen. Tomorrow the winds look light. Good luck and happy sailing. Phil
- Lake Wentworth Ossipee NH (3/12/2015)
From Paul Delnero:
Sailed Lake Wentworth in Ossipee NH today. Ice about grade 5. Some shell and some skim ice (1″ ice over 1″water). Should firm up tonight. Much of lake not scouted. Launch at Rt 109 looking out at Trigg’s Island:
( https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Rochester,+NH/43.6130059,-email@example.com,-71.1820686,4056m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m8!4m7!1m5!1m1!1s0x89e29b41def39f27:0x8c4a0af6255db8ad!2m2!1d-70.9756186!2d43.304526!1m0 ).
We are sailing tomorrow 10am.
- Damariscotta Ice (3/13/2015)
Dave Lampton reports on March 12, thursday, that Damariscotta is very similar to Chicky. He sent a photo of a slushy footprint next to a L.L. Bean boot, not a drive by report.
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- Lake Wentworth Ice Report, 3/13/15 (3/13/2015)
Lake Wentworth was as good as yesterday, Lee Spiller and Charlie Sylvanus and I sailed 4 hours in light then building winds. Still grade 5. Shell Ice about the same but the skim ice has firmed up solid. Still some funny (since I wasn’t wound up when I encountered it) hazards to be found. The one I am referring to was shell ice dropping abruptly into plank deep slush. Quick stop but plank intact. Gonna try tomorrow A.M. but forecast rain to snow on Sunday. Any other year I would’ve said “just rain” but this year I don’t know.
- Chickawaukee walk about (3/16/2015)
Monday March 16. After a warm end to last week in 40-50’s and loss of a foot of snow on land and most of snow on the ice we had desultory snow and some rain on and off for most of Sunday, an inch plus of snow on land, and amazingly mostly gray ice on Chicky.
Monday morning it was 20 F. with gentle N wind. I tried to drive the snow blower down to the lake in heavy partially frozen snow. I got about 5 feet and it choked on the snow and would not move as the tires just slipped on the wet snow and grass. The snow was very stiff and over the top of the blower. Access to the beach will have to wait.
I drove down to the public beach, a quagmire of mud last week, frozen this AM but softening in sun. Ice covered with snow right up to shore, inviting looking gray ice with patches of snow in distance. I walked about half way across to small areas of shiny slightly orange peely ice and patches of wind packed snow 1-2 inches deep up to 50 Ft across, occasional scabs of frozen old styrofoam snow about the same size and a discouraging amount of 3/8 in. shell ice over 1/2-3/4 in. of air, no water or slush. But for the shell ice you might sail if there was enough air and you could stand coming back to the mud in the parking lot by the time you got through bashing around out there.
We need a warm heavy rain, but we are getting close.
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- Sebago Is Back! (3/17/2015)
Rambin’ Roger is back on the road again. He says he don’t know where he’s bound, but we can be sure it’s not south. Maybe he knows that Lee Spiller is on Sebago right now, reporting that with the cold scheduled for tonight the surface will be very sailable tomorrow. The forecast for the rest of the week looks great, too. Fresh breeze tomorrow and Thursday, some sun, high twenties low thirties, and cold nights to maintain the surface. Frank Able, I hope you were joking when you said that you leave for Florida tomorrow. Is your flight late enough that you could sail in the morning first?
Anyway, Lee will send photos this afternoon which will be posted here post haste. He will have a look at Nason’s as well. We’ll make the call on the best venue then, but plan on sailing the next couple of days at least!
- Sailing Tomorrow On Jordan Bay, 3/18 (3/17/2015)
- View From Nason’s Beach (3/17/2015)
There’s the usual pressure ridge just off the beach, and the access isn’t great for trailers, but if it comes to it we can ask Mr. Nason to plow it for us, which he has bee happy to do in the past. Lee and Karin were able to step easily across the ridge. Just so there’s no confusion, we’ll be sailing from Raymond Beach tomorrow. Hopefully we can get over to Nason’s from there!
- Heavy Weather (3/18/2015)
Lee, Karin, and probably Ramblin’Roger will be setting up at Raymond Beach later this morning and attempting to survive the wind and cold while exploring the plate. Your correspondent will be right here at his desk waiting to pass on the good news to the scores of ice-starved sailors. Tomorrow will offer less wind and warmer temps.
If the ice pans out as expected, we are planning to have our Spring Fling on Sebago this weekend. Food, racing and touring for all!
- The Winds of Sebago (3/18/2015)
Dave Fortier was the first to arrive this morning. No one else, except Roger, had left home when he called. As far as he could see, the ice looked fine but as his car was rocking in the gusts (remember, he was alone…) he advised the rest of us to stay home.
Tomorrow will be just as sunny, warmer, with gusts only in the high twenties. Just the kind of power you need to really cover some ground.
- Observations of Sebago from the West Side (3/18/2015)
New comment waiting approval on Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club
Phil & Claudia Lowe commented on The Winds of Sebago
Dave Fortier was the first to arrive this morning. No one else, except Roger, had left home when he called. As far as he could …
Sebago Ice that’s nice! Ice boaters, It looks like the best ice of the season in North Sebago. What was 1′ drifts and then an inch of sleet and slush four days ago has melted and refrozen to the best sailing surface so far this season. At 4:00 PM, Wednesday, March 18 th, it is 21 F and the temperature is dropping like a rock. The surface is all solid with maybe 2% sailable snow spots as far as we can see, miles and miles. There is a major pressure ridge following the north west shore from off Nason’s beach all the way to the Songo River. It is very visible and three feet or better high in spots. The wind now 15-25 knots. Best of luck sailing over the next week. Phil
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- Sebago Ice (3/19/2015)
Its in. Nason’s Beach is open. Lake was sailed today, Thursday, all way across and around Frye Island. Plenty of ice for regatta.
Graded at 5-6 by Fortier and Buchholz.
Raymond beach and Jordan Bay not so good, major snow field out in Bay.
Wind forecast for Friday dwindling NW wind in AM coming in from SW in afternoon.
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- Lake Sebago 3/19 & 3/20 (3/20/2015)
We’ve been discussing ice grades a lot this winter, mainly how we need to accept that there is are grades one, two, three, etc and that we need to admit that we’ll actually sail on them. Grade zero is simply not sailable, for whatever reasons. As reliable scouts, we can confirm that grade one exists south of Frye Island. Three out of four boats attempting the island circumnavigation from Nason’s beach and back made it through, the forth jury rigged a broken mast and blew downwind to Pumphouse Bay. He was there in a few minutes as it was blowing 25-30 yesterday. I would say that one needed a solid twenty just to get through the grade one stuff:
His plank is just visible above the moguls.
But on the West side the ice is considerably better, if a bit bumpy. The fleet of 17 boats pushed and waited for wind until about 1:00 today, but when it came in from the SW it was a perfect 10 (mph) and held until dark:
The pressure ridge protecting the main plate from Nason’s Beach. The is a nice flat spot for crossing, but it is very active and needed to be cleared a number of times throughout the day. Yesterday it was tight at the crossing, by this morning it had opened up a foot, and by noon had come together and was piling up fast. Fascinating to sit and listen to the deep rumbles of the working plate accompanied by the tinkling of falling tiny ice. The were signs of warming ice on the main plate, the dreaded springtime re-alignment of the ice crystals. Every day from here on in is a gift. Be humble and take it!
There will be DN racing tomorrow and Sunday, and more sailing into the week. Check the weather, see if you like it, and rest assured there will be plenty of boats on the ice when you show up. Drive on the ice if you want, there’s plenty of room. Any old DN welcome to race: it’s fun!
- Active Ice (3/22/2015)
Lee Spiller found something north of Nason’s and lost something nearby that we should all be watching for:
> My GoPro fell off the boat in the 1/4 mile after the reef crossing off Nasons…I’ll be looking for that in the morning…
> I should have said something yesterday, there was a scary wet crack 20″ wide half way between Spider Island and the mouth of the Crooked River that Kate, Roger, and I sailed across by the grace of who ever looks out for iceboaters…active ice up in that corner of the lake. One more thing..the surface of the lake changed big time today…its smoothing and flattening…despite the many runner tracks..
Stay tuned for race results from yesterday’s Doc Fellows Regatta and potentially the New England Champs today.
- Sebago Open Called ON for Tomorrow (3/22/2015)
Today’s racing has been canceled in observation of Oliver Moore’s OBE in similar conditions earlier this season. But Commodore Fortier announced this morning that the Sebago Open will be sailed tomorrow, Monday 3/23. Our apologies to those who will be at work, but the ice is so nice and the forecast too good. The Sebago Open trophy hasn’t been won in years and it needs a home! The “Open” means that it’s open to all DN’s no matter the condition, so dust off your old barn queen and come play! Skipper’s meeting at 9:30, first start at 10:00. Nason’s Beach, Lake Sebago.
