Pre-Season Video Primer

Have a look at this terrific video by Denis Geurtin. Send it to all those folks who are sniffing around the edges of the sport. It’s just the sort of motivational video we need to keep in mind as we hit the dark, cold road at five in the morning far-away bound for what we hope will be good ice.

Denis is actually checking ice tomorrow for a possible sail on Friday. Stand by.

Posted in 2018 Season

Safety Review

Deb Whitehorse from the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club sends this timely reminder now that we’re starting to see the ice. Check out all the links and start thinking ice!

Take time to make sure you have a great ice sailing season by reviewing the Sailing Safe page of You’ll find articles on “High and Dry Iceboating”, “Sailing Smart and Safe”, cold water survival videos, a link to “Think Ice Safely and Rules of the Road”, gear recommendations, and much more. Racers and cruisers should review the right-of-way rules.

Posted in 2018 Season

A Bit of Ice

Dave Godin found this lovely marge today on Holbrook Pond, not far from Plymouth. Considering it blew a gale last night this was quite an accomplishment. It must mean that Holbrook and, by extension Plymouth, are ready to go.

In the fine arts department, we have this Glenn Campbell song “Everybody’s Talkin'” re-worked into an iceboating theme:

Everybody’s talkin’ at me, I don’t hear a word they’re saying, only the echoes of the ice.

People stop and starin, I can’t see their faces, just the shadow of the ice.

I’m going where the sun keeps shinin’, through the blowing snow. Up north, where the weather suits my clothes.

Peeling off with the ice cold wind,
Sailin’ on a winter breeze,
Skippin’ over the frozen lake
like a leaf.

Everybody’s talkin at me, I don’t hear a word they’re sayin’, just the echos of the ice. No, I won’t leave my iceboat

Posted in 2018 Season | 2 Comments

Launch Etiquette

The very first thing we’ll be doing this season, after setting up the boat and fixing those little things we forgot about from last season of course, is to back our cars, trucks or trailers down the ramp, un-load and launch. On that, John Ziermann from the Ronkonkoma Ice Yacht Club on Long Island has these thought to share. We’re pretty good at this generally, but a little refresher couldn’t hurt. Article #4 is especially important as we try to build the sport.

1. When I get to the launch site, I’ll unload everything
quickly, without lots of chatting with other folks.

2. If there’s someone else unloading, I’ll offer to help
with boats, since sometimes two people can get two

boats on the ice faster than they can set up one boat each.

3. As soon as I’m done unloading, I’ll move my car away
from the launch point/ramp/whatever. THEN I’ll finish
assembling the boat(s). I’ll do this even if I’m one
of the first people at the site.

4. If I see someone who looks new to the ice, I’ll
introduce myself, and mention our club, even if it
means I’ll spend a few minutes less on the ice myself.

5. I’ll ask others about hazards before I hoist my sail.

6. I’ll pause for a moment each time I sail to think
about the risks, about safety, about who’s on the
ice and how safely they seem to handle their boats, etc.

This past weekend at the NEIYA meeting, Leo Healy was honored for his decades of devotion to iceboating. After he was granted a lifetime club membership and a a moderate roast; more of a saute actually, he was asked to give us a few words. There were only a few, but they were good ones:

“In heavy air, know the rules of the road. In light air know your boat. Think ice, and there is always thin ice somewhere”.

Posted in 2018 Season

CIBC Fall Meeting

Thanks to Dave Fortier for hosting another great meeting. There were about twenty-five people in attendance. We agreed to buy back all the remaining boxes of Think Ice from the IDNIYRA, as Jim has been selling them like hotcakes all over the world.

Dave announced that he’s almost done compiling the race results from the club archives and that John Stanton will have them up on the web site soon. He went through all the newsletters put out since the early nineties and realized there is lots of good stuff in there that should be accessible some how. I think we should package into a nice little book. Any volunteers willing to take it on?

Bill Bunting presented the Cheapskate trophy he built to the Commodore of the Cheapskate Fleet, Lloyd Roberts. Thanks to Patsy for the awesome polishing job. She even left the polishing cloths in the cup for the next winner. Kate Morrone photo.

