Webster and Winnipesaukee

Webster Lake was all it was promised to be this past Friday: tons of wind, sunshine, great ice, and good company.

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.

If it was all looking like this we’d probably still be there, but while there were patches of nice stuff big enough on which to make a couple of tacks, mostly it looked more like this:

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.

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