Moosehead, Now and Forever

Well, at least in iceboaters time. The forecast is clear of snow well into the future. Ice is six inches, clear marbly stuff with mature cracks. The limits haven’t be scouted yet, but there will be boats there tomorrow to complete the exploration: Frank and Denis, myself, Ramblin Roger and possibly Chad and Oliver. If anyone else plans to come, please check in. All are welcome to eat your lunch in Cabin 12 at The Birches. We’ll have a cone or flag on the shore indicating where to moor.

This view is near The Birches, where three of us will be staying. South, to the right a couple of miles, is the public boat launch at Rockwood which is getting plowed out tonight and will be the main launch area. There is a strip of brash ice between this view and the launch which extends across to Kineo and needs to be checked for crossings and quality.

The NEIYA will be holding Regattas all weekend, so come racing, come touring, come what may this is the only known ice in New England at the moment. And just to show how badly Mother Nature feels for screwing with us all season, the BIg Winter Storm forecast to drench the entire northeast will miss Moosehead. Driving could be tough for some but just come early and leave late!

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Moosehead Update

Rockwood on Moosehead Lake

Our spy in the sky Dave Godine had this to say: “Flew around a few days ago Moosehead had nice ice around Rockwood area, it really is the only lake around with decent ice.”

This confirms what we’ve been thinking, so as soon as the brutal winds and cold abate somewhat we’ll launch at Rockwood for a scouting expedition. We hope to have a solid report by late Thursday for those planning to make weekend plans.

The Portland Press Herald gave us some excellent publicity around last week’s sail at Sabbatus:
Be sure to have a look at the video, too.

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Moosehead & Memphramagog

Just spoke with Jeff, my snowmobile tour guide spy guy, and he says that the main part of Moosehead Lake probably only has a couple of inches at this point. They didn’t get much snow, as you can see in the Rockwood cam, but just enough to make reading the ice very difficult. But lots of cold and not much snow is on the way so maybe we could check it out later in the week. He said there is more ice on the south end near Greenville, but it formed on windy days so the surface isn’t very good. The web cam shot from Rockwood yesterday was everything we’ve ever wanted, so under the dusting is an excellent surface.

Then I checked with an ice fisherman in Newport about Memphramagog and they received less than an inch of wet snow. He thinks it will become crusty: perfect for walking on without slipping and pulling out big trout, but it doesn’t sound so good to me. (he said that one guy today couldn’t fit his fish up through his 4″ hole) Yesterday the surface was very smooth, as Ramblin Roger had reported.

Mid-coast Maine received a layer of sleet covered with three inches of snow. The only joy around here is a nice fire in the woodstove.

Anything in New Hampshire?

Posted in 2016 Season

Four New DN’s In The World

After a big push at the end this afternoon, we managed to complete one boat: plank, chocks and all, ready to go except for paint. Number two is just a day away from about the same. Number three went out the door with wet glue from putting down the last section of deck, and number four just needs decks and hardware. It was an amazing group. Everyone pitched in to help where needed, offering guidance to those a few steps behind.

For all of them it was the first time using a table saw, band saw, router, and for some, the cordless drill. Happy to report all eighty fingers are still intact. At least one of the boats will continue to be worked on; the fate of the others is unknown. This course might be offered again next year, but MIT can’t just start stockpiling un-finished DN’s. Keep your eyes out next year at the Swap Meet for some bargains…

All the engineers loved looking at the bob-stay.

Maria and Thatcher setting up to fasten the stud plates.

Squaring up the plank.

Let’s go sailing again!

Speaking of which, how far will we need to drive in the near future to find ice? Snow and crap forecast everywhere. No word from Ramblin Roger, but Roger, if you read this, know that we will follow you anywhere at this point so go get it!

Lastly, if we do ever get a chance to sail again, take along these wise words sent in by Bobby Able:


Many of us have yet to see any ice this season and we are
all eager to get out there as soon as possible. Due the the
late start you will probably not be alone. I found this from
someone who obviously is wise and experienced.
These are not my words. They really gave this some thought.
Thank you, whom ever wrote down these words.


Just some thoughts on etiquette and safety for this up
coming season. Pass it around, let’s have fun.

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 sometimes
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.

7. I’ll stay “two mistakes away” from danger — my mistake
and the other guy’s.

Posted in 2016 Season

Caveats on Memphremagog Ice 4 PM Thursday Jan 14

Ramblin Roger called from the VT ice again. There is a significant pressure ridge near the launch site which he has not explored due to lack of wind and ongoing snow flurry. Lee Spiller is on the scent too. There is a skating club in Newport. Will VT get the same iffy weather forecast for the rest of us Sat. and Sun.? There is a little snow on the ice here and there with up to 1 inch driftlets. Will there be wind Friday? What will it be like next week? Roger says it looks good but what about the other 21 miles? We pass along the info and guess at the rest as usual.


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Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Ice in Northern Vermont Thursday Jan 14

Peripatetic ice spy Ramblin Roger Pickall, from Easton Maryland, looking for ice in the distant Northland, has found 6 1/2 inches of lovely ice which he is about to sail on Lake Memphremagog at newport VT. This big lake is partly in Vermont and partly in Quebec, apparently with ice to the horizon. He just called me from the parking lot at Whipple’s landing at 1 PM.

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Posted in 2016 Season

Last night’s (Tuesday) snow and ice.

Damariscotaa got 5-6 inches on new thin ice following blowout, there are holes. Huge piles of debris ice in launch area.

Lewiston got close to a foot of snow, bye bye Sabattus and Androscoggin.. Six inches snow in Liberty and likely Three Mile pond mentioned earlier and Clary pond.

Chickawauke got only a dusting of snow, now blowing off of 1 inch of punky new ice following recent blow out. Good sized holes present Tuesday afternoon. It is coming off to seasonal lows through Friday, then likely snow over weekend of course. Doubtful we can sail her this week.

Snow was forecast to be heaviest inland to North such as in Unity, Moosehead.


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Posted in 2016 Season