Bog Bridge boat launch….730 am…wind strong and gusty NNE….cloudy….temp 13 degrees, but feeling somehow colder….maybe the humidity of coming snow…..maybe….maybe one of life’s persistent questions coming up: was it really wise to get out of bed? Bob Lombardo was just returning to his car, after a 2 hour skate….talk about motivation….he must have gotten up about 4….he must live with one foot on the accelerator…
I got the boat set up…determined not to remove my gloves…..while Lloyd, Bob MacEvan, Fred Wardwell, and Bill Bunting arrived…then…after happily accepting their “no’s” to my offers of help, I set out to test the unusual ice surface and wind…I soon ran into Bob L’s skating pal, just beginning his circumnavigation….they work together in a construction business, and have winters free….what a life!….out in the open broads, the boat was just barely under control with a storm sail, but underpowered when going north up the west side in the slot between high hills….I had hoped that we could romp up that channel as we do with strong NW winds….not today….I chopped a hole in the pressure ridge bisecting the broads and found the northern half quite safe, and left traffic cones marking the dangerous half….still….a lingering ambivalence about iceboating….
but once the others emerged, the magic began to build…so often, this is basically a social sport….and being with three Cheapskates allowed me to practice what i’ve always wanted faster boats to practice: sheet out and enjoy close company….nothing beats seeing another boat right near you….we frolicked in the broads… drag raced around the islands, which seem to turbocharge you as you emerged from the lee….and then, end-running the pressure ridge, we stitched our way in close formation into the northern turnpike section, noticing that the night wind had maintained open water in the middle turnpike section. Bob M was really finding his footing in the cheapskate rig, and Fred– an honorable 94 now–kept right up with the pack….
by now, my hands were loosing critical sensation and, hoping the others knew enough about the lake, i blasted on a single tack back to the launch, a hot lunch at home, better gloves and an enthusiastic return….i knew snow would come any minute….Fred succumbed to a nap, so there were now four die-hards, and we found that the western passage, once you labored thru the first narrows, was reasonably fast, so we continued up to Cheney’s narrows. The other three were not as enamored of this enchanting northern half of the lake, and, try as i might, i couldn’t beguile them into continuing thru the narrows….so we returned, the three others to de-rig, while i just had to make another final blast to the north turnpike…. good wind, fast ice—who could resist?….I was sorry i did….returning, I saw a white haze to the south, and back at the pitts, a full blizzard was howling….without proper de-rigging gloves, my pants frequently falling down, I felt totally rattled by slanting snow and wind, and gladly accepted the help of Bill Bunting and Lloyd to square things away….
it was a day i won’t soon forget….when iceboating charms you yet again….against the odds….