The discussion was dominated, however, by our situation on Lake Damariscotta. The clubhouse has been sold, and with it went our right to use the launch ramp. So please take note: iceboaters cannot launch from the ramp next to the clubhouse anymore, or park anywhere inside the fence. Parking along the fence in front of the gazebo is still ok. Please respect the new owners wishes. We are exploring all options, but for now we will launch from the beach and make sure that trailers will have a way to be backed down onto the ice. It’s possible to purchase one of the little cabins which would assure legal access, but for now we will keep a low profile and see what happens.
Thanks for all the good brainstorming; it was very helpful to work this out as a group. The consensus was that the qualities of this particular access to one our favorite lakes was excellent and that everything should be done to keep it viable.

A big welcome to Kendra, who sails a DN. She wrecked it last year, spent the summer rebuilding it, and is now all set to go. Sounds like a real iceboater to me.

Lastly, Frank Able has resigned from the board of directors. Denis Guertin was nominated in absetia and swiftly seconded.

The NEIYA swap meet was on Saturday, with the usual collection of great stuff, bargains on boats, and talking ice. Steve Duhamel of Northwind Iceboats is cutting back on his production of iceboat hardware, so be sure to get whatever you need, might need, or think you might need, right now! He’s the best source for this stuff and we need to keep him profitable. Northwind Iceboats – World’s Fastest Sailing
Oliver Moore and his brother have taken over Jeff Kent’s company Composite Solutions, Inc. They’ve move production to Bristol, RI. See him for great DN masts and fast fuselages.
Home – Composite Solutions Inc

Posted in 2018 Season

Terrific Chicky meeting

I am having a glass of wine from the bounty left behind after cleaning up the place. I hope that everyone is home safe and sound. Thanks everyone for all the food shared at the party. I am sad to say that much must be tossed as I clean up, I am one, I can’t eat that much. All the chairs I have returned most to where they belong. I thank those who found them and collected for the meeting. I have most of them back to where they belong.
I just found a very nice surprise on my counter as I was cleaning up, and I want to thank Fred for the large jar of what he used to label hard-scrabble or free-range honey. I would like to talk more about bees this winter Fred, I will try to remember to start the conversation.
I do hope, that after this storm we are supposed to get passes, the temperatures will drop, because I am thinkin’ ice,


Posted in 2018 Season

The Roulette Game

The most powerful reinforcement is certainly intermittent reinforcement.  We smile faintly at the predictable birthday present, while we fantasize about pleasures snatched from uncertainty.  Every gambler knows this.  And every iceboater.   

And here we are, almost  in November:  the tomatoes have fallen to the ground untouched by the frost which used to threaten “any time after labor day”.   It’s hard to believe.  Both September and October have been broken records for warmth.  I wonder if Lloyd has been charting, as he usually does, the fall cooling of Chickawaulkie.  And then yesterday’s bad news:  our little weekly newspaper predicted a warmer than normal winter.   Hardly a surprise.  Happily, they left a little wild card in the game.  Perhaps an El Nino will cool us down.  

So I sit here in mild panic.   Could this be the year?   Could we finally have a non-season?  Could the north-creeping disaster which has hit our brothers in New Jersey and Massachusetts cross our sacred state line?  

It’s always unsettling to look too closely at the mechanics of things.  I remember as a young boy, taking the Pullman train every summer from Cincinnati to Martha’s Vineyard.   I loved to linger between the cars, in the wind and deafening click-clack, and look down at the tracks swaying beneath.   It  would stir up strong uncertainties: would the rails continue to hold, the wheels not break?   Then, with relief, I would take my seat again and enjoy the view.  Today, I must relearn that lesson: just enjoy the view.  

I also find comfort in our own iceboating history.  For me this history holds about 15 seasons.   The fat years have sometimes yielded 30 days on the ice; the lean ones perhaps 12 to 14.   And never, in all those seasons,  have I ever looked back in April and not marvelled at the magic we had.   What we’ve been losing to the warming trend, we’ve been gaining for two reasons:  we have far better weather prediction and far better spying.  These two have enabled us to keep our passion alive against the odds.

And  we’ve had another critical advantage.   Amid the aging of our community, there has remained a steady core of buddies:  Those fellow deranged beings, who have continued to lie, to exagerate; to guilt-trip,; to brow-beat; to wheedle, cajole,  entice– and  willingly  to leave their home fires.  Such that yet again, thanks to their company,  we will  do the sit-ups, sharpen the runners, improve the clothing.   We’ll spin yet again the fascinating roulette wheel of ice and…….  show up and pray!


Posted in 2018 Season