Spring Meeting

The CIBC will hold it’s annual spring meeting on Sunday, April 9 at the Damariscotta Lake Farm Inn. Meeting to begin at 11:00, followed by a fine pot luck lunch. Last year’s food was among the best ever; let’s maintain the tradition!
Anita asks that we park on the north side of the building to keep the restaurant parking on the other side clear for business.

Lost and Found:

These two cozy items were left in the clubhouse. The blanket is about 3’x6′ and very soft.

Posted in 2016 Season

Maine State DN Regatta and a bit more

I attempted to contact Mark Allen Photography via their website to get permission to use this really cool photo, no reply so, stolen….

The weekend adventure actually started on Friday, I was driving my new VW Alltrack to the dealer so that I could hopefully have them remove the passenger side headrest that I was unable to remove. The headrest removal would allow for DN sails and boom to be stowed easier and neater. On the way to the dealer, traffic on Rt1 2lane north 2lane south was going slow due to traffic lights and moderately heavy traffic. I was going 10-15mph inside lane north when unbeknown to me a giant pickup truck in the right lane waved a young lady attempting to pull out of a credit union parking lot and go south to cross in front of him. The young lady could not see me, or I her, as she gassed it just as I was passing the giant pick up truck. So, for now it matters not about the headrest and the efficient storage of DN boom and sails, as the Alltrack is in the bodyshop. Fortunately I was able to get a rental vehicle that would allow the use of my roof racks, and had room for all my gear. It was a Subaru Forester and interestingly the passenger side headrest is removable.

I was able to pack the Forester and was ready to head to Dammy in no particular hurry as the wind was whistling and I did not expect to sail on Saturday. What I did want to do, was get to the launch when still light, so that I could get the DN onto the ice, so one less thing to do on the morning of the race. I arrived in Damariscotta at about 1500 and went to the Lake Farm to see if there might be a room, and it was my lucky day a single room was. I then went down to the launch and into the office building next to it and went in. There were several sailors in there staying warm and talking. Sure enough, it was not too long before 3 or 4 volunteered to help me get my boat onto the ice. Kate, and John were two of them, and I do not know the names of the others, I apologize I am terrible with names. In no time, in those really cold temps, my boat was on the ice, mast stepped and anchored to the ice. So, up to the Lake Farm for a couple of drinks and a terrific stuffed haddock meal we went. A few text messages were sent while sitting at the bar. I was announcing the ice that I saw when launching, and hoping for a few more boats on the line.  As we ice boaters do, it was to bed early anticipating the loss of an hour to daylight savings adjustment that night.

Up early it was, and the Lake Farm has a nice kitchen available to the guests with coffee and fresh muffins and stuff. In addition to that James Lamb started cooking eggs, sausage and brewed some real coffee in a percolator, so I started the day with plenty of grub. I then went out to start my rented Forester and was greeted with a DEAD battery. We had no jumper cables so Chris and James were kind enough to push me out of the driveway, and across the road, and down the hill to the lake I coasted. I then was able to borrow a set of jumper cables from Dan Clapp, and then start my car to warm it and charge the battery.

There were so many boats on the ice, that it was difficult to find all the DNs on the ice, and determine those that were going to race. Because there were as many as 40 boats on the ice (did anyone get a accurate count?) finding the DN racers was a bit difficult. We walked around with the registration sheet as best we could. Fortunately, Doug and a couple of the racers helped, as I am not able to run around on the ice as in days of old. We did get 9 sailors on the registration sheet, so things were looking good. As I finished getting my boat ready, Guy was doing the same. He had a newly constructed side car and volunteered to carry the marks, and scoring equipment out to the line. Fortunately I remembered (actually went back to my house after getting about 5 miles away) to bring the marks.

Guy helped me check the marks to make sure they were good to go, and fortunately he and I had an ice screw that could be used for each. We tried to/wanted to have a skippers meeting in the launch area, and that did not really happen, so somehow we decided to go out and set the course. We were counting on the magnetic attraction of the leeward mark and starting line to do its thing.

Guy started setting the windward mark, I went down wind approximating the lay of the course from where he was, and then sailed back to where he was. We decided to set it about 200yds more to the west. When we were out there setting the marks the wind was a bit gusty and shifting back and forth by about 40-60 degrees. The wind did this all day, but our marks were square to the average. The shifts did not last for the length of a race or even a leg so all was fair, but frustrating.

We set the leeward mark and sure enough the magnetic attraction of the race course did its thing. For the first race we set the start line and decided to do the first race self start, and Doug yelled the start sequence, off we went into the shifty, gusty wind. The first race was tough, at least it was for me, deciding where the lay line is when the wind was shifting as it was, is tough. The self start is doable the self finish is/was a bit more questionable, but we unanimously agreed  that the first boat downwind of the leeward mark was first, and rounding was not required.

Fortunately, Lloyd arrived, and he along with Pat who decided the way of the day would be best officiating, scored the next 4 races. I have to say, the Chicky self start system does work, but having a real starter is the best! And from what they have told me those leeward mark roundings were a good watch. I only know from my experience on Sunday they were exciting for me, and I did make a couple of roundings as I intended. Man, those 1/4 inch inserts with 20inch profile were the runner for the day. I did slide out several times, but it was not the runners fault it was my tiller handling while attempting to sheet in.

I have got to say as challenging as those leeward mark rounding are, a nicely done windward mark rounding is super satisfying. Rounding the mark with good speed, and accelerating as you bear off is one of the best things about racing. The sun was not helpful for the first few races, as I could not see my leeward telltales, and we all know how important that is. Several times I stalled so badly due to wind shift and/or not seeing the tells that jibing was the thing to do. A couple of times Doug and I rounded at the same time and a drag race with those gusty shifty winds happened.

After the first two races it looked as though things were going to be tight, but in the third race Doug had an equipment breakdown DNF. So, after three races Bishop was ahead by one point, but being nagged by a very painful neck. I was able to convince him to continue racing as we all like to race at least 5, so that we can throw out worst. The wind was the same for the final two races, but the suns angle was better for my downwind legs, and I was able to see my leeward tells, I was smokin’.

Both Guy and Doug were having mast issues that were negatively effecting their performance, while I was having mast issues that were positively effecting my performance. I really should have moved the mast step forward, so that the mast would have bent less. It is a truly amazing piece of equipment that CSI mast. I did have my custom batten installed in the mast, and that definitely helped.

There were many cruising boats on the lake, but all did their best to keep clear and give way to us DN racers. I must say those nice racing marks that Steve Madden donated to our club helped.

I have gotta take the time use that gopro camera that I have and never use. I think that I can speak for all, we had an exciting day of DN racing! I do wish that we had a few more racers on the line, and they know who they are. Some had good excuses like equipment in another country, others did not have good excuses.

This report took a couple of days, a bit late, I had to service my snowblower, and it takes a bit of time for a guy my age to remember important race facts. I know much of this report sounds as though it is about me, it is, I am the Maine State DN Regatta Winner.

I was just about to post this article on Tuesday afternoon, and at 1345 the power at my house went out. It is now Wednesday 2130 as I complete the task.

Dave Fortier US4690

Name          sail#   race1 race2 race3 race4 race5  total

Fortier       4690        4        2         1         1         1          5

Bishop       5540         3        1          2        4         2         8

Raymond   4272        1         3      DNF     3         3        10

Knowles     5606        2        5          4        2      DNF    13

Polyblank  4619         5        4          3        5          4       16

Coleman    5296        6     DNS    DNS  DNS   DNS     X

Adams       5249     DNS  DNS    DNS   DNS  DNS     X

Knowles    5606     DNS  DNS   DNS    DNS  DNS     X

Posted in 2017 Season

End of Season on Damariscotta Monday Mar 13

The Whizzes, racing DN’s, freight train trailers, and most distant out of towners were gone leaving the faithful to enjoy light air and civilized temperatures for a change. We wore out the nice stretch of ice in the center of the lake. Tom Nichols demonstrated amazing light air performance in his black carbon skeeter. At the other end of the ice yacht spectrum Bryce Geeley got some serious time in on his brand new Cheapskate launched just Sunday in heavy air. Note the vintage wood spars and Sailfish, not Sunfish sail. These are from the 1950’s courtesy of Fred Wardwell. The sail bears the prestigious label of Ratsy and Lapthorne, New York, sailmakers to dicriminating yachtsmen of that era. Bryce did yeoman work, we ground runners at Iceboat Central Friday, and aligned runners that afternoon. He gave the whole thing a solitary coat of varnish Saturday and was on the ice Sunday. His workmanship is first class. He sailed all day Monday and was last man standing reaching around in front of the pits as everyone else was packing up. Another one hooked.

John Eastman had two boats going all day, Gambit and Mead, with, by his count, four new souls addicted to the sport. He also gets honorable mention for keeping the launch ramp open all weekend chain sawing and chopping and moving at least a ton of ice that kept expanding and crawling up the shore and helping folks with trailers etc. in the limited space ashore.

