Want to Try Ice Boating? It’s all here. Click to start
Happy first day of summer. Happy Solstice. A time we have all cherished from an early age. Schools out, sailing, boating, beaches, fireflies, picnics, canoes, bike rides, surfing, fishing, etc.
I hope everyone is enjoying outdoor summer activities offshore, inshore, on our favorite lakes, or on land. Good luck to all the racers whether on a classic yacht, evening beer can races, around the buoys, or offshore. I am not sure but but likely someone in our crowd is about to finish or has finished the Newport Bermuda Race. Of course, there is always fun to just drop the hook for lunch, fish, or overnight. I will be participating in many of those activities in addition to racing an Ensign on the Hudson and I hope to see a few DNers at the Ensign Nationals under the shadow of the Tappan Zee in August.
As we count down to the first frost, first ice, and first sailable ice the New England Ice Yacht Association enters into our second 50 years of existence. We all (well those that were born before 1960 something) know what the last fifty looked like in the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s ’00s, 10’s, and the beginning of the 2020s. The question for all of us is, what will the next 50 years of the NEIYA look like? Something to think about as we soak up the sun and fun of summer.
Over the past few years getting on the ice to cruise or race has become increasingly more difficult. Challenges are hitting us iceboaters from many fronts, conditions have changed, and some of our beloved locations in New England have become unreliable, the ever-increasing commitment of our time on all fronts as well as covid and access and competition with other ice activities. While we hope the worst of covid has passed, it has left damage in it’s wake. The greatest, collateral damage is the end of our social gathering innocence. Some of which lingers in the back of our minds whenever we travel.
With the above in mind and a desire to kick off our next fifty years of New England iceboating with plenty of momentum, I want to hear from all involved. There will be a series of calls and gatherings of minds over the next few months. All are welcome to participate and some of you may feel a little arm twisting and herding to be sure you do. Please make an effort to attend when asked.
Think Ice and Sail Fast in any craft you’re steering,
Our fifth, can you believe it, landsailing regatta is booked at Loring Air Base, Limestone Maine, for Wednesday September 14 through Sunday September 18. Everything will be pretty much as last time, but details will be posted here as the date approaches. It would be very helpful at this end for planning purposes if all registrations were in by August 15. Fees are fully refundable if you can’t make it at the last minute.
Still a bargain at a hundred bucks. Please include sail number and class. Weight if sailing BloKarts.
31 Gosses Hill Rd.
Camden, ME 04843
If you’re considering modifying your DN for land sailing, be sure to check out Steve Duhamel’s fine collection of hardware for just that. Northwindiceboats.com.
Mini Skeeters welcome!
Hey Folks, there is some good reading available to help while away the coming summer months- Get your copy today!
Hey DN people- don’t forget that we have this class ballot to fill out- It’s easy and quick so get to it!
Remember, vote early and often!
Apologies for being a little late on posting this but the sport lost a legend awhile back-
Bill Mattison embodied everything a person and an iceboater should be; likeable, competitive, smart, and helpful to rookies and experienced sailors alike.
He also had a thirst for adventure.
You know how we say “he ran off and joined the circus”? He actually did.
A lot of us want to build big Skeeters and spend a lifetime ripping it up on one of those babies. He actually did.
Many of us think it would have been cool to be involved in a big America’s Cup campaign back in the 1980’s and 1990’s when the Cup was really cool. He did it.
Fair winds, Bill. We are all better for having crossed tacks with you.
Hey Folks, good news is there is sailable ice up north if you can take Wednesday off-
Option one is Umbagog Lake in NH- Local knowledge tells us the surface is re-frozen snow and is ice-boat-able. Launch from the Umbagog Public Boat Launch in Errol.
Option Two is Moosehead Lake in Maine- Launch and sail out of Kelly’s Landing In Greenville Junction. Miles and miles of sailable ice, it was cruised extensively by the Mainiacs today…. Call ahead, rooms may still be available at Kelley’s Landing.
Ice on both lakes is refrozen snow, some snow machine tracks, maybe a 5 out of ten but hey, it’s almost April, how picky are you gonna be?
Tomorrow looks like a good day at both places- as always use caution and never sail alone!
Think Ice and Sail Safe
This report below is from Bill Bucholz. Sailing at Moosehead is an unbelievable experience. The lake, scenery and stars are gorgeous. If you can take the day off from work DO IT! This may be the last ice of the season. Thanks, Karen, NEIYA Secretary
Here’s the lake this morning just after sunrise taken in Greenville Junction. The slush alongshore has frozen, and the plate is reported to be hard but not totally smooth. Sounds about right. Wind today and tomorrow is excellent. Accommodations at Kelly”s Landing. Launch at Greenville Junction boat launch. The launch ramp itself may be rotten but there are other slopes right alongside. Call me if you are coming so we don’t loose anyone. 207-975-6980.