- Sebago Open 2015 (3/23/2015)
This morning’s gale mellowed to a fickle trickle throughout the day. The Sebago Open was sailed in some very light and variable stuff, with just enough of an occasional gust to keep us interested. The core group of Dave Fortier, Harry Richardson, Buchholz and Ramblin Roger managed five races; a few of them with Jim Gagnon (who won the super DN class), Tom Gloudemans, a mystery guy in a hot CSI boat, and maybe some others. There were a lot of boats cruising as well; I counted twenty sails at one point. The racers happily dodged the stalled cruisers punctuating the course.
After four races, Buchholz and Richardson were tied for first so it was proposed that the two of them have a two lap tie breaker. Fortier manned the finish in case it was close. The wind was still on coffee break, wandering around lost, but they had a start. Buchholz managed to make the windward mark first, but on the final downwind leg he was parked as Harry rounded the windward mark well wound up and going deep. With some serious sprints Buchholz managed to keep himself between Harry and the mark, so won the Regatta, and the coveted Doug Raymond built Sebago Open Trophy.
Congratulations also to Jeff Knapp for the teriffic job on his new Whizz #14, “Whizz-Bang, oops”. His son Kevin (?) joined him in a DN for the day. He was headed to work this morning when he noticed an e-mail about sailing today. He bagged work, loaded the boat and headed for the lake. A fine example for us all!
Lee and Karin had their usual sunset cruise as the wind offered us one for the road. It really came on nice as the day wound down, contrary to all the old fart predictions. We could barely see them on the far horizon as we broke down boats and loaded trailers. They brought back the nice flag that Jim Gagnon made to mark the pressure ridge crossing. He’ll be making a bunch more to disseminate throughout the fleet so there will always be a few on hand.
If he can have a few made in time for the annual CIBC Moosehead Long Way we’ll be able to mark pressure ridges as we cross them, helping to finding our way back. Every little bit helps on that vast panorama of springtime ice. Watch the weather, check the web cams, keep in touch. We can only have this much fun if there are many eyes on all conditions.
Thanks to everyone who showed up today, and if it turns out this was your last day of the season, then you couldn’t have picked a better one. Bravo!
- Moosehead Ice (3/25/2015)
Ramblin’ Roger rambled up and around Moosehead today. He found 6-7
inches of snow at Rockwood and more down around Greenville. All is heavily tracked by snowmobiles. He had no idea how thick the ice might be but it is usually 3+ feet this time of year. He likes the countryside, nice and quiet. He hopes to see a moose.
He is going to wait out the coming wet weather in Orono and see what happens.
Chickawaukee, not a surrogate for Moosehead, is starting to gray out
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- While we’re waiting (3/25/2015)
Just when we think Ramblin Roger has gone to a beach in Florida and set up his DN,
we hear that he’s checking ice in Greenville. This guy is ramblin’ in the fast lane!
Clouds have covered coastal Maine and we are just about to receive our first solid rain since last year. The wet-out is upon us and I suspect we’ll be on Damariscotta soon. Moosehead, on the other hand, is getting snow with this event so we’ll need to ask Rodger to go back there at some point.
Here’s a video by Joe Terry standing at the windward mark at the recent ISA in Michigan. There’s a Nite start that will get Bunting’s attention, and then A Skeeters that will take your breath away rounding the windward mark:
About our two guys from the east coast, Jordan Glaser got a 7th in the A Skeeter fleet, and Mark Hancik managed a 4th with his Yankee in the B Skeeters. Thanks to those guys for making the trip; let’s hope for a larger East Coast contingent next year. A handful of Whizz could could work wonders!
- Damariscotta ON Tomorrow, 3/28 (3/27/2015)
We have wet-out: four inches of slush, 18″ ice. Sailing tomorrow with great hopes that tonight’s temps in the high twenties will freeze it. If it does, cloud cover with highs in the low thirties tomorrow should maintain it. Much colder Saturday night for a splendid day Sunday, although with lighter winds. Bring slush runners just in case. Jory and I did the whole lake, top to bottom and back, on slushies two years ago.
There is some snow on the ramp, so we’ll need to do a bit of boat carrying. The Lambs are coming with three Whizz, Denis and Frank with their two, and the local Whizz #2 will give a fleet of six. Any other Whizz are encouraged to come either day this weekend for the largest assemblage to date.
Conditions into the week cautiously optimistic, so this could be good for a while. Similar conditions are reported by Kate Morrone on Sunnapee and by Curtis on Sebago. If Damariscotta doesn’t work out we’ll de-camp to Nason’s on Sebago. The little roughness in the distance, photo above, gives me pause; the scouts didn’t want to beat up the surface with lots of deep footprints all the way out there. Come sailing and see for yourself!
- Damariscotta DONE! (3/28/2015)
It’s taken all year, but the queen of the CIBC lakes has rewarded our patience with an epic day of sailing. If we scored cruising this would have been a day of gold. After scouting the broads and finding nothing worse than a few drain holes and some hard snow mounds we headed south. Tip-toeing into the narrows, all looked fine. Bunting, Denis and Frank from Quebec, and myself exploded out of the other end onto much better ice and tons of wind. It’s a broad reach for a couple of miles to Deep Cove and with no nasty hazzards we drove the boats like we’d stolen them.
Deep Cove is one of the prizes of Damariscotta, the other is the River; some call it the southwest arm which sounds not nearly as romantic or mysterious. We beat back to the pits for lunch as it began to snow and the entire visualscape went to shades of lovely grey. Bunting blew out his shoulder and went home, so the three of us went back for more. This time we entered the narrows fully wound up having scouted its weak spots and headed for the River. It is a tricky entry with the wind more north than west and it took a couple of tries. Once we were all in, though, it was sail deep and sail fast. Sometimes the gybes came so quick that you didn’t bother to gybe your head; it just hung out there on the lee side until you gybed again. There was a bit more shell ice down there, but nothing you can’t blow through.
Peter Forbes and Chris Connary showed up around noon and Peter had a couple of laps while Chris set up his Yankee for tomorrow. We have boats on the ice and will sail there tomorrow with whatever wind might be left over from today.
A curious thing happened with the slush this morning, which we should all keep in mind. First, as we all know, slush will harden with temps at freezing. It was 32 here last night. First thing in the morning one could bust through the frozen slush with your heel into a wet layer of slush (not water) below. It looked like a slush runner day. But a couple of hours later you could not break through, and we switched to plate runners. We stayed on plated until the end of the day when the temps reached 37.
Looking at the weather, Wednesday and Thursday look good. Rain and warmth early in the week healed by cold Tuesday night. Could be shaping up for a Spring Fling next weekend. In the Damariscotta Lake Inn can repair some busted pipes this week there will be rooms. Lunch there today, by the way, was excellent, with a nice view of the lake. All part of gold prize day.
- Damariscotta 1/2 DONE 3/29 (3/29/2015)
We made a couple of attempt at the narrows, but found only light shifty air there. The only boat of the entire fleet to get through was Bob McGowen with his new Cheapskate. He was able to sail downwind soft-water style, but had to walk back upwind. Bravo for the attempt, Bob. He says that he wished he discovered ice boating twenty years ago.
The rest of the considerable fleet chased the wind and each other all over the broads for most of the day. The most dedicated switched to slush runners in the afternoon, although the areas of true ice evolving around the snow ice remained hard. There is still sixteen inches of hard ice, observed through a fresh ice fisherman’s hole. He told me “she ain’t gone punky yet”. You heard it here!
In addition to all these boats, there were a couple of DN’s out sailing, and Bob’s Cheapskate (probably promenading through the narrows at about this point). Everyone is excited about the prospects for next weekend and some sort of Spring Fling. We can’t hope to top the famous feed put on by Leigh Turner at Winny, but we’ll give it our best shot. Watch the weather, chat with your iceboating buddies about the possibilities, and stand by here for up-dates.
Thanks, as always, to the Lamptons for the fantastic access, and for opening up the “clubhouse”. Our enjoyment of this fabulous lake would be severely limited without their generosity. David even helps to lug gear up and down the ramp!
Lastly, as an ardent advocate of the Whizz, we can’t help but sharing this one: Whizzard, Whizz Kid, Wizzdom and Cheeze Whizz. We missed Whizzkey and Whizzper, Gee Whizz and Oz, Whizz-Bang too. Maybe next time. Thanks for all the great sails, Henry!
