Loring Landsailing 2020: update

The event continues to shape up nicely. Our hosts have been outstanding in their hospitality and openness to our plans for regatta. We now know abut what the costs will be, so it’s time to get serious and send in some money. Registration will be thirty dollars. This gets access to the air fields for the duration of the event and trophies in three classes: Lockley Skimmer, Blokart and Unlimited. Most of the unlimited class will be converted DN’s and other DN powered yachts, as well as a couple of class 3 land yachts.

This might have been mentioned before but bears repeating: if you are sailing a DN you will need to tune the boat so you are sitting more upright than you do on the ice. You really need to see ahead of you. There are hazzards, and you’ll need to see the turns.

This manhole cover was really hard to see until I was on top of it. The hit was hard enough to snap the t-ball hound and bring the rig down. This is about a mile from the pits so I had a nice, long, slow look at the wonderful variety of asphalt on the walk back. The little red flag hardly does it justice!

The runways are lined with little blue lights. Many are broken and might puncture a tire. They are easy to see being set on concrete, and you can go behind them if you are stretching your line to lay the next mark but be advised. That’s all I’ve found so far, but there may be more.

We have been granted use of a hangar and access to a small building very close by that has bathrooms. There will be electricity.

The schedule is from Friday until Sunday at sundown, although a few of us will be there Thursday afternoon setting up. Directions are simple: drive north until you are above the latitude of both Quebec and Prince Edward Island. At Caribou get off US Rt. 1 and take Rt. 89 towards Limestone. It’s a left. You will pass an entrance to Loring Commerce Center on your left with a gas station on the corner. Best not to enter here, but carry on another couple of miles to the four corners with the flashing light. Cote’s Auto is on the corner. Turn left. You will enter the base around a sharp left bend in the road. A bit further on, on the left, is a derelict building. Just there on the right is your turn. It’s the first right you come to. Go up the hill, bear right at the top and get ready to sail! I’ll post these again as we get closer.

Back to the registration: $30.00 cash or check to
Bill Buchholz
31 Gosses Hill Rd.
Camden, ME 04843

If we wind up in the black the organizers are buying drinks!

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Loring Landsailing 2020 Update

What was once the officers quarters on the old Loring Air Force base is now The Bunker Inn. They have generously offered to give all land sailors a special rate of $50.00 per night for the weekend of
September 12. When you book, just be sure to tell them why you’re there. Most rooms are singles and share a common bathroom with one other room, but there are a few with private baths.
THE BUNKER INN – Loring Industrieswww.loringind.com › thebunkerinn
There is a fully equipped common kitchen and dining table, including a fully stocked spice rack. We’re not sure yet how this will work in these viral times, but are we here to eat or are we here to sail?

Speaking of sailing, some folks have said they’d love to come but don’t have a boat. Below we offer one simple solution with the caveat: it’s not whether you win or loose, but how you trim the cut of your jib:

The most recent R&D expedition found your intrepid scout with a flat tire on the land yacht. A quick trip to the base mechanic filled the tire, with no thought of why it might have gone flat. Back at the runway the boat was set up a second time, shoved off, jumped in, and sheeted. Ahead lay the wonderful runways and a brisk NE breeze, but at the first tack the leeward tire whumped. The air was gone.

But the day was not wasted. I found an excellent spot for the pit area and had a nice chat with the base manager. All systems are a go at this point. We now know that the village of Limestone is not an option for dinners; that will be happening in Caribou.

If you notice, the reflection in the window is the big Arch Hangar. We will be setting up on the apron between that and the building in the photo. Unfortunately we will have no access to inside space. There will be a porta-potti, and hopefully electricity, (and an air compressor!) but it will be like setting up a regatta on the ice, basically. There will be a table and a tent where you will sign in and register. A map will be forthcoming because you will get lost without one. Ask me how I know.

See you in September!

Posted in 2020 Landsailing, 2020 Season | 2 Comments

Stepping Big Masts

Since most boats with big masts come with trailers, here’s a simple way to help get the mast up if you find yourself without help. This usually happens when you’re the first to arrive and the last to leave, something we should all strive for.


Thanks to Bob MacEwen for sending this in.

You don’t need to watch the entire show; the mast raising comes early. Trigger warning: it is a land sailing video, and you may become thoroughly smitten, compelled to add wheels to your iceboat and make the trek to Loring Air Force base in Limestone, Maine September 11-13. Welcome!

Posted in 2020 Landsailing, 2020 Season


Armed with what I thought was permission to sail from the head of the Loring Development Authority and a forecast of 10-15 SSE I set out for the second round of exploring the old B-52 air base. The plan to hold a land sailing regatta there in September required careful scouting and course planning, which I was more than willing to do.

The last time sailing I stayed off the main runway, but now, embolden with official backing I headed right for it. It lay two runways over and to windward, connected at the top end by a patch of blacktop the size of a small mall parking lot. With the wind blowing right down the length of the runway this connector was a very fast reach, and then with a hike in the peel off there it was: endless, smooth asphalt. The black ice of landsailing. No sand, no dust. 12,000′ of smooth deep gybes. There’s magic, mystery, drama and champagne sailing.

And it’s not all pavement, there’s some nature too. Wild strawberries are busting up through the surface, although they did have a mild taste of tar.

But back to the sailing: when you needed a G-force fix it was simple enough to harden up a bit, hang on to your teeth and shoot across a connector to the next runway, bearing away there and continuing down wind. Up and down, side to side. The place was deserted, except what appeared to be a big guy walking his dogs in the grass alongside the small runway. As I got closer and could see the massive fur coat the guy was wearing on this hot summer day, it became clear that it was a family of bears picking berries. They must have liked the tarberries. The cubs were the size of large dogs and weren’t bothered a bit by the whizzing sail.

Also in the department of misconceptions, out of nowhere there appeared a police car. I waved, he waved back with the universal police wave which means “pull over”. I couldn’t outrun him upwind, so we had a nice chat, the upshot of which was that in spite of my vague permission slip the only way there can be land sailing at Loring is by participating in an organized event.

My arms and hands were pretty much shot by then anyway, so breaking down and heading for home was fine with me. There was a deep satisfaction, a sense of awe and pure joy at having sailed this place, with a perfect wind and a sun just hot enough. Partly it was the sense of discovery in the detritus of the past that can be used for deep play today.

Now it just sits there, big, empty and alone. The only way anyone will get the opportunity to sail there is to take part in a regatta. It’s planned tentatively for September 11-13. That leaves less than three months to rig up and test something with sails and wheels. It’s a long way from everywhere, but so is Montana, and look at the fun we had there! Regatta details to follow.


Forgive the poor formatting of the video. The filmmaker has now learned to hold the phone horizontally while sheeting with one hand and teeth.

Posted in 2020 Landsailing, 2020 Season | 2 Comments

Cool Ice

The ice at Baikall was less than wonderful this past season, but the photo below shows how perfect it can be. Aside from the rocks, of course. These rocks get blown onto the ice and then as they get warm from the sun the ice melts from around them leaving them to balance on a thin pedestal of ice.

Landsailing on hot asphalt planned for Loring on Wednesday if the wind forecast holds. Anyone interested, call me. Regatta planned for September 11-13, details to follow. Pencil it in!

Posted in 2020 Landsailing, 2020 Season | 3 Comments