We all know the challenge of time, place and conditions that can make or break a day on the ice. They are the elements we live and die by for six months of the year. Yesterday was close, but like the last attempt at Mille 100 on Moosehead, here again was too much wind. Today the wind came up with the sun, the race started close to on time, and we had three fantastic and very competitive 13 mile laps before having to stop for a man overboard. One of our more experienced sailors, in a DN, failed to see the open water near the leeward mark. Lesson (1) here is sit up and look out. Lesson (2) is wear ice picks. He could not get out of the water without help from another sailor using his halyard as a throw rope.
By the time he was bundled off in dry clothes in an ATV and the boat pulled out of the water it was fifty degrees. The ice had softened considerably so the race was called off. The standings at the end of three laps:
1. Bill Buchholz C skeeter W-2
2. George Nyessen A skeeter Bad Boy
3. Denis Guertin C Skeeter W-10
4. Jim Gagnon C skeeter W-5
5. Curtis Rindlaub C skeeter INDIGO
6. Frank Henault C skeeter W-11
7. Milo Fleming DN 3314
8. Tony Bosco A skeeter DNF: mast down
Unless we get stellar conditions up north or in Quebec the Mille 100 trophy will stay with Denis for yet another year.
The low viewing angle from a DN makes it hard to see flat obstructions. Standing I can’t see a 10 by 20 foot hole beyond 200 feet away. The viewing limit from a DN is probably no better than a third of that distance.
Over the years I have sailed into two holes, both of which were easy to see in retrospect.
I had thermal protection and it made a big difference in how dry/warm I stayed. One time was with a wetsuit and the other with a one piece winter sailing suit.
A previous time I made a bad decision on where to cross a ridge. I had a snowmobile suit and a newly made pair of ice claws. It was very cold and scary. I was hard to see and hear from 1300 feet away. I was very glad to have the claws. They had me out in well under a minute.
A life jacket is a good idea to, especially on cruses and big race courses as it is easy to get quite far from each other. If you go in there is a good chance you will be alone. You should wear the lifejacket rather that just leaving it open on the cockpit floor unless you can confirm you can put it on in cold water when the water line is at your chin. If you want to use an inflatable use a manual only and read the following link first:
A weighted throw rope is longer (80-100 ft) than a main sheet and you can make repeated long throws. They are also quick to deploy. The nordic skating throw ropes are a good design. I velcro one to the front of the cockpit.