- Damariscotta Video and Long Pond MDI (3/30/2015)
- One Mainer Goes to the Easterns (3/30/2015)
Unless you count our honorary Mainer: Ramblin Roger, who scored both regattas. Doug Raymond checks in:
“Just back from the Easterns/NE’s. Two fabulous days of racing on Champlain. This photo shows the plate we sailed. If you look hard you can see the pressure ridge we crossed to the miles of smooth ice we sailed. The person to the left (no this is not photo shopped, I swear) is blessing the ice, at least that was my take on it. Shelburne can be odd. Those are the Adirondacks in NY on the horizon. I was the only Mainer unless you count Ramblin Roger. He did a great job scoring the New Englands. I think he wants to give racing a go. Several top Gold Fleet racers showed the rest of how it’s done. Think ice, Doug PS check the NE site for more photos.”
The NEIYA site has not posted photos or results yet, but we’re rooting for the home town boy! Call around next time Doug, and twist some arms. You might some company for the long ride.
Locally, it’s looking very good for Long Pond MDI on Wednesday. Check in if you’d like to go.
- Sebago Ice Wed. March 31 (3/31/2015)
Phil Lowe reports that Sebago looks good, 6-7 grade he thinks. Still tight at edges.
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- Wednesday, No fooling April 1 Ice (4/1/2015)
The nomads are heading for Long Pond on Mt Desert at 7AM. The local faithful are off to play with “CIBC’s Ice Queen” Dammy (Damariscotta) where there will be at least five boats today and maybe tomorrow, which is forecast to be ice saving overcast before possible resurfacing rain Friday and Saturday. Launch at Damariscotta Farm NW corner of the lake. Lunch, maybe, at the farm Inn.
We keep getting one last day, isn’t it wonderful.
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- Long Pond MDI, No Foolin’ (4/1/2015)
What magic there is in the beauty of a distant unknown lake. The five of us today had never been on Long Pond MDI before, so the vistas were fresh and awesome. There are three arms to this lake. The launch is at the top of one, Another on parallels this a bit to the west, and there is the bottom. This is where the action is. All three connect at a large bay where the wind takes a deep breath and howls down into the bottom arm, it velocity doubled by the two cliffs on each side. Sailing deep and fast through the pass, looking up at the mountains, just wondering how your life could be so perfect when the ice runs out and you need to pay the piper. Back hard on the wind, pinching to spill gusts and bring down the hikes.
Back in the arm leading to the pits the wind was a bit more challenging as it tumbled over the tall trees alongshore. It was a challenge getting downwind through there at first, as the wind was a bit lighter in the morning. We had two novice sailors, Dave Godin and Bill Wiegmann, who managed to master the art of light air downwind sailing. They both made the trip twice. Well Done, Gents!
Unlike Damariscotta and Sebago, this ice was perfectly smooth. There was one frozen ATV track made when it was slush, but aside from that it was flat, which is why they call it “sailing flat out”. Curtis and I found a pair of coves that might have suggested breasts from the air and we soared from one to the other, cutting fast figure eights with Indigo and Whizzard, nursing them until we were full.
Fresh from the New Englands, Doug challenged Indigo to a race but capsized half-way through. It’s great to see Doug back in action, along with his rich vein of CIBC history.
He and Bunting are planning to sail Damriscotta tomorrow. Wind should be moderate and blow from the WSW which will give a whole new take on the lake. Rain moving in late in the day should not bother at all. Bunting, Wolfie, Dan West and Bob McCowan sailed all day until the ice went soft at 3:00. Bob and Wolfie were way down the lake and hopefully enjoyed a nice walk home, a long walk full of hope, that is. Chris Connary snapped the mast on the Yankee, and is no thinking about a Nite. Bill Bunting is thrilled…
Boats are set up on Damariscotta, looks like a nice day. Come early for the best ice and least rain. Next possibility is Sunday, with most of the following week “unseasonably cold”. Need we say more? Dave Godin will do a flyover of Moosehead soon; the web-cams all show white, but look at we’re sailing on here. The weekend of the eleventh could be the one.
- 2/2 Damariscotta Lake (4/2/2015)
When I asked Bunting how best to extol the virtues of today, he said: ” should have been here yesterday!” Not that there was anything wrong with today, but if all days on the ice are wonderfully perfect, then none can be. Today was a day of quiet introspection. We all arrived early to beat the afternoon rain, but the wind overslept and didn’t get there until 11:30. We all stood around discussing the meaning of life as an iceboater until Wolfie and Roger got bored and pushed out in search of wind, soon to be seen napping in their cockpits. I sensed movement a while later and took off too. Soon the entire fleet of six were chasing the zephyrs, some with more luck than others. I saw Roger heading south, so joined him for a trip through the narrows and down to Muscongus Bay. New sailor Guy Pollyblank had too much weight on too short runners and had to turn back half-way through the narrows as the ice was softening.
Speaking of yesterday, Lee Spiller says that they had an awesome day on Sebago. Smooth and hard all the way to Frye’s Leap. A friend, Thom Perkins, borrowed one of Karin’s boats and discovered that a quick gybe in high winds requires just a bit of practice and technique:
But he had a great day and Lee assures us he’ll be back for more, sailing that is. No harm to boat or skipper.
Meanwhile, the Darwin Awards are soliciting nominations and here we have one from the Sebago area:
“This local guy really wanted to say he drove on the lake on April 1st. Which he did. Crossed the pressure ridge 4 times by driving over it at speed! Unfortunately the shore ice by midafternoon was just too soft. Bill Nason pulled him out with a backhoe after a goodly crowd had gathered. No harm to the truck.”
More good news from Ramblin Roger and Kate Morrone. They discovered a beautiful plate of real ice, the kind you can see through, on the Inland Sea, northern Lake Champlain. They cruised north as far as they dared with miles more ahead. An ice fisherman told them they could go all the way to St. Albans in they wanted. And then just for good measure, Roger swung by Newport on his way back to Maine to have a look at Memphremagog. The ice is of the same high quality as Champlain: no white in sight. But it will be very warm there tomorrow followed by days of rain. Validates that ubiquitous feeling amongst iceboaters that there is always good ice somewhere. Good old Roger pulled into Damariscotta in the middle of the night and was setting up well before anyone else arrived. Now that’s some mighty Ramblin, right up there with the incredible stamina of Fred Wardwell, who showed up to sail today but wasn’t interested in the light air.
There are still boats on the ice, waiting out the next two days of lousy weather, in anticipation of excellent sailing Sunday and Monday. There are tentative plans for a CIBC Regatta one of those two days, but we’ll announce it here by tomorrow.
Lastly, thanks so much to Dave Godin for giving us an areal update of Moosehead: lets just say we’re not holding our breath yet:
“This is looking south into the west cove at the junction, 95% of the lake is still snow covered with small patches of rough looking ice. The only area that looked promising would be from the south rim of Mt. Kineo to the Rockwood cove area.” ( which is where we sailed last April)
We have lots of eyes on the webcams and weather reports (right Denis?) and will know very soon when to call on the 2015 Moosehead Long Way. If this latest storm brings them rain it could be sooner than we think!
- Damariscitta Thursday PM (4/2/2015)
The ice and wind softened by mid afternoon and several of the ice boats loaded up for home. End of season maybe for some but not even end of day for Ramblin Roger who called at 6:45 to say he was going for his sundown sail in freshening air on hardening ice. We have hopes for a few more days as the ice is still hard up against the shore, we haven’t even gone to planks and ladders yet.
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- An April First to Remember (4/3/2015)
The last post mentioned the great ice that Kate and Roger found on Champlain. See it and weep:
Kate says: “Thanks to Roger’s scouting we launched from So. Hero on Grand Isle at Keeler bay. Attached is a pic of our boats. The ice was amazing and the wind held all day. I recorded my fastest speed ever at 57.8 and we sailed 81.5 miles. We should have tried a little harder for the 100miles and the 60mph. Kate”
So, one can even have regrets in paradise!
And over on Sebago that day Lee fills in the details:
I didn’t relate all the April Fools day misadventures.
Two friends borrowed boats. Steve, a friend from since the 1970’s and Thom…well another friend from that era. Steve is a sailor. He’s also blind in one eye which may have contributed to the collision the two of them had inside the reef while Steve was getting the feel for Karin’s boat. Thom was sailing my boat and they must have hit fairly hard judging from the chunks of wood taken out of the boats. I inspected them thought things were ok and off they went again. Steves mast soon fell down due to damage to the shroud adjuster..easy fix.
It was later out in the big open lake when we’re were sailing quite fast ( I was a bit concerned about them as it was a stiff but steady wind) that Steve capsized in a gybe. I suspect now the plank attachments had been loosened in the previous crash. I’m repairing the plank and hull damage to Karin’s boat today where a runner sliced the side board and lifted a piece of the deck.
In the process of putting the hull and plank together and lashing everything so Steve could tow the wreck back to the beach my van keys must have fallen out of Karin’s pocket, something we discovered after several more hours of truly great sailing. It was after 2pm and the surface was starting to soften so sailing was not an option to go back and look for the keys..
And this is when Calvin shows up and drives his truck out onto the ice…we were all somewhat surprised when he just hot-rodded down the ramp then out onto the ice. After he drove all along the inside of the pressure ridge we were all slack jawed with amazement and some consternation when he pointed the truck at the open and very active pressure ridge and blasted across it at 30mph. The truck then proceeded to go all over the lake..at times it was a tiny black dot in the far distance…eventually the truck returned and again did the old flying jump maneuver, crossed the ridge, came up the ramp, and stopped in front of us, the driver grinning and his boxer in his lap looking quite pleased as well.
Here’s where things get interesting…
Thom said jokingly “Hey you see any car keys out there?”
I saw my chance and said hey are you willing to go back out and cross that reef and with some bravado he said he would be more than happy too. After explaining about the keys and telling him I was terrified at the prospect of going out he said hop in lets go…
So there I was sitting in the front seat of a pick up truck driving straight at the ridge I’d been nervous about crossing on foot…we got across with a big bang and a huge shower of water and drove around for a half hour trying to find the crash site which of course we weren’t able to do.
The whole time I could only think about having to drive back across the pressure ridge…and it wasn’t a pleasant thought I can tell you. I said to Cal how about I stand in the bed of the truck and maybe I’ll be able to see better. But really I was just hoping to increase my chances of surviving the inevitable catastrophe.
When we crossed the reef again it was with an awful crash as the back end fell through but with a huge lurch and bump almost ejecting me we continued on…Cal yells out the window “I guess we won’t be going that way again!”
At least I felt like now I wasn’t going to die.
But as we came to the ramp I was thinking geez I think we need to be more to the left and sure enough the truck broke through…gently and not far as we were over the lower end of the ramp now but on sun softened ice. I felt kinda bad for having suggesting going back out…but Calvin readily admitted he knew he was driving onto the ramp at the wrong angle.
No need to go on about the details of the rescue, a procession of workmen in pick up trucks and various gawkers and broken tow straps and too many cooks but in the end a front end loader easily removed the truck.
Calvin and his boxer finally drove off both grinning…in a well rinsed truck.
Ps I came home and got my extra keys..
- DN Racing (4/3/2015)
The Maine State Championships will be held this coming Sunday on Lake Damariscotta. Skippers meeting and start at ususal time. Don’t worry about the forecast; it’ll be just fine.
- Sailing and Racing on Dammi Tomorrow (4/4/2015)
Bill Bunting had a look at our launch site just a few minutes ago and reports the worse hazzard is the deep puddle in the parking lot. Bring rubber boots. The ice is still tight to the shore, and the surface consists of a mere two inches of slush. The plate looks flatter than it has been. Temps now are just above freezing with low twenties predicted. Should harden up just fine. The wind gods are feeling generous, offering more than enough, so the least we can do is be gracious, try to sail and stay in one piece. Looks like storm sails for sure.
The ramp isn’t even close to this condition yet, but even so we had a fine day sailing, March 2011, wet feet and all.
All DN’s in any state welcome to the Maine States!
- Easter Sailing on Dariscotta Lake, 4/5 (4/5/2015)
The only clue that spring might be here is the high sun and lack of brutal cold. Aside from that the wind, snow blizzards and miles of great ice could fool you into thinking it was still February. We had it all today: dead calms, big winds, full sun and total white-out. Boats were all over the lake for the first white-out, but three of us were in the south end around the islands when the lights went out. The wind came on strong and I high-tailed back to the narrows looking for a lee, relying on feel and the vague outline of a couple of points. I was thrilled when Jim Gagnon appeared out of the gloom, so I slowed down so we’d stay in sight of each other. Then the wind died, the sun came out, and Curtis appeared in the distance pushing Indigo.
Blowing snow is in the air but the sun is shining above. Could there be a little religion in the weather today?
Twenty-one boats showed up, ignoring the weather forecast and compromising with family over the holiday. In spite of the snowy start, which Fred Wardwell called “inconvenient”, boats were all over the place. The two Cheapskates made their own expedition to Muscongus Bay, and Dave & Doug set marks for the Maine States. Sadly, there were no takers for the race. Sailors seemed content to tear around in the snow and strong wind marveling at the wonder of nature.
Frank Able drove in from Florida last night and showed up this morning for his first sail of the year. He doesn’t look tired to me! Brother Bobby has a new J-14 and was ripping around easily in the strongest of gusts. Jim Gagnon is still out there, waiting for Ramblin Roger to get back from an Easter lunch so they can sail until dark.
Bunting and the Friendship Boys have their boats on the ice hoping for a window this week, but the forecast is bleak.
The good news is that temps will stay below freezing at night all week. Depending on what the precipitation does, we could be in good shape for next weekend. Eyes are still on the prize to our north; no singing woman of substance in sight…
- Cheap Thrills for Easter (4/6/2015)
Your reporter missed all the company and big blasts of wind Easter morning due to Easter entanglement with a holiday dinner which Ramblin Roger came to. We were released from company around 3 and were on the ice by 4. The 20 plus boats were gone, most of the wind was gone, and we enjoyed a somewhat local Ramblin sundown cruise sailing back to the pits about 6, very pleasant.
Cheapskate newbie Ted Silar had been disappointed in his CS. He had a sail that appeared to have been tightened up with a hot iron, very flat indeed. It did not work, period. Flatness does not seem to improve CS windward or any other direction performance in Cheapskate. I loaned him my original very baggy sail. Instant transformation. He and Bob MacEwan, no longer a CS newbie, vanished off into an early snow squall and blew the whole length of the lake, five minutes to the narrows according to Bob, with more wind at the other end. The return trip involved a lot of hiking, a blast for both of them. Ted was totally carried away and claims he sailed all day for 7 hours. He has sailed all his life but nothing compared to this. When I talked to him Easter evening he was still all wound up. Likewise a call to Bob got a similar response.
I did point out that perhaps flying around at red line in a white out was not a great idea. They did sound thoughtful. The late Mark came to his tragic end in similar conditions on Chicky a few years ago sailing alone and unseen into marked open water.
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- Memories of Pushaw Lake (4/6/2015)
dear ice buddies…
I’ve been housebound with a rotator-cuff shoulder repair during this spring iceboating season….i just got so fed up with not being able to sleep that, damning the lousy timing, i went ahead with the surgery even though the ice season had not ended…it’s been frustrating to follow the website posts and not be out there….but also satisfying to think that these next years may have a higher quality….
here are three videos all of Pushaw Lake early in this season…you will especially notice the collage-like texture of the ice that week…the second video is made by our own paul delniro…. paul simply takes us south down the 6.25 mile lake reaching across the NW wind…..mile after mile… for we stay-at-homes, these videos keep hope alive….conditions like this, ice like this, sun and buddies like this,…this is why we keep on…..all the best, jory
- Easter + One (4/6/2015)
Monday forecast; light and variable winds, possible snow/rain. Of the 21 boats enjoying snow squalls and heavy air for Easter only three remained on the ice Monday morning, the faithful few.
Faithful Ramblin Roger checked out Dammy in morning, no wind. Penobscot Bay was not glassy smooth, more like ground glass. Roger went back to Dammy at noon to find not light and variable but steady Southerly wind coming right down the lake under a thin gray overcast and faint glowing orange sun. He called me, being one of the three on the ice. I grabbed a peanut butter sandwich and was on the ice rigging to sail by 1 o’clock. Woolfie was there sailing with Roger. The Southerly fan was set at medium low and steady maybe 8 MPH. The ice was not at all soft, temp in mid thirties at home. It was sticky, sometimes loose granular and hard to get going in, but not slushy. Cheapskate’s skinny runners seemed as good as DN plates or slushies, both tried by Roger. Roger and I beat our way slowly and somewhat bumpily up to the mouth of the narrows where there was insufficient wind to short tack. Furthermore the distant inviting vista was fading in a grey fog of very fine snow drifting horizontally in the breeze. Not wishing to disappear and suspecting that with the Southerly wind there might be less wind behind or in the snow than before it we turned for home.
We had a delightful run back to the pits outrunning the snow which took quite a while to get there, perhaps falling from a higher cloud deck than the one the sun had glowed through because the sun disappeared. We neither got blown off or melted in and mired. Strangely, the ice felt much smoother going down wind, perhaps some speed helped the ride. The snow arrived at the pits about 3 PM, just after we did. The wind faded somewhat later.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights are supposed to be below freezing, daytimes overcast and maybe snowing/raining. It looks as though Thursday may be the end as temps will be climbing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and the shore line is getting gray. We have planks and patience. Ramblin Roger heads for home Friday. He extends his thanks to our club, one and all, for a fine time. He has been good company.
