Schoodic Lake

It’s just east of Brownsville, proposed launch at Knight’s Landing, about halfway up on the west side. We are trying to rouse interest for tomorrow, and Saturday is looking very good. Bob Lombardo reports:

We went out on the ice at 1pm and got off at 3:30. The only soft spots were the white or remains of the white areas. Out in the very middle of the south end there is a very smooth area [acres large] but we checked it and it is a little thinner (8″)and it was not as hard as most other areas. That area was very flat and smooth and had water sitting on it from the rain. We expect that spot to get hard and safer over the weekends predicted cold temps at night. The most consistent ice was in the north end which we did not get to today, but yesterday it was almost down to its hard ice and then had a prickly surface. That is probably much smoother today. North end is quite big if you start at Knights landing on Brownville side and head north [look at map of lake]. You will need a plank there. There were no pressure ridges from Knights up to north end yesterday and a few down south. Best to go to Knights landing. You turn right off of 11 in Brownville at 4 corners and swing to the left after crossing bridge and look for turn to the lake. When you get to the end or T take right and look for the landing. You will have to park along side the road which should be easy [very little camp traffic]. Knights Landing will look like a closed down store, landing across street.
The south end is the widest and overall biggest and you could probably make it down into that with some scouting. We have not traveled down the very middle of the lake, we have cut across it in several places. Its a pretty big lake for a pair of skaters to scout. We love Schoodic.

Any interest? I have a car in the shop and need a ride for myself and DN. 975-6980!
Sloppy weather for the rest of the week, recovering for the weekend.

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Schoodic Lake

From the looks of this picture, I’d say the lake should be called Schooooooodic. This is just the kind of stuff that freezes hard in marginal conditions. A combination of drainage and evaporation leaves very little work for the temperature to do.

Bob Lombardo offers these fine words of encouragement:

Here is what the lake looked like today. Had no phone or I would have called. Knights Landing on Brownville side is doable for boats. From the landing all the way to the north end was pressure ridge free, and anywhere from 8-10″ of hard ice textured and not, some really smooth, some hard textured wind bumps. We think it will survive yet another onslaught of weather. Today was way better than Saturday and we were out for over 3 hours traveled from south to north ends which gave us about 22-24mi and then some.

Anyone interested in a mid week romp? Just for the record, Lac Megantic was looking magestic upon drive by yesterday. Anyone know of a contact there? Will?

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Ice In Holding Pattern

Lac St. Francois, Quebec. Deep slush Friday, mid twenties Friday night and hard ice Saturday until about noon. It became half hard, half slush for the rest of the day so when the boat was slammed by a gust in the slush it hit the hard stuff in a full slide. Great fun! Temps last night were at freezing, just. But by this morning the ice was black, hard and drain holes frozen. This never ceases to amaze but it happens all the time; don’t forget. The wind had settled a bit and shifted to right down the middle, so Denis and I swapped tacks up and gybes down in full spring sun.

This lake is gradually lowered over the winter to allow room for spring run-off. The ice has already formed by then so the plate settles onto the shores and shoals. We sailed up and over this rockpile a number of times, as well as taking high banked turns along the steeper parts of the shore. When pushing off from the pits at Denis’s place there was never any need to push, just glide down the hill where the apparent wind was waiting. Below, making an uphill landing on the fore shore.

There are two good lessons from this weekend. The classic one, of course, is that you never really know what the conditions will be, but you sure as heck won’t know, or get to sail, if you don’t leave home: don’t fear the drive!
The second one is Skunners. Denis has made a swell set. I was on conventional slush runners and after many miles of research, neither one seemed to offer an advantage on the 50/50 mix of yesterday’s surface. There is a 1/4″ of blade protruding below the ski, but we think 1/2″ might be just about right for general slush conditions. The running surface is HDPE plastic, which is very slippery when wet. The base of the old alpine skiis might be just as good, though.
But the other revelation is their benefit as a safety tool. They are 4′ long, and just the ticket for skimming over drain holes. We did a lot of drain hole dodging yesterday, and theorized about whether the skiis would actually plane on a short patch of water.

Denis unwittingly put theory to practice on this unseen hole with his LEEWARD runner. He heard the bag, and looked over just in time to see the splash settle. No word yet on just how big a hole one might be able to jump, but that’s best left for theoretical discussion. But the thought of sailing with skunners on dodgy ice will bring much peace of mind, without much performance downside.

