Monday’s Dammy sail was a hard act to follow, especially with the official forecast of the dreaded “light and variable winds” (at the Portland Jet Port) which usually translates to flat ass calm inland. We did indeed have the unusual North to Northeast that was predicted along with a cold Monday night that knitted up the broken ice around the launch ramp and overcast that kept the ice nice and hard all day. The wind was a bit shifty with occasional flat rest periods and then some pleasantly brisk interludes. The Easterly had a nice fetch across the lake for a change to make long reaching speed runs the length of the lake especially the glassy smooth ice along the Western shore where the freezing slush from a few days before wasn’t molded into washboard wrinkles.
The faithful skippers included Bill Bunting and his Nite duking it out with Evan Wilson, sailmaker son of Nat Wilson, in Lloyd’s old Northeaster Raven. Evan has done a very nice job of reshaping Raven’s old baggy sail, now a svelte beautifully setting and very fast sail. This was a very close match and they went down the center of the lake southward and back along the velvety speed aisle along the West shore lap after lap. The DN group of ice finder extraordinary Lee Spillar and friend and Ramblin Roger from Maryland hung together and likewis the Cheapskate trio of our “master class” skipper Fred Wardwell, Bob MacEwan, and Lloyd Roberts chased each other around the North end and the islands off to the right of the launch site.
Your scribe retired by 3 o’clock suspecting that this may be Dammy’s swan song. The die hards were probably still sailing at sunset. There is heavy warm rain forecast for Thursday that will likely shave another 2 inches off the top of the ice as the last one did thinning the ice to 5 inches from 7 inches. If Thursday brings it down to 3 inches in the thinner spots then sun induced thawing and refreezing will form pencil crystals and very fragile April ice. We are already seeing that in the ice pushed up on shore at the launch ramp the last couple of days. You stomp on a five inch thick block of white ice on the launch ramp and it turns into a pile of transparent ice pencils, scary.
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