Waiting and watching web cams and weather reports week after week finally paid off today. Searching for a series of cold nights followed by a cool day with wind was the elusive goal. Bob Bartlett, our new spy and iceboater this season, was able to have a look at the lake yesterday and gave a report of deep slush around the edge, but photos showed a lovely shade of grey further out which, unfortunately he couldn’t access. So today was to be a crap shoot, but somewhat based in sound science. We have been slushed out two years in a row at Moosehead this time of year.
The car thermometer, always a stressor on these late spring trips, stayed in the twenties all the way there, and the flags were snapping. Jim Gagnon showed up, and Bob was able to sail his new DN for the first time. He did a fine job considering the gusty conditions.
The snow is all gone and we’re down to original ice.
We launched at Bob’s camp on Moose Bay, which is about twice the size of Lake Chickawaukee. Because he was a newbie, and there were only two of us, we minded our manners and didn’t make a bee line for Mt. Kineo, a mere smudge on the horizon. There appeared to be good ice all the way, and with the west wind we could have fetched in one very fast, very long tack.
The ice stayed hard all day. The two old timers raced laps up and down the two mile long bay while stopping to give Bob pointers every now and then.
This is a very special achievement for the club because our first day sailing this season was November 17 at Plymouth Pond. Sailing today, April 17, means we have had a full six month iceboating season. Not only that, but until we hear anything more from Thunder Bay, Ontario we may have Mike Madge beat!
The ladder ramps had their first real job today and worked splendidly. Boats and men rolled up and down with ease. Even though the crust was hard from the shore, there were a few holes to watch for. The dock made it very easy.
Each season has its joys and frustrations, and 2020 is no exception. But when you read back through the season and see the photos and the people it’s clear that we had a splendid winter. In the moment we don’t always see the big picture. Don’t forget that while we all love the sensation of connecting a series of perfect tacks and gybes, it’s the people we sail with what’s most important. Our relationships are those upon which the sport is built, especially in this time as the email line goes dead and we’re cooped up and all the work is done on the boat. Reach out to the iceboating community to chat, speculate, cogitate, and TALK ICE.