Sabattus Report Jan 6 & 8 2016

Sabattus Pond is a lovely shallow pond of some 4 X 1 miles on the Northern edge of Lewiston Maine, a nineteenth century mill town. We have no resident ice spies there and I believe have never sailed there before. However our ace itinerant ice spy Lee Spiller sniffed it out last week, miles of grade 9 with lots of grade 10 black ice several inches thick. The indian name Sabattus roughly translates to “wild goose chase”, but we didn’t know that.

Despite forecasts of meager air we congregated from as far away as New Jersey to a lovely small town park with a sheltered anchorage for fleets of a dozen plus ice boats both days. Wednesday a scratch race course was set up for a reaching race and a fleet of 7 DN’s drifted around the marks three times. This was repeated with diminishing numbers of competitors for three races, enough for a regatta! Commodore Fortier won two out of three and declared the event “The Commodore’s Cup Regatta”. (A conflict of interest was raises its head). Competitor Raymond came in first in race one and second twice and pointed out that because Fortier cannot run he had given him a head start on race two which Fortier won. Fortier claimed he won race two by a large margin, much more than the head start he had been given. Perhaps the board of directors could take this up come Spring.

Friday was forecast to have a steady 6 mph breeze all day and indeed in the morning there was a promising zephyr moving off the ice and through the town park. The NEIYA gang set up real pyramidal race marks but by the time boats got on the ice the breeze was already dying. “T” Theiler demonstrated his top ten magic by seemingly effortless cruising around the course while most of the rest of the fleet had trouble. One race was enough and the ice boating mostly became standing around in the warm sun and talking, an important part of iceboating.

In the meantime temporary MIT professor Buchholz arrived with his retinue of seven students who are receiving instruction in iceboat construction assembling four DN’s from materials kits that Bill carted down to Cambridge in his Whiz trailer. They seemed a pleasant lot, apparently from Indonesia or therabouts. They brought 3 complete DN’s with them plus Bill’s Dn and it took a while to get everything put together by which time the wind had pretty much gone. One them came out onto the ice and I let him sail “Cheap Skate” which he did successfully, including figuring out what to do when the sheet pulley let go, he just held the boom by hand and returned all smiles. I don’t know how his classmates made out but hope we will get a report from Porfessor Buchholz.

Saturday is providing light snow turning to rain and heavy rain Sunday onto about two inches of ice on Damariscotta and Chickawaukee. Forecast accompanying high winds may blow us all back to start. However cold is forecast for next week perhaps punctuated by snow, Winter is starting.


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