Ice Not Being Nice

Ice-out is always a time of mixed feelings. Sad to see it go, but anticipating fine spring days. These folks would like nothing more than to see it go period. Looks like an ice jam burst and started a massive flow. This is last week in Beauceville, Quebec. You don’t need to speak French to understand the despair.

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CIBC Spring Meeting May 5

Nite sailor Fred Musser and Sarah Sheffield have graciously offered to host our pot luck lunch party and meeting at their house in Union. Sunday, May 5, meeting to start at 11:00 sharp with lunch to follow.
Address is 1611 Clarry Hill Rd., Union. Take 235 north from RT 1, or Clarry Hill Rd south from RT 17. You’ll find it: you’re iceboaters and the one thing we know how to do is find things like hidden launch ramps and good lunches! The food gets better and better each year. Thanks for making it happen! BYOB

Posted in 2019 Season

NEIYA Spring Gathering

Be sure to attend the NEIYA spring party at Moore Brothers Company in Bristol RI on April 20 to toast a great season and plan the next one…. Info here:

And while you are clearing your calendar for that event check out this great video of South Bay Scooters doing their thing back in the seveties. What, exactly, is their thing? Crossing long stretches of open water and fetching up on the ice on the far side.

Shot by Bill Mills, sent to us by Katie Bradford and edited and YouTube-ed by Deb Whitehorse. It takes a village!

Click and enjoy….

Posted in 2019 Season

Ice Report

The ice is decomposing beautifully. Not just slowly thinning out, but doing all kinds of interesting things.

There’s four inches of dense, smooth slush over seven inches of hard, pencilated ice. Almost a foot of material, but not strong enough to hold a person. If you were to reach into that hole and snap off a chunk it would look like this:

Spring meeting still planned for first Sunday in May, but we haven’t found a venue yet. Lake Farm Inn still on the fence. And conditions on Damariscotta are getting close to ideal for a motorboat ride:

Posted in 2019 Season


With memories of spring sailing still fresh, and those days lost to drain holes and slush still hurting, there all solutions a-building.

Bob Strzelewicz has just finished two styles:

This one has steel angles bolted to the plate runners and will be great on slush.

This one is the more classic skunner in which an old downhill ski is slotted, a mounting system designed and the plate runner dropped down through. In this case the wood cheeks are fastened up from the bottom, and a relief milled in the cheeks to allow for the chocks to pivot.

The jury’s still out as far as I know regarding the effectiveness of skunners compared with angle style slush runners. But the style below, pioneered in Quebec, solves a different problem.

When crossing a skimmed over drain hole, the nose of the ski fetches up on the far side of the hole before the weight of the runner breaks the ice, drops in and rips off your plank. If the runner does break through the ski will provide some lift on the water, and the nose will get you up and out of the far side of the hole. Denis Guertin had documented this with photos which are pretty conclusive. That certainly is above and beyond the call of duty, but the call of spring sailing is pretty strong, too.
In this case, the stiffeners on the insert runner rests directly on the ski, allowing about 1/2″ of blade to protrude. Aluminum brackets secure the runner to the ski. The tip of the ski extends a foot beyond the front of the runner.
All three of these styles will also help get through shell ice, both sailing through it and in the worse case, pushing the boat through if it’s really deep.

As always this time of year: the iceboat building season starts now!

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Chickawaukie Ice

According to official Chicky Ice Monitor Lloyd Roberts, ice out on the lake is called at today, 6:oopm. Damariscotta is not far behind. Megunticook is half out, and Hosmer and Mace’s still have everything intact. The mystery of ice and micro climates continues to baffle and enchant. The ice is such a gift; acres of hard slippery stuff just crying out to be played upon. And then one day it’s gone, water gone soft, limp, swishing this way and that, not sure what to do with itself until once again the cold comes.

Meantime, have a look at this great clip of sailing: state of the art 1935. Iceboats show up eventually, and then some stern steering land yachts.

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April 4. We Might Actually Be Done

No sub-freezing temps anywhere in view, with rain on the way. Last night it was twenty degrees here and the rain barrel made a half-inch of black ice, and by noon it was still there but penciled. The surface on Mace’s was fast and grippy, but the wind used up all it had yesterday and didn’t save enough for today. But there were just enough nice gusts to keep the iceboater interested on an upwind-downwind quarter mile course. Great for practicing starts, chasing shifts and mark roundings.
The pond is right on the road so people would stop and come down to see what iceboating was all about. A great place for sport outreach.

Lloyd always said that if you’re on a small lake, marks make it much more interesting.

Marks are supposed to be orange, but AN orange will work in a pinch.

Spring meeting planned for May 4 or 5, but we haven’t yet nailed down a venue. Hoping for Damariscotta Lake Farm Inn, as usual, but it’s complicated. Stand by for an update soon.

Posted in 2019 Season | 1 Comment