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- Last Gasp on Dammy (4/7/2015)
Tomorrow, Wednesday April 8 looks promising, sunny and breezy, on Damariscotta. The little snow today will melt in the sun and likely be sloppy, slushies may be order of the day but the snow should reflect sun heat for a while. We have planks if necessary. Serious warming forecast for Friday and weekend, back to normal spring temps and melting. Join the crowd tomorrow and enjoy.
Pres. Buchholz et al keeping weather eye on Moosehead.
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- Fat Lady Sings Lullaby to Dammariscotta 4/8 (4/8/2015)
John Brisson, first year iceboater, has already learned what it takes to succeed in this sport: wake up early and drive far. He and his sister Michelle left Rockport Mass at 3:00 am today, arriving on the lake just after seven. They got the best part of the day, with strong winds and hard, smooth ice. Ramblin Roger arrived early too, so we set off for the south end first thing. It was a mile-a-minute morning on both the North and South broads, with many non-stop passages through the narrows.
We took a break in the bottom of Musgongus Bay, and then headed back north to be sociable. I managed to circle nearly every island in the south end at top speed on the way back. Magnificent.
The sails of Lloyd, Bunting, John Stanton (also a record setting road warrior today), Bill Grenier, and Paul Delnero greeted us as we flew back into the North Broads. We galloped around for a while as the wind began to fade and the ice soften.
The plate had many glassy spots that looked and felt like real ice, here in the morning sun, but everything softened at about the same rate. By noon it was topping forty degrees, and with the light wind not even slush runners could provide the ride. But the day was so pleasant that no one was in a great hurry to pack up. We snacked, chatted, slowly took the boats apart and just tried to drink a deep enough draft of frozen Damariscotta to tie us over until next year. She came in late, but did not disappoint. If iceboating is the oyster in our lives, then this lake is the pearl.
There is still energy for Moosehead if we can get a couple of cold nights there. Last year we sailed on 4/17…
- CIBC Spring Meeting 5/9 (4/10/2015)
Our meeting and pot luck lunch will be held Saturday, May 9 at the Damariscotta Lake Farm Inn, just across the street from our launch area. Parking on the north side of the building, off Rt. 32. We will outdo each other with delectable vittles, and the bar will be open. We’ll have a grill going on the deck just outside the dining room for the usual assortment of meats. There might be rooms available for those coming from out of state. Call ahead: 207-549-6088
There will be a work party starting at 10:00 down at the launch area. We hope to repair the fence, do some drainage work, and whatever handyman jobs David can come up with. Lunch afterwards, followed by the meeting. Bring gripes, ideas, stories, questions, anything that could help the club find good ice and get boats on it.
- Reflections On One Guy’s First Race (4/13/2015)
Hello All- The Eastern and New England Champs have generated lots of great media and interest- We also saw quite a few new racers on the ice giving it a shot. Remember that we are happy to have a start for three boats of any class that show up at any event- come one, come all! One of the new faces on the track was Ron Bouchard and he was kind enough to share his thoughts and memories of his first time…. Take it away Ron!!
Everything You Need to Know to Enter Your First Race! By Ron Bouchard
I had been ice-boating for twenty years and had never entered a race. Why? Because I had no idea what the race entailed and did not want to look like a fool out there; how do you start? How many markers are there? Which way do you go? The guys racing are obviously highly experienced, high-tech, obsessed racer types, right? As I found out, some are and some are just like me. I told myself and others that cruising around was fine and I had no interest in entering a race, but that was not the truth. No matter the race, racing is thrilling! The feeling of “I’m gaining!” and the fact that the decisions you are making have a measurable impact. Long-short, I entered my first race last March (New England Championships. No, I did not win). It was an amazingly satisfying experience and when it was done I felt as I had accomplished something. I had overcome my fears and done something I had always wanted to do and did not look the total fool as I had feared. And now I am going to tell you what you need to know so you can enter your first race (please understand that these are the basics and I am not getting into different sails and runners and mast location, etc.):
The Course (see the drawing I have attached):
You all line up across a straight line, facing straight into the wind. There are two markers. The closer (leeward) one is in the middle point of the starting line, about 50 yards out. So, half the racers are to the right side of the marker and half to the left. The other marker is way out, straight up wind, about say a half a mile. A starter stands out in front of the racers, between the starting line and the closer marker (about 25 yards, so everyone can see him). He look to make sure everyone is up to the line, he asks if everyone is ready and raises his arms over his head. He waits a few beats and then drops his arms and you are off! Everyone runs as fast as they can and then when they can run no faster or the boat is getting away from you, you jump in.
Half the field heads off to the right and half to the left, BUT, everyone has to travel in the same directions (counter clockwise) so, the guys who start to the right of the field generally go way out to the right and are looking to make one tack to round the upper mark, which will be on their left. Keep the sail tight and the boom right down tight. It should be right off your shoulder pretty much. The guys who start to the left go out a ways and then tack and go BETWEEN the closer and farther marker and then tack again and go around the upper mark (also, so that it is on their left). This is something I did not know before I started the race. As you go around the outside of a marker, it should always be on your left side (counter clockwise). You cannot have guys heading straight for each other!
Heading down wind:
So, I was doing great, heading out towards the right and then tacking and heading towards the upper mark. I was actually gaining! The adrenalin was flowing. I was stoked!! Then I rounded the upper mark and headed back down towards the lower mark. I sail Lasers so I did what I do with them, which is to let the sail out and cruise down wind. Wrong! You keep your sail tight and let off just a bit so the sail rounds a bit and catches the air and head off more towards the right. The less air, the more you have to head up towards the wind to keep going. What is crucial is trying to take a smooth turn off that upper mark as you head down to keep your speed up. The more wind, the sharper angle you can take down towards that next mark. When you think you can gibe back towards the mark and round it without your speed dying out, do so. I pretty much just followed the guy in from of me. Then, back around you go!
A few notes:
- The races I was in were three laps per race.
- You want to lay pretty low in the cockpit for aerodynamics.
- Your neck gets tired. A lot of guys had these loops on their helmet that they attached to a hook on their belts to help hold their heads up. I wish I had one during the race!
- It’s good to know the basic rules of sailing and the different variations for iceboating:
-Upwind; starboard has ROW over port, leeward boat has ROW over windward boat
-Downwind; starboard has ROW over port, WINDWARD HAS RIGHTS OVER LEEWARD
-A BOAT GOING DOWNWIND ON EITHER TACK MUST KEEP CLEAR OF A BOAT GOING UPWIND ON EITHER TACK
- Remember though, it’s not the America’s Cup. If in doubt, ease out!
The last two things I would say is that the guys I was racing with were so patient and helpful and welcoming and open with information. Everyone gathers behind the starting line area to tune their boats and exchange tips before the race so do not be afraid to ask if you have a question!
And secondly, I realized that no matter your experience level or the condition of your boat, you can have a great day racing. I had the best time!! I loved it and cannot wait to race again. I am hooked. Going fast is fun and when other boats are around you and you are eye-ing your next mark and you zip by it is a crazy rush. It has been a long time since I have had so much fun and I felt great that I did it. You will too.
Call me with any questions! I am happy to talk to you and tell you why that although cruising is a ton of fun, racing is more.
- Easter + 10 (4/16/2015)
Ten days after Easter. Our 16 plus inches of ice is melting very fast. It seems elastic with large areas of open water appearing and then in a couple of hours disappearing depending on wind shifts. The ice moves very slowly and seems to be able to compress or expand probably due to water between the melting crystals. High speed tectonic plate shifts in real time, fascinating.
Come to the Spring Party Saturday May 9th, 11 AM to 3 PM at the Damariscotta Farm Inn and B&B across the road from where we launch, about 50 yards SW of the intersection of State Rtes 32 and 126 on the NW corner of Damariscotta Lake. Non members are welcome, bring something to eat to share with others.
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- Fat Lady Sings the Moose to Sleep (4/16/2015)
Greenville temp today 8 am: 25 degrees. Wind SSW @0. It’s been blowing a gale around here for days, and on the morning after the first cold night in a week we have nothing. Not until the temps hit fifty did the breeze come up here at the coast, but Moosehead still had only 5 kts. Local interest in a Moosehead sail was fairly non-existent anyway, and now there is no cold night on the horizon, so we will let that lovely lady have her way with us finally. Personally, I’ll take it laying down.
