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


If you missed the Eastern Regionals you can get a taste of what went on by watching the following vid from Joe Meade- His GoPro camera rolling all weekend and his commentary on this clip is great- Thanks Joe!



Who knows, maybe we will get another shot at sailing before the ice goes out up north….

We are also thinking of doing another spring meeting / BBQ / awards / tune-up / shit-shooting event, possibly at Jeff Kent’s shop, some weekend in the spring if and when the ice goes out up north-

So that is all set- all we need to do is figure out where, when, and how and we’ll let everyone know- Hope we can get some people to come hang out and celebrate an interesting season!

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

401 258 6230

Maine States ON For Sunday!

From Chicki Race Control:

The Maine State Championships will be held this coming Sunday on Lake Damariscotta!

Skippers meeting and start at ususal time. Don’t worry about the forecast; it’ll be just fine.

Keep an eye on the CIBC site for details!


EASTERN / NE Boat Set-Up

There has been a tradition in the New England clubs (and elsewhere I think) of making the top skipper for the weekend disclose the gear, setup, etc that did the trick- Seems like we have more people getting interested in racing these days so I am thinking we ought to start doing this again. So with that in mind here goes- I apologize if this is a bit much but I just polished off a big cup of coffee (I’m not addicted, I just like the taste) so this is gonna be a long one….

MAST- My whole program is built around the same CSI/Kent mast I’ve had since 2008. It’s a 4.1 model, great mast, in wide use, and has been a great constant as I fiddle with the other components of the boat.

HULL- A CSI hull, two years old. A very sexy piece of kit! Jeff has been refining the design and construction of these things for years and he hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s legal, I swear….

PLANK- I switched to a softer plank this season- the previous one bent 1 3/8″ (34mm )with my weight, which is 175 pounds (80kg) of pure muscle. Really…. The current one bends 1 3/4″ (44mm) with my weight. May not sound like much of a difference but this makes the boat much more forgiving to sail. This is about the same deflection all the hotshots have been recommending for years.

SAILS- I used a set of new 1D sails last weekend- Honestly can’t tell the difference between them and the North sails I’ve been using for the last several years. Used the flat one Saturday in the big breeze and the full one Sunday when the wind was down a little.

RUNNERS- All CSI carbon bodies, 440C steel. Used max thickness (1/4″) inserts sharpened to 90 degrees with a ton of flat (22″ maybe?) in the big breeze on Saturday and went to minimum thickness (3/16″) 100 degree short inserts (32″ long) with less flat in the softer breeze and softer ice on Sunday. These seemed to stay on top of the softer ice better than 90’s or thin T’s. My sharpening technique consists of dropping all my blades at Steve Duhamel’s shop every year- he makes them PERFECT.

SET-UP- I set the boat up to be more forgiving and sail-able than I have been for the past few years- mast step further forward, sidestays snug but not bar tight. Along with the softer plank this makes the boat much less work to sail (no easing the sheet and hiking out of the boat in the gusts) as the mast and plank do much more of the work. “Tune for effect!” as Jan Gougeon said. I’ve been sailing with the mast stood up fairly straight and the boom on the low side (12″ or so off back deck). Makes for a cramped office but the boat seems to like it! Maybe shrinking the gap between the boom and your legs makes a good end-plate effect? Food for thought…..

SAILING- As always you don’t want to sheet too hard off of the starting line and out of tacks and gybes. And in lulls. This seems really true with the softer setup. Less time fighting the boat means more time to look at tactics and laylines- big gains to be made here. Drag is the big enemy (esp. in big breeze) and I try to keep my toes pointed, knees bent, elbows in, and head tilted back as much as possible. Some experts gave me some good advice on tuning; Remember that half the race is downwind so when you are tuning before and between races don’t just race upwind and coast back to the pit- make sure your setup is soft enough for the downwind leg as well! Keeping the mast bent on the downwind leg is a big gain in speed and safety (bent mast=downforce=control).

MIND SET- I’m fortunate to travel with Chad Atkins (Holy Christ, did I just say that?) quite a bit and when the conversation isn’t completely in the gutter we talk boats (ours and other peoples), tuning and racing- this does wonders for getting your brain into iceboat mode- thinking about tuning, set up, tactical stuff, you name it- gets the surviving neurons firing. I’m also lucky to hang out with the CSI gang every Thursday and the brainstorming goes into high gear there as well- And of course at regattas a high percentage of conversations are about iceboat set up, construction, tuning…. An amazing learning opportunity- You can learn as much during dinner as you can on the ice! That’s why it’s good to attend….