Posted in 2016 Season

Weekend Sailing Wrap-up

Monday was a bonus day all around, payoff for the thrilling terror of the ice cold high wind weekend. When your correspondent first pushed off on the lovely grade 8 ice of Pushaw, it was really enough just to cleat the sheet on a close reach, and poke along at a slow jog. But once the others came out, it was back to the sheet and a long race to windward and the north end of the lake. Pushaw is oriented NW-SE, so it’s an ideal up-wind downwind lake for the usual winter wind. It will be a great venue for Whizz Regatta 2018. We had a warm-up heat just to be sure:

Jim, Kate and Ramblin Roger wanted a bit of glory, too:

The bottom photo give the best impression of the ice. Like the best we had on Damariscotta, but the entire lake. James Lamb came back in from his initial sail all thumbs up and called it “champagne sailing”. Guy and Jory came late; we saw them on the way back down but just couldn’t bear to stop.

Back on Damariscotta, John Brisson showed up with one of the recently completed boats from last year’s MIT DN building course. Her brought four first time sailors with him, all of whom were treated to near ideal maiden sail conditions. Tom Nichols got his new boat nearly dialed in and just needs one more day to nail it. Pat Heppart beware. Bill Bunting and some others sailed until the wind tapered to nothing in the afternoon.

Speaking of tapering, the conditions of the last fortnight would indicate a fat lady. Brutally cold and windy last week at Moosehead, a bit less brutal this weekend on Damariscotta, and then a gentle going to sleep of the wind at thirty two degrees and a hot sun. What a perfect way to taper the end the season, and for many that was it.
But we see cold temps persisting, which will keep the ice. Once this snow slushes out and re-freezes we could get a few more days, even a One Hundred Mile Race…

Posted in 2016 Season

Lovely, Lovely Pushaw

The problem of writing a day-before post for the website, is that you’re committed. I said I’d be on Pushaw on Saturday, but at 7AM, in bed, thinking of the -20 degree windchill, I had that strong mammalian instinct to scootch over next to another warmblood and wait ’til spring. Bill often says that iceboating is our job. We’ve just gotta do it. He’s trying to squeeze a little umph from the Protestant work ethic, I guess. So I geared up, drove up, put on everything I owned even before opening the car door, and walked 300 yards out onto un-inspiring ice. Then drove to two other landings on the lake: each perfect for crash-bang iceboating. Sadly, I drove home only to hear from Bob Lombardo that these were exactly the three points where “knuckleheads” messed up Pushaw’s amazing ice with their machines.

But it was fitting that this beautiful 6-mile-long lake, so vivid in our happy memories, should treat us to spring ice at its best two days later. I arrived at 915 to an amazing sight: I think there were 6 Whizzes—count em!—setting up. I recognized Steve Lamb’s son and Denis of course, but many of the others were newish to me. I made a little mental note of what lay ahead: These guys rarely get together. You won’t see much of them, as they goad each other towards Mach 1. Still there were slower boats. Kate was there with her lovely BDX, a boat both enclosed and comfortable, says covetous I who hasn’t evolved comfort in my mini-skeeter as yet. Also Rambling Roger, Jim G, Chris, Guy, and Curtis–hardly a slowpoke—and perhaps others. The wind was NW, variable in speed, perhaps 5-10 knots, the sun was bright; and you felt that deep honor to be in such a environment. Life had again given you a priceless gift!

The whizzes zoomed past me as we tacked the long beat to the north. I lost a clevis pin–as usual–for the steering cables and found myself out of control in the strong wind. This is one of the wonderful advantages of the free-standing rig:  The sail is never limited by shrouds.  You don’t put a stopper-knot in the sheet, and, no matter what the boat’s course, let the sail sheet out to a total luff. You can even approach a pressure ridge lying downwind.

Eventually I got to that enormous and wild wetland at the North end of the lake. The Whizzes had already disappeared South, but Guy Polyblank had stayed behind, lulled by the beauty perhaps, and soon Curtis joined us for a gab. Then with the Northwest wind still strong, we stitched in company those beautiful 6 miles,  exploring  the northern bays, and the lee side of Twin Islands at the half-way point. Back at the Ranch, warming in my car, one of those precious little jewel experiences happened. Both Guy and I had singlehanded the Atlantic; Curtis is a lifetime sailor. We three went at it, full tilt, telling yarns to true believers. Usually impatient, I was in no hurry to leave that car.