- Newbies Brave the Spring Iceboat Gala (4/19/2015)
bring on the riff-raff
the halt and the lame
we’ll booze ’em and schmooze ’em
and hail ’em by name
our hobby’s as safe
as your Eas-Y-Boy chair
as exciting as Harley’s
with wind in your hair
no talk of dis-mastings
or the times we went in
or the miles of gear-schlepping
to sit without wind
we’ll find you a boat
at the autumn swap-meet
and you’ll outfit in style
from your helmet to cleat
then late in November
the tremens will hit
you’ll eyeball the puddles
in the thaws, have a fit.
but in frigid December:
your buddies will phone
your mate will roll over
and groan a laud groan
she’ll think of a hundred
things to be done
‘for she grabs at her pencil,
your off on the run
in time she will learn
your ice mistress holds sway:
with an ongoing date
from November to May
but you’re off with pulse racing
to the lake in a trice
Just as the yellow sun
touches the ice
Your buddies are setting up
quick as a cat
and if tell-tales are moving
there’ll be narry a chat.
You thought they were buddies
you’re a newby… so hey!
but here on the ice,
an addiction’s at bay
I’m a sailor, you tell yourself
i’ll do this or die
but the darned thing justs sits there
as others streak by
but soon you’ll be moving
by hook and by crook
doing things that could never
be learned from a book
and sometimes you’ll notice
the ice is so fair
you’ll exclaim, holy jaysus
we’re floating on air
and you’ll think of that springtime
when you strayed to the Ball
that was the beginning–
that cursed beginning–
that started it all
- Chickawaukee; “Ice Out”, Last Ice, No Ice (4/21/2015)
Here is the “Last Ice” around the corner from Lloyd’s beach. There was a fair amount of this stuff blown down my way, so although the lake was “Navigable” by Coast Guard standards the ice was not all out. My “Ice Out” time and date was Independence day April 19 at 3:47 PM (when observed from Rte 17). On the morning of April 19 there were a few independent patches of ice cruising around the lake in light and variable breezes, by afternoon only small pieces of old snow covered ice were jammed in leeward corners and by morning April 21 after heavy rains there was no ice seen anywhere, true ICE OUT. Long hot summer follows.
Note shiny water, grey ice, dark gray broken up ice cubes,and snow covered ice. The ice cubes tend to stay together, surface tension perhaps.
- iceout on lake michigan (4/21/2015)
I’m out here on the shores of lake michigan, caregiving my 100 year old mother…..and i thought it would be pretty dull….lake michigan was frozen solid for miles and miles, with open water near the shore, and a wide variety of ice colors and textures.
How could this ice possibly disappear, I wondered? There was no place for the ice to go, as there might be on a river. Then, two days ago, the ice began to turn bright colors, blue, green and even brown. Then, far off shore and parallel to it, a strip of dark open water, as though left behind by an icebreaker, appeared from a point of land to the west, eastward for 6 miles.
Yesterday, that strip had widened, and with the waves produced in that narrow strip, had turned the entire area—mile after square mile–into brash ice, totally immersed in water, like rum on the rocks….this ice was an even darker blue-green color. It would obviously absorb heat quickly.
and then today, a single day later…..miles and miles of ice was magically gone….vanished overnight….how could so much ice so quickly disappear? it simply didn’t have to go anywhere, but once broken in small pieces and bathed it water, it could melt in hours, not days…
i thought i would be far from the fascination of ice…..NOT SO!…..jory
- Canadian Ice (5/4/2015)
Denis Guertin sends greetings from Lac St. Francois. Like Moosehead and the other northern lakes, it never achieved a decent surface once the warm weather settled in.
Meanwhile, to promote the sport in St Petersburg the local iceboaters put a DN on wheels and took people for rides around the huge square of the Winter Palace.
Thanks, Natasha, for the photo. We are holding our own, not so glamorous, public outreach at our Spring Meeting and Pot Luck next Saturday at Damariscotta Lake Farm Inn. Announcements of the event have been placed in local media, so please come and share your enthusiasm!
- CIBC Spring Meeting (5/11/2015)
The Spring Meeting held at the Damariscotta Lake Farm Inn, in full view of the lake, was a terrific success. The pot luck food was fresh and tasty, including a fine grilled Salmon. Over thirty people showed up. We had opened the meeting to the general public by placing announcements in local media, but the only new person who showed up was Bill Good. He’s just moved here from New York and already had heard of the club. Welcome, Bill. That said, we still had thirty-five members in attendance with John Stanton and Eben Whitcomb making the trek from Connecticut.
We agreed to hold a fall tuning clinic to help those most in need of learning how to make their boats sail well. Runner sharpening and alignment are the basics. New Board of Directors members Curtis Rindlaub and Frank Able hit the ground running with all kinds of great ideas. The best one is a new prize to be bestowed upon all those who can document sailing over 1000 miles in a season. Details are still being worked out, but the plan has great buzz. Thanks to Bobby Able for planting that seed.
Doug Raymond has a thought on safety preparedness:
People really do enjoy your newsletters. The last two issues in particular with the color cover photos got left out on coffee tables everywhere to impress friends, I’m sure. The diversity is refreshing. I have no doubt you will come up with more great ones in the future.
I mailed Bill the web links to the throw-bag and ice picks. Hopefully he posts them soon with mention of free dues to anyone showing up with them at the fall meeting. (He could re-post in fall) This says to the general public that CIBC cares about safety and also reminds iceboaters that we have a responsibility to carry this stuff. It will be really interesting to see how many people show up with picks and throw lines. I know I will, cheapskate that I am. Who knows, it may save a life some day.
I also sent Bill a link for the iceboat screw-in tie downs that I got. I used them at the Easterns on Champlain and they’re better than Ambien. If you remind me I’ll bring a set to the fall meeting to show people.
I mentioned to Dave I thought it would be cool if he photoed some CIBC trophies, ie Maine States, Linc Davis, Spring Classic, Warner St Clair and have them posted to our website during the slow summer doldrums. John and a couple others thought that was a good idea. By the way, the Warner St Clair trophy should have been awarded the last couple of years because that trophy isn’t about racing, but sportsmanship and recognition to a CIBC member who gave something extra or special to the sport. (that’s the way it evolved the last several years it was awarded) I can think of two or three people it should have been awarded to. I’d be happy to update it if the powers that be would like.
Lastly, I must say, what a truly great bunch of riff-raff this club is. I go to other meetings and parties but never come away feeling the way these get- togethers leave me. What a talented, interesting group of exceptional people. It’s a shame we only get to do this twice a year. Doug
Dave Fortier would like to have all of Larry Hardman’s ice poetry on the web site, a worthy goal. Doug recited some of his best for us at the meeting. We should probably start every CIBC meeting with a dash of Hardman verse. Dave writes:
Very well said Doug, legendary newsletters that I will enjoy going through searching for Larry Hardman’s ice poetry. I will get those trophies Photographed and we can show them in the racing section of the web site along with the results of races past and present. MAN I got to get to work!
Great meeting, Great sport, Great folks. Have a Great day, Dave
Now that we’re officially into iceboat building season, be sure to send in project reports. We are building yet another obscure Russian design here at Iceboat Central, the 8 Meter:
- CIBC Board of Director’s meeting, May 9, 2015 (5/11/2015)
Spring Meeting 2015 Damariscotta Farm Inn
We had a business meeting prior to eating and after fixing up fencing and driveway at the launch ramp. Work well done.
34 Members attended plus one prospective member. The venue was very nice, thank you Dave Lampton.
President Buchholz presided. He suggested two new members of the board to replace retiring directors Tom Childs and Jim MacDonald. The membership approved Jim Gagnon and Frank Able as replacements. The Board then retired Lloyd Roberts as Treasurer of many years with Jim Gagnon appointed as new Treasurer by the board according to our bylaws. The treasury contained some $2200 at the time of transfer. Suggestions were offered about spending some of this to encourage skippers to carry ice picks and throw ropes such as granting a free one year membership for members bringing the above rescue gear to the Fall meeting. The meeting was adjourned as the content dwindled away into less relevant matters and hunger replaced procedural trivia.
Respectfully submitted, Lloyd Roberts, Secretary
- Missing Links to DN speed (5/12/2015)
Doug Raymond says I missed 3 nuances in the photo of Karol Jablonski at speed from the cover of Winter CIBC News. One is the halyard in aft hole of sail head board, another I have forgotten, and the third he won’t tell me but assures me that it is more than a nuance.
So, get out your magnifier and fill us in on the go fast secrets. Don’t let Doug get too far ahead.
Thanks to all who made the Spring Meeting so successful.
Reply to me.
