Boats For Sale

Whether you’re ready to upgrade or downgrade, here are a couple of boats that could take you either way.

WHIZZ 5, Gee Whizz, is for sale due to a change in the owner’s lifestyle. Built by Steve Lamb and Bill Buchholz, new Bosett North sail, storm sail, cockpit cover, enclosed trailer, tools. Foot and wheel steering. Like new and ready to go. Pillow block chocks, hollow spruce mast. Fast and comfortable. $5500.oo. Frank: 207-832-8231 Waldoboro, ME

Then we have a great entry level DN. Composite mast, plate runners, roof rack carrier for all the parts. Sail has the foot trimmed for sit-up sailing position. Side car included. $1200.oo.Call Fred: 207-342-5570. Searsmont, ME

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

updated Moosehead Lake map

the lake as explored up until Monday 1/25/2016 …..conditions probably different now.

Posted in 2016 Season

Black Turns to White

A half inch of wet snow hit the plate at Moosehead this afternoon, but that didn’t stop Fast Frank and Denis: they sailed until dark. Bobby Able is coming from Long Island tomorrow with his J-14; wind seems sufficiently well forecast to drive the boats through it depending on how it holds up over night. Could be styrofoam by dawn.

Tips of the helmets to these guys for getting the wrecked Whizzkey back on the ice so quickly!

Rumors are swirling about Winnepesaukee, but we don’t know details.

Posted in 2016 Season

under the spell of Kineo

i sat down to write this morning….in that space of not knowing…..not knowing how to paint in three dimensions….yet ready blindly to tap a keyboard….and there!… bill had already said it so well….i can’t blame him….who wouldn’t want to share such experiences…but…what’s left to say?… of the reasons i write, is to be able to relive my own experience many times….and if i don’t….so much is lost….perhaps i could just add a little…

a little what?….do i exaggerate?….do i spin a half-true yarn?…..yet perhaps….perhaps it’s always OK to add one’s own perception of the ineffable whole….we were on Moosehead Sunday and Monday….and Sunday was as if the Higher Power…..drawing back the dimming curtains of habit-mind….said: Psssst!……experience this!…..and wonder!

The day unfolded in a slow crescendo …..Lloyd and i arrived on the ice just at 10….me smarting from a traffic ticket on the way up…..the officer claims he chased these two Mr. Magoo oldsters for miles, gum-ball spinning….as we had drifted through Dexter, Maine…..yakking….hardly slowing down….. on that quiet Sunday morning.

on the ice, the brightest of suns, a cloudless sky…and only the slightest breath of a north wind….i strapped on skates….carefully navigated into verticality….and began relearning the art of skating…luckily Bill Cunningham was also just starting…and we slowly headed–of course–toward Kineo….now Moosehead is massive….three Sebago’s or two Winnepasaki’s….and it’s dominated by the 700 ft cliffs of a peninsula jutting from the eastern shore. the ice surface was beautiful for iceboats, but required occasional care by aged skaters….so Bill sported two lovely skating poles from….gradually that magical rhythm….that light show of ice variations….returned…

after basking in the pocket of reflective warmth of the south-facing cliffs, with their cascades of icicles and clinging dwarf pines…..we headed north, searching for that patch of smooth ice in the NW corner of this part of the lake…crossing the major E-W pressure ridge was difficult, and we were forced to scout its entire eastern half….Bill’s sounding poles were almost essential to gauge the depth of puddles on one side or the other…then, finding some shallow water, we crossed…. on, on, we skated….on the ever-improving ice….stopping to wonder….to picnic….until we came to perfect ice–.25 miles square— in the far corner.

everyone who loves ice or snow….who loves space….who loves light….who loves graceful movement….will recognize this “skater’s high”….you see a shore, perhaps two miles distant….and without the slightest feeling of being daunted by the dreary inefficiency of walking…you know that in 15 minutes of minimal effort, you’ll be there…finally at noon, we turned and headed the 4.5 miles back to the launch….as we recrossed the pressure ridge, we spotted an exhausted deer, unable to stand on the smooth ice….our friend was her enemy….now she awaited a slow death…Bill was sure she’s bite us if we came too near….how i wished for that throw-line i hadn’t put in my backpack…

back at the lodge, over hot soup and hot chocolate, we spied the flutter of conifer branches signaling the long-awaited wind…by the time we’d rigged, it was strong….by Kineo, we would have been better with storm sails….our mission was to explore, for a possible weekend regatta, the ice south of an obstructive band of nasty brash ice just below Kineo….unable to bleed speed in the downwind romp, we nearly busted boats crashing helplessly across this tangled mass of ice and snow….then….we found bands of exquisite ice, a pressure ridge, and eventually frozen slush….certainly no space here for a big-boat regatta…

so we circled back to the cliffs of Kineo….the afternoon had been cloudy, but some sort of high sunset was beginning to form….you could feel a certain magic building, a giddiness, as we parked in the lee and explored on foot this exquisite spot…..eventually, after photos, we shot for home….the wind was still very strong, but without it’s violent edge….in short exactly what we love…almost back to the launch, i noticed one boat had detoured from the rhumb line, into hardscrabble strait….this lake is so vast you can’t recognize a particular boat…but i knew only one of our five pilots would have the perversity to be there….and i’d be double damned if i’d be left out.

4 of the 5 boats crossed hardscrabble’s pressure ridge together….by now the sun had fully emerged from low clouds, coating the eastern hills a pale yellow, leaving everything else in a deep blue-ish shadow….everything except for the bright yellow sails of 4 iceboats, as though made of LED’s….we blasted off to the east….you could hardly see the ice…only feel its rumble and rush under the runners….as Bill put it….it seemed we were lightships blasting thru the ether….we took a long sweep behind Kineo, and in its shadow, each of our illuminated sails blinked out. Back at the pressure ridge rendezvous….bill and i approached each other, hands extended low and to the side…and we said what we sometimes say….though now i swore i would never have the chance to say it again…..”THIS……is as good as it gets!”

a map of our adventures:

Posted in 2016 Season | 2 Comments

Moosehead Ad Infinitum

Another couple of premier days at America’s number one iceboat destination resort: The Birches. The NEIYA held the DocFellows Regatta Saturday, got in seven races, and then one last race to the bar and hot tub. I think Oliver won that one, too. The wind slept late on Sunday morning. But a course was set for the Maine States, racers gathered at the start, and then had a delightful time standing around in the sun chatting. It wasn’t until the last racer had retuned to the pits and de-rigged that the wind roused its lazy butt and awoke with a roar.

I had wandered off from the starting area and wound up back at the Inn where I had yet another excellent plate of broiled Haddock watching the DN’s push home along the shore. One of the great joys here, like the Eagles Club at Long Pond, is to have a nice lunch and looking out the window at your boat and all the ice. But when I looked up the boat had blown over. Tanya came with the bill and off we went. A handful of others came back out and we roared around well past sunset yet again.

One deep reach carried us back to the lovely plate behind Farm Island. The sun came out from the overcast as it was setting and lit the ice with the most amazing reflective glow. Our sails were orange and the ice glowed. At full speed on such a big plate you had time to look down at the sunset in the ice and imagine that you were in low orbit at the very edge of the atmosphere, moving like a rocket.

We kept an eye out for other boats as well which was equally as mezmerizing. One guy got into a monster hike and carried it for a long way, resting on the boom, the sun flashing off the bottom of his boat. Dave Fortier had Ed Pirog in his sidecar for this romp, Ramblin Roger, Jory, Jim Gagnon and myself were there, and we got back to the pits in time to put the boats to bed and get to the bar in time to catch the end of the football game. Below, under the cliffs of Mt. Kineo.

Today was a bit more introspective; a light and shifty breeze keeping us close to home slow reaching in the broads where the fetch was best. We left the lake in Roger’s good hands as a bit of weather comes through tomorrow. He’ll let us know late in the day what changes it might have wrought; winds look great for Wednesday. You know this won’t last forever. Don’t get left on the beach like these snowmobilers, wondering if this iceboating thing might be the way to go. (view from the lodge)

And just if you aren’t yet convinced this is just about the most amazing place, here’s this mornings sunrise:

Thanks to Jim Gagnon for the photos. This was taken from the front door of his cabin. It’s about like what we were sailing in the evening before…

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

Moosehead Sunday and Monday

Bill and I will be sailing from The Birches Sunday and Monday mornings at 10 AM, if any cruisers want to join us……Lloyd may also join us….we hope to explore the southern parts of the known plate for a possible regatta next weekend…..Bill has shopped around and found a nice weather prediction….winds from the north 5-10MPH, highs in the mid 20’s….my shopping yields 6MPH, which I guess is actually in that range….

it’s all i can do not to kiss my ice-widow good-by and de-camp for the entire week….when i remember that this is actually ‘the middle season’ …..a snowy time when i would normally be crying into my hot rum punch….and here i am a mere 130 miles south of amazing and almost endless ice…..then i know that if i don’t jump on this, i will have lots of months to cry into my mint julep…..

Posted in 2016 Season | 2 Comments

Moosehead Photos 1/21-22

Jory just about covered it. But I wanted to apologize to all those who went to the Rockwood public boat launch and found no one there. We failed to send out an update to announce the launch had been changed to the Birches. This all happened once we were on the ice and realized that we could indeed launch from the Birches and that the best ice was in the north end. We will try to improve communications for next time.

Looking north through Hardscrabble Straight. This goes on and on as far as the horizon. We only made it about a third of the way.

Kudos the Ramblin Roger, who set up at the Rockwood ramp, for actually sailing over the brash ice separating north and south, over which I wouldn’t have dared even push my boat. Then he took a nice three mile down-wind walk in the rising moonlight to fetch his van from the old launch site and drive back in time to join us for dinner at The Birches. And two tips of the helmet to Brett and his mom Helen, who drove all night from New Jersey. They popped in to say hello as we were eating breakfast and then went directly to the ice to set up. I believe they were still sailing well into the afternoon. Their exploit destroys all excuses!

They are packed full with iceboaters tonight. The NEIYA is running regattas today and tomorrow. There is no snow in sight, and there will be sailing at least through Monday. Yesterday we probably had close to twenty boats, with more showing up by the afternoon. The Birches will have open space Sunday night and beyond. But if you do come, please co-ordinate with others so you don’t wind up there alone. This is not the place to sail off by yourself.

On the circumnavigation of Farm Island, with the Presidential Range in the background. Fast Frank missed the shot as he just circled us, beseeching us to get moving!
Jory was right on the mark with his observations of this group. We all stuck together, leaders circling back to pick up the stragglers, all crossing ridges together at the same time, and after gamboling about on scattered plates of 10+ ice, moving on as a group to the next place at top speed. Nicely done, gents.

Not the best shot, but how often do you get to sail up to the door of your own little cabin? You pop in every now and then to stoke the fire, warm the toes, have a cup of coffee and just marvel at the Magic of Moosehead…

Posted in 2016 Season