But the best of the day was yet to come. Though the wind was moderating, Guy, against all odds, headed North again. Bloody hell, I mused. If he’s going, I’m going. At the half-way point, frequently becalmed, I shouted across, “Shall we risk this?”. His excited pantomime was crystal clear, so we continued; often finding mini-blasts of wind which boosted us a full mile on an ever-so-close port tack. Up in the swamp, we explored some beaver-lodge like structures, and then wisely remembered the very iffy down-wind-light-air roulette wheel that lay ahead.

But here was exactly what I’ve always needed: Match racing a seasoned sailor downwind in the school of light air.  I learned and learned! Sometimes Guy would be moving full-tilt North, winding it up, while I was blasting South but slowing. Boat speed was always the paramount concern; orientation was secondary.  In that encounter, Guy, heading away from the destination was ahead of me heading toward it.   He was soon to peel and head South; I was soon to gybe and wind up to the North.   Each gybe was way overcompensated, into a beat.   I found that each time I “peeled off” after winding up, I would have to rivet my eyes to the tell-tales, as the speed lessoned, to keep that airfoil from stalling.   More than an hour later,  within seconds of each other, we arrived at the pits,  excitedly shaking hands, giggling, comparing notes. Everyone except Roger–still rambling somewhere– was fully packed up, as we two faced that eternal problem: how to leave such beauty behind. We couldn’t!  Forget the trip home. We spent another hour enjoying our sport at its best, even evangelizing a father-son team on ice bikes.

Who knows what lays ahead? Never say never. But if this is truly our season’s close, what a fantastic final scene it was!

Post Script: Sailing well downwind is to shift thinking from the external (boat orientation and destination) to the internal (immediate boat performance and fun).  One really forgets about the destination and asks, “am I having fun right now?”.  If my situation is ‘wound up’, the destination will take care of itself.  Is this perhaps a life parable?  I’m presently at another decision point in my long dance with cancer, and have chosen to stay ‘wound up’,  wether the destination be near or far.  There’s a smile on my face–albeit tinged with sadness–which is deeply content.




Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment

pushaw report

Sailed Pushaw lake all day Sunday, great ice seemingly endless. Only explored southern half from Gould landing. Grade 8 white ice for first couple miles, then grade 7 with increasing frozen mashed potatoes. No hazards found anywhere up to Twin island. Sailed 100 miles on ice boards!

(I think this is from the amazing jeff brown….jory)

Posted in 2016 Season

Ice Fest

So this is what a Spring Fling looks like: nearly forty boats touring all over the lake, a DN regatta under way, lots of wind & sun and the Ronkonkoma Long Island boys grilling on the beach passing out burgers and dogs. There was a small flock of SkimBats roosting in the lee of First Island with perfect access to the smoothest ice. Some of the cruisers made a great game of sailing deep and fast through the narrows, as far as the pressure ridge blocking the way at the south end, rounding up in a great charge of wind that lived there all day and pinching back out. The South Broads were not accessed.
We were treated to the company of Tom Nichols and Dan Clapp, tuning their A and B class Skeeters. The lake could barely contain the orange A boat:

The DN Regatta was the Maine States, which David Fortier won. We’ll post the official results once they become available. Race committee was a couple of cheapskates, Lloyd and Bob MacEwen. Tip of the helmet to you guys for helping out:

Below, Dave and Doug dukeing it out:

It’s not clear what sort of cleats Doug Raymond is wearing, but they sure can throw up some ice:

For many people, this was to be the last day of the season. Southern lakes are done and the entire east coast is about to be hammered by a massive blizzard. By the time all that snow melts there will be crocuses peeking out of the melt pools and even our ice could be mush. We will, of course, continue to scour the big inland lakes for a good surface with enough ice under it. But Damariscotta Lake probably won’t survive. What an elegant and generous lake she’s been this winter. And after all she’s been through in these past weeks, to have the fortitude to get us yet one more session with wind and sun is way beyond what even the most optimistic iceboater could expect. And on a weekend! We wish her the best this coming off-season.

There will still be boats on the lake for tomorrow, while a few will take a chance on Pushaw, which is reported to be pretty nice. We say never to leave sailable ice, but leaving it with a wind burnt face and smoking runners seems like the best way to hold the memory. And if this is indeed the last hurrah, well then we couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Big thanks to Anita for hosting iceboaters at the Inn, and setting up a fine lunch for us today. Warming in the sunny window overlooking the lake with an excellent fish chowder on the board just put the whole day over the top.
These fantastic photos were taken by Mark Allen, of Jefferson. Thanks for sharing, Mark, and you’ll be warm again soon, don’t worry.

Lastly, in spite of all the fat lady implications above, we’re still planning on getting in the 100 mile race. Stand By!

Posted in 2016 Season | 1 Comment