Author Archive

A Season in Front of Us

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,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary
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.

Woodenboat show Opening Day

NEITH 1907 Herreshoff sloop

NEITH 1907 Herreshoff sloop

The sailing vessel Neith a 1907 Herreshoff sloop newly restored by Taylor & Snediker Woodworking and looked after by our Commodore Captain “T” sits tied up and awaiting your visit.

For those who have never been to the woodenboat show there are dozens of fine wooden yachts to fawn over as well as 100’s of woodcraft and nautical vendors all in one place. And all the activities that Historic Mystic Seaport usually has to offer.



Don’t miss out on sailing one of the classic cat boats or row out on the Mystic River in a dory. Could there be some impromptu match racing to the Mystic River Bridge? Maybe…

Gervais_live_oakSee what’s left of the Gervais Live Oak Tree. Any relation to a VT ice boater we know? You will have to ask him.

The event goes on all weekend, starting today.  T will be aboard or close by the Neith all weekend ready to give tours


See you there on Saturday.

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary
Cell 203-539-1891


Last week I asked the membership to share any and all memories of Rich Crucet.  Below are pictures and your thoughts.

Myself and a hardy contingent of seven NEIYA members attended Rich’s memorial dinner.  Most striking was the consistency of remembrances.  To sum up my own thoughts and the community’s , Rich was truly an altruistic person both off and on the ice.


In 2003 I was doing my first big regattas (Worlds and NA’s) at Plattsburgh, NY. I had only been sailing DNs for a year or two and one afternoon I was looking for a lighter helmet to replace the monstrous snowmobile helmet I had. A few people sent me to look for some guy named Bob Schumacher who had a few Jofa helmets to sell.

I was new and barely knew any faces or names but someone pointed me to a camper van and said he might be in there-

The door was open and I recall looking in and there was a group of guys crowded around a table full of beer and food. I can still recall the aroma…. Some guy with crazy dark hair and a shit-eating grin was telling stories and busting chops- and invited me in for a beer, a meal and, it turned out, to razz the new guy for awhile…. Had a few much-needed laughs!

That’s how I met Rich. Thanks for letting the new kid hang with the big boys that day. And for everything else.

Sail on, man.

James “T” Thieler
DN US 5224


Rich was clever and inventive, in addition to other fine qualities…

Ted Amaral

Editor’s note:  Look for parking brake photo in tribute album from Mallett’s Bay in Colchester, Vermont March 14, 2009. Also check out the vintage Lake Ronkonkoma ice creepers.


Rich first approached me when I went down to New England by myself to race in the NE’s at Lake Champlain almost ten years ago.

Rich saw me with the KC on the sail while setting up my boat and invited me to join him and others in his camper to have freshly baked blueberry bran muffins. That was my first impression of Rich Crucet.

How cool is that…

… almost ten years ago, he has always remembered my name since and has always approached me to say hello and chat at every event.

Rich was a great brother in our beloved sport. We will definitely miss him.


Bob Crinion
DN KC  4536


During the years I organized the NEIYA Swap Meet and Annual meeting I would always get a call from Rich to let me know how big a crowd he had rounded up from among his NY ice boating friends.  And who could say no to Rich with his excitement, passion and energy to make the annual trek to central Massachusetts.  He would bring a van load, no make that a boat load of people for a day of fun and camaraderie.  Our calls would inevitably turn to plans for winter sailing and always lasted for longer than either of us had anticipated.  Rich truly enjoyed people, commiserating with old friends and new friend alike.

His spirit, vitality and joy of life will be missed by his many ice boating buddies from across the Northeast.

Henry Capotosto
Former NEIYA Treasurer


I would like to add how generous he was – when we were at Gilbert Brook Marina, he offered to let me use his “facilities” and also was so gracious to let me try and use his push sled which I had a blast on.  It was the first time meeting him and we were instant friends.  He was that kind of guy.  He will be missed by many.

Kristen Buckley


Rich was an ice boat RACER and a true ice boat ENTHUSIAST!   He was always there to lend a hand, I will miss him.