PRACTICE- No substitute for time in the boat- Doesn’t have to be a big event- blowing out of work at lunch, setting up a pair of little marks and doing a bunch of laps on the local frog pond for a few hours against even one or two other boats can yield major results- No pressure, no scorekeeping, perfect time to experiment with different set ups and techniques- starts, tacks, gybes, mark roundings all get better. A good tuning partner is great to have- again, I’m lucky that Chad and I live a few miles apart and have similar gear and sailing styles- we beat each other up on the course and the post-mortems yield a lot of information. Our sparring sessions have sped us both up a lot. Plus it’s fun.

RECON- I am shameless when it comes to copying fast sailors and their setups and pestering them for go-fast tips. Scrutinizing photos on the web is a great tool as well. I’ve found many of the fastest sailors to be very forthcoming and have a notebook full of tips, tricks and rules of thumb- With that spirit in mind feel free to hit me with any questions you may have and we can all speed up and invent our own bag of tricks….

T Thieler US 5224

2015 New England DN Champs Report

Photo credit Doug Raymond


OK, Back to the action- Sunday dawned clear and calm, for awhile we wondered if there would be breeze enough to sail on ice that would surely soften in the sun later in the day…. Would we get the New England champs in on the heels of a good Easterns?

The Shelburne Days Inn staff saw several sore people limping into the breakfast area to down waffles, cereal, hard-boiled eggs and various combinations of meds to get through the day. Better livin’ through chemistry! The big breeze Saturday left pretty much everyone with at least some sore muscles but plenty of grins nonetheless.

Dressed and out the door and back to the launch site. Just about everyone who still had a functioning boat was there- only one or two people elected to end the season on a high note and hit the road early. Jim Hadley was one of them- normally we’d give him no end of grief for a stunt like this but he gets a pass for two reasons: First, he has a six month old baby at home (congrats, you big stud!) and second, he gave me the chicken salad sandwich he was saving for lunch later that day. He sailed great on Saturday and we look forward to seeing him and the rest of the NJ mafia next season! Chris Miller also hit the road after somehow ripping off two chocks and eviscerating a runner. A three-for-one breakage! A bummer as he made a heck of a big-course racing debut the previous day- watch out for him next season….

After a quick awards presentation for the Easterns we jumped right into the skippers meeting for the New England champs. Time was critical as the sun was getting higher in the sky and we wanted to get this one in the books ASAP-

There has been a bit of discussion over the years about how starting positions are picked- one wonders if it’s fair to start according to finish position, how to pick spots for the first race, etc. Think about it- fast guy wins first race, right side of the course happens to be really favored, fast guy starts heading that way every race and the boats that start heading to the left are pretty well screwed for the day- a full rich-get-richer scenario that even the most fervent right wing Republican Fox News viewer would have an issue with.

In order to have a more fair distribution of wealth (in terms of starting positions) the fleet elected to pick starting spots from the hat for every single race instead. We also had a long discussion about universal health care, fair practices, and whether or not evolution should be taught in public schools.

OK, maybe not but we did like the random starts for every race- It was an interesting experiment and I think a successful one- as (I think) Kent Baker said “A good sailor should be able to win a race from anywhere on the line.” So maybe it’s more equitable to arrange starts this way? Any statisticians in the group care to chime in here?

Back on the ice the course was set and boats lined up fast- Maryland’s own Rambin’ Roger volunteered to be starter/scorer and not only did the fleet a huge favor but also sacrificed an awesome sailing day to do it- AND this on a Sunday when we couldn’t even ply him with drinks and dinner to show our appreciation. This is either a rookie mistake on his part or he is just that good of a guy…. Let’s say it’s the latter. Put it on our tab for the fall Roger! We owe you big-time. Many thanks to him and the people that assisted him- Henry Capotosto et al…. Thanks also to Loretta Rehe and Deb Whitehorse who once again tallied up the scores from 3,000 miles away in Las Vegas. They have so far as far as we know avoided jail and the ER out there. For now…. Thanks ladies!

Less breeze (5-10 kts?) and slightly softer ice than Saturday meant some re-tuning and different runner choices were in order. Eric Anderson chose wisely (100 degree T’s if I recall) and took race 1. I scored this one with Roger and was thrilled to see a bunch of close mark roundings all through the fleet!

This turned out to be the order of the day as the fleet enjoyed close racing over the course of another seven races- the breeze was strong enough to bend rigs and maybe lift a runner once in awhile but most importantly the ice didn’t start to soften up until the very end of the day- if you avoided the white patches you could maintain speed-

At the end of the day we had 24 boats complete at least one race- well done to the guys with older boats and/or trying the racing thing for the first time- Nice job gang- Looking forward to seeing y’all on the line next year!

-Warren Nethercote made the trek from a mythical land to the north called “Nova Scotia” and showed good speed and smart sailing to take fifth.
-Eric Anderson kept the power on to take a solid fourth. We may see some fresh gear on his boat next year so watch out….
-Peter Van Rossem sailed a good series to take the tie-breaker from Eric to claim third- Peter is relatively new to the class and his obsessive quest for speed is paying big already-
-Chad Atkins did some hunting and pecking to find the right set-up and was going faster and faster as the day went on to take second.
-Your author was fortunate enough to have a good setup and was able to stay ahead this day-

Every sailor in the fleet enjoyed champagne sailing- sun, not too cold, decent breeze, a stunning backdrop of mountains in the distance, and a great fleet! I hope we can build on this next season- seems like people are getting charged up about sailing in New England and beyond- keep everyone pumped, drag people to the regattas and lets keep the party humming! Wonder if we can get 40 boats for Easterns and New Englands next year?!? Let’s make it a goal!!

Thanks to everyone who made this one happen- as always it was a cast of thousands (more or less) and most of all thanks to everyone who showed up to race- sailing is a bit more of a gamble than usual this time of year and we are all psyched that everyone took the risk!

Results and photos below- thanks to Doug Raymond for being the shutterbug all weekend- There are two shots of the start line, one of a visit from a big helicopter that gave us a close fly-by and fortunately didn’t blow any boats over, two exhausted sailors driving back to RI, and Chad Atkins getting coffee-ed up for the drive home…. Why sip when you can guzzle?

T. Thieler, US 5224

2015 New England Championship - March 29, 2015

Lake Champlain
Shelburne, Vermont

Gold fleet
Pos    Sail#         Name        Race>     1    2    3    4    5    6    7  Points
  1   US 5224      THIELER,      JAMES  (DNS)   1    1    1    1    1    1    6.00
  2   US 4487       ATKINS,       CHAD     2    2 (DNS)   5    2    2    2   15.00
  3   KC 2766   Van Rossem,  Peter (S)     3    3    4 (  6)   3    5    3   21.00
  4   US 5193     ANDERSON,       ERIC     1 (DNS)   3    2    4    6    5   21.00
  5   KC 3786   NETHERCOTE,     Warren     6    6    6 ( 19)   7    4    4   33.00
  6   US 4775 WHITCOMB III,   EBEN (S)     9 ( 11)   5    3    8    3    8   36.00
  7   US 4638      LOVEJOY,        GUY  (  8)   7    7    7    6    7    6   40.00
  8   KC 4360         BABY, ANDRE (GM)     5    5    2    4    5 (DNS) DNS   46.00
  9   US  637        Meade,        Joe     7    4   11 ( 13)  10    8   12   52.00
 10   US 3186      Ericson,       Jack    12   10    8    9 ( 17)  14    9   62.00
 11   US 5482      Merrill,       Doug  ( 14)  12   12   10   11   10    7   62.00
 12   US 4272      RAYMOND,       DOUG    11   13   10   12 ( 13)   9   10   65.00
 13   US 5478     Goritski,       Jack    10   14   13 ( 14)  14   11   11   73.00
 14   US 4626      Gervais,   Paul (S)    15    8    9   11    9 (DNS) DNS   77.00
 15   US 5023      Stanton,       John    17 ( 17)  15   16   15   13   13   89.00
 16   US 4596        Mayer,      Chris    16   15   19 ( 20)  16   12   15   93.00
 17   US 5512    Steinbaum,       Fred    18   16   17   17 (DNS)  15   14   97.00
 18   US 4110      MILBANK,   JOHN (S)    13    9   14   15 (DNF) DNS  DNS  101.00
 19   US 1085     Discenzo,        Art    19   21   16   18   12   16 (DNS) 102.00
 20   US 4032     Bouchard,        Ron    22   18  DNS    8 (DNS) DNS  DNS  123.00
 21   US 4009        BRUSH,    DON (M)     4   20  DNS (DNS) DNS  DNS  DNS  124.00
 22   US  480    Capotosto,      Henry    20   19   18  DNS (DNS) DNS  DNS  132.00
 23   US 3758       Tropea,       Paul    21   22  DNS (DNS) DNS  DNS  DNS  143.00
 24   US 4138          Doe,       John    23  DNS  DNS (DNS) DNS  DNS  DNS  148.00

Scoring system: IDNIYRA Worlds

The long ride home for a couple tired sailors

Saturday Video

Chris Mayer sent us this vid of a mark rounding in the breeze on Saturday-

Great racing this day! Check it out!


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