Over the years many options have been pursued to make sailing on soft crusty snow ice (aka the dreaded “styrofoam”) possible and fun-
“Skunners” (a ski attached to a runner) seems like a good solution and Denis Guertin has built a really nice set- Pretty slick, no pun intended….
To take a look at how he did it and see them in action read on!
I will try to explain how I built them as best as I can, but please excuse my english which is sometimes french-glish !!
First of all, I grooved a long slot in the skis in order to use my Sarns bullnose runners and to have them go through the ski. The runner exceeds 1/2 inch under the ski. I used a piece of HDPE (High density polyethylene) to double the ski, but after all, I am not sure it is very useful. Maybe only the ski could be good. I used this HDPE because it is very strong, and very slippery on snow or crust. But a ski is also very slippery !!
On top of the ski, I wanted a system that would not need to drill holes in my runners. So I used HDPE 3/8 thick and cut the shape of the front of the runners so I just have to slip it into the shape and it is caught there. I bolted the HDPE pieces on a aluminum angle, and bolted the aluminum angle on the ski after. Both 3/8” HDPE pieces, plus the 1/4” runners equals exactly 1″, which is the capacity of the chocks. Note that you have to adjust the bottom of the HDPE piece height to obtain your 1/2″ of runner under the ski, depending on the thickness of the ski, which is not the same in the front than in the back.
Once the runner is slided into the shape, I had to secure it in place at the heel.
Here is a video of the skunners in action 2 years ago.
I hope this will help you…. Good luck !!
I should add that skunners really come into their own when there are drain holes in the ice, like we generally find after a recovery. Just having that tip out front can mean the difference between going over or going in! One downside is in lots of wind the ski will actually try to lift the runner causing you to loose some grip, and you wind up make leeway just like a softwater boat.
04/06/2020 at 2:32 pm