Slushout Day? Sunday 12/18

Dammy cam shows broad streaks of slush in yesterday’s 3-4 inches of heavy snow on new one night ice, maybe an inch. Chicky was similar until fog/drizzle closed in so I can’t take a “Chicky cam” from the breakfast table. Sebago cam (Jordan Bay) is either all slush or just water. Cold coming tomorrow and Tuesday raises the tantalizing thought of ice for an Xmas Regatta that never seems to quite happen.

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Posted in 2016 Season

One Way To Check The Ice

It was very cold and windy here today, so this fellow decided to do a modified drive-by ice check:

Not yet, boys. But for us iceboaters it’s getting very close again. Many local ponds have 5″ of hard grey ice with surfaces in the 5-6 range. After the weekend weather something nice will pop out the other side.

Posted in 2016 Season

Web Cams

A selection of web cams are now included on this site under the heading “Ice Cams”. Lots of sea smoke looking magical on this sunny sub-zero morning. Lakes are dumping heat big time. Oddly, South Twin has been frozen for over a week, while nearby Sebec is still open. Not much chance of a recovery on South Twin as the heat wave due Sunday will only bring them freezing rain.

But Sabbatus has also been frozen and snowed out for a while. It will be very warm there, with rain, so if there is enough thickness there could be a nice recovery there for sailing next week. Lee and Karin, could you guys check it out?

One web cam missed the boat, Lake Sunapee: Thanks for that, Kate!

Posted in 2016 Season

Plymouth Pond 12/11

The season opener on Plymouth could not have been better. As iceboaters, we know to accept whatever Mother Nature throws at us, and today she threw us a bone upon which twelve hungry sailors gnawed until past sunset, even as the moon was rising. We knew this was it for a while so we gnawed that bone raw. The ice wasn’t as bad as it looked in yesterday’s post and we blew through the crud with abandon, choosing to tack on the shiny stuff:

Chad and T drove ten hours from Rhode Island and set up marks straight away. They said that it’s a helluva lot closer than Minnesota. Everyone lined up down near the marshes and we held two lap scratch races non-stop for nearly the entire day. There was this lunch thing about mid’day, but basically we raced until sundown. No standings, but Rookie Of The Day had to be Guy Polyblank, who sailed Satlonstall’s old Defroster very well. Jory launched his new Mini Skeeter “Nice and Easy” and duked it out with JIim Gagnon pretty much to a draw. Doug Raymond methodically tuned his boat throughout the day and in the end was right up there with the top guys. Fred Wardwell launched his new super-lightweight box-beam construction Cheapskate which sailed well against Bob McKewan” Cheapskate “Hat Trick”.

Fortier and Polyblank at the windward mark. Below, Guy sailing the new Mini Skeeter with Jory in the background trying desperately to catch him.

We spent a nice time deep in the marshes, further than any of us had ever been, zipping around reedy islets in the lengthening afternoon shadows.

As can be seen in the background, the racers were still at it. But as the four of us beat back up from the marshes to the broads, they were just calling a start so we blended seamlessly into the fleet.

For the ice academics, here is a very interesting situation. Yesterday we measured two inches of black ice and three inches of the grey stuff. The snow covered ice was maybe inch and a half, but would hold up a person. Today, after eighteen hours of cold, some in the single digits, we had four inches of black ice, four inches of grey, but only two under the snow cover.

In this photo the hole through the snow had two inches while the hole at the axe had four. Goes to show how effective an insulator snow is. Sailor beware.

The wind held nicely all the way to the end, and as the last boats were packing up and the moon was rising,

we all understood that the tension of the wait and the drama of the forecast were absolutely a small price to pay for such bliss.

Posted in 2016 Season

Plymouth ON for Sunday!

We scouted the pond abut half way across and all the way down to the marshes along the road side and found a consistent 3″ of grey ice. The few patches of thick snow sheltered thinner ice, but there are not many of these and are easy to avoid. The hard frozen snow is fine, as is the thin un-bonded stuff.

This is the typical surface. If you’re quick, you could sail on only this, avoiding everything else, and have a fine day. Here, Jim is working on his fore hand.

This certainly looks less than appealing, but Dave Fortier has offered to lead us right down the middle. The glossy spots are 2″ of new black ice. The rest of the frozen stuff is fine. The snow in the left background should be avoided. Temps in the teens tonight might bring us another inch.

Fortier’s boat is set up on the ice, ready for the morning. Gagnon, Squibb, myself and who knows who else will be sailing tomorrow. Big snow storm Monday will put us back to square one, so come get it while it lasts. Plymouth Store lunch counter open till noon, but hot coffee, soup and pizza all day.

Posted in 2016 Season

Plymouth Possible

Nature is doing her best to make up for the big disappointment she dealt us earlier in the week. Amazing how a little guilt gets you going.

Dave Godin just got in from a quick flight to the west coast and back, wasting not a minute of all that air time:

and went right to Plymouth and sent this thirty minutes ago:

He reports an inch and a half of ice and some patches of snow, as shown. It’s 27 there right now and dropping into single digits tonight. This might give is another inch by tomorrow, and certainly more on Sunday. Understand that this is not going to be high strength black ice, so tomorrow will be a scouting day with a report making a call for Sunday sailing to come.

Posted in 2016 Season

Chickawaukee Ice Dec. 9

New ice skim at beach early morning. Not even “kitty ice” but ice finally. 20 F this Friday AM to continue through Sunday but with wind day and night making an ice seizure unlikely. However this may cool water and make it receptive to light snow and rain early in week for a supercooled slush freezeup. The prospect for a Christmas regatta improves.

Posted in 2016 Season