My apologies for the headline- just trying to get your attention…..I wouldn’t call this sail-able unless it flattens out a bit- and it may have thinned out a little since the photo was taken but hey, it’s something to look at- Might make a heck of a screen saver during the hot summer to come…

Our intrepid Vermont ice scout Paul Gervais took these photos in early April, not too long after we had sailed the Eastern Regional and New England Champs close by. The place is just off Colchester Point.

One wonders how the ice all piled up like this- time-lapse video would be wild, or maybe the likes of Bob Dill could explain it- Pretty impressive in any case! Enjoy the photos and thanks to Paul for taking time out from spring skiing to send them in!

Think Ice! T


Hello Gang- At least a few NEIYA’ers were on hand to check out the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in Newport last weekend-

The In-Port race on Saturday was cool (see the pics with the grey sky) but the send-off on Sunday was insane! Check the aerial photo out for a portion of the action-

Note a slick looking classic with a wood mast and a bowsprit in the foreground of the first few pics- And flying a green flag in the last one- At the helm was your Commodore, operating the vessel in a safe, courteous fashion….

If this comes back to town don’t miss it!!

Ok, enough of this soft water nonsense…. Back to obsessing about ice and the craft we slice it up with….

Think Ice! T



From hi-tech carbon offshore race boats to a giant square rigger and everything in between it’s all in Newport for the next few days- Come check it out! Round-the-bouys in-port race this Saturday, ocean leg start Sunday-

Should be cool! More info here:

Cheers!! T

Volvo Ocean Race In RI

Good Evening Folks- In case you hadn’t heard, the Volvo Ocean Race is coming to Newport, RI! The lead boats should be finishing in a few hours-

The top two or three are neck and neck after racing all the way from Brazil- pretty intense!

The skipper of the American boat, Charlie Enright, is a RI resident and former housemate of NEIYA race officer Oliver Moore- so there is the iceboat connection!

There is a race village all set up at Fort Adams in Newport- come to town and check it out! And watch the top boats finish live here:

Cheers, T

Spring Training, Oliver Moore Style….

Some of you may know that our own Oliver Moore hurt his shoulder early last season and needed to go into the shop for repair-

He is still a mental case but his shoulder is coming along well thanks to a strict PT regimen of left-handed beer-lifting, sloppy firewood stacking, stretching, strength training, and last but not least ripping around Rhode Island on a giant trimaran called LENDING CLUB….

This boat is amazing- originally called GROUPAMA 3 she is about 105 ft long, 70 ft wide, weighs 18 tons, has a 120 ft non-bendy mast and a mainsail that is about 4000 sq ft. Which is roughly equal to the total area of every iceboat sail owned by every member of the NEIYA.

Just prior to Oliver’s day aboard the boat and crew had crushed the Newport to Bermuda elapsed time record- 23 hours and 9 minutes, average speed 27 kts. That’s not a typo- less than a day…. Not bad!! For comparison, I did that race a few years ago on a 68 foot classic S&S in a light air year- took just shy of seven days. Bet we had a smoother ride though!

And of course we have to point out that as impressive as this boat is a rusty old Lockley Skimmer would give it a run for it’s money!

Anyway check out the photos- looks like The Kid had a fun day! Check the hair on the guy next to him in the last photo- guess we’d all look like that if we didn’t wear helmets!

Glad Oliver’s rehab is going well and looking forward to seeing him back on the ice next season-

Think Ice!!

James “T” Thieler

Spring Meeting Re-Cap

Hello All-

The NEIYA spring meeting was attended by a small but enthusiastic group this year! A good time was had by all, tips were shared, stories were told, chops were busted, and good food and beverages were heartily consumed.

It was good to see everyone, there were some new faces in the group as well as some returning veterans- Will be good to see all of them on the ice in the fall!

My apologies for not having more and better photos- But here are some of the gang checking out Chris Miller’s detached chocks and demolished runner from his unlucky afternoon at the Eastern Regional Champs-

In the foreground in #1 you can see Oliver Moore rehabbing his injured shoulder by lifting a special 16oz weight-
In #2 you see Jeff Kent taking a ribbing like a man- in all fairness his stuff is incredibly reliable- God only knows what the hell happened to Miller’s boat to do that much damage!
In #3 you see the whole crime scene….
In #4 Chad is demanding an answer of some sort
In #5 we see Jack Ericson in a rare moment of holding court. Note Miller’s damaged plank in the foreground awaiting repair….

Not visible- The BBQ and food, the other dozen or so people that showed up, the stack of masts we got to look at in the shop, the 23 foot-long dagger-boards under construction at the shop, and the Stones playing in the far end of the parking lot as promised. Always great to catch up with Mick, Keith and the guys.

Thanks to Jeff Kent for the venue, Steve Duhamel for helping tidy up, John Stanton and Eben Whitcomb for the door prizes, Bob Haag for the shopping trip, Mike for the food, and whoever brought the beer! And of course thanks to everyone who made the trip!

Hope everyone has a great summer and will look forward to seeing everyone at the fall meeting-

As always, Stay Tuned and Think Ice!!


NEIYA Spring Meeting TOMORROW!!

Hey Folks-

Don’t forget the NEIYA spring meeting is tomorrow (Saturday, April 25) at Composite Solutions Inc. in Hingham, MA-

See the post below for details- come one, come all! Good time guaranteed!

Think Ice! T.


Let’s try this again…
Greetings Folks!!

Cancel your plans for April 25 and head to Composite Solutions Inc for the NEIYA spring all-in-one get-together!

We are thinking BBQ, swap meet, and a few informal clinics; getting the most out of an older boat and the latest tuning theories and whatever else comes to mind.

Maybe even a few door prizes….

We’ve hired the Stones to provide the music, plus you get to ogle all the wild stuff Jeff has in progress around his shop…. Even the stuff in the scrap bin is cool….

Good time will be had by all. Bring your favorite beverages and favorite friends and we will see you all at CSI starting around 11am Saturday!

Composite Solutions Inc.
41 Sharp St
Hingham, MA
02043 USA

Think Ice!! T

End Of Season News….

Well Folks, it had to happen sooner or later…. The truly hardcore ice junkies up in Maine are putting Moosehead to bed and calling it a season. Mid-April? Not bad! So ’14/’15 is a wrap.

We are planning an end of season party/clinic very soon! Hammering out final date and venue details and will let everyone know as soon as we have a time and place-

For now don’t plan anything for April 25….

Think Ice and Stay Tuned!!!! T

James “T” Thieler12 Channing St.
Newport, RI. 02840

401 258 6230


Hello All- The Eastern and New England Champs have generated lots of great media and interest- We also saw quite a few new racers on the ice giving it a shot. Remember that we are happy to have a start for three boats of any class that show up at any event- come one, come all! One of the new faces on the track was Ron Bouchard and he was kind enough to share his thoughts and memories of his first time…. Take it away Ron!!

Everything You Need to Know to Enter Your First Race! By Ron Bouchard

I had been ice-boating for twenty years and had never entered a race. Why? Because I had no idea what the race entailed and did not want to look like a fool out there; how do you start? How many markers are there? Which way do you go? The guys racing are obviously highly experienced, high-tech, obsessed racer types, right? As I found out, some are and some are just like me. I told myself and others that cruising around was fine and I had no interest in entering a race, but that was not the truth. No matter the race, racing is thrilling! The feeling of “I’m gaining!” and the fact that the decisions you are making have a measurable impact. Long-short, I entered my first race last March (New England Championships. No, I did not win). It was an amazingly satisfying experience and when it was done I felt as I had accomplished something. I had overcome my fears and done something I had always wanted to do and did not look the total fool as I had feared. And now I am going to tell you what you need to know so you can enter your first race (please understand that these are the basics and I am not getting into different sails and runners and mast location, etc.):

The Course (see the drawing I have attached):

You all line up across a straight line, facing straight into the wind. There are two markers. The closer (leeward) one is in the middle point of the starting line, about 50 yards out. So, half the racers are to the right side of the marker and half to the left. The other marker is way out, straight up wind, about say a half a mile. A starter stands out in front of the racers, between the starting line and the closer marker (about 25 yards, so everyone can see him). He look to make sure everyone is up to the line, he asks if everyone is ready and raises his arms over his head. He waits a few beats and then drops his arms and you are off! Everyone runs as fast as they can and then when they can run no faster or the boat is getting away from you, you jump in.


Half the field heads off to the right and half to the left, BUT, everyone has to travel in the same directions (counter clockwise) so, the guys who start to the right of the field generally go way out to the right and are looking to make one tack to round the upper mark, which will be on their left. Keep the sail tight and the boom right down tight. It should be right off your shoulder pretty much. The guys who start to the left go out a ways and then tack and go BETWEEN the closer and farther marker and then tack again and go around the upper mark (also, so that it is on their left). This is something I did not know before I started the race. As you go around the outside of a marker, it should always be on your left side (counter clockwise). You cannot have guys heading straight for each other!

Heading down wind:

So, I was doing great, heading out towards the right and then tacking and heading towards the upper mark. I was actually gaining! The adrenalin was flowing. I was stoked!! Then I rounded the upper mark and headed back down towards the lower mark. I sail Lasers so I did what I do with them, which is to let the sail out and cruise down wind. Wrong! You keep your sail tight and let off just a bit so the sail rounds a bit and catches the air and head off more towards the right. The less air, the more you have to head up towards the wind to keep going. What is crucial is trying to take a smooth turn off that upper mark as you head down to keep your speed up. The more wind, the sharper angle you can take down towards that next mark. When you think you can gibe back towards the mark and round it without your speed dying out, do so. I pretty much just followed the guy in from of me. Then, back around you go!

A few notes:

  • The races I was in were three laps per race.
  • You want to lay pretty low in the cockpit for aerodynamics.
  • Your neck gets tired. A lot of guys had these loops on their helmet that they attached to a hook on their belts to help hold their heads up. I wish I had one during the race!
  • It’s good to know the basic rules of sailing and the different variations for iceboating:
    -Upwind; starboard has ROW over port, leeward boat has ROW over windward boat
    -Downwind; starboard has ROW over port, WINDWARD HAS RIGHTS OVER LEEWARD
  • Remember though, it’s not the America’s Cup. If in doubt, ease out!

The last two things I would say is that the guys I was racing with were so patient and helpful and welcoming and open with information. Everyone gathers behind the starting line area to tune their boats and exchange tips before the race so do not be afraid to ask if you have a question!

And secondly, I realized that no matter your experience level or the condition of your boat, you can have a great day racing. I had the best time!! I loved it and cannot wait to race again. I am hooked. Going fast is fun and when other boats are around you and you are eye-ing your next mark and you zip by it is a crazy rush. It has been a long time since I have had so much fun and I felt great that I did it. You will too.

Call me with any questions! I am happy to talk to you and tell you why that although cruising is a ton of fun, racing is more.

Ron Bouchard
Shelburne, Vermont


More Photos From Eastern’s / New Englands!!

NE_from_air2Thanks to Adam Alpert for the great aerial shots. See them at full scale One, Two and Three

Hey Folks- The hits just keep coming! If you were at this event you would have seen good ice, great breeze, a big fleet, a guy in a sheet blessing the ice and doing fascinating yoga moves (yes, that was odd), great racing, and last but not least a fly-by from a rather sweet looking helicopter.

As luck would have it there was a shutterbug aboard and he snapped a few shots of our group. As even more luck would have it our own Doug Merrill knows the pilot and sent these pics our way-

I immediately told him to offer the pilot a free NEIYA membership in exchange for a winter of airborne ice recon. Still waiting to get a response but we have a feeling that the fuel budget might be a bit of a stretch for the club finances….

So have a look at these cool pics- it was an awesome day! Look closely and you can see all kinds of cool details:

Joe Meade erasing incriminating footage from his GoPro camera
Ramblin’ Roger’s blue boat melting into the ice while he keeps score
Andre Baby either recording finishes or taking notes for his next novel
Peter Van Rossem and Warren Nethercote saying “Eh?” like the sneaky Canadians they are, eh?
Commodore Thieler taking a pre-race leak in the pits and practicing his on ice dance routine
Gervais’ dog Sailor taking a pre race-dump in the parking lot
Eben Whitcomb chugging his ninth cup of coffee for the day (he was taking it easy for once)
Eric Anderson shamelessly rigging the starting draw to put himself on the favored side
Doug Merrill pointing at the helicopter and trying to act like it’s no big deal that he knows a guy who owns a helicopter
Chad Atkins jokingly threatening to scratch Jack Ericson’s immaculately painted boat
Jack Ericson seriously threatening to beat Chad Atkins senseless with a ball-peen hammer if he even thinks about it
-Various skippers tweaking and adjusting and getting into the racing mode- and giving each other the Stink-Eye and talking an alarming amount of trash
-And in the far distance, at the edge of the frame, several yards from the lake’s edge, a bent and scarred hemlock that was nailed by Vice Commodore Stanton’s runaway boat the previous day. This is a story in itself…. Stay tuned for that one!


In the meantime enjoy the pics and remember there is STILL ice way up north- the Chicki nutcases are up there scoping out Moosehead for the weekend so if you are looking for one more trip check the CIBC site and see if you can link up with them- Stanton did the other day and he had a blast!


Also remember we are looking to have an end of season get-together somewhere, sometime, no details whatsoever right now but stay tuned….

Think Ice!

James “T” Thieler
12 Channing St.
Newport, RI 02840

401 258 6230

Cool Video Footage From 2015 Easterns / New Englands

As we head into spring it might be that we have a lot of armchair sailing ahead…. Has to happen sooner or later. Here are three videos to get into the rotation! Thanks to Joe Meade for the camera and Jeff Kent for what Oliver Moore calls the “Stern Mounted Narcissism Pole.” Happy viewing! T

Peter Van Rossem tearing it up with stern-mounted camera in light to medium breeze at New Englands; watch for the big pass at about 5:45!

T. Thieler with stern mounted camera, same day; watch for the pass at 8:15- the red boat is skippered by Paul Tropea, who was pushing his vintage boat to the max! Hope to see more of him next year- I think he lives in Argentina for half of the year, wonder if he will be training down there all summer….

Joe Meade with bow-mounted camera during the big breeze at the Eastern champs- check the mast bend at about 3:30! Must be a CSI rig to survive that….

It really was a terrific weekend of sailing- thanks to all who turned up and made it happen- more to come….

Stay tuned! T

James “T” Thieler
12 Channing St.
Newport, RI 02840

401 258 6230

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