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The New England Iceman Cometh?

As Old King Colds icy breath makes its way east we have a fresh report of a building plate of ice on Lake Winnipesaukee NH. The size and quality look good at first glance but it has yet to be sailed and scouted. Consider this an early notice that the ‘soft’ waters of New Englands days are limited! Cold air is in the forecast and the precipitation rates look low for the week. Knock the rust off those runners if you have not yet done so…. set out your kit in a way that you don’t forget anything when bailing out the door late this week and keep your eyes on this website for any updates on New England ice boat cruising and racing.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on Randy Rice’s newest build (Randy is the Grand Master ice scout of mid-NH lakes). Don’t be fooled here, he was gearing up for a boat that looked vintage yet behaves like a modern build. His new boat “Zingo” boasts a 16’ carbon plank, 8’ front spring plank, 20’ tapered wing mast. Most of the build is redwood and is reported to be uber-light. Go, Randy! We look forward to seeing your new boat and you on the ice soon!

Excerpt(s) and inspirations from the famed late Larry Hardman of Downeast Maine.
Poem: “Ice Watch”

“When Old King Colds reach is bold down from his frozen lair,
it’s then we sleep in covers so deep and we shiver upon the stair.

Temperature seven? To us that’s heaven! We wish for seven below!
We disdain thermometers gain and we despise the snow…

When the ice goes “CRACK!” We ALL jump back! and we wait a day or so…..
Then three knuckles deep and back on we’ll creep and ice boating we will GO!”

Get Ready To Sail!
…and be sure to update the NEIYA with any local reports of quality ice.

Snow is the DN Fleet Divider

The last day of the 2023 DN Worlds featured 1-2" snow drifts dotted across the .8 mile long plate and caused difficult conditions for all three fleets. Silver started the day and with the breeze up most were able to complete their laps and the same was true for bronze. Then the sun started peaking out behind the clouds and caused the breeze to lighten and swirl quite a bit. I appreciated the race committee’s diligent efforts to get in one more gold fleet race. The team had to move and drag the starting line at least four times before our start.

Then we were called to the line. The night before the race organizers hosted a panel discussion with four of the best DN sailors in the world. One of those individuals Tomek Zakrzewski , a two-time world champion, discussed his starting technique. I was ready to try it. He and his compatriates sheet in almost 80% of max so that his blocks are just about touching. He is quite sure it helps with faster acceleration off the line and once in the boat.

It was my first time on the even side of the line all regatta. I positioned my boat. I cleared the drift in front of me with my spikes. I sheeted in at 80% of max and when the flag dropped I pushed with all my might. I was off and dusted the group except for one boat to leeward. I was getting close enough to the lay line so that when I tacked over I could implement another learned tip from Tomek (When coming in on port make sure to leave enough room on the starboard layline to build up speed to make for a fast windward mark rounding).

I easily crossed the bows of T, Chad, Karol Jablonski, and Tomek. And then…..the breeze stopped and the snow drift deep. I parked. I got out of my boat to push, tangled my main sheet around my foot, fell on my plank, my boat spun around as a puff came in, and it was Game Over. I was able to finish the race with some more sailing and some more pushing.

Then it was announced the Worlds were completed. Back in the pits, I learned even the best guys like T and Chad had to get out and push a few times. Several said no one had ever seen as many gold sailors pushing in a race before. It’s good to know I was not the only one that struggled to keep my boat moving through the drifts.

Overall, I accomplished my two goals of qualifying for the gold fleet and being the top female finisher overall. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the first DN worlds, it felt special to be a part of it. During the opening ceremony two sailors that participated in the first DN worlds 50 years ago were present and came back to race in this year’s event. Congratulations to Pete Johns and Hal Bowman for their 29th and 30th finishes in the Silver Fleet. Still racing hard at 80 plus years of age.

At the closing ceremony and awards Karol Jablonski, a 12-time DN world champion, spoke movingly about the camaraderie and friendships developed over his thiry-six years of racing DNs. Matt Struble this year’s Gold Fleet winner and now four-time world champion spoke about starting sailing DNs as a child in Northern Michigan and the memories of sailing with his dad and life-long friend and mentor, Ron Sherry.

DN sailing is fast and fun. The comraderie is the icing on the cake.

