Don’t let complacency ruin your day….

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

2 responses

  1. Bill Converse

    As someone who has been through the ice three times, and a fourth close call on Lake Winnepesaukee, I can support jay Whitehair’s advice and concern. In each of my swims(two of which I was in the water over 20 minutes), I was on Ice that 1. Was not sailed or walked on, or 2. Checked thoroughly for thickness(on many locations) prior to setting up. and 3.was under the self made pressure to go sailing regardless of 1 and 2. Fortunately I have survived over 40 years of ice boat sailing.
    I want to thank Jeff Kent for pulling me out on Long Pond Lakeville, Leo Healy and others for pulling me out of Norton Reservoir, and Harold Chamberlain for rescuing me on the south side of Rattlesnake Island.
    It always happens the years when there is little or crappy ice. Use the buddy system, Always have a friend with you(even if you don’t particularly like the other sailor), and always look around to make sure none of your fellow sailors are in the drink. We are all responsible for each other, Remember there is a hole marked for you out there somewhere, Just don’t let it get you this year.
    Think Safe Ice
    Bill Converse

    02/17/2021 at 7:22 pm

  2. Michael Normandeau

    I took your advice at the last swap meet and bought myself a dry suit. If or when I go in it will make it a lot easier to save myself and recover my boat.

    Sent from my iPhone


    02/17/2021 at 9:23 am