With shorter days and cooler nights we are all thinking about ice boating and the miles of black ice we hope to find this winter. Just as there are a few months till we sail again, a number of things MUST happen and individual efforts MUST take place before groups of pilots can safely congregate and sail.
Most of you know what occurs prior to setting up your boat in the pits and pushing off toward a nice plate.
Someone watched as the lakeside trees shed their leaves.
All manner of boat building advice and help is freely given.
Boats and equipment is bought, sold, traded and loaned by fellow sailors prior to first ice.
Runners are sharpened individually and en mass by skilled sanding volunteers.
Someone watched as fog and mists wafted over the body of water in the early morning hours.
Eyes were on the lake while morning frosts crept toward the water from the shore.
People gazed upon the first mirror black ice to skim out from shore.
Occasionally taking the long way to work or home to check on ice conditions.
One or more people poked at the new ice with a stick even though they know
Swung blunt instruments, a wise man from Rockport swears by the blunt end of an axe, and drilled test holes.
Talked to ice fisherman who are generally happy to break their solitude for a conversation about fish and ice.
Scouted off shore with skates, or sailing carefully stopping periodically to check grade and thickness.
People reporting back whether positive or negative. Insufficient ice or unsafe conditions change a bodies history plays an important role for future safe sailing.
Who where those someones? Who were those eyes? Who spent countless hours helping to others get ready to sail? Who communicated observations so that others would benefit?
The answer is simple. Heed the call. Members of the NEIYA. Please remember this when asked to contribute time, knowledge and skills toward club activities. Ice may form all by itself but it’s a team effort to bring people a group to the ice.
To follow is a first hand account by former Commodore Eric Anderson on the herculean efforts that he and others made to find (big) ice for last year’s DN North Americans. Eric thanks for all your contributions over the years.
Ready to help out? Contact me or any of the other officers
As we come into season let’s all sail fast, sail safe and think ice,
508-377-6100 aka the hotline
P.S. Our annual meeting, swap and lunch are ON for October 25th Westborough, MA Knights of Columbus Hall. More on that shortly.