Onto the North Americans…

Karen Binder
DN 5630

DN Worlds – 1st Day of Racing

The day started with light winds and it made qualifying races a bit trickier for many…as the breeze would come down different sides of the course at different speeds. You really had to get your head out of the boat to see how the other half of the fleet was faring on the other side of the course. Given the size of the fleet, about 100 racers, the race committee divided us into three fleets: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Those with world rankings of about 25 or above where automatically placed into the gold fleet. Given three years of COVID, the DN rankings have not been updated since 2020 as that was the last time the DN worlds occurred and if you did not race in 2020 you lost your ranking. This means many experienced fast sailors were placed into the bronze fleet, had to qualify into the silver fleet, and then if they placed in the top 12 of that race were moved up to gold. My ranking of 39 put me into the silver fleet, but still offered the chance to qualify into gold.

For any qualifier, everyone is randomly assigned a starting position on the line. I gulped when I saw my assignment was 42. That’s so far down the stating line the guy next to me said, "I think we are in Iowa." I was determined not to freak out. I waited for the flag to drop, pushed, and ran as hard as I could. The wind on the left side was not great, but I built speed and tacked over in clear air. After that it was just keeping my speed up and grinding boats down both upwind and downwind. I had selected my FO Sail, my 100 degree minimum Ts, and put in super soft battens. I know they helped in the lighter wind areas of the course. I finished 9th which meant I officially qualified for the Gold Fleet in my very first Worlds. I now am the little fish in the big pond. Gulp.

The Race Committee then called for the first Gold Fleet race. I was assigned spot 35. I had a really good start and my mast popped out quickly. The first rounding I was mid-fleet. My second windward leg, I must have been in some amazing puff and the right phase of a shift as I was around the windward mark in the top ten. Seriously. I held my own downwind, but lost some speed at the 2nd leeward mark rounding. And that’s where the wind got weird and I went into the mode of tacking too much in order to chase more wind. That was dumb and it cost me a lot of places. By the end, I finished in 18th place. I am thrilled and excited for more racing tomorrow.

New England is really well represented with James Thieler, Oliver Moore, Chad Atkins, Chris Gordon, Jeff Roseberry, Paul Chamberland, Sean Healey, Bill Bucholz, Jay Whitehair, Ed Demerest, Milo Fleming, Rick Bishop, and our NY/Long Island friends Scott Valentine and Richard Glickman.

Stay tuned. More tomorrow.

Karen Binder
DN 5630

DN Worlds – Practice Day

Hi,

Lake Kegonsa was selected out of three possible sites. Other debated options were Houghton Lake in northern Michigan and Fort Peck in Montana.I think everyone east of the Mississippi was relieved Lake Kagonsa was selected given it’s at least 32 hours from RI. Today’s ice recovered from the earlier ice/rain/snow mix that hit the area on Wednesday./Thursday. Ed Demerest, T, and I arrived yesterday morning, relaxed for a bit and then set up our boats. We went down to the ice early this morning and the breeze was blowing 7-10 mph for most of the day.

Two practice courses were set up with a natural selection breaking the fleet between the fastest sailors and the intermediate/beginner sailors. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing the European contingent sail. Yes, it’s true. They are indeed super fast. Even when they count down at the starting line there is no wasted time. It’s the fastest 3-2-1-GO I have heard. And boom off they go sailing into the distance…I know T took at least one race of that group today. I did one race with the Euros then headed back to the intermediate course. I didn’t want to get all stressed out before the qualifier. I will see where I land and be happy.

Today, most sailors debated the ABSS and the FO sail choice. I chose the FO sail and was not overpowered. My speed was very good and my runner choice of 95 degree inserts was the right decision. Today, was also the first time I got to sail with the new addition of 5lbs of lead on the top my front runner. What a huge difference that made with my leeward mark rounding. Zoom Zoom! No slipping/No Sliding. Love it.

Tomorrow are the qualifiers and the breeze is expected to be light.

All for now,

Karen Binder
DN5630

RI in WI

Three RI sailors have established a beachhead on Kegonsa Lake in WI….

Thieler, Binder and Demerest are in town and ready to rumble!

Healey, Atkins, Moore and maybe others on the way.

To follow all the news check the IDNIYRA site at https://www.idniyra.org/

Think Ice!

DN GC/NA UPDATE

Here is the latest and greatest….

2023 World & NA Championship Update for 17 Jan – DN North America (idniyra.org)

2023 World & NA Championship Update for 17 Jan – DN North America

Deb Whitehorse

Via Western Region Commodore Chris Berger US5166 Incoming weather with a snow-rain mix is making site selection …

SKEETER VIDEO

Hey Folks- It’s no secre that this season has been off to a slow start out this way…. A total bummer to be sure.

Only one thing to do: Torture yourself by watching this video from the ISA regatta out west last weekend. It’s extraordinary!

ISA Skeeter Iceboat Racing – YouTube

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ISA Skeeter Iceboat Racing

The Season is Just Getting Started

Seen at an I95 rest stop bringing ICE to a lake near you. Yes, the diesel generator was running on the trailer.

As the seasoned know patience and perseverance are the marks of an iceboater. While the last couple of weeks have been a challenge, the season is far from over. And as I said to a veteran of many seasons Eben Whitcomb just yesterday “We will sail”.

We have all been following Karen’s team NEIYA’s travels and triumphs. Congratulations Karen! I think that Karen, T and other intrepid NEIYA racers have brought ice back while traveling the OH and PA Turnpikes east.

Temperatures have been falling and there are reports coming in from Maine, NH etc that things are looking good for the near future. We of course have some

With our sailing theaters setting up to sail I would like to try something new. We will have a group call at 6:30 PM tomorrow (Thursday). All active members are welcome to call in to discuss current conditions and plan the days ahead or any other iceboating topic. We will have some of our seasoned ice checkers and others on hand. Watch your email later today for the call-in information. If you do not receive the invite email check your spam folder and if it really didn’t come email me at john@neiya.org. Remember if you are not a member in good standing you will not receive the invite.

Think Ice,

John
DN5023
john@neiya.org

New England does awesome at Centrals!

Racing today was in winds averaging 5-8 mph. First off, a huge shout out to new racers Jeff Roseberry finishing second in the silver fleet and Paul finishing fifth. For their very first regatta they really performed incredibly well. Jeff actually won the first race of the day and his first official race! His beard and long locks popping out from his helmet in all directions was delightful to watch going wild in the breeze as he zoomed around the course.

The snow was a tad stickier than yesterday so most sailors who had them used their full F0 sails. Given the winds were lightish the best racers of the day were using 100 degree runners.

I used my 100 Minimum T insert runners all day and was able to sail fast and in control at all mark roundings. I was fast off the line and mostly played the middle of the course both upwind and downwind. I consciously avoided just banging the corners which could either pay off or result in disaster if a big shift came down the course. My strategy worked except in the last race, but having consistent finishes at a regatta is often more important than winning every single race and taking huge risks. I ended up winning the silver fleet with scores of 2-1-2. Felt great!

Tomorrow is another practice day with several racers hanging out for another day. More breeze predicted.

Go Team New England!

Karen Binder DN 5630

Central Regional Regatta Update #1

Five of uys from New England made the trip west to Stoughton Wisconsin. Jeff Kent, Chris Gordon, Karen Binder, T Thieler and two new racers Jeff Roseberry from Maine and Paul Chamberland from NY. Yesterday, scratch racing was competitive in light breeze. Everyone who had 100 degree runners and FO or full sails were putting them to good use. I used my 100 minimum T inserts for the first time and they were perfect for the conditions. I was able to finish first in two of the races which means my light air sailing has improved tremendously. T took the other three races.

Today, has about 34 competitors waiting for wind. It’s too bad as the ice is hard and smooth with just a light dusting of fluffy snow. With the world’s two weeks away everyone has pent up energy and excitement to burn off or many with a desire to try out their new masts, planks, runners, etc.

More updates as conditions change. Karen

’23 DN Western Region Championship Called ON for Lake Kegonsa in WI Jan 7-8 – DN North America

Take a look and hit the road if you are interested!

There is a great restaurant/bar right on the lake if that is an incentive….

https://www.idniyra.org/2023/01/05/23-dn-western-region-championship-called-on-for-lake-kegonsa-in-wi-jan-7-8/

Regatta News!

Hey Folks- just to you know the Western Regional DN champs are still on for the weekend although the Central Region champs have been postponed.

Western regionals possible sites near Madison. Stay tuned to IDNIYRA for details!

A handful of NE sailors are headed that way- Chamberland, Roseberry, Thieler, Binder and maybe more- hope others can head out!

Will send updates….

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