2017 New England Championship

Dave Fortier sent us this report from Lake Champlain:

I returned late yesterday evening from the New England Championship. There was a good turnout, 18 registered racers. The ice was smooth, large and quite scenic with all the mountains in view.
The wind was lighter on Saturday and southish, on Sunday the wind was northish and I thought that it was not much stronger. I was wrong! I left the pits and sailed out to the line and I had guessed all wrong. I immediately asked a few of my fellow racers if I would have time to get back to the pits to make a FEW changes, the answers were maybe, and for me that was yes, as I had to. I went back and changed to my FSpeed 1D sail, moved my mast step back. If I put the mast stiffener in it would take too much time, dropping the mast, removing the base etc. Luckily the mast I was sailing with had seen abuse before and survived, so I would deal with a speed loss. Sailing back to the line from the pit area was a very fast, so I was able to do one more essential thing. I had brought my 1/4 inch inserts out to the line, and had time to switch from my 3/16 inch inserts. I was very fortunate that I was able to do that switch, high speed runners, 20 inch profile. Great for those leeward mark roundings, in good air. I did not want to have a spin out and hit the leeward mark as I did on Saturday in the lighter air!
So to the line we went, I did not remember what my finish position, so went to the end of the line. Start position is not a real big deal for me anyway as I am not able to run, so most everyone get ahead at the start anyway. With that flat sail I was able to point quite well, but the wind was very shifty and up and down. There were many frustrating tacks made by many of us on the way to the windward mark. I for the most part sailed to the layline after the first race as I was on the right side of the start line and was pointing well. The wind did sort of lighten up near shore, but for the most part I think it was the thing to do. Once or twice I did tack too soon and rounded the mark with insufficient speed and payed for it with an unsatisfying downwind speed, I hate that.
It was a great time duking it out with Eben, as always; we saw each other at the windward mark often. I really thought it was going to be one of his days, but I got him by 3 points. It really could have been anything, I wish that we had more time to discuss the race and our gear before rushing to get on the road for our long drives home.
I do have to say, that the first hour or so of the drive home is almost as exciting as iceboating. Those mountain roads very twisting, and up and down. The roads were dry, so it was much fun unless you got behind the wrong car. Most drivers were like minded so for the most part, fast ride on the mountain roads. Once on the freeway, all the skiers are all in a hurry to get home, so they cruise!
From what I have seen on iceboat.me there was much fun on Dammy with a large fleet of Whizz on the ice. I see, as is the case when indulging in adrenaline with iceboats, carnage happens. Great pictures as always. Man that pic that Lee took while busting through the shell, cool!


Posted in 2017 Season

Sorry: just one more from Lee Spiller at Squam Lake

> Another awesome day on Squam…truly great…of course a few small adventures, two of us located patches of major shell ice. No great damage. We are sailing Squam again Monday because it’s so damn good.

> Sent from my iPad

Posted in 2017 Season

Whizz Regatta

Last up-date: one of the skippers reminded me that Steve Lamb, W-6, crossed the line in fourth place. All the others were DNF. We will be archiving these results in the expectations of holding the same event next year. Maybe there will even be a trophy!

Below, Whizz on the loose.

Posted in 2017 Season

More Photos from Today

Indigo, leaving Deep Cove, by the skipper.

The Pits around lunch time.

The Whizz line up, by James Lamb. Why does Cheese Whizz not have a mast? Remember the Beatles cover of the album Abbey Road where John was barefoot?

Posted in 2017 Season

Damriscotta Lake Iceboating Fesival, 1/15

As Steve Lamb said, while he and James packed their trailer in the very last seconds of daylight, “you could write a book about today. Where you gonna start?” Well, in true Lamb fashion I’ll start with a drink, and not the kind that two sailors today found themselves in. They said the sun was in their eyes, but it was probably more like ice narcosis. Jim Gagnon counted thirty-eight boats around lunch time, and he said that when you include the two Lockly Skimmers that’s forty. Not since Winnepesaukee 2010, correct me if I’m wrong, have we had such a fantastic turnout of iceboats. How could we not be blinded by the light?

To top it off, the Whizz fleet had their first ever gathering with all but two boats (no guilt here, Paul and Bill.) A one lap, ten mile race was organized and befitting the cruising tendencies of the class there was lots of reaching involved. The course was from the pit area, down through the narrows in to South Broads, around an as yet un-named island at the mouth of Deep Cove which we just called the leeward mark, and then back to the start.

There was a bit of carnage, however.  Of the ten boats to start, only one sustained any major damage. W-5 Gee Whizz missed the marked pressure ridge crossing and put his springboard in a hole just big enough to break it. W-10 suffered a sheared mast step socket which was quickly replaced. Later in the day W-16 broke his plank, W-11 his mast, and W-9 went swimming. It’s like little boys: in small groups they can be rather well behaved and play quietly in the corner, but get them in a group and they play war. The race results, as far as we know, are thus:

1st: Whizzard W-2
2nd: Whizz Kid W-1
3rd: Oz W-9

After that it’s unclear, as there were boats going back and forth to help those in need. In the photo above can be seen storm clouds. A small front with a dusting of snow and a package of wind came through, and we considered shifting down to storm rigs, but boys will be boys and we carried on with full sails and big masts. I don’t think anyone regretted the decision. As the front passed, there was less wind behind it. Not much less, a little bit but not at all.

Whizz Kid towing home Gee Whizz.

For all the other boats that showed up, too numerous to contemplate mentioning, thanks for helping to make this one of the best ever days of iceboating. The camaraderie, good sportsmanship, tech help, good ice and sunshine really made the day. David Lambton deserves a special thanks for opening the “clubhouse” for us. It made all the difference in getting our swimmers core temps back to normal, as well as elevating the general quality of iceboating life to a cut above.

The forecast for tomorrow appears to much like today, with perhaps not the mast busting wind, but close enough to keep things interesting. It will be SW, which changes the game considerably. Sounds like an expedition down the Arm is in order.

Posted in 2017 Season | 2 Comments

Damariscotta 1/14

Fantastic ice and moderate breeze brought smiles on the sun-burnt and wind-blown faces of twenty-one iceboat skippers today. The drain holes that we spotted yesterday had developed 2-3″ of ice overnight. Scouting the course for tomorrow’s Whizz Race we found a few of these in the South end:

Nothing in the North end except the fish house mentioned yesterday. The pressure ridge at the SE corner of the North Broads has some boat sized holes in it, but there are now two orange cones marking a sailable crossing. There are also a pair of cones at the south end of the narrows indicating point leads. Easy stuff. The few drain holes like that in the photo above are marked with sticks, but will probably have three inches on them by morning.

We never got a good line up shot of the eight Whizz present as they never wanted to stop and come in!
Tomorrow we expect Pat and Jeff from NH to show up and make it ten. We’ll get the shot then. Doug Raymond got these wonderful abstractions during on of the lulls.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Posted in 2017 Season | 1 Comment

Damariscotta ON For The Weekend!

Jim Gagnon and I skated south to Second Island and about halfway across, to a large fish house. We found two, maybe three drain holes that could eat a runner. Many small ones like this:

They are already skimming over and should have a strong skin on them by morning. We have marked two of the big ones with an orange flag and a branch to the north of the pits, but in the bay. Surface is about an eight. The area around the fish house is gnarly, as expected. Stay clear.

Ramp has a couple of planks to span the moat.

Whizz Regatta planned for Sunday, skippers meeting at 11:00, start right after ( or whenever Denis and Frank show up!) Maps will be provided. Course will be scouted and marked Saturday.

Posted in 2017 Season | 1 Comment