Project Time

Lockley man Rob Dmitriof has upped his game significantly thanks to a viral Craigslist post from western New York State. As Rob was unpacking his score he kept accentuating the “western”…

The post was bounced around all over New England before landing in Rob’s lap, and he didn’t hesitate. A few days later this package arrived at a friend’s sawmill. Some of it will wind up in the sawdust pile, but there is a wonderful boat in there. It’s essentially a two person Renegade with a custom stern. She has the Renegade steering system, right down to the marginal hand steering, and it’s built offset to the port side. Rob says that works for him as he’s left-handed. Didn’t quite know how to respond to that so let it go.

The decks are planked with cedar planks, some of which will need replacement, and the bottom needs to be replaced, but the bones are good and hopefully the scrollwork can be saved. The mast, however, even though it also has some lovely scroll work, is beyond the power of epoxy.

There was a broken diamond stay which probably led to its demise. Plank and runners are good, as is boom and sail. What better way to spend in splendid isolation than restoring a wonderful old iceboat. We’re all rooting for you Rob and look forward to the launching party on Plymouth Pond next November. The club will supply the Champagne. It’s what your dues are for!

Posted in 2019 Season

Land Sailing

Is there anyone in Maine who’d like to convert their iceboat to land sailing for the summer, find a venue, and have races?

Call or write: 975-6980

Posted in 2019 Season | 3 Comments

Spring Training

Before you pack up the boats for the summer have a look at this and see if you might want to re-purpose those old roller blades. Jones Beach land sailors take note!

Posted in 2019 Season

Sailing Moosehead 4/17

Waiting and watching web cams and weather reports week after week finally paid off today. Searching for a series of cold nights followed by a cool day with wind was the elusive goal. Bob Bartlett, our new spy and iceboater this season, was able to have a look at the lake yesterday and gave a report of deep slush around the edge, but photos showed a lovely shade of grey further out which, unfortunately he couldn’t access. So today was to be a crap shoot, but somewhat based in sound science. We have been slushed out two years in a row at Moosehead this time of year.

The car thermometer, always a stressor on these late spring trips, stayed in the twenties all the way there, and the flags were snapping. Jim Gagnon showed up, and Bob was able to sail his new DN for the first time. He did a fine job considering the gusty conditions.

The snow is all gone and we’re down to original ice.

We launched at Bob’s camp on Moose Bay, which is about twice the size of Lake Chickawaukee. Because he was a newbie, and there were only two of us, we minded our manners and didn’t make a bee line for Mt. Kineo, a mere smudge on the horizon. There appeared to be good ice all the way, and with the west wind we could have fetched in one very fast, very long tack.

The ice stayed hard all day. The two old timers raced laps up and down the two mile long bay while stopping to give Bob pointers every now and then.
This is a very special achievement for the club because our first day sailing this season was November 17 at Plymouth Pond. Sailing today, April 17, means we have had a full six month iceboating season. Not only that, but until we hear anything more from Thunder Bay, Ontario we may have Mike Madge beat!

The ladder ramps had their first real job today and worked splendidly. Boats and men rolled up and down with ease. Even though the crust was hard from the shore, there were a few holes to watch for. The dock made it very easy.

Each season has its joys and frustrations, and 2020 is no exception. But when you read back through the season and see the photos and the people it’s clear that we had a splendid winter. In the moment we don’t always see the big picture. Don’t forget that while we all love the sensation of connecting a series of perfect tacks and gybes, it’s the people we sail with what’s most important. Our relationships are those upon which the sport is built, especially in this time as the email line goes dead and we’re cooped up and all the work is done on the boat. Reach out to the iceboating community to chat, speculate, cogitate, and TALK ICE.

Posted in 2019 Season | 5 Comments

A Story

Once upon a time on an un-named frozen lake on a fine spring day, a good sailor bore away in a puff. Unbeknownst to him, just to leeward was a long lead of fresh, clear, soft water. Into it he went, the boat skimming out into the middle. If a flash, the boat was blown onto the lee shore. The shore was found to be rather rotten, so with faithful picks in hand our hero clawed his through the slush to safety.

By and by, the rest of the fleet assembled at the “Scene of Stupidity” to see what could be done. The boat was unapproachable without going through. A line was got on board by lashing a vice-grips to the center of a long one and swinging it from each end, jump rope style, and dropping it over the runner. The rope tossers dosey-doed, thereby looping the line snugly around the end of the plank. A fast sailor was dispatched to the shore to get a float of some sort. The float was tied to the end of a throw line which was tied to a couple of others for good measure and the whole thing left to its devices.

Some while later, on another fine spring day not long after ice-out, a rescue flotilla was dispatched to see what could be seen. The position was provided by a tech savvy iceboater who always sails with her GPS running. The boat was just where it was left, but sixty feet lower. She came up by the muddy runner without a struggle.

The side stays were disconnected and an inner tube secured to each end of the plank. It was then easy to haul up on the headstay until the bow breached.

Another pair of inner tubes under the springboard completed the floatation package, and with the sun on the face and the wind at the back it was homeward bound.

The only damage, aside from that to the ego, was excessive swelling of the mast and springboard. The mast swelled such that the boltrope came right out without much trouble. The moral of the story is, of course, keep your boat dry.

Posted in 2019 Season | 2 Comments