Dave Fortier
DN US 4690


I met Rich for the first time this year while helping to scout Champlain ice for the DN North Americans.  My first impression was of this crazy looking guy, with a wonderful long island accent, in a ford dually with a camper and trailer.   Rich jumps out and starts talking about ice conditions.  Being new to the sport I quickly realized that ice boaters are a “different breed of cat”…. Having spent a day killing time with T, Oliver and Chad in Peru IL, I quickly came to the conclusion that their heads are wired differently than the rest of the general population and Rich was no exception.

Rich and the boys went out scouting ice sailing and pushing and upon returning was heard to say.

REALLY….. REALLY!!!!!  Like every time I use that sail the wind dies and I have to walk and push the boat in……”  (sadly shaking his head with a disgusted look in his eyes….).

Over the course of the days racing that weekend and the following I enjoyed some wonderful meals (soup and hot dogs cooked with a bernzomatic torch) and conservation in the camper with Rich and who ever stumbled in…

It was a pleasure listening to him describe his wife, their relationship and their adventures together.  “We’ve got the money, you never know when you are going to die and it will be all over.  My wife wants me to spend it, go enjoy and play and do the things that make you happy because it is over all too soon. ”

It has been an honor to know you Rich.

Louise Megan-Racine


I had a nice conversation with Rich this fall at the meeting/swap meet.  He told me about putting wheels on his DN and practicing race starts in the street in front of his house.  He would push the boat without a sail  down the street and jumping in simulating multiple starts to the bewilderment of his neighbors.  I saw him again up in Pittsburgh on Lake Champlain. He was a familiar, friendly face of enthusiasm for the sport of ice boating. My heart goes out to Rich’s family.

Kate Marrone

Thanks to all that shared their memories or just thought about their times with Rich on or off the ice over the past few days.

Rich sail fast on fair winds and shore to shore black ice,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

P.S. Please feel free to leave comments for all  below.

Crys of Spring but not from that woman of a certain weight

Happy April Fools’ Day!  I started writing my weekly recap last night as I have tried to do over this challenging season.  My original intent, a grand Fools’ Day joke singing praises of some previously unsailed centrally located lake with hard snow ice tight to the shores with a prediction of moderate breezes.  Three things halted and changed my course.  The fear of a lynch mob armed with unused freshly sharpened runners from our tune up last fall.  The extraordinary efforts many of us have gone through to sail this season.  The thousands of scouting miles and even more getting to and back from those destinations.  The final deciding factor was the fear that one or more amongst us would load up and drive to this mock plate of ice.  I’ve driven 7+ hours to sail and turned around without rigging the boat and know that that’s nothing compared to some of this year’s exploits.

More on this years extraordinary scouting efforts to come in the next installment.

In all seriousness, the guys in Maine (CIBC) have been sailing this week on Megunticook in Camden and there are rumors that Sunnapee’s snows have melted and the surface could be sailable but as yet unconfirmed.  Kate, Ron now’s the time to raise your voices.  Can we still get in the NEs and our Spring Fling?  I have been accused of being overly optimistic so I will just say maybe and stay tuned.  If they are sailing in Maine, there is still hope.  Don’t move the gear to its summer resting place just yet.


Till #lastice2014

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary









One of the last…

This weekend brought more of the same and some surprises of a pleasant variety for a change. People traveling to race and scout ice on distant ice and a small lake in CT, Bantam, that will just not give up her ice.




As previously reported we had a great showing at the Canadian Championships with Commodore Thieler and Race Chairman Moore taking first and second.  Way to go guys!  Looking like T and Oliver figured out how to harness the wind off the turbines








Bantam in CT has kept her ice and maintained reasonable access with planks. The plate was sailed on both Saturday and Sunday in stiff breezes till the surface mushed over. A good turn out of NEIYA members including your secretary on Saturday and Bob Haag, Paul Zucco, Dave Burnham and Matt Brennan from NJ.   How about some pictures next time guys.  Always amazes me how the southern NE state of CT turns out so many ice boaters. Something in the water?

Doing my part by introducing a couple young guys to the sport. No they are not mine!



Paul Delnero has reported that Lake Attitash’s plate has broken in two and he has move onto some great sailing on Lake Massabesic Manchester NH. They had a good crowd and are likely sailing there today as I type this (lucky them). Let’s hope it survives the coming weather. Paul, where are the pictures? prying eyes what to see.

Some members have slipped off in the night and boarded a plane for the hard fast Ivanpah playa in NV and the America’s Land Sailing Cup.  Who can blame them. It’s warm, the wind usually blows stink, the weather is reasonably predictable and it’s right next to Las Vegas.

Good luck over the next four days of racing to Bob Schumacher, Greg Cornelius and Paul Gervais!  Show the dirt boat guys how we race in New England.

Photos and results pinched from Facebook land sailing page FB sign in required (sorry just the way it’s set up).

I have not been out in a number of years but highly recommend it to anyone looking to extend the thrills of their ice boating season or just for the hell of it.  If you love ice boating you will love sailing in the dirt.  The North American Land Sailing Association is holding a huge international event in mid July Info at

I am getting that super powerful feeling of Deja vu.  It’s the beginning of the week and all eyes are on yet another weather system plowing up the coast.  Barring disastrous impact the New England DN championships and the NEIYA “Spring Fling” will take place on a nice big plate of ice.  Run whatever you bring.  You know the drill, location TBD but lots of eyes are on Maine.

As T has already stated don’t put away your gear just yet and keep the car packed.  The NEIYA “Hell on Wheels” will be arriving at a nearby lake this weekend for racing and Spring Fling celebration of #lastice2014.

See you on the ice,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

Still More Ice – March 15-17th Recap

It is that time of year again, #lastice2014.  Ice is out on many of our favorites and all eyes are watching the melt down and nightly resurfacing on others.  In my backyard Holly Pond, a brackish mill pond opening up to the Long Island Sound, was skimmed over shore to shore at 7:00 am this morning.  I’d like to think otherwise but  know it’s done for the next 10 months.

Bantam lake in CT was sailed on Saturday and Sunday. Things were a bit mushy on Saturday and the better day was certainly Sunday.  We will have to see how long this lasts.  As we near the end, be especially careful.

Webster lake was the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day. No green ice but seven boats sailed in a good breeze of 10-15 in the morning, moderate mid-day, and lightening toward late afternoon.  Ice was hard snow ice, somewhat rough, but fast enough with a breeze to be fun. It was cold, 20 degrees, and the ice was tight to the the shore in the launch area. It is expected to be cold through Tuesday. This may not be the last of Webster. Stay tuned and be extra cautious.

As you have no doubt already read on the CIBC site the snow melted and people are sailing once again.  Looking like there may be a couple more road trips in the near future.

We will continue till #lastice2014.  Keep the faith there is more sailing to be had and the New England’s to run.  With the return of T and Oliver, competition will be at it’s peak for the season!

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

P.S. I know I am missing something out there in New England.  Please don’t keep it to yourself.
P.P.S. Maybe an occupational hazard or some other strange affliction but the NEIYA speaks hashtag.  #lastice2014 use it…

March 8-9th Weekend Picture Recap

The weekend report is running a little late as I had one eye on the weather and was hoping to bring good news for this coming weekend.  Well, lesson learned don’t delay as this season continues to challenge us all.

Reporting from Long Pond in Lakeville  Jeff Soderholm and Bill Converse both got some sailing in challenging spring like conditions.

Ice softened to slush over the weekend by early afternoon.  Some people started out at dawn to get the most in for the day.  If there is ice they will come, even setting up in the dark. Proving once again that in tough years extra efforts are required to get in ice time.

Click images for more from Long Pond and Sebago

As promised by the CIBC gang Sebego had a good surface and easy drive on access. We got to fly the NEIYA banner for the first time, thanks to Greg Cornelius for securing this for us. Looking forward to having it and it’s counter part proudly flown when and where ever we gather.

Flying the NEIYA Colors

As previously reported the Don “Doc” Fellow was held on Saturday and the Maine State Open on Sunday. Thanks to Steve Madden and Dave Fortier for their advance scouting and officiating. I don’t know who to thank from Nason’s Beach & Campground but thanks just the same for the convenient access. All that’s left to talk about is where the clipboard went, the good competition (no Bob, I don’t count this one as a win over you) and the pictures.

Special thanks go to John Hayes from Pownal, ME for sharing his photography with us. Even though I said everything I could to discourage him, John wants to get a boat and join us. Anyone have a decent reasonably priced craft that needs a good home?  The full album is available here

I was reminded recently of something we all know from someone who has logged 40+ years of ice time. Keep an eye out not only for yourself but your sailing buddies as well.  This  is especially important during spring-like and other unstable times to.   Keep a sharp watch out during the day.  If anyone gets in trouble you may be their only hope.  Ice is a living thing and pressure ridges and other hazards can emerge while your out sailing about.  Always be aware there are know, unknown and hazards forming on the horizon.

Sail fast, sail safe and be aware and watch out for everyone on the ice. Keep the faith as the season is not over just yet. Lets hope we gather somewhere this weekend.

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

2014 Don “Doc” Fellows Regatta is Completed!

The NEIYA Don “Doc” Fellows was run Saturday 3/8/14 on Sebago Lake (big bay), N. Sebago Maine on a big patch of good ice.  Patience was the rule of the day and a gigantic high over the lake ruled the wind.  The race was to be called off at 3:30 if the wind had not arrived.  Well, the wind Gods must have be listening.

Just before the abandonment call, the wind rolled in.  It did not slowly build as usual but came in at 12 to 15 mph, almost instantly!

We were off to the races to quickly set the marks and line.  Four races were completed before darkness set in.  One throw out was allowed with the completion of the 4th.

Eric Anderson ruled the day with 4 bullets.  Nicely done Eric!  On his heels was the tough competitor Greg Cornelius with a solid second place sporting some of his light air gear and still managed to hang in there.  Dave Fortier nailed third place and was super fast catching the fleet.  It was fun to watch the two Canadians Warren Nethercote (4th) and Peter Van Rossem (5th) duke it out with Warren just edging out Peter.  Thanks for going the distance.  Jack Erikson (6th) hung tough and consistent and was quoted ” I had a blast”.  Doug Raymond (7th) struggled a bit, but likely due to lack of racing ice time.  We look forward to seeing Doug rekindle that competitive spirit.  We were honored to have two NEIYA officers, Secretary John Stanton (8th) and Treasurer Bob Haag (9th) participate and gave it their all.  Unfortunately, Bob broke his tiller early on but he was later overheard saying ” All I wanted was to kick John’s butt”.  Must be some officer thing! Just kidding guys!

See you at the New England Champs.

Steve Madden

P.S.  Don “Doc” Fellows regatta history including a list of past winners and recaps.  We are a little short on some of the history so please let me know if you can help filling in some early info.

Competition returns to New England

The Don Doc Fellows Regatta will be held this Saturday 3/8/14 as approved by the NEIYA Commodore.

T, Oliver and Eben are just finishing up the European championships but insisted that the DDF must go on.

Launching from Nason’s beach on the west side of Sebago Lake, Sebago Maine. First Race 10:30.

The Maine State Championship will be held Sunday 3/9/14 at same time and location.

Cone one or come both days lots of ice and I know more than a few people that don’t usually race will be on the line. All DNs are welcome to compete.

John Stanton
NEIYA secretary


It’s nice to have multiple choices to sail once again. Not some kind of standardized test but loads of fun from NY to Maine.

Chickawaukie Pond was back in style and details and a big ice update are on the CIBC site.

Moving further south, an often overlooked plate, Lake Attitash in Merrimac, MA (just off I495) was sailed by local Paul Delnero and others who reported good conditions. Paul would like to extend an invitation to come up and sail anytime conditions allow.  Paul may even send in some pictures next time.

Long Pond in Lakeville, MA was buzzing with a number of groups and classes sailing about.  Most of the lake was sailable and should remain in good shape the rest of and going into the weekend. Ice is fluid and conditions WILL CHANGE. We await EOW reporting.

Soderholm Long Pond Lakville, MA 3-1-14
Click image for full album

NEIYA race honed Rich Cruchet unleashed his talents locally and took the Long Island Championship held on Lake Ronkonkama this weekend.  Congratulations Rich!

Over the past week, all forms of media, ice boat media, social and traditional, have been abuzz over the returning of ice and the Jack Frost after 11 years to the Hudson. This was soon followed up by word that that the North Shrewsbury Yacht Club’s Ice boat Rocket would sail for the first time since her restoration. The historic stage was set for a true Stern Steerer Palooza.

Seeing Jack Frost and Rocket gliding across the nearly shore-to-shore ice was a spectacular site.  Had it not been for the channel being cut by an ice breaker and kept open by barge traffic, we could have sailed right to the western shore of the Hudson.  Let’s hope we do not have to wait another 11 years to see the grand Ice Yachts of the Hudson again.

River Stern Steer Palooza for full album click image

The wind was out of the south so there was no racing the trail like the fabled pictures we have all seen but it was a wonderful and historic day.

Myself and former secretary Ed Atkeson were onsite and we had a great day.

Here is a link to yesterday’s New York Times Article recapping the event:

Some are lucky to be able sail during the week without feigning sickness. For those that are not, here is a video shot on Long Pond taken by Bill Converse a few weeks ago to keep you going till your next sail.

There is big ice on Sebego off Nason’s Beach, Sebgo, ME. and it is likely there will be a great ice convergence there starting Friday. More on that as details emerge courtesy of the CIBC.

DN world updates are being fed in from the site on the top right. Check back tomorrow for Wednesday’s results. Go T, Oliver and Eben…

Sail fast and sail safe,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

Ice for March 1st & 2nd

Things are looking a lot better than the past two weeks. The snow has melted down and refrozen leaving a variety of surfaces.

Here is what we know at this point.

Herring Pond Plymouth, MA
Sailed all week as reported on the hotline (508) 377-6100. Always check with locals for know and developing hazards.

Chickawaukie Pond Rockland, ME
Tried and true year after year the snow has melted down enough to be sailed again throughout the week. There are rumors of campfire cooked baked beans and corn bread. Check The Chickawaukie Ice Boat club for details

Lake Ronkonkoma, Ronkonkoma, NY
No Suffolk county did not secede from NY and join CT but the Long Island guys sail with us and always welcome ice travelers. It was sailed all week and the Long Island Championships will be held this weekend Check their website for details. The race chairman has requested that participants fill out the entry form and bring to the ice. Form here

Hudson River Barrytown, NY
The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club has put the mighty Jack Frost on the ice and she will be accompanied by the Rocket hailing from the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club as well as many other period and newer classic. This has been described as being an epic and historic event and looks like it will not disapoint. If you have not seen the Jack Frost sail it is an unforgettable site. Here is your chance to see two last of a breed crafts sail along with a full accompaniment of stern steerers. For details

Long Pond in Lakeville Freetown MA
Caution Caution Caution! Has not been sailed but will be scouted tomorrow by a group of people. More info when scouts report back

Lake Champlain Shelburne VT
Possible grand ice but no promises whatsoever and may be best to go after the reports are in.
Some people will be scouting tomorrow Again this ice has not been scouted so please only venture out with people that know the area. This could be our our best opportunity for BIG ice. Another dark cloud is on the horizon, but who knows.

See you on the ice,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary

A Look Back…

Safe travels, fair winds and speed to T, Eben and Oliver representing the NEIYA at the DN Worlds.  As of this morning the location has not been selected.  For updates check IDNIYRA Europe and I will call out any major updates on the right side of the home page as well.

People have ventured onto Cape ice as well as mid coast Maine and out on Long Island.  Check the Hotline and the CIBC for details.  Not the best but it is what we have. While we wait to venture out onto this or some soon to be discovered black ice of Shangri-La, let’s take a look backwards.

Thanks to Dave Wilkins for sending the vintage photos with retouching by Bill Converse.  They are thought to be taken on Damariscota circa 1930-40.  Can anyone from Maine authenticate?  They may have been originally done on glass plates.  Any photo historians out there?  flying_buttress_notre_dame

I know there are some architects and engineers amongst us who might disagree but these boats look to be at least inspired by the flying buttresses of Notre Dame or other grand old cathedrals.


Check out the sloop rigged boats with forward steering.  A forerunner to the modern Skeeter, perhaps?  Thoughts from old and newer sailors leave a comment below.


There are a literal who’s who of rigs lined up all in one place. Lateen, Gaff, sloops any others?

Lloyd Roberts is promoting his lateen rigged cheapskate and I understand plans will be published soon. Could we one day see a wonderful assortment of rigs on the ice once again?

Below is one upcoming event and some far from exhaustive additional info feel free to add your favorite historical ice yacht links in the comments.

Historical background Ice Yacht Presentation
Saturday March 1st 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM
Monmouth Boat Club, Red Bank, NJ

Monmouth Museum Maine ice boat article

The Hudson River Ice Yacht Club trustees of the Jack Frost and other vintage stern steerers

Remembering the legacy of our past,

John Stanton
NEIYA Secretary