We did it. Our first annual 100 mile race is in the books. The possibility wasn’t looking good on Monday, finding lighter air and the rough ice. But by the time we’d finished dinner, fortified with drink and camaraderie, the call was made to go for the Hundred. After all, all we could do was fail. We scouted the course again first thing in the morning, setting marks 4.2 miles apart. We could have gone further but it meant crossing yet another pressure ridge. As it was we had two marked crossings already on the course. The rules stipulated that you must honor the marked crossings. One was deep in a cove where the ridge tapered out to more of a jump than a bang. Someone likened the whole thing to a big Giant Slalom course, or a rally. It was great fun to have these other elements to deal with, and probably made the long event less boring.
Twelve laps would be 100 miles as the crow flies, but those that finished logged 115-120 miles sailed. There was a favorable slant to the wind, and it was so strong that sailing deep downwind was fast and easy. A soon as you peeled off at the windward mark there was the sun, full in your face for the entire downwind leg: boom to port sun to starboard. At one point during the day, though, the sun was noticeably more to the west and lower. How long have we been out here? The light became razor sharp and we could see the orange marks from far away. The first boat finished in just under three hours. Kate destroyed her sheet block track, but was able to cobble it back together and finish the race an hour later. We were cold, sore, bloody and stiff.
And just as were back at the pits warming up in the sun, waiting for Kate to finish, we realized that we hadn’t asked the last finisher to bring back the marks. We had to get back in the boats for one more lap. But it felt so natural, back in the cockpit on a big frozen lake, aches be damned. The light was long and low, the shore and distant islands seemed to be floating. I took a deep breath of it and will hold it all summer.
1. Denis Guertin, W-10
2. Bill Buchholz, W-11
3. Jim Gagnon, Super DN
4. Kate Morrone, BDX
Lee Spiller, Super DN DNF: broken mast
Dave Fortier,Super DN DNF: broken halyard shackle, lost balls
Karin Wilson, DNS: preferred laying on the beach in a sunny lee.
Next year I can see this event taking place on Damariscotta, with the leeward mark at the south end of the narrows. That would give us a ten mile course with only ten laps. We can discuss the details next Sunday at the meeting. Speaking of which, if anyone has anything they’d like to put on the agenda for discussion, please let me know beforehand.
Also for next year, here is a fabulous B&B right on Lac Megantic in the tiny village of Piopolis. They speak very good English, know the lake well, and are very willing to report on conditions there. Piopolis has an excellent launch, with a bar and restaurant with a big fireplace right across the street. The B&B is within walking distance.
Thanks so much to Denis for finding this ice, opening his house for us, and pulling Dave’s stuck car out of the mud. And to Kate, who left home at 4:30am, arrives at ten, sailed 100 miles and drove home. Incredible. And to all the others for bringing food and joy to this final day (I think) of iceboating. And of course, to the Fat Lady for being somewhat flexible…
Ice To Think About.