- Poem Of The Week (5/18/2015)
Dave Fortier has mined all the old CIBC newsletters for the poems of Dave Wilkins and the late Larry Harman. We will be adding them to the ice poetry department, see above, but meanwhile we will all have the pleasure of a poem a week for while. ODE TO DN 670 Let us recite the ode of Donald Fellows, Who boats each day in the winters. “Hard water sailors have more fun” says he, “If they don’t turn their boats into splinters!” Let us sing the song of Donald Fellows, Ice boatings great Kahuna, And be of good cheer when it turns cold each year, ‘Cause he’ll the good ice sonar. Let us raise our voices for Donald Fellows, Who knows all the lakes out yonder And tells the fleet where they might meet To race, or cruise or wander. And let our praises ring until the spring For this marvelous Donald Fellow Who says, “ice is nice, and will suffice, “Even if it’s as weak as jello!” L. Hardman
- Poem of the Week (5/27/2015)
Here’s another from Larry Hardman, but for some visual poetry check out this video sent by T at the NEIYA. It’s hands down the best iceboat racing video ever. Part of the magic is that it celebrates the travelling to interesting places, but the sailing footage is awesome. There’s great scene where three boats tack, one of whom is Ron Sherry. The two other boats pull out of the tack fast and leave Ron behind. But a moment later here comes Ron and smokes the others. Pure poetry.
My wife away from home has many names.
Mistress Cold, I call her,
Though her name is IDNIYRA.
She sends me home well spent.
For I am a voluptuary, I admit,
Lusting for the sing of her in my blood,
The way she take my thoughts,
Incites when she most satisfies,
Cold eyed temptress!
And my other wife, you ask?
I would not this philandering
Were she resentful.
Jealousy is for those of her own kind.
There, I trespass not,
Nor do I care to.
You see, a stoic sensualist am I,
An icy epicure,
Debaucher, carouser, rascal, rake,
Blessed be the fanatics.
Tired world without them.
Grateful am I
To find my own:
one at home, one away,
And so in my heart greater love for all.
- Poem of the Week (6/1/2015)
Boston Boys at Circus Time
It’s the Boston Boys at circus time
On the ices of New England:
Leo and Hal, and Stu and Sid,
Boys full grown,
Big Bill Converse and Henry Stone;
Bred racers to the bone.
When it’s circus time
In the icy clime
And hard waters of New England,
Comes the fleet!
The brothers of neat,
Sleek worshippers of speed,
And, in the cold, pure heat of intention
Runners resound and scrape
Like sharp blades across a pan.
Air invention will do
When chimney smokes pillar starignt up.
Then Burly Herb Dreyer makes the Brass
And Henry sets out, newly strung, Don Fellow’s
steed to prance
And Leo, of the aviator goggles,
And snowy knickers
With King Cold’s wintry tongue,
While Arlyan Farm, orange dart
Leaves no part
Of ice ungraced
As slick-smooth-black-hard in cut and laced
In triple art.
When the Boston Boys
At circus time
- Video Pick of the Week, maybe of the year… (6/8/2015)
We’ll pick up with the poetry next week, but this is iceboat camp at the most sublime. Be sure the volume is on:
- Poem for the Week (6/16/2015)
The Crocuses have croaked the season,
Brashly up through frosty dew,
Mushed the ice for no good reason,
Turned it into sloppy goo.
Soon will come the tulips too.
But I haven’t had enough, have you?
Why sleep late, take comfy pleasures
Read Sunday paper in puffy chair,
Instead of more heroic measures?
Why did I sometimes doubt the air?
Why the devil wasn’t I there?
Ice racer now to leaney shed,
To musty basement, or stuffy nook.
Now, to dreaming far, instead,
Beyond the bubbling, sunny brook,
Beyond the green, garden bed,
Far, far, far ahead.
Dream honkers cruising in raucous V’s,
Chill rain bruising the sodden ground,
Red leaves falling from the trees,
Cold embracing my whole world round,
Dream when liquid pools will freeze,
And I can fly when I please!
- Poem of the Week (6/22/2015)
Without intending to un-joint summerlovers, we observed to passing of the summer solstice yesterday and the longest day of the year. It can only mean that now the days are getting shorter. In spite of all the fun to come these warm days, you ARE on an iceboating site so please forgive our excitement over the turning of the solar page and the countdown to ice.
With that in mind, here’s another gem from Larry Hardman:
This chill December day
The Maine Boys
Come out to play.
Stalk onto the ice with toys
Of their own making,
The wind and the boys are
frisky, speed their whisky.
Chill factors at fifty below.
Fire on the skin.
Makes cellophane sounds
As they make the rounds.
Out from under
Echos off my hill
And their metallic roars still
The breathy voices of the
On the inky gloss below,
Graze the orange pins,
Circle lazily between,
Cluster, sit and preen,
Climb and fall again for the
But, down there, I know,
Witnin steel reverberations
Taught wood, wire,sinews
Nothing seems slow.
Adreneline and wine, the
surface streaking past,
Giant howl of air,
Grind-rattle of runner glide,
Perilous bend of mast,
Finish line slide
as rooster tails grow.
Tucked in their needles thin,
Maine boys grin
Living best in flight
- CIBC Poem of the Week (6/30/2015)
There was rumored big ice, extending for miles.
Sebago’s set up, the first time in a while.
An expedition ensued to sort out the facts.
Iceboats were loaded and lashed to the racks.
They drove and they steered, like migrating geese
Converged as a group on the shore wearing fleece.
Traveling miles finding ice, what’s the reason?
Cause cold spells like this don’t come every season.
It was smooth, shiny, dark, and more like an otter.
This black pane of glass, surely must be water.
Closer inspection found a crystalline glare,
With clear, feathery branches and tiny bubbles of air.
With perfect reflection, an inverted tree line.
Clouds at their feet, the sun up it did shine.
The distant horizon, it too formed a slick plate.
Unloaded the iceboats; no one would wait.
Ice tales such as this have rarely been told.
Elders have said, but now they are old.
The winters are warmer, the seasons too short
Iceboats stay in lofts, the heck with this sport.
Now blades, spars and sails were merely implored.
To fashion the craft for this lake to explore.
Missing this day would be an error no doubt.
Ice pilots were chafing at their sheets to head out.
The air began stirring and soon had filled in.
The boats were assembled, the sailors willing.
Runners now cutting imperceivable grooves.
Sails billowed full and the boats they did move.
Away they now flew toward the sky in the east.
Lusting and hungry approaching the feast.
For no hell bent flake had yet soiled the sheet.
This great film a virgin, the deflowering sweet.
David Wilkins 2-2003
- POETRY MONDAY. Memorized One Yet? (7/6/2015)
Regattas are fun and touring’s real nice.
But some of us think there’s more fun on ice.
How fast can we go? Someone exclaimed.
No, no, just stop at 60 you fiend.
Rattle and rumble, a DN can fly.
This must be 40 with a gleam in the eye.
Faster and faster, so it’s all just a blur.
At 50 man, she’s starting to purr.
Bear off in the puff and strain on the sheet
Now Ron Sherry’s got someone to beat.
At 60, OK now we’re movin some quick.
Oh damn, this ice had better be thick.
70, ahum, has it ever been done?
Will this rig stay together? Is this really so fun?
White knuckles, palpitations, adrenaline rush.
Snow drifts, a shoreline, lumpy hard slush.
Roaring of runners and well bended mast.
Straining so hard to complete the task.
I don’t know if I can get much quicker.
Oh heck, sheet some more cause I need the sticker.
Quit now? No way, I’m no fool.
Cause ego’s in charge, I’m out of control
These boats really are fast and I am the best.
Here’s the proof from the GPS in my vest.
David Wilkins 1-2003
- Poems to think ice (7/15/2015)
When T says that winter is in the air, he has no idea how close to the truth he is. Here in Finland we haven’t seen 70 more than once, 50’s at night, and water temps in the low sixties. I went for a morning dip today and feel like my core temp dropped. We have lit yet another fire in our little woodstove.
For those of you in more balmy climes, here’s a little something to tinkle the crystals:
Remember when our sails were straining.
Laying flat, these necks were craning.
Racing, cruising, speed trial, training.
The days are long, our ice is waning.
Air is warm or foggy, often raining.
We’ve had our fun, there’s no complaining.
David Wilkins 3-2003
- Ice Verse Monday (7/20/2015)
This is the last poem from the archives of the CIBC newsletters. They will all be at iceboat.me soon. But don’t let it stop here: place visions of ice up there in your breen and let the words flow from fingers to screen.
Speaking of fingers, here in Finland where even sailing in summer produces cold fingers, they have a trick for pumping warm blood down there. Standing with arms by your side, wrists bent ninety degrees so the palms face down and the fingers slightly bent, shrug your shoulders repeatedly.
It’s January now; winter in Maine
And most us are out on the ice again.
This obsession of sailing the hard is in place,
So off we go every Saturday morning to race.
And racing’s a hoot, nothing finer all year.
Not candy nor fishing nor women or beer.
The faster we go the funner the scene,
And if you’re reading this now then you know what I mean.
But be careful my friend, there’s always thin ice.
Check your steering gear well and your parking brake twice.
Wear your picks and your helmet and don’t go alone.
Have some rope and a suit and a charged up cell phone.
Good judgment for all, and watch out for each other
We’re Family out there, and this guy is your brother.
But mistakes have been made, it scary for sure.
