The thing that makes people think iceboating is aging out is that most iceboaters are old. But the way it works is this: there is an IV drip of fifty somethings who pick it up, sail actively for twenty or thirty years and then retire. This has been the pattern in Maine, anyway, But this past weekend blew that theory out of the water. There were young folks on Damariscotta Lake, Webster Lake. MA and Bantam Lake, CT.
T sent a wonderful report about all the newbies and young folks at Webster, including the enchanting Bella Langley, while at Damariscotta we had the Northeastern University Iceboat Racing Team, the John Bapst High School Ice Boat Team, and quite a few others with no grey hairs. We all know that the barriers to entry to iceboating are high on many levels, so it’s all the more credit to these kids for getting the gear, making the drive, and getting the stoke, as T says. Bella, below, with the pink boat. It seems like every season the pink boat gets bigger…
In terms of sheer numbers, it’s safe to postulate that we in New England had over a hundred iceboats sailing this past weekend. There were the two fleets mentioned above, conservatively estimated at sixty boats. There were at least thirty on Bantam Lake, with a solid contingent there from Long Island. The Hudson River guys abandoned the River at Athens last week and moved to Orange Lake for the weekend. Twenty boats there puts us over the top. Below, a small part of the scene at Orange.
The icing on the cake was the small group of Arrows and DN’s on Saratoga Lake, maybe a dozen.
We aren’t even going to try and count the number of boats taking part in the Western DN Regionals or the Skeeter Championship, but dare we say there may have been as many as two hundred ice boats sailing in the US this past weekend? (gives me goosebumps just writing it!)
Plus, there were two DN’s spotted on Chickawaukee. No one knows who they were, but they are coming out of the woodwork.
This may be the end for many lakes, so lets take this momentum and run with it the best we can. Help people get boats. Show them how to sharpen and align. Have them order Think Ice from this very web site. The barriers are high, but let’s do all we can to lower them.