Author Archive

DN work list, training and watching videos

It’s August and about that time to get serious