Cruising Musing

Oliver Moore recently gave us an excellent outline of the racing schedule for 2016, and if there’s ice for racing, there’s most definitely ice for cruising. The cruisers aren’t nearly as fussy, sailing on the most ridiculous crap imaginable. Witness last years circumnavigation of Frye Island from Nason’s Beach on Lake Sebago. We had 1-2′ waves of frozen stuff in 25kts. But three out of four made it back in one piece. Not bad, not bad at all.
Below we have a piece from the CIBC archives to jog the imagination. We should all go racing as often as possible, but just as often you should go for the pure joy of exploring and sailing fast on a wild lake.

Damariscotta Sailing 2/22

by billbuchholz
We need to have a discussion about the trend toward grade inflation. Some people become so desperate after a spell without sailing that they’ll see any piece of crop plate and dub it the Yellow Brick Road. The Grade 8 ascribed yesterday was just around the pit area and as far out as a fellow might want to walk in a howling wind with driving snow. In actual fact, taken as a whole, it’s probably more like a 4.

The sailing was great when you realized the boat was not going to explode from the rough ice. Sailing fast was actually better because at higher speeds the wind noise began to drown out the sound of smashing shell ice. A few of us ventured south through the narrows into Muscungus Bay, and then down the river almost Damariscotta Mills. The same open water that stopped us last year from going all the way down was still there. So this dream remains. The north wind blew straight down the river and never failed. There are plenty of smooth patches upon which to tack and gybe so keeping the boat wound up was easy. There’s just something so magical about sailing on a narrow river. You need to watch out for overhanging trees as you place you tacks precisely on those lovely smooth spots near the shore. There is a destination: how far will we get this time. The gybes go on and on like free falling or downhill skiing.

The Narrows is in good shape. Again, choose the smooth ice for maneuvering. The rest of the group stayed close to the pits. The ice along the west shore is the best, and especially good in the south west corner. That’s where the only pressure ridge exists, and it only blocks access to the shore there. We didn’t discuss it as a group, but I sailed past what appeared to be a frozen hole about the size of a hot tub, surrounded by a low berm of frozen snow. It looked like there were branches in the ice. This was just beyond the first island. We should mark it tomorrow.

The only damage of the day was Outlaw’s sheet block cassette, which was pinned with a hollow 1/4? aluminum tube. The tube sheared and the cassette bent. We were deep in the south end at the time, but were able to rig a temporary sheet from a spare block.

Thanks to Ben Fuller for breaking up the snow blocking the ramp. Also sailing today were Lloyd, Frank Able, Bunting, Curtis Rindlaub, Hal and John Eastman
There will be sailing tomorrow, boats are on the ice. Snow storm moving in Saturday night into Sunday. As the case always seems to be: this it it!

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