Ice Stories

Here are a few wonderfully positive tidbits of people and boats. First, from a fellow who ordered a copy of Think Ice from Jim Gagnon, CIBC Treasurer.

Hi Jim, I don’t know that I ever got back to you to let you know that I did receive the copy of ‘Think Ice’ you mailed and have read it cover to cover. Many thanks! Since then I made contact and visited with Marty Cawley on LI a month ago to pick his brain and learn more. I then found George Neyssen and met him and a few of his buddies up on Bantam Lake (CT) to lend a hand one Saturday last month and from George was introduced to Brian Langley out of Southern MA.
Long story short, Brian was selling his brother in law’s DN and I bought it and brought it home this afternoon- all started with your copy of the book.
Of course I’m eager to get sailing and hope there may still be some good ice yet this winter but want to thank you again for providing the seed that helped me get started! All the best to you, and think ice!

John Bamman

And then Tom Gloudemans explains why he wasn’t at Winnepesaukee the other weekend:
That Sunday that I didn’t show at Winni: we sailed (5 boats) a small lake between Keene, NH and Brattleboro, VT called Spofford lake, just 40 min. form my house. The big thing was to get a friend out on the ice and sailing that day. Daniel (friend) had a skiing accident two years ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down and he has adapted well enough to drive his own van unassisted. He had been an avid bicyclist, runner, hiker, etc., anything out-of-doors. So Dan showed up in his van and we wheeled him out through the shore snow to the clear ice where we had a DN waiting. The breeze was starting to fill in, about 6-9 mph while we readied him. He knows the basics of softwater sailing and after some quick safety tips we loaded him into the cockpit. Since he has no feeling/movement in his legs this presented a problem. We sort of jammed his legs up against the front of the cockpit and I brought out an adequate cushion to prop his head/neck so he could see straight ahead and the boom wouldn’t hit him. We pushed him off and he sailed in a gentle breeze going farther out on the lake than we expected which of course had us a bit nervous. He finished a 5 minute sail and glided back within 100 ft. of us overjoyed at this new to him adaptive sport. We off-loaded him and he stayed in the wheelchair and watched for another long while happy as a clam!

Lastly, a bit about the humble ax, ice checking tool extraordinaire:

FEBRUARY, 1933 – this article appeared in the Portland Press Herald.

Learning that the thick ice would prevent the regular steamer from touching at Great Chebeague Island, five young men Sunday morning risked their lives by driving across the ice from the Island to Falmouth Foreside for the sole purpose of obtaining the Islands supply of Sunday Telegrams.

Coaxing the motor of a dilapidated light truck into functioning, the men took off from the north side of the Island, set a course in back of Cousins Island and then followed the main shore to Town Landing. Here they pushed and tugged the truck through deep snows, managed to reach the main highway and a short time later arrived with a flourish in front of the Press Herald Building.

With the island’s supply of Sunday Telegrams in the rear of the truck, the five men left Portland shortly after noon and expressed the belief that they would make the return trip over the ice in a half hour.

The quintet quite gravely explained that they carried a long coil of rope to pull the truck back onto solid ice if it should strike a thin spot and break through but merely shrugged their shoulders when asked what would have happened to them. From Webber, the driver, came the explanation that the anchor resting in the body of the truck was to be used to anchor the vehicle in case that it did go through the ice and they could not recover it.

“Why we would just anchor it so that it wouldn’t be carried away by the tides and currents and then would go back after it in the Spring,” said Webber.

Several times during the trip Webber stopped his machine while the other four went ahead with axes to determine the thickness of suspicious appearing spots. The only trouble experienced however, was caused by the snow which in some spots had been whipped into drifts by the wind. The adventurers reported that in some spots the ice was two feet thick and even in the thinnest sections, near the shoreline, was two inches thick.

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