Steve Lamb and others sailed Wentworth on ice that looked much better than what others found on Moosehead. But looks are only skim deep. The styrofoam patches were very loose and didn’t slow the boats at all. And the lake was basically very flat. The pressure ridges are still about the same. One of the Cape Cod guys stepped through a thin patch at a ridge and got wet up to his waist. Take these things seriously. Kate, Lee and I crossed three of them on our run down the lake to Greenville and back and only wetted a runner once, but they can be challenging. If you can carry an ax or a pole they can be helpful to poke around and clear a path.
We were blocked by thin shell ice a few miles from the end but had an awesome tour. Both Kate and Lee had broke down on the 2013 Long Way, so we made sure to get as far south as those breakdown points so they both could connect the dots to have sailed the entire lake.
The DN guys, Fortier, Anderson, Rick Bishop and his gang, John Brisson and new racer Matt Knowles set up marks and scratch raced. The plate might not have been good enough for the North Americans, but it was good enough to burn up the great breeze that exceeded all forecast expectations. The snow in the photo below was sailed right through with no negative sensation at all.
We also had David and Sharon from New Zealand, back for more winter fun. They rented snowmobiles from The Birches and took in a bit of trail riding. Dave’s frostbite nip from his immersion on Winni a few weeks ago is much better, and today on Pushaw we had them on ice skates. They took to it like penguins to fish and wobbled off by themselves for a romantic skate tour.
I must apologize for assigning a 10+ to Bob Lombardo’s ice report yesterday. I just couldn’t get out of my mind last year’s magic. It was actually a bit rough, and by mid day cracks were opening up. We still had a nice breeze and a decent sailing plate area until the ice began to soften. The white snow ice was especially soft, but the shades and patterns of whites and grays were beautiful. There were large areas that could have been flattened frozen zebras. Fred Muser had his new Nite dialed in and gave Bunting a good run for his money. Ryan Haskell, Dave Godine, Bobby Able, Bill Weigman and myself rounded out the fleet.
We’re loosing local ice; this might include Pushaw. But there’s a line somewhere north of which we will continue to have good ice: Sebec, South Twin, Moosehead and Quebec. Keep eyes on the webcams and weather forecast and shout if you see something. And Sunapee is reported to be still good.
Thanks to Bobby Able and Lee Spiller for the photos.