Spreading The Stoke On Webster Lake

Webster Lake 3/7/21 Photo Credit Emily Babbitt

Sunday on Webster was one for the books-  Good breeze but not too much, good turnout but not a traffic jam, ice that was hard yet grippy, bright sun but not blinding, and temps cold enough to keep the ice hard but not make an iceboater think twice about getting out of the van.

Yep, a banner day to be sure-  not bad for early March!  I don’t know exactly how many boats were on the lake but there must have been at least 20-30 craft of all varieties-  DNs (old and new), Skeeters, BDXs, maybe a Whizz or two, a Lockley Skimmer, and who knows what else.  All were able to get out and enjoy the day.

There was a good bunch of cruising boats buzzing around and when race marks were set everyone seemed to take an interest in doing some hot laps-  It’s hard for any sailor to resist seeing how your boat matches up with the boat next door!  Great to see everyone living it up and always interesting to compare the performance and sailing styles of the different designs and skippers.  Watching the fleet doing lap after lap was oddly calming and mesmerizing…  Like watching clothes tumble in a dryer but way more interesting.  Later on when some loosely organized races were run that was interesting too!  Good time had by all, that’s for sure.

Thanks to Emily Babbitt for getting some great shots yesterday. You can view her pics here https://photos.app.goo.gl/FZqg7axhqo3tEkAE7

And a few from my phone https://photos.app.goo.gl/dAw2pmbPYDBvsNAp6

Along with the range of boats were a range of skippers, male, female, older (don’t ask), younger (some in their twenties), and at least one who I don’t think is a teenager yet (ah, to be that young again!)  Bella was crushing it in her new BDX by the way, clearly, the kid has some talent and will be leaving her father in the dust soon enough!

We also had a good group of first-timers out;  One gent about my age (again, don’t ask) who has been a keen ocean racer and involved in numerous ’round the world race and America’s Cup campaigns doing bleeding-edge electronic and computer data, control, and navigation stuff.  All known in the biz as “mega-tronics.” His stories are a fascinating glimpse into that rarified world, and those are just the ones he can tell (I get the impression he has signed more NDAs than most of us have signed credit card receipts.)  In any case he is keen to delve further into the science and art of DN sailing-  Should be interesting!

Also in the mix was a young couple with extensive collegiate sailing experience and resume’s that include a lot of campaigning in Moth and 49er dinghies.  Another relatively new guy was out with a green sail, older hull, and aluminum mast and was doing quite well in the scratch racing that broke out.

Rounding out this bunch were two women I know from the classic yacht world, one who works on them for a living and one who has a real, respectable job but trims mainsheet one of the fastest classics out there!  All of these people sailed my 1962 DN for a bit and some of them moved up to the modern DNs after that.  All of them were STOKED and one of them is shopping for an old DN at this very moment.    Hope they will all dive in on some level!

Either way, it was great to see new faces out there giving this amazing sport a go.  We are all very lucky to have found it (or stumbled onto it) and we all know how much excitement and adrenalin it can generate no matter how we participate.  Which brings me to another point; My friend Dave always says that if you have something that revs you up and get’s you “stoked” (he lived in California for a while and he must have picked up some of the lingo) you have a duty to share it with like-minded folks.  Whether it’s a song, a boat, a band, movie, windsurfer, iceboat, whatever it may be you have to “Spread The Stoke!!” as he says.  Fair to say that The Stoke was spread far and wide yesterday!

There was a big regatta in Michigan last weekend and I have no remorse at all over skipping it; as much as I would have enjoyed racing (that’s my “stoke”) it was just as much or even more fun to get some new people out and see their reactions-  I re-learn this lesson every so often and I hope everyone in the group will make it a point to drag some new sailors out onto the ice and keep that stoke going!

Think Ice, T

One response

  1. Judge

    Thanks very much to the fleet for being so welcoming to newbies! We had a blast for our first day of ice boating. Thanks for organizing T and Karen! Thanks for the great shots Emily!
    Rachel and Judge

    03/08/2021 at 6:53 pm