Our best heads up behavior is the one cure.
But we as a group have a service to do.
Sure we wanna have fun but there’s more to it too.
Like children and wives, careers not to mention.
Our health and our safety or retirement pension
These things really come first,, iceboating’s just fluff
Beware obsession and know when enough is enough.
Life is sweet and is long, so cherish each day.
Happy households are key, the stuff of which we’re made.
Moderate wisely and then sail with your brain
Cause iceboating is not supposed to bring pain.
Dave Wilkins, 2002
- Guertin’s Iceboat Repairs (7/23/2015)
Denis Guertin is fortunate to have his iceboats stored at his summer place on Lac St. Francois in Quebec. So while everyone else is out sailing and water skiing, Denis is working hard in the basement to repair the damage from Pushaw Lake. We were a big fleet on the first excursion down the lake after its “recovery” from a wet-out. We all agree there might have been a whiff of ice-narcosis in the air as we reflect back on how fast we flew into unknown territory. Indeed, there were the remains of the pressure ridge from the week before which was still a few days from full recovery. As Denis moved into the lead position he gave us all a front row seat for disaster. One moment he was the envy of all, the next he was at the center of a pile of iceboat parts. We all rounded up, Wolfie stopping just as his runner dropped into yet another hole.
But Denis is nothing if not resourceful. We managed to re-fasten the stud plates, tape the loose plywood around the cockpit, and tip-toe back through the swiss cheese to solid ice. The rest of that week on Pushaw now sets the bar for grade 10 ice.
So he’s patched up all the damage, and while he was at it added wedges under the stud plates to level out the plank. Planks which are not level when sailing do funny things to runner alignment when they bend.
He did a nice job of cleaning up the gouges caused by the stud plate screws as they ripped out. He wasn’t rigged with whisker stays that day, so the question is what would have happened if he was. Would he have pulled through the hole, or would there have been more damage?
Anybody else doing anything interesting with iceboats this off-season?
- Iceboating Social Research (8/9/2015)
A small group of business school grad students chose to examine the iceboating world as part of a market research project last winter. Here are the results of that research. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond; they were thrilled with the feedback;.
Question 1 – Are you Male or Female
Are you male or female? Category Percentage Frequency Male 96.3% 52 Female 3.7% 2 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: The vast majority of the market is almost exclusively made up of men. The proportion of women can almost be seen as an outlier as it represents such a small portion of the respondents.
Question 2 – What is your age?
What is your age? Category Percentage Frequency 17 or younger 0.0% 0 18-20 1.9% 1 21-29 0.0% 0 30-39 1.9% 1 40-49 13.0% 7 50-59 37.0% 20 60 or older 46.3% 25 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: The survey reveals that the bulk of the results are found in age groups 40 years and older. Additionally the vast majority of the market (83.3%) is made up of respondents aged from 50 years old and above.
Question 3 – In what city do you live?
Interpretation: Most of the survey respondents are based out of the USA mostly around the Great Lakes area as well as around the northern part of the East Coast. A few respondents come from different region of Canada such as the province of Quebec, Nova Scotia and Alberta.
Question 4 – What is your approximate average household income?
What is your approximate average household income? Category Percentage Frequency $0-$24,999 4.0% 2 $25,000-$49,999 18.0% 9 $50,000-$74,999 24.0% 12 $75,000-$99,999 16.0% 8 $100,000-$124,999 18.0% 9 $125,000-$149,999 10.0% 5 $150,000-$174,999 2.0% 1 $175,000-$199,999 0.0% 0 $200,000 and up 8.0% 4 Total 100.0% 50
Interpretation: The major parts of our sample respondents are making a yearly average income of $25,000 to $125,000. There is also a small portion or the market currently making $200,000 and above which is revealed on the graph by a small skew on the right.
Question 5 – How long have you been practicing Ice Boating?
How long have you been practicing Ice Boating? Category Percentage Frequency Less than a year 3.7% 2 1-2 Years 1.9% 1 2-3 Years 1.9% 1 3-4 Years 1.9% 1 4-5 Years 5.6% 3 5+ Years 85.2% 46 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: Most of the survey respondents are experienced and as per the results above only 14.8% of them have less than 5 years of experience.
Question 6 – How often do you go ice boating per year on average?
How often do you go ice boating per year on average? Category Percentage Frequency 1-5 Times 29.6% 16 6-10 Times 18.5% 10 10-15 Times 29.6% 16 15-20 Times 14.8% 8 More than 20 Times 7.4% 4 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: The number of times association members go ice boating per year is pretty scared but is mostly between 1-15 times per year. After 15 times per year the greater the number of times, the bigger the decline is.
Question 7 – Do you participate in ice boat races or competitions?
Do you participate in ice boat races or competitions? Category Percentage Frequency Yes 53.7% 29 No 46.3% 25 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: The data above reveals that slightly more than half of association members participate in competitions.
Question 8 – Which race did you participate in and where was it held?
Interpretation: Most of the races are located in the same area where the majority of the clubs are. The maim location for race are Minnesota, Wisconsin, New-York and Maine.
Question 9 – Do you currently own an ice boat?
Do you currently own an ice boat Category Percentage Frequency Yes 100.0% 54 No 0.0% 0 Total 100.0% 54
Interpretation: All of the survey respondents currently own an ice boat. That question was used as a qualifier for questions 10, 11 and 12 and does not provide much meaningful data.
Question 10 – What type of boat do you currently own?
What type of boat do you currently own? Category Percentage Frequency DN Ice Boats 45.3% 34 Nite 10.7% 8 Renegade 4.0% 3 Skeeter 33.3% 25 Skimmer 6.7% 5 Total 100.0% 75
Interpretation: The data above reveals that the two most popular classes of boat are the DN and the skeeter class. The other classes combined represent only 21.4% of the market.
Question 11 – How much did you pay for your ice boat?
How much did you pay for your ice boat? Category Percentage Frequency less than $1,000 25.0% 13 $1,000-$2,499 19.2% 10 $2,500-$4,999 30.8% 16 $5,000-$7,499 11.5% 6 $7,500-$9,999 5.8% 3 $10,000 and up 7.7% 4 Total 100.0% 52
Interpretation: The data above shows that the majority of people usually pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Only a smaller portion of the market (25% of the results) paid above $5,000 for the boat they currently own. The data reveals that the most common price paid for an ice boat goes anywhere from $2,500 to $4,999.
Question 12 – How much do you spend per year on parts and improvements on average?
How much do you spend per year on parts and improvements on average? Category Percentage Frequency 0-$500 68.9% 31 $500-$1,000 17.8% 8 $1,000-$1,500 4.4% 2 $1,500-$2,000 4.4% 2 $2,000+ 4.4% 2 Total 100.0% 45
Interpretation: Most ice boaters spend less than $500 in parts and improvement per year. A significant amount of respondents are spending $500 to $1,000. A small portion of the market (13.2% only) spends more $1,000 per year.
Question 13 – What features do you look for in an ice boat?
What features do you look for in an ice boat? Category Percentage Frequency Quality 42.3% 22 Performance/Speed 63.5% 33 Price 32.7% 17 Easy Transportation 17.3% 9 Comfort 23.1% 12 Total 52
Interpretation: For the data above it is important to take note that the participants were allowed to pick more than one choice therefore the percentage column will not add up to 100%. The data above reveals that most participants (63.5%) look for performance and speed. Other critical factors that are important to consider are quality and price.
Question 14 – Are you looking at purchasing an ice boat in the next 2 years?
Are you looking at purchasing an ice boat in the next 2 years? Category Percentage Frequency Yes 20.8% 11 No 79.2% 42 Total 100.0% 53
Interpretation: The data reveals that the majority (79.2%) are currently not looking at buying a boat in the next 2 years.
Question 15 – How much would you be willing to pay for your next boat?
How much would you be willing to pay for your next boat? Category Percentage Frequency Less than a $1,000 27.3% 3 $1,000-$2,499 45.5% 5 $2,500-$4,999 27.3% 3 Total 100.0% 11
Interpretation: The data above reveals how much the participants that answered yes at question 14 are willing to pay for their next ice boat. The data reveals that respondents are not expecting to pay more than $5,000 and are likely (45.5%) to be purchasing a boat in the $1,000 – $2,500 range.
Question 16 – Which type of boat are you looking at purchasing and why?
Which type of boat are you looking at purchasing and why? Category Percentage Frequency DN Ice Boats 55.6% 5 Other 44.4% 4 Total 100.0% 9
Interpretation: The data reveals that the participants willing to purchase a boat in the next 2 years are mostly looking at buying DN type boats. The other category data is made of up of people willing t buy DIY boats, 2 place boats, Ice Optimists, as well as people who weren’t sure what they were looking for. None of these participants were looking at buying skeeters.