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.