There’s this thing with iceboaters called hope. Without it we’d be nothing. Towards the end of every season as southern lakes give way to crocuses, the word is: “there is always Moosehead”. We watch the web cams and forecasts daily; check with the spies when it looks close. This past weekend was some of the best sailing we’ve had all season: big ice, big winds, awesome scenery. The only thing missing was more iceboaters. It’s ok to be sunbathing in early April and still be thinking ice, really. Where were they all?
Friday was windy, overcast and continuous flurries. The kind of snow that looks like it will stop at any moment, but it just kept on and on but oddly with no accumulation. We scouted the extent of the plate, finding open water to the north, south and east. That still left a two by five mile plate, a tiny fraction of the lake, but big enough for big fun.
More aggressive scouting on Saturday discovered sailable crossings to the extreme north end, and then down south past Kineo as well. Above, Dave could have sailed to the horizon. The great North Carry remained inaccessible but just sailing along staring at its horizon, below, was mesmerizing.
Karen, T and Jeff Kent showed up and set marks. While the DN’s refined their technique the cruisers would drop in on the course between long legs up and down the lake. We did one start together, three DN and a pair of Whizz. Interesting results.
Jeff just missed this photo: he’d gone back to get his 360 gopro. Incredible footage coming soon to an iceboat web site near you!
As the wind built the Whizz reduced sail to DN rigs and the whole fleet tore it up until dark. The ice stayed hard, the wind stayed strong, the sun stayed bright and warm: perfect spring sailing. The only softening was in the parking lot.
Sunday was a strange day. The wind was blowing in Greenville, at the south end of the lake, but there wasn’t much at the north end. Returning to the theme of hope, we pushed out searching for puffs. There was a small drift from the east that tempted us further and further from home. You know how it is: you work hard to build apparent wind and try to stay wound up knowing that you won’t make it through a gybe or a tack so on and on you go. We made it down to the south end of Kineo and got the cover shot:
We made our way back as cat boats do, slowly, slowly. The lake seemed really big all of a sudden. After what can best be described as a relaxing sail back to the north end, we were amply rewarded for our efforts by a massive wall of wind that came up out of nowhere from the NW. One could imagine this great wind gathering steam in Labrador and building all the way to Maine. And it just kept getting better. Fast laps around the course and blast reaches when all the upwing-downwind stuff got old. Not much comes close to sailing a mile a minute side by side with a buddy whose judgement you trust.
So that’s it. Ice out at this final bastion of iceboater’s hope is right around the corner. The plate is down to a foot think. Locals say two weeks at most. Bring on the Fat Lady and let her rip. Don’t hold back my dear; we have no where else to go.
Except the Spring Meeting at Camp Kieve Sunday May 2. Meeting at 11:00, followed by the pot luck that can’t be beat.