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Well the big storm didn’t fizzle as the die-hard optimist would have hoped…. It’s a bit on the breezy side today, shall we say.
Not sure what the rain/snow combination did to all the sailable ice but the good news is there is a really good base on several lakes, large ones at that.
Saratoga, Winni, Damariscotta, and a few others still have plenty of potential so don’t pack it in yet- last year we sailed into April and with a little luck we can do it again-
As always stay tuned and if you know of sailable ice let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org
As ever the weather is making things interesting but we are still hoping to get some regattas in the books-
This weekend has potential with ice on Winnipesaukee and Damariscotta- They are being scouted further and if they are in decent shape following the snow and rain forecast for Saturday we could have a quick and dirty regatta on Sunday.
As always if you have some ice to report let me know at email@example.com
Stay tuned for more….
While we wait for the changing weather to stabilize the remaining ice, read up on John Ziermann’s take on the Lockley skimmer. If you have ever seen John or Rosemary on the ice you surely know they are true Skimmer devotees. John thanks for taking the time to share.
If you want to get back on the ice again be ready for a road trip in the near future. There will be oppotunities for the taking.
The Lockley Skimmer-45 – Points of Interest
Currently, the Lockley Skimmer 45 is dismissed by the cool kids on the playground.
To a beginner or even a seasoned ice boater, the LS-45 can be a simple no-nonsense thrilling way to sail on the ice.
Points of Interest:
- They DO NOT float – $20 will get you a 500lb+ fishing magnet just in case.
- Over 5,000 sold, so used ones are available.
- You can buy one today from the factory.
- Great learning tool for iceboating – simple hand and foot controls.
- Billy Joel bought one from the late, great ice boater Bob Reeves (a sales rep for Lockley on Long Island).
- Trailer not needed. Parts are small enough to transport in or on top of your vehicle.
- No need to buy a single runner for $950, sail $1140, mast $1400. A set of 3 runners can had for <$50.
- You don’t need 2X2 miles of ice. Just a quarter to a half mile is perfect. No need to wait for big ice.
Little ponds freeze sooner, stay frozen longer, and with bad weather heal faster.
- Runner alignment is easy with an alignment adapter plate. Alignment is accomplished for different
sized skippers on the ice. No need for an expensive dial indicator, laser, or jig to align your runners.
- Sail with a LS-45 365 days a year (wind permitting) – Sail on ice or land.
- Sets up in 20 minutes. Simple tools needed for assembly.
- Low maintenance. No exotic materials used in its construction.
- A single can of spray paint covers the LS-45 with some paint left over. Be creative with multiple colors.
- Multiple sail sizes. 45sqft or 50.6sqft available. Make your own sail with luff sleeve construction.
- Foot steering allows 2 hands for the main sheet.
- Parts missing, no problem 4mm cables for shrouds, hardware store fasteners, runners are 1/4 or 3/8
inch plate steel. Runner sharpener plans available. Set of 3 runners can be made for <$50.
- Body friendly upright seating with comfy suspended sling made out of any material.
- Easy to modify and innovate.
- Experienced ice sailors have down sized to LS-45s or have added a LS-45 to their fleet of ice boats just
for the fun of it. Easy to bring your ice boat and a LS-45 for a newbie to try.
- Thrifty sailors own LS-45s
- There are times when LS-45s are sailing when no one else can.
- Easy to store – all pieces are less than 8′ long.
Good day on Quaboag Pond today- The ice was rough in places but stayed solid into the afternoon, when the breeze faded out anyway-
There was all manner of craft; a Lockley Skimmer, a Pocket Skeeter, a Gambit, several DNs of all vintages, and probably more.
Lots of miles were racked up and at least ten DNs went around the marks during the course of the day- A few ice fishermen from Worcester were thrown in a DN and the after a few runs up and down the lake one stated “I’m buying one TONIGHT!” We hope he follows through!
It might be possible to squeeze in a few runs in the morning if anyone wants to try, although the forecast doesn’t look great.
As always stay clear of the eastern side of the lake- Where the creek comes in east of the launch is to be avoided as the ice is thin or non-existent…. Use caution and never sail alone!
Stay tuned…. Rain is on the way, could be the wet-out we need to have some big spring ice….
Think Ice!! T
Quaboag Pond was sailed today- the ice is decent in places and full of frozen ATV ruts in others- Some of these ruts have developed drain holes here and there and should be avoided. The eastern shoreline and the area east of the parking lot should be avoided as well-
Bantam also being sailed now, is described as “6 boats, grade 8/9 ice, good breeze, and a big portion of the north bay is solid 6 to 8inches. Hazards are all on the south side”
Check the weather, talk with the locals, and see if you can sail tomorrow-
We will be scratch racing on Quaboag tomorrow if anyone is interested-