Want to Try Ice Boating? It’s all here. Click to start
Great to see the enthusiasm and guts this youngster has! She did well at the Nationals and we look forward to seeing her improve with a well tuned boat and some more time on the ice.
The weather has dealt us a bad hand once again. Most of the region got some snow. This is on top of some already snowed in lakes as well as some on top of newly sailable bodies.
At the current moment we do not have reliable reports of any sailable ice. Please use extreme caution when checking out surfaces that are covered in snow. “Here is always thin ice someplace” and if its under snow you increase your chances. Just use your head and be safe.
There may be a possibility in Maine. Bill Buchholz reported on Tunk Lake in Maine. For those so inclined, he should have info on iceboat.me later today.
Anyone for some short tacks on the Alton Bay Ice Runway (Lake Winnipesaukee). The runway opened for the season last week and is reported to be 18+ inches thick. With a good thaw and refrozen surface we could be on Winni again.
Skip to 2:15 for the ice.
If anything turns up over the weekend we will report back. Maybe just maybe something will happen.
Think Ice, Sail Fast and Be Save,
More great tips from a top DN sailor- click and learn!
Thanks to Mike Madge for putting these together-
Not sure where this is but you have to love it….
As far as we know iceboating originated in the Netherlands a few hundred years ago and there is still a strong fleet there.
They don’t get to sail in their own back yard much these days but last week things got cold and they were lucky to have some primo ice to break the drought!
Thanks to Margreet Elfring for sending this from the land of windmills, legal weed, red light districts, black ice, and colorful tulips.
Could be some sailing options coming together closer to home, stay tuned- Scouts are out and about.
The pilot of the DN that recently broke through in this photo was wearing a dry suit, used picks, and had informed others of his sail route. Because of this incident I again re evaluated the way I sail.
NEIYA cruisers and racers – please browse this excellent link about cold water immersion:
In all my years of emergency rescue work the link above is perhaps the most concise and clearly written explanation of cold water shock that i have ever seen. Written specifically for sport enthusiasts its contents are short and to the point. We all talk about the importance of ice claws, the benefits of dry suits, never sailing alone etc. But how often do we step out on the plate and take chances that later could cost us (or our want-to-be-rescuers) our lives? Have you had a few close calls and now are becoming complacent? I am sending this out and asking all of you to re evaluate the way you approach the associated risks of hard water sailing.
Every season I try to remind myself what it really means to fall through the ice. Some of you may recall my version of the “ice bucket challenge” where I pass around an ice filled water bucket and ask friends to hold their hand deep in it for one minute and then see what is left for dexterity after only 60 seconds have passed (spoiler: very little is left to work with). I hope every one of you will explore the contents this link opens up and from there reach out further and look at the way you, your friends, and others around you approach the ice.
Sail fast, safe, and whenever you can!
VC Jay Whitehair
Whether you race or cruise you will learn a lot by watching this video! Karol seems to have a knack for this iceboating stuff so pay attention….
This pond was sailed today- as always, there is thin ice and care needs to be taken-
We stayed in the Mashpee Pond portion, did not venture north into the Wakeby Pond part so no info on that-
In the southern part known hazards include thin and open spots along the SW shore of the the lake and care needs to be taken to avoid these. Also a “goose hole” was reported, not sure where.
The ice was a bit soft and there were many healed over drain holes- cold nightly temps could lock it up and warm temps could make it un sailable- as always, exercise extreme caution, follow safety protocols, and stay in known safe areas.
Do not sail alone, wear your ice picks, and keep your eyes open-
Think ice!! T
This just in from Rick Bishop. Mashpee-Wakeby Pond in Sandwich MA has consistent 3"-4" of black/grey ice with no snow on top. T
Rick plans to set up his DN early tomorrow (Sunday) and sail. Wind prediction is a bit light. Slight chance of scattered showers.
General Information: Mashpee-Wakeby Ponds are two connected Great Ponds generally considered to be one large body of water covering 737 acres. Wakeby Pond is the northern basin and Mashpee Pond is the southern basin. Average depth is 30 feet and maximum depth is 95 feet.
Launch Area: A large paved boat ramp with a 30-vehicle parking lot is managed by the town of Mashpee. It is located on Fisherman’s Landing Road, to the north of Route 130, just after its intersection with Great Neck Road (70°28’53.07"W 41°39’7.24"N).
- Be aware of and adhere to all local, state, or federal regulations.
- If you have any symptoms get tested and be negative before you go. If in doubt, stay at home!.
- Practice Social Distancing – Easy gauge, the length of a DN plank is eight(8) feet.
- Keep congregating and socializing in the pits and parking areas to a minimum.
- Wear your mask or face covering while setting up, transporting gear to and from your car or trailer, and while setting up.
- The NEIYA will NOT be holding any official after ice activities so plan accordingly.
- Let’s all be safe and keep the safety of others in mind in everything we do.
Our team of ice scouts were out the last few days searching for ice. Unfortunately, there is a lot of great thick ice covered with varying depths of snow.
Worden Pond in Wakefield, RI has about 6″ of ice consistently covered with 4″ of crusty snow.
Ninnigret in Charlestown, RI is a brackish body of water with an outlet to the Atlantic. It has 3-4″ of grey ice and is not currently covered in snow, but the top layer was slushy after a full day of sun which is not great. I will try to check this ice tomorrow.
Pocopoaug Lake in East Hampton, CT has about 6-7″ of ice, but snow depth is about 5″.
Seymour and Long Pond in Harwich were checked yesterday by Rick Bishop and they opened up sometime on Wednesday.
Bob S and his wife, Val, have been cross country skiing across many lakes this week and nothing found so far.
Jay says NH is fully snowed out. Bill reports the same in Maine.
If any things wets out for Monday, we will post ASAP.
Thanks to those that were out looking for ice.
Heading back to RI tomorrow after a little more than two weeks in Michigan sailing a total of nine days on Black Lake, Lake Charlevoix, and Elk Lake. In addition to great sailing, elements of the natural world also came into focus for us to enjoy and experience.
Elk Lake was the clearest ice I had ever sailed on.. The ice measured 3.5 to 4.0 inches thick. The water depth here is about 10 feet, but even at 30′ you could see the bottom. We also saw lots of crayfish and Bob Gray saw a 20" lake pike.
With so little resistance, we were able to sail all day in just 5mph of wind.
Elk Lake is now covered in about 6" of snow as is Black Lake where the DN Nationals took place, but the snow didn’t stop the annual Black Lake Sturgeon fishing tournament from taking place. It’s the only sturgeon tournament in the state and each year between 500 and 600 fishermen register for the opportunity to catch a sturgeon. Sturgeon have been referred to as living fossils. The species dates back to 136 million years. Lake sturgeon can reach 7′ long 250lbs and live up to 150 years and they are classified as a threatened species in Michigan. The population is slowly on the rise due to careful management of the population.
This year a maximum of six sturgeon could be speared. Then the season/tournament officially ends. Last year the tournament took 20 minutes. When we heard that and that spears were used, we wanted to learn more about it. On Saturday morning we walked out onto Black Lake and talked to a few fisherman. A group of six friends drove five hours to saw a hole in the ice and stand in a fish tent/hut just for the chance to spear a sturgeon. This was their third year doing it and this year they’d brought a special decoy to try and lure one close. We also talked to a young teenager whose grandfather has done the tournament for 40 years and has yet to catch a sturgeon. The bell rung at 8:00 AM and all fisherman were notified of any catches via text messaging. By 8:45 AM three sturgeon were caught. We really wanted to see a sturgeon up close and because any caught sturgeon had to be brought to the DNR office for measurement, we headed to the office.
The spear or trident pictured below. If a sturgeon is seen, the fisherman aims and throws it into the hole using the rope to retrieve it and, hopefully, a sturgeon.
Due to COVID, the DNR office was not letting anyone into the gated parking lot other than those six that caught a sturgeon. We waited for a bit and soon a truck pulled in. I said, "Hi, do you have a sturgeon?" The driver said, "Yeah, we got one!" I said, "We are from Rhode Island, can we look?" Brian had not done the tournament in about ten years, but decided at the last minute to participate. He caught the 6th and last fish of the 2021 season.
We leave Onaway, MI and Black Lake tomorrow morning to return to Rhode Island. Given the uniqueness and importance of lake sturgeon, it’s clear why this sculpture welcomes all visitors to the area.
Lesson learned…ice boating and the traveling involved is also a great way to enjoy the natural world.
Some good video from the recent DN Nationals out in MI…