Moosehead March 7

I drove to Moosehead lake on Saturday afternoon. When I arrived at the Birches around 1500 and drove onto the ice to unload my Super DN it was very windy and cold. I knew it was gusty, as on the drive there the wind severely altered my course several times! There were some sailors raising their smallest sails. When they went out, I believe it was less than 10 minutes before they returned. As I was basically in street clothes I unloaded hull, plank, and mast onto the ice as quickly as possible, and if I remember correctly all sailors were back.

I had called before setting out and knew I had a bunk in one of the cabins. When I got up there, the cabin was nice an warm. It was not too long and we were all there, wood stove cranking and I believe it was Bill and Jim reserving a table at the restaurant. Kalla was serving nuts and I think cheese and other goodies, while I capitalized on Jim’s generously shared rum that he had the wisdom to bring along.

I think around 1900 we went to the Birches restaurant. About a dozen hungry ice boaters sat at the long table, and there was no shortage of conversational topic. The choice of food was good, wine was available, and we were all eager to eat and talk, and we did. When we got back to the cabin, stoked the stove, brushed teeth etc. it was not long at all and we were in bed and it was lights out.

The wind whistled all night and the fully stoked stove needed to be loaded again at 0600 so that is when I got up. It was not too long before we were all up with coffee and breakfast stuff. We all noted that the trees were still moving profusely. After plenty of coffee we all donned warm layers and ventured out to the ice.

When we arrived in the pit area the wind was strong and we hoped a bit less gusty. I had to assemble my boat still, and set it up in high wind trim. I had remembered to pack my storm sail this time and was happy that I did. All the others were raising their smallest sails as well, and as we were setting up we were noticing that gusts were happening. It was a bit warmer than Saturday, but it was definitely not spring sailing!

The Century Race was postponed due to the strong gusty winds and the still very cold temps.  It was cold and stupid windy, but of course I was just stupid enough to go out and sail my super DN beyond design specifications. Bill and I set out and sailed upwind a couple of miles. I sailed a bit further up than Bill because when I started falling off the wind to head down Bill was long gone.  After going upwind way fast, I started the two mile gusty downwind. As I was at warp speed already I steered a bit higher so that I was on course to the pit area. I was broad reaching now and speed increased accordingly. The 1/4 inch inserts with 18-20 inch profile were doing their thing, but I was (educated guess) hitting 75 knots. In the reach zone hit by a gust, runners slipped a bit, then caught, plank attachment failed. High speed crash with no serious injury other than my well bruised pride. I was however slow to get up, and it was not long before fellow iceboaters arrived to help pick up the pieces. After assistance from fellow crazies, sail and boom in cockpit mast lashed diagonal across plank and springboard, I started toward the pits again. Wind so strong I was able to sail a broad reach direction using my back and arms as a sail, about a mile!

It was the Super DN that I damaged so if life is good, and we get just the right amount of rain, Damariscotta will be good to go for the Maine State Championships this weekend. My DN will be my boat of choice, and hopefully will be yours as well. See You on the ice, Dave Fortier

By the way, here is the enlarged Lincoln Davis trophy that I was unable to attach last time it now has plenty of room for the names of future winners!

Well once again I was unable to get that damned photo into the message, I’ll keep trying!


About David Fortier

DN sailor since 1988
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3 Responses to Moosehead March 7

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  2. Jacques Côté says:

    Exquisite description of a memorable Saturday. I LUV’d it

    I’m in Sydney Nova Scotia and no sailable ice here in the harbour. Anyway, I’m spending some time to put together the broken mast and repair damages to my Whizz skeeter I capsized two years ago in crazy strong gusty winds. The mast broke and I ended up crashing heavily on the ice. Thanks to my helmet and luck, I ended up with a cut over the left eyebrows and a more serious internal bleeding in the lower abdomen. I’ve recovered since but haven’t sailed yet.

    I envy all the posters of you are amazing. Truly amazing.

    Thank you all.

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