I Talked with Eben about some end of season sailing Sunday and Monday
Decided that racing was probably not going to happen after T’s report from Pushaw. We heard about the possibility of a hard way attempt on Winny. Monday night we saw the announcement that hard way was a go for Tuesday. Decided that driving up to my place Monday night not necessary now that we were to sail on Winny, we agreed to get an early start and we did. As I started driving to Wolfeboro, a 1.5 hr drive for me, I received a text from Eben that he was about 2 hrs from Wolfeboro all cool.
Especially cool as my car thermometer was reading -6C or about 21F
There was a good crowd on the ice when I arrived, I believe about half were set up from the previous day. There was a large crack/opening separating the two pit areas. Charles came over to the area I was in and announced hopes of casting off about 0900. Eben did arrive about 15-20 minutes after me so we were both about ready as he is faster setting up (and around the course!). We all had a meeting to discuss the pressure ridges and other hazards that the scouts had found the previous days. And where we should meet on the ice at various stages in the crossing.
Most left and Eben and I were able to cast off about 5-10 minutes later
Eben and I met all the others at the check point, I believe was Parker Island off of Wolfeboro Neck.
And off we all went, the wind was robust and all was good. The first two ridges that we came to were crossable with the common precautions, slow, stop inspect and find a good spot. All was good, the last ridge was marked at a good spot by Lee and Karin the previous day, and indeed was still a good crossing. At that point all 10 boats were across and sailing. Charles and others counting boats to be sure the fleet was complete. From the last ridge crossing, we were then entering the bay that becomes Center Harbor. We sailed in and stopped our boats off the beach and next to the Mount Washington, not too close as surrounded by freakin’ bubblers! As I said we had been counting boats after happenings, and arriving at Center Harbor is a definite happening. We had a missing sailor, Ramblin’ Roger was far enough back that we could not see him. Several of the Fleet went to find him, I am sorry I do not remember all that went, but I know that Eben did. They collected all the tools and spare parts that we had, and sailed back out into the bay, down wind so they were movin’. As I was not there, I cannot describe the specifics. I do know it was Rogers headstay that failed. Fortunately, one of the spare parts that they had was a side stay. They were able to make it long enough using some small kevlar cordage that they had. I did not time the event, but estimate it was less than a half hour when they returned, what a bunch!
We then found a local who took a few pictures of us with our cameras and hers. I believe she might work for one of the
local organizations.

We talked, ate our lunches, checked our gear for the fast downwind ride back to Wolfeboro.
The ice was indeed still firm, and that was great, as I did not bring my angles, and I do not think any of the others did either.
If I remember correctly it was right around noon when we left Center Harbor, the wind was still strong, and so the fleet did not head to Wolfeboro direct, but covered many miles in the bay going very fast on reaches as cruisers do. As time passed the fleet then crossed the ridge with the cairn marking the crossing. We then sailed on that piece of ice for a while, carefully crossed the next ridge.

Along the way we hooked up with some alternative ice sailors using Kitewing and skis. One was Martin, he is a dealer who gave me a card with this info woolyman . There was another with an actual kite/parachute type thing, and I do not recall what he/she was riding.
Time was passing and we all crossed the last ridges, reached some more east and west. We all sensed the time, and as one mind sailed northeast into Wolfeboro Bay
When I got to the loading area and was breaking down the boat I was dealing with the worst part of the day ice wise. The pit area that I was in was 3 inches of corn slush. Kate saved the day, she had thought ahead and had a six pack of delicious Vermont ale that she was so kind to share.
I believe 2/3 of us packed up, the others thought Wednesday looked good to them, true iceboaters they are. We covered many miles purely for fun. So the Hard Way this year was certainly a cruising event. Dave
Hope this makes it onto the site, technical/ instructional/communication issues. I wanted to enlarge pics

About David Fortier

DN sailor since 1988
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  1. Karen Binder says:

    David, Great report. Thank you for writing it up and sharing the details. I was bummed I had to work :-( Hopefully, next year I can do the Hard Way! Karen Binder/DN #5630

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