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Better Iceboating Opportunities Through Chemistry

About March 27th 2019 – Any Guesses?

Does anyone know where we might be able to get 900 million gallons of heavy water? It freezes at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and would be enough to fill a 500-acre pond to about five feet deep. That would surely extend our season on both ends. Start working on your deuterium-based steel runners for peak performance.

Spring is only days old and we are looking to make the most of it with some sailing. Some of the best iceboating days I have had over the years have been in spring-like or officially spring days.

After last week’s great Pushaw turnout and the CIBC’s successful completion of the Century Race (100 miles), the next venue rumors are again flying about where the next sailing opportunity will be. Moosehead Lake in Maine as well as locations in the greater Montreal area. The Canadian locations are typically just north of the St Lawrence River. Even though you will need a passport it is not that far and for some of us closer than domestic options.

Note, the above are just rumors at this point and will need to be confirmed over the next couple of days.

Don’t put your gear away just yet, as there is more hardwater sailing to be had.

Our regular call will be at 6:30 tonight. Not sure we will have any definitive weekend plans but show up to discuss.

Think Ice and Sail Fast,


Spring ICE!

Hey Folks-

Don’t throw the towel in just yet-

As you may have heard Pushaw was in fine form last weekend and we are hearing rumors of the ice hanging in there around Kingston / Montreal, Pushaw Lake and also Moosehead Lake a little further north up in Maine.

Don’t forget that we sailed Moosehead in early April last year… It was a blast! So get your taxes done, keep the boats loaded and ready, and stay tuned to this site (and the CIBC site at Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club) for the latest info.

Could be cruising, another Century Race, scratch racing, or even a regional regatta. You never know!

Think Ice and stay tuned…. T

Century Race!

Hey Folks-

Last Monday several sailors were able to complete a 100 Mile race up at Pushaw Lake in Maine.

Looked like a good day for it- good breeze, hard ice and a big lake….

While I didn’t participate I did pick up at least one tip for anyone trying this; Make sure to have a reliable way to count the laps! When each lap is over 12 miles it’s easy to lose count!

In any case congrats to all the finishers, especially the folks in the smaller boats. Well done!

Check out the video here: Thanks to Herb Crosby.
Century Ice Boat Race – YouTube


Century Ice Boat Race

Opportunity Whispers From The Pine Tree State

It’s been quite a while, since I have been able to press fingers to keys with something hopeful. Well, there is a whisper coming out of the PIne Tree State. Bill Bichholz has reported potentially favorable conditions on Pushaw Lake. That name has been tossed around over the last few weeks during our open weekly discussions and reported on both here and on the Chickawaukie site.

At this point one should read what Bill’s condition report on Pushaw. I know that sometimes the best ice times, like skiing, are often the first tracks. Taking a chance and being rewarded is a rewarding and unique natural sailing experience.

Check out the Pushaw Report: ON post and decide if and when you want to travel North. More updates promised so check for the latest, including where people are considering staying.

Think Ice,


Ice Opporutnities Down The Road

Wentworth 3/8/2020

Typically the news of a winter storm is exciting, as they are all part of the winter experience and contribute to the freeze cycles of our lakes. The snow is for skiing, but we have not gotten in much local sailing this season.

Our ongoing mantra, “we are not done yet” or “I am not done yet” continues to ring. Black Ice prospects are gone, but there is some grey ice, in our near future.

According to fresh local intel, only a few inches of the white stuff fell on lakes surrounding Bangor. Purshaw Lake is often a first-ice mecca. The lake is outside Old Town, Maine home of Old Town Canoe. I stopped by to visit my canoe’s birthplace the last time I was there. I was not the only tourist doing the same thing and bet many readers of this piece have a canoe or two of the same heritage.

Why is this important? Looking across and a little outside our region the potential sweet spots look to be around Bangor and perhaps Pushaw in a few days. This is outside many people usual travel zones but this year has been a challenge and iceboat fever is raging.

Block some travel time, coordinate with travel partner(s), and stand at the ready for the call. It will likely be last minute and any day of the week, so have your travel bag ready.

We will again gather on the phone to help coordinate our next ice pilgrimage.

Think Ice,


The Season is Not Over Yet

Lord of the Ice? – Shelburne Bay Champlain March 28th, 2015

Greetings all. Even though many of our usual haunts are in liquid, slush, or in the snowed-in state the season is not over just yet and we continue to keep our eyes on venues to the north.

No current prospects at the moment but keep your gear ready to load up and hit the road.

The Lord of the Ice is keeping a watchful eye and looking to welcome us back to sailing.
There will be a call tonight for anyone who wants to attend at 5:30 pm the usual number.

Keep the faith and Think Ice,


Sailing Museum Newport – Iceboating Lecture Friday (3/10)


There is an iceboating lecture at The Sailing Museum in Newport, RI this Friday. The lecture is in support of Don Sanford’s book On The Lake about lake Mendota. Mendota is the quintessential iceboating lake featured in many iceboating images complete with the Wisconson State Capital on the south shore. lecture details

Expert in The Museum Series

Join us Friday, March 10th from 1-4 and Meet Iceboating Expert Don Sanford!

Visit The Sailing Museum on Friday, March 10th between 1-4 PM and hear about the thrills of hardwater sailing from avid iceboater and local legend, Don Sanford!

About The Expert:

Don Sanford grew up in Syracuse NY. His summers were spent at the family camp on nearby Cazenovia Lake where he first developed his interest in boats and social history. Don has a degree communications studies from the State University of New York at Oswego and a M.S. from Syracuse University in radio, television, and film. He moved with his wife Barb to Madison, WI in 1976 to take a job as a production manager with Wisconsin Public Television.

A sailor and iceboater, Don spends his free time racing sailboats and iceboats in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. He is a member of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club, past commodore of the Mendota Yacht Club, the International Nite Ice Yacht Class Association and the International Skeeter Iceboat Association.

His book, On Fourth Lake:  A Social History of Lake Mendota tells the story of the people, places, and events that have shaped the lakeshore as we know it today. Published in 2015 it combines social, geological, technological, cultural, maritime and economic history in 340 illustrated pages.

Think Ice,


P.S. Let me know how it was if you go.

Waiting For The Thaw/Freeze Cycle

Winni March 20th, 2021 – We may be back this year.

With our recent snowfall, the scent of winter has returned, at least to the more southern parts of New England. I grew up in the NY Metro area, where people typically wouldn’t think about winter sports until there was local snow on the ground, even though winter was in full swing in the Adirondack, Green, and White Mountain areas. That being said, it is still cold up north, and our ice lies beneath the snow. The ice is just waiting to be exposed, resurfaced, and ready for us to sail.

Unfortunately, no matter which direction you look, there is no known ice to play on, at the moment. Even our most hardened hodophiles are staying put and tending to their equipment, shifting to snow sports, or catching up on things that need doing for the weekend.

It has been a challenging winter, but we are NOT DONE YET. Remember, late winter storms happen, and we usually return to our lakes after a thaw and freeze cycle.

Stay tuned, we are watching for the thaw which will come soon.

Our regular ice chat will take place tonight at 6:30 pm as usual. Reach out to me if you have a specific topic, or just come on and bring it up yourself. Email me if you have forgotten the #.

Think Ice,


After Storm Look

As hyped over the past week and seen in the NOAA snowfall graphic, the snow did come and has exited or will exit soon. The system has left a mess in its wake and covered up the ice we had been playing on or intend to use soon.
All is not lost. Remember snow blocks and or reflects UV radiation preserving the ice below for another day. Also, a potential snow slushy freeze-up has been reported on Winni but the snow needs to stop and more freeze time needs to pass before any verification can be made.

NOAA data aside how much snow did you get? Chime in with location and depth measurements.

Take the snowfall survey below or better yet dial in 6:30 pm tonight and let us know what you got along with some encouraging words from others eagerly waiting for sailable ice NEIYA members. Talk at 6:30 tonight

Think Ice,


NEIYA East / West Weekend Split

Schroon Lake NY 2/17 – 2/20/23 – Photo credit J. Stanton

Pesidents Day weekend saw NEIYA members congregating in the east (Jefferson & Camden Maine) and to the west just outside of New England in the Attarondacks on Schroon Lake, NY.

It was all DNs with a heavy concentration of racers ushered in by Race Chair T with an assist from our secretary Binder. Multiple scratch races were held in a flaky breeze that filled in towards the end of the day. the last couple of starts had some rather lively gusts that pegged the fun meter and kept us on our toes. Remember you do not have to be nationally ranked, to sail with or near the DN race crowd. All Sailing takes a lifetime to master and we can all use a few go-fast tuning and boat handling tips. So don’t be shy sharing knowledge is built into iceboating at all levels. As the cover photo shows, most of us sailed till the sun touched the trees on the western shore. A great time was had by all.

Thanks to the Lake Saratoga iceboat group for drawing us all west.

As previously reported there was sailing in Maine On Damariscotta and Maguntacook let by Bill Buchholz. Since I didn’t get to Maine, catch up on happenings at

There may have been some additional ice in the region but it was not thoroughly scouted and with the limited resource, we all congregated where we did. This is a reminder that we need human intel. Satellite images are nice but skilled scouting is a must before we draw people together to sail.

But for the incoming white stuff we are seeing some good prospects for the weekend. Just need to see what this system brings.

Remember our weekly conference call is Thursday 6:30 pm. Not sure any weekend call can be made at that time but at least we can get a baseline of how things looked before the white stuff started dropping.

Think Ice and Sail Fast,



Hey Folks-

Getting some good intel for anyone that wants to get on the ice Sunday;

Schroon Lake in NY was sailed today and preliminary reports are that there’s a good sized, sail-able plate. There will be enough DNs there Sunday for some scratch racing. Launch at 40 Dock St, Schroon Lake NY. at,%20Schroon%20Lake,%20NY%20%2012870,%20United%20States&ll=43.834927,-73.760477&q=Dock%20St&t=m

Also getting reports that Damariscotta was good but was suffering from a lack of breeze…. Check CIBC website for details.

If you want to venture further north Colonel By Lake just north of Kingston was sailed today and was rated a 6-7. Not sure where launch is, but stay tuned here to find out.

As always exercise tremendous caution as the ice is less trustworthy as we get into the tail end of February. Talk w locals and people who have sailed there recently before heading out. Wear your picks and spikes and NEVER sail alone.

Sail safe tomorrow!


Weekend Options

OK, so no racing on Hay Bay.

BUT there are options around the area; Be advised that all of this ice has been subjected to warm temps and possibly precipitation so be extra cautious if you do venture out. Wear your spikes and picks, don’t sail alone, have safety gear, talk with locals about hazards, stay in one area etc…

Option 1 is Hay Bay. It will be scouted again tomorrow. Low temps tonight could make it sailable. Stay tuned to this site for details.

Option 2 is Maine. Keep an eye on the CIBC site for what is cooking up there. Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Option 3 is NY. Here is the only report I have from the Central NY gang; this ice will be scouted and hopefully sailed tomorrow. Be extra cautious as there are some hazards and thin areas….Schroon Lake DEC launch in Village behind Stewart’s

10″ ice. Top 1/2″ already refrozen, another 1/2-1″ slush, then granular black ice(not as porous as Great Sacondaga Lake but some)

Talked to ice fishermen – 4 wheeler broke thru near shore in front of pink camp (red X on map) they reported a fisherman farther south reported 4″ black ice

Some water at ramp on ice but also have ice bridges for access.

Stream inlet just south of ramp is cutting ice out from shore a little way. Can easily stay away from it.

Going to be colder at Schroon (25 deg at 4:30) than GSL. I think we should sail Schroon tomorrow. Parking curbside, also a lot available for trailers

Be safe, send reports, Think ICE

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