This one just slips on the bull nose runner, and is secured with a keeper bolt at the rear of the runner. There are a great insurance policy for all serious cruisers and couldn’t be easier to make.

The cold nights will be hanging around for a while, so it could be that we’re not done yet. But the turn-out on Moosehead was underwhelming so perhaps the season has run it’s course. Dave Godine reports from Moosehead:

>> “I was the lone guy out there today, tooling around with the ice fisherman. 18″ consistent ice, near shore or out in the cove. The 9-10kt S. Westerly wind picked up by 11:00 to 15-18kts. by noon I was driving back off the ice. A mix of shell and clear patches about a 7 when I got there deteriorated to a 6 when I left.

Broke through shell ice by 11:30 where in the early am you could cruise right over it. Every once in a while you could find a spot that was frozen over from the night before but was probably a hole from intersecting cracks, fisherman pointed out a couple and I found two more. These would swallow up a runner easily and crimp the day. I left after that as the wind picked up much more than forecast, gusty, it was very fast and too the point where I was getting nervous about going that fast and still try to get a good look at what was ahead. With the wind I think one could have sailed all day, the ice in the cove stayed sailable.
I did notice if the snow machines cruised the ice during the day they could leave some tracks that freeze rough, but better than no sailing at all. What’s saving the ice is it’s below freezing at night and enough cloud cover and wind to hold the ice during the day. It could be good for a while.”

If it makes you feel any better Dave, we found some serious shell as well:

Backing out of this stuff is an excellent reason to heavily round the rear of the runner.

Posted in 2016 Season

The Lone Wolf ….continued…

(lee spiller on androscoggin photo credit unknown)

I hope others are enjoying this inquiry about the tension between the lone wolf following his bliss, and the worry and sometimes grief that his behavior can cause others. It’s a subject which our iceboat club has discussed and anguished over, for as long as i’ve been a member. One of our most experienced ice people, Bob Dill from Vermont, whose website is a must-read for ice lovers, added this to our discussion:

Hi Jory,
I think you are being too hard on yourself (and that old wolf). Leads and other ice dodgyness need to be explored if that can be done with low risk. How else are we going to learn about the ice?

We had two more fatalities in Vermont last week. One was a 31 year old riding his snowmobile…The other was a 67 year old experienced fisherman going for one more day (it reached 70 degrees!) on Shelburne Pond. It was a tough week.
None of these guys had the equipment, knowledge or skills to stay out of trouble or, failing that, to rescue themselves. Very few of the 50 or so people who die annually on North American ice have any safety equipment and many have odd notions about things like the bearing strength of 4″ candled ice on 70 degree days. An experienced ice traveler with claws, flotation, test poles, throw ropes and enough pads (knee and elbow pads?—ed) to avoid most serious injuries has far lower risk than those 50 fatalities.

That is not to say that we are as well prepared as we should be or that we always make the best decisions. We should work on that. At the end of the day the risk is not zero. We all have to decide if it is close enough to zero to allow us to enjoy the ice as much as most of us do.


And Bob Lombardo, part of that amazing skating duo, Bob and Karl, who are just finishing their 55th day of the season, responded:

Do either Karl or I ever skate alone? We both do, but I have to say I am more inclined than he, to skate alone. I know it is not smart but I require “alone time”, that is just the way I am. I have even skated on rivers alone and that is really not a good idea but usually that is when the ice is good and Karl is not able to go.

Jory responds….There’s a need for clarity and authority in us that wants this discussion to end with clear rules. “Membership in our club, the CIBC, requires that all members wear claws and floating, cold-proof clothing when on the ice at all times. We also prohibit solitary activities on the ice. Offenders are subject to warning and eventual dismissal.”

As I look back at what I’ve posted here over the years….the times i’ve waxed a bit “cosmic”…the times that even this failing mind has not forgotten…. they were often times of group activity….but perhaps a quarter of them were alone or semi-alone activities…alone in the beauty of wild space….sacred space i sometimes say….without these times…these precious times…my interest in the ice community would still exist, but it would be very much diminished…. club rules, encouraging the facile judgement of another’s behavior, while trying to fill in the valleys of risk, would have chopped off the mountains of joy…. so i’m glad we’re not regulated….i’m glad we’re staying in undefined, open space…

That said, in these past days, i’ve seen important areas to improve: It’s important to have strict rules for racing, and for all boat encounters. It’s important to share knowledge about safety, and to speak up, in a kindly way, about its lapses…It’s important to take new-comers under our protective wing….and above all, the lone wolf must find a human voice… must strive to communicate in spite of the fear that communication will nix adventure…really….you can have your cake and eat it too…

if you’re with others, you can tell them what you’re doing, why and how….you can listen to and take in their concerns…and then… you can thoughtfully act…not as a defiant loose cannon…but as a confident contributor to the community…which is stronger for each diverse, creative member….if something then happens, it has a different feel…there still will be sadness….grief….but the feelings are less conflicted…more positive….though we may have disagreed…on some level we understand, and are connected.

Posted in 2016 Season | 3 Comments

Moosehead Lake

John went for a drive on the ice in his mini van this afternoon. He reports hard surface with some puddles. This was when it was forty degrees. Tonight it will be in the mid-twenties so it should be excellent tomorrow. I think this will be the end, so it’s soon time to remove those ear plugs and let the fat lady sing.

The Yankee fleet from NJ might be there. If you want to go, call around and see who else might be interested. This reporter can’t make it. Access is still good at the marina. The Birches will be closing Monday for the rest of the winter.

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

CIBC Spring Meeting

We’ll have our meeting and Pot Luck at Lloyd’s this year, Sunday April 10. Arrive mid morning to mingle and air out narcissistic dirty laundry. Meeting at 11:00 and lunch to follow. 140 Porter St, Rockport, ME 04856

Slight chance of sailing this weekend, we’ll post it here tomorrow.

Posted in 2016 Season

Super Deluxe Weekend!

We left our boats on the ice after the Super Deluxe Saturday on Great Pond. We listened to the weather reports and there were not really encouraging wind predictions, but we had big ice and cold temps predicted for another day. Jim Gagnon and I with our super DN’s, Fred Musser and Bill Bunting with their Nites, and Ben Fuller with Tipsy left our boats on the ice for the night. Jim and I agreed that there was no hurry in the morning considering the light air predicted. Calling each other when on the way to the ice was the plan.

The next morning Jim was the first to hit the road and he gave me a call just as Meet the Press was finishing up. I had wanted to watch that because Mitt Romney was a guest and I wanted to hear him explain and back up his Trump editorial of the day before that was pretty spot on and so was his Sunday morning explanation.

When I got to the launch site, a few others were there and rigging up so I got to it as well. Ben Fuller was there with Tipsy, tearing down if I remember correctly. John __ and Jimmy Mathieu showed up with their DNs. Jim was the first Super DN to head out and we all were close behind.

As we were setting up a gang of snowmobilers started to show up. We were not watching that to closely, but they sounded like they were drag racing from a spot adjacent to the boat launch area as far as they could go until they were stopped by the same pressure ridge that was a hazard to us iceboaters. Their machines were VERY loud and annoying, as was the smoke from the exhaust! I sure am thankful that they continued dragging for just a few hours, and I am so happy that they did not choose to cross over the ridge to where we were sailing.

At first the wind was light to nonexistent, so we were doing a bit of relaxing in our boats catching a bit of snowmobile exhaust on the occasional breeze. Eventually the wind picked up a bit and we were able to sail to the north end of Hoyts island to where the second pressure ridge was. The wind was blowing nicely and slowing down was not quite necessary as the ridge had flattened nicely. Jim and I sailed to the other side of the island just a bit then decided to sail back to where the others were, and that was a wise move as the strong wind did not last much longer, so avoiding the possibility of a very long walk. We all sailed around near the south end of the island and had a great time. I was happy to have remained on the ice for another day.

At 1330-1400 we decided to head back to the launch as it was Sunday and we all had to load our equipment for our drives home. Some of us loading boats onto trailers, some onto roof racks. We all help each other when necessary and that is another of the great things about iceboaters. I believe that Fred was the last to leave after Jim G. and I gabbed with him for a while about how much fun the weekend had been, and if the ice would last with the warm weather that was predicted etc. I had a 10 min ride to get to my niece’s 2nd birthday party. A nice party with lunch and CAKE before my ride home.
What a Super Deluxe Weekend!


Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment