Dog Days of August and Cooler Dogs to Come

Upfront apologies employing the oldest trick in the advertising/PR/communication game. My old ad copy instructor would have failed me for using a dog picture. Cute babies and dogs will capture most everyone’s attention and in our case a “black ice” is even more effective. We are almost through the dog days of August and time to THINK ICE once again. We are only a few months away.

Now that I have your attention, there are a few things I need to share.

1) Classified Section
I have purged all the old classified ads for the upcoming season. If you had something posted and it’s still available give me a shout I may be able to resurrect what you had or better yet just submit a new one.

Ad posting reminders

  • Post and view ads at
  • All ads MUST have a way to contact you either email or phone. This limits the number of nuisance posts and reduces clutter in this section.
  • Include pricing and location info.
  • Want a picture send directly to me at
  • If your item sells please let me know via email so it can be removed.
  • Don’t forget, all ads will appear after approval. If you don’t see it right away give it a little time.

2) Annual swap and lunch date to be announced in the next week or so. Other off ice racing and cruising events will follow shortly there after.

3) Still need some website administrative help. You don’t have to know anything . The job comes with instruction and a help line (me).

4) Always seeking input and suggestions from seasoned sailors and newbies alike. Just reach out or post a comment below. I know this is not a shy crowd so speak up.

Thinking of ICE to play on,

John Stanton
NEIYA Vice Commodore

P.S. For those who only come to look at the pictures, you know who you are. There’s more!


Hope everyone enjoyed (or at least remembers) Part One of this little missive. As I was halfway through writing it I recalled another “knots-per-dollar” story that had to do with iceboats and yachts and, while seemingly innocuous at the time, ended with me getting fired from a perfectly good job.

This one was a life-changer.

A few years back (around the turn of the Millennium if you must know) I was working as a first mate / deckie on a big carbon maxi boat. 80 feet long, lightweight, former race yacht turned daysailer. She went pretty well to say the least. It was a cool job but we never raced and I found myself increasingly bored with the same ol’ same old. Iceboating had reared it’s ugly head the previous winter and I was hooked — and had a bit of an attitude I guess…. Anything less than 45kts or so wasn’t fast enough to impress me anymore.

The boat’s owner was really proud that he had paid for the boat by selling a vintage Ferrari to a certain (recently retired) late night talk show host. The sale price of the car was the same as the purchase price of the boat. He liked to mention this- often. I used to kid him that he’d been ripped off as the Ferrari was faster than the boat. He would kid me back by saying not as many people could sleep in a Ferrari and it didn’t even have a galley.

All in good fun of course.

So there we were one summer day, beam reaching down Buzzard’s Bay toward Newport, RI in about 15 knots of breeze. Boat making an easy 10-12 knots. Pretty darn idyllic.

I was chilling out in my usual spot by the running backstay grinder pedestal, watching the scenery go by. I was still jazzed about a bunch of whales we’d seen in Cape Cod Bay the previous day and looking forward to seeing friends in Newport. But mainly I was wishing winter would hurry up and arrive so I could rig my ultra-cool, new-to-me 1962 DN (US 2172) and get on the ice for my second winter season.

I was already hooked in a bad way.

The Boss was steering, happy as could be when we surged to about 13 knots on a puff and he mused aloud that he was probably getting the best knots-per-dollar ratio of anyone out on the water. I won’t say what he paid for the boat but his Kts/$ ratio was hovering at about $70-$80K at that moment.

What can I say? Bored and feeling a little cocky I pointed out that “Hell, the iceboat I bought last year goes fifty or sixty maybe and I paid just shy of $700 for it! Wanna do the math on that one?” I must have gone on for another sentence or two, just for the hell of it but I do recall the Captain looking at me out of the navigator’s hatch, bugging his eyes out and making throat-cutting gestures telling me to zip my lip. I guess he realized that the boss was getting a little annoyed…

Did this shut me up? Shockingly, no — I just kept babbling about it. Finally, I got the hint and let it go.

But about a minute later (right on cue!) we were passed by a couple on an orange Hobie 18. What they were doing out in the middle of Buzzard’s Bay is beyond me but there they were — not even trapezing, just sitting on the hiking racks, possibly drinking beers, waving and having a great time as they smoked by.

Now, I grew up sailing a Hobie 16 and the sight of this couple on the Hobie set me off all over again; speculating at length about the cost and speed ratios of the Hobie 18 mixed in with a few comments about the male/female ratio on that boat versus ours. (All guys on our boat. Bummer.) Oh, I was on a roll alright….

Once again, the captain is making a face that says “Dude, what are you thinking, the guy is annoyed enough!” And once again, I just had to keep going, wondering aloud if they were going double our speed or only 30% or so faster, noting that they weren’t even pushing, that they would be in the bar and/or at dinner before we would, that there are things besides sailing that are also fun to do on a Hobie trampoline…. You get the idea. Basically, I was being an ass.

That trip and season finished up without incident but the writing was on the wall. I was (very rightfully!) let go at the end of that season for a list of things which of course included an attitude problem (which was worse than they thought) and a tendency to not work much during the winter when the boat was in the shed and the lakes were frozen. I was already skipping work to go iceboating. Writing. Wall.

So there I was, the day I got canned, in the middle of my “retirement party.” By which I mean that my awesome neighbor Jules and this guy Tony I worked with were over and we were blasted drunk by about 10:45AM. Seemed like a reasonable course of action at the time.

Have to back track a little here: A day or so before all of this I had emailed Lloyd Roberts (one of the very first emails I’d ever sent, by the way) looking for guidance on how to make a new plank — I’d broken my first one the year before and needed to replace it. I’d met Lloyd on the ice once and had read “Think Ice” but didn’t know him that well. He called in the middle of the festivities and in my condition (blotto) I think I was a little short with him —I didn’t realize who it was. (I think anyway. You’d have to ask Jules.)

As the fog lifted the next day I had a hazy recollection of talking with him and felt terrible that I had snubbed him. So I emailed him, explained what had been going on the day he called, and performed a full mea culpa. Tacked on a plea for forgiveness and begged once again for help with a new plank.

Shameless then as now!

His response confirmed my hunch that he might be one of the coolest people I’d ever met. I recall it verbatim to this day. He wrote:

“T — Don’t sweat the job thing — the happiest, sailing-est iceboaters are the ones who don’t put too much emphasis on things like work. Call me when you’re ready and I’ll tell you how to make a new plank. THINK ICE! Lloyd” Thanks Lloyd!

I took his advice to heart, built a new plank (Still have it!) and have been having a blast sailing iceboats ever since. Even if it’s meant a few lean winters over the years….

And by the way, my knots per dollar ratio is still way better than that carbon maxi boat’s….


Mid Summer Safety Message


Spotted this vessel with a very winter themed name last night at Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT. It was a hot night, really hot, but the name cooled me right down and long to be back on a big (thick) plate of ice.

It’s never too early to remind everyone that there is Thin Ice somewhere. On July 29th that would be tied up to a slip in Westport, CT.

Think Ice and enjoy the rest of the summer,

John Stanton
NEIYA Vice Commodore


Hello All….

Lots of talk about sailing speed lately. No question soft-water boats are going faster and faster–foils, wings, lighter structures, and endless design innovations are getting normal boats up to some impressive speeds. And impressive budgets. Which got me thinking about the price of speed. Where is the value? Lloyd Roberts touched on this subject in the phenomenal book “THINK ICE!” and I’d like to elaborate a little…. Read on, this is brilliant.

I just saw a video from the A-Class Catamaran North Americans down in Florida. Veteran A-Cat and DN competitor Ben Hall was interviewed and talked about how the A-Cat was the closest thing to a DN he could find, great speed per dollar spent and so forth. He made some great points and is certainly qualified to speak on the subject! The bottom line was that you can get into that class with an older boat on the cheap side, say $9-10K. If you want to go high end and play with the big boys the budget gets up to around $30K; I think a foiling Moth dinghy costs about the same for a top of the line model. How fast do these things go? Let’s be generous and say they max out at around 30 kts. I think that’s realistic and it makes the math easy if we want to figure out how much we are gonna fork over for each knot of speed: $1,000 per knot. Hmmm….

What about keelboats? Forget it. The things have lead attached, for Christ’s sake. And lots of crew to feed and clothe and post bail for after you’ve picked up the bar tab. Now and again a modern sport boat will get into the 20kt range at a price of I-have-no-freaking-idea. Let’s say $200,000 for a hot 30 footer that will red-line at 25kts downwind right before the bow plows into a wave and the kite blows up. By my calculations we are up to $8,000 per knot. Ouch.

Wanna race a big TP52 or maxi yacht? Or do a major campaign–build the boat, crew it, ship it from regatta to regatta, plane tickets and hotel rooms for everyone, meals, housing, super-cool crew gear, practice sails, racing sails, new sails, modified sails, delivery sails, old sails, and more stuff we can’t even comprehend– you’re gonna want a big sponsor because the budget is going to have more than one comma in it. As fast as your boat might be your knot/dollar ratio is going to plummet. I don’t have solid data on this but let’s say your TP52 campaign for the year is gonna set you back 2 mil. The racing will be great and the boat will hit 25kts at some point if there is breeze and you’re surfing down a nice wave (but you’ll probably be in the Med and it’s usually pretty light there) and for that one shining moment your kt/dollar ratio will spike at $80,000. When the boat falls off that wave and slows down to ten knots that’s going to get worse really fast….

And now to the big time…. The last America’s Cup cost Larry Ellison $150 million that he admitted to. ‘Fess up gang, we all watched it and when the commentators went ape-shit and raved about the boats “flying at almost 40 knots!” we all gave ourselves a smug pat on the back and felt pretty bad-ass because when our iceboat is going 40kts the day is only beginning to get interesting. Don’t get me wrong, those boats are impressive and I’m too chicken to sail one in anything less than a drifter and, even then, only with close adult supervision. But, Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ, we are up to about $3,750,000/knot. And it just occurred to me that although he wrote the checks Larry didn’t get to sail on the boat.

I’m not slamming A-Cats, Moths, keelboats or even big multihulls. Even though windsurfers and kiteboards are relatively cheap the top end speed is a bit limited…. The design, development, build detail and performance of all these boats is equal to or beyond anything we are up to in the hard-water world. In a perfect universe I’d have Larry Ellison money and an airplane hangar full of A-Cats, Moths, and DN’s for my enjoyment. I earn my daily bread sailing a 54 footer that weighs over 21 tons. At nine knots the boat is loaded waaaayyyy the hell up and drags half the Atlantic Ocean along behind it. And it’s AWESOME. All of these boats are absolutely amazing.

But the hottest soft water boat there is can’t hold a candle to even the weakest piece of junk that rides on skates. My first iceboat is a 1962 DN from Maryland with a spruce rig and rodent-damaged sail (chewed on here, pee’ed on there…) Paid less than $700 for it and I’ve hit 50kts several times with it, which puts me in the $14/kt range. Which is $3,749,986/kt better than Larry Ellison- Eat your heart out Larry!! Look at your own iceboat budget and do your own math if you haven’t already, you’ll be glad you did.

No matter what the budget or the speed just be glad that we can go out and get a Lockley Skimmer or an ancient DN or a CheapSkate or any blade-borne contraption and get on the best side of that knots-per-dollar ratio there is!

Think Ice!

James “T” Thieler DN US 5224


Hello All-

Way back in May when the Volvo Ocean Race came to RI our own Bill Converse was on the scene. You may know that in addition to being a DN campaigner, car builder and musician he is also quite a photographer.

He did not have access to a spectator boat for the Volvo stopover but he must have had a telephoto lens worthy of the most intrusive Hollywood paparazzi- check out the following photos to see what I mean!

Many thanks Bill- Well done!

Think Ice!! T

James “T” Thieler

From Way Out West

Mike Bloom sends this little shot in from way out west in Minnesota. Not sure when, where or how he stumbled on it but he says it’s a sign that this winter will be a good one for the hard-water crowd!

Winter is in the air gang…. Five months to ice…..



Hey Gang…. Looks like the one and only Meade Gougeon has emerged from the swamps of Florida to check out the Maritime Museum in St. Micheals, MD.

Meade, along with his brother Jan, has racked up a ton of miles in the DN over the years and has a pretty good collection of silver to show for it (including NA champs in ’80 and ’97). When they weren’t ripping up the DN circuit they were busy building and sailing an array of soft water craft that staggers the imagination. Monohulls, multihulls, motorboats, small craft, and maybe even aircraft- you name it.

Oh yeah, they also brought adhesive to the masses with this stuff you may have heard of called WEST System Epoxy. The glue that holds the iceboat world together- literally!

Recently Meade has gotten away from racing DN’s to battle mangroves, sharks, alligators and insects by participating in the Everglades Challenge, this crazy small boat race down at the south end of Florida. Makes a day on the ice sound like a walk in the park….

My father bumped into him recently at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, MD and they had a great time shooting the shit about all of the above- Glad to hear Meade is out and about and was able to outrun the ‘gators and visit Maryland- We all say hello!

See the photo- that’s Meade on the left in the red shirt and of course his trademark cap!


Greetings Everyone-

Looks like the Fourth of July has rolled around again- time for cookouts, fireworks, parties, and a long weekend.

Let’s not forget everything it took to create this country in the first place. Take a moment to appreciate all the work and sacrifices made long ago by those who actually had the guts to tell The King, in writing, to go suck it.

Also keep in mind that we are less than six months from sailing on some nice, fresh, clean ice. The cool summer bodes well for the coming season…. Get cracking on that iceboat work list!

Best, T. Thieler

Open Wheel Wednesday Postponed Till Thursday 7/2

Just like ice boating, race cars are subject to the weather. See you there Tomorrow.

Race Postponed till Thursday July 2


It was great to see The Rocket stern-steerer at the Mystic boat show- congrats to Nels Lybeck for getting her there- she made quite an impression!

In other news the Indy 500 has come and gone for the year and it ain’t ice season yet so that means it’s time for Open Wheel Wednesday at the Seekonk Speedway!

Yes, July 1 (this Wednesday) is Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway- I’ve gone a few times and it’s a blast! Put it on your calendar!

Fast cars. Loud noise. Close racing. Crashes. Food. Beer. And that’s just on the drive to the track. The racing is REALLY cool! And all pretty cheap- Great way to get away from boats and water for a night and indulge your inner motorhead. Would be great to see a bunch of NEIYA people there!

More info on the Seekonk Speedway site- call me if you want to carpool from Newport-

Did I mention it’s loud? It is… Ear plugs aren’t a bad idea- See you all there!

James “T” Thieler

Big Ice in June – Wooden Boat Show ON NOW!


The Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport starts today and runs through the weekend (6/26-28). If you have attended before, I don’t have to tell you why you need to go back.

Besides the usual beautiful new and old finely crafted vessels the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club have brought their fully restored classic stern steerer Rocket (all 50 feet of her) to the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport. John Sperr of the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club put together a great page detailing some of Rocket’s restoration and shake down cruise on the Hudson in 2014.  She will be on display in the “I Built it Myself” area and easily stick out from and dwarf the smaller home built crafts.

She was last seen on ice during her maiden sail on the Hudson in 2014 and again this past season on home ice. If you missed either of these opportunities you must come. As we all know, ice can be fickle and a craft her size requires big and thick ice, so this weekend is your best opportunity for a sure viewing. Hope to see you there.

Summer and fall will burn hot for a few months but as always THINK ICE!

John Stanton
NEIYA Vice Commodore


Hey Gang-

July 1 is Open Wheel Wednesday at Seekonk Speedway- I’ve gone a few times and it’s a blast- Put it on your calendar! Would be great to see a bunch of NEIYA’ers there- Duhamel and Converse have been going for years and when they finally dragged me up there I was hooked….

Fast cars. Loud noise. Close racing. Screaming and yelling. Crashes. Food. Beer. And that’s just on the drive to the track. The racing is REALLY cool!

Great way to get away from boats and work for a night and indulge your inner motorhead. If anyone wants to carpool from RI let me know!

More info on the Seekonk Speedway site-

James “T” Thieler

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