Want to Try Ice Boating? It’s all here. Click to start
Take a look gang- see how you did, where your friends/rivals are, start thinking about how to improve for next season, and SWEAR TO HIT THE CIRCUIT!
The NEIYA and the East in general represented well with four DNers ranked in the top ten group. Not bad at all!
Happy reading, be safe, and keep fingers crossed for a good season to come….
We love the ice, rough or nice, here or way out there!
(see poem below)
A friend just sent this photo to me and it immediately reminded me of our beloved sailing friend Larry Hardman’s ice poetry. Many knew him as the hand-stand-in-a-DN guy. It made me think how much I miss his goofy company and it made me thankful for the new sailor friends I have made in the NEIYA. I sure am looking forward to the ice again. I’m thinking of the cold, thinking of friends, thinking ice!
Just thought I’d share one of Larry’s many poems – only as accurate as I have in memory!
When Old King Cold’s reach is bold,
Down from his frozen lair,
It’s then we sleep in covers deep
and shiver upon the stair.
It’s then some curse in their northern berth
In Earthship’s stinging air,
When some dream of spring, when songbirds sing,
and the land is sweet and fair.
But not us guys with goggled eyes
And helmets on our hair!
We like the ice, rough or nice,
Here, or way out there.
We like wool socks, us iceboat jocks,
We like the land that’s bare.
We like a gale, a straining sail,
No matter when or where.
For us the summer is a bummer.
The spring is just a bore.
And, about all we get from the fall
Is thinking what’s in store!
When the timber’s in the ‘ol wood bin,
And felt is on the door,
It’s a lot funner to sharpen a runner
Than any other chore.
The temperature’s seven? To us, that’s heaven!
We wish for seven below.
We disdain thermometer gain,
And we despise the snow.
Sleek as an otter, that frozen hard water.
In glee we watch it grow.
The pond it skims, the lake it rims
We take a step and Oh!
We hear it crack! We all jump back! and we’ll all wait a day or so.
Then two knuckles deep, and back on we’ll creep,
And RACING we will go!
Hope everyone is getting through this rather unique summer without too much trouble…. We live in interesting times indeed.
But if you need to take your mind off of everything for awhile and learn a bit about long term strategies for improvement, tuning, campaign management and identifying strengths, weaknesses, victories and mistakes take a look at this article.
It is an interview with the late, great Tom Blackaller, one of the great personalities of sailing. He was loved or hated but never ignored. He could be verbose, in fact this interview is mostly “Blacky” doing the talking. The guy had no filter- he never pulled any punches when speaking and if he had an opinion on something, you were going to hear it! He was also an outspoken rival of Dennis Conner and had plenty to say about “Big Bad Dennis” as he called him.
The two locked horns on the race course many times over the years in several types of boats but the most public battles were during the 1983 and 1987 America’s Cup campaigns. Blackaller was the skipper of DEFENDER in ’83 and came back in ’87 with USA, an innovative 12 Meter with fore and aft rudders for lateral resistance and a giant lead torpedo on a strut for righting moment. They met Conner in the semi-finals but that’s another story…. Great book about that campaign here: https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Grinder-first-person-competing-Fremantle/dp/1469944006
Dennis Conner of course skippered LIBERTY in the summer of ’83 and took the Cup match to the bitter end against AUSTRALIA II. An amazing match to be sure and this interview offers a ton of insight into the techniques, politics, strategies, and everything else involved in the Cup defenses of the day. Interesting to see where things went right and where they went wrong….
Of course a lot of it will be relevant to any iceboater who wants to gain some insight about two-boat tuning and how to measure and make progress. Whether you want to do better on the race course or cruise farther and faster this article will help!
Click and enjoy America’s Cup: Looking back on 1983 >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News Think Ice!!
It’s been a few weeks since I committed to get to the track a few times a week for some preseason fitness training. My first session was trying to stay ahead of a guy that sailed around the world twenty years ago and won his class in what is now called the Vendee Globe Race. It was shameless of me to try and beat a guy that didn’t even know I was racing him. Call it Crazy Covid Times…I don’t know.
Since that first night, I have changed my focus to sprinting instead of distance running for two reasons. One, I truly hate running long distances. Two, I am convinced ice boating success relies on a good start. Last year, I focused on the initial push off the line, making sure my equipment was tuned to me, and the transition into the boat. After my 100 practice starts over 4 weekends, my race results improved dramatically.
But, there are always ways to get better at stuff. Since I started ice boating, I have heard about Matt Struble’s amazing starts. Based on a You Tube video of his start at the 2016 DN North Americans, I get it. The man CRUSHES the start. I was told he was a pole vault jumper back in his early days. Clearly, part of his success is linked to explosive running speed off the line. Look it up.
I have since learned sprinting has its own unique components and the 40 yard dash is a good length to practice. I am sure many of you know it’s the distance scouts use to evaluate speed and acceleration for the NFL draft. The average football player can do a 40 yard dash in 4.48 seconds. The record is 4.22 seconds. For the average human, breaking under 5 seconds is practically impossible. Covid Curiosity struck…thinking about football I remembered Tom Brady being pretty slow out of the pocket and his running game left something to be desired…Yes, I know TB 12 is G.O.A.T, but how many of you knew his 40 yard dash time is 5.28 seconds?
So, now I am really curious about Matt Struble’s 40 yard dash time. Maybe he reads NEIYA updates…Maybe someone reading knows him and can ask him for me…I want some kind of a benchmark to shoot for…maybe others will join me in this Covid Craziness Preseason Training, get to the track, and we can all get better at our speed off the line.
Last week, my time was 6.17 seconds. Tonight, the picture below shows my time. Granted, both times it’s been me pushing the button when I start and stop but I REALLY think my workouts are working. So, now instead of worrying about Around the World Guy, I will focus on getting as fast as Tom Brady or I will learn Matt Struble’s 40 yard dash time…(I already I said I am going a little crazy from COVID life.)
Stay well everyone,
While reefing out some seems on this vintage rowing shell and prepping it for varnish I couldn’t help but notice that #3947 was in my field of view and seemed to be calling me away from my promised boat work to others. It’s way too hot here in my shop and the thought of an icey wind is keeping me going for the moment. If you look closely you can see the pink foam board which will hopefully be shaped into a new tiller and glassed up in a nice streamlined shape that will not only tuck neatly between my legs at speed but also will allow me a better push and punch and the drop of the flag. This is the year I am actually getting an early start on my ice boat projects. I promised myself to switch over to an entire new plank line-up system and to get all my runners dialed in early. A big project…. so exciting to think about.
Finally, after a few shop minutes here, a few minutes there, the hull I bought on a whim at the fall trade/banquet (two years ago) is cleaned up, re epoxied, painted and ready to go for a loaner. My daughter has expressed interest in it as well (hooray!) so if you spot the trailer and the boat is inside feel free to ask about setting it up and getting a few pointers. NEIYA is about the most welcoming group for new sailing enthusiasts young and old and there is always plenty of advice for new sailors. If you spot this COVID escape rocket ship on the ice and have never sailed, don’t have a boat, or just want to give it a whirl please do just that. Simply ask for the keys.
Another swap meet/annual buffet purchased-on-a-whim barn find that will hopefully see the ice this winter is this two seat 40’s era Mead skeeter. Some of you may recall loading the old ship wreck onto my truck roof and thinking it would definitely NOT still be up there when I got home…. but it was! And it is beautiful now! As many of you know I have much more enthusiasm for ice boating than I do banking abilities and with the help of others in the NEIYA I was able to acquire the hardware I needed, a set of runners, and an updated mast/sail combo that should raise some ice chips for those behind us! If you spot Chilly Willy on the ice (formerly know as “Scat!”), a ride is yours for the asking. I rebuilt it specifically to give others their first rides.
I am so excited about the upcoming swap meet this fall. I hope my wife will allow me to go again?!? She seems worried what might come home on the roof next… : )
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Vice Commodore NEIYA
Congrats to Bill Mattison on getting into the Sailing Hall of Fame! Bill is not only a central pillar of the Wisconsin iceboating universe but also an extraordinary boat builder, model builder, craftsman, veteran, and has a few America’s Cup campaigns on his resume as well.
Accolades rightly deserved!
We all know it’s important to have the major elements of any iceboat ready to go when the lakes flash off in the fall; Perfect runners, plank and runners all aligned, all the bits and bobs in place….
But it’s also good to have the ancillary stuff taken care of- the little things that make traveling and transporting easier. Trailer modifications, car-top rigs, runner boxes, tool boxes, trailer hitches, all that miscellaneous minutia that always takes more time to do than you’d think.
In the never ending battle to be ready by Thanksgiving (keep dreaming, right?) there has been some serious noise and dust being made in RI-
Here we see runner holders being made- amazing how much “snow” piles up from cutting the grooves in the plastic. Have to say the finished product doesn’t look bad!
Also have some pit runners taking shape for NEIYA Secretary and scribe Karen Binder- the runners will be handy later but the poplar shavings from the planer are already mulching the bushes at the house.
Nice to tick these items off the list while it’s warm out. Nice to work outdoors and still feel your fingers. And I’m SURE the neighbors don’t mind the noise!
Think ICE. Days are getting shorter….
Stay safe gang!
Landsailing on hot asphalt planned for Loring on Wednesday if the wind forecast holds. Anyone interested, call Bill Bucholz via the CIBC site. Regatta planned for September 11-13, details to follow. Pencil it in!
No, not a Skimmer but a summertime craft- Click the link and take a look!
John Pepper sent this along- Many thanks for this and also don’t forget to send any iceboat related web-page fodder my way-
After the post about the Montana beach pebbles that hitch-hiked back to RI under my van last winter I received a few funny comments and suggestions-
The best was from Eben Whitcomb, who suggested I plant them in some good potting soil and see if I can grow some dental floss…. Had to laugh at that one and no, it isn’t a joke about my lack of dental hygiene (I hope).
It is yet another reference to the Frank Zappa song “Montana.” Like much of Mr. Zappa’s oeuvre it is very serious and somber. This particular piece relates the narrative of a young man who (like many) dreams of moving to Montana, getting a small horse, planting a crop of dental floss, and making a fortune. While wearing tweezers as jewelry.
Of course you could be a snob and say to yourself “What a cliche’. That same story has been told a thousand times.”
But do yourself a favor, click the link and have a listen. Enjoy the interpretation, subtlety and majesty of one of Frank Zappa’s better known works, “Montana.”
If you made the trip to Glasgow, Montana for the DN NA champs you may recall the reddish brown stones and sticky mud at the launch site. Very tenacious stuff- I spent hours under the van with a pressure washer blasting it all off.
And now, half a year later, I’m still spotting these little nuggets in the driveway. Have to chuckle every time and also give thanks for a really fun season.
On a slightly less cosmic note the Great Western Challenge is less than six months away…. get busy in the shop if you haven’t already!! Send pics and info on any interesting projects you have going- will post on the front page!
Hope all are having a safe and productive summer-