When I arrived on the ice first on Saturday morning I was happy to find launch in good condition and was able to get help with my boat onto the ice. As always, observing the wind conditions noticed little in the launch area, but out on the ice there were frequent snownados blowing down the lake from the west. The forecast was for strong wind from the west so it seemed as predicted. For this reason I decided to set up the DN accordingly.
I have a bendy CSI mast and for such occasions I have a stiffener that I best describe as a batten of constant strength. It has carbon fiber skins with balsa core of varying thickness. The bottom mast step area of the mast removable and the batten is installed that way. The next heavy air accessory is a set of 1/4inch insert runners with 20inch profile that are the best I have for high speed fun and competition. Many boats had arrived, and were setting up for high wind as well, I recall about 90% were fortunate enough to own a high wind sized sail and were using it! For many of the skeeter type boats it is a DN sail, many with DN masts as well.
When all of the DN sailors arrived Doug and I had decided that postponement was to be the call. All the racers agreed and were planning to be on the ice Sunday anyway, so all was good. So many of us went out set up for the heavy air as best we could.
It was a very wise thing that we did not attempt to race, it was well over safe racing wind speed. Many boats were out sailing, and we definitely were going very fast. I know that the urge overcame me and racing happened without a race course. When you are hitting those speeds and you see a boat ahead, it is hard to resist the urge to overtake an pass. I had my flattest high wind sail that I own and I was smokin’. I believe that it was around 1400 when I decided to call it a day, and started to head toward the launch. Of course sheet in and get to the pits as fast as the boat will go, and I did. I was doing just that and about 1/4 mile before the island something broke and the rig came down. All was not lost, when the rig came down I was at speed and the ice was clear and smooth and I coasted for for that 1/4 mile to the island. The forestay was doing its thing so the mast was at the same angle as normal, but the tip of the mast on the ice. I took an extra mitten that I had and put it over the base of the mast to protect the fuselage paint and rather than taking the sail down and having to carry all the separate items, I pushed the remaining distance to the launch site. I could see what had happened, and it had much to do with crazy wind we were playing in. The shroud tang on the plank had snapped, 1/8 inch stainless steel!
I sailed a half dozen or so blazing runs up and down the lake with everything from J14s to Cheapskates and as far as I know the only equipment failures were my tang, Fred Wardwell’s structurally modified Cheapskate hull, and Jimmy Gagnon’s storm sail capsize failure (torn luff).
So, I needed to repair my plank before Sunday morning. Removed the plank leaving the hull on the ice, put all the runners and rigid away, and it was off to Lloyds shop of tools etc. I knew that heat would be needed to remove the bolt holding the remainder of the tang, and Lloyd had just the tool, a high power soldering iron, better than a torch as finish paint on plank does not get damaged.
I did not carry a spare tang because I never expected that it was a breakable item. It was Sunday morning back at the launch, luckily, Denis Guertin had a DN in his trailer with a plank and tangs and allowed Bill Bucholz and I to “borrow” one. Fortunately, Denis’s chocks were not epoxied on as mine were, and the bolt was removable with no damage (broken bolt). It was not a problem bolting it onto my plank, but I was a bit behind schedule. Fortunately Lloyd was off setting the windward mark, and Doug got racers to fill out the forms and sign on the dotted line.
I put the plank back on the hull put those 1/4inch inserts on, stepped the mast, raised sail and got my ass out to the line as fast as I was able. When I got out there Lloyd and Doug had it all under control. The marks were set, and as Lloyd did have to leave us at noon we were planning to use the winner becomes the flag man system when he did. Did I mention that Sunday was not as windy as Saturday, but it was still quite strong. So, we had one of our racers volunteer to be the race flagman. John Hayes did a great job starting and finishing us. We gave him a good show as well, did I tell you it was windy! Some of our leeward mark roundings must have been fun to watch, I know they are challenging and exciting to execute. Man, when you do it right, very satisfying start to the upwind leg!
We had some very fast racing, and were able to get 5 races in before we decided that it was Sunday and that many of us had a long drive home, and we headed for the launch. It was unfortunate that one of our racers Chris had an extra long drive/ ferry ride home to Nantucket island and had to leave after only two races, first and third. He had to catch the ferry, probably not as many runs as in the summertime!
Four boats finished all the races so I will list those and their finishes. Five races so one throw out:)
Sail# race1 race2 race3 race4 race5 total
4690 2 1 1 1 1 4
4272 3 2 3 2 2 9
4619 4 4 2 3 3 12
5249 5 5 4 4 4 17
Thanks to all the racers. Hope you all had fun and a safe drive home. Depending on weather Maine State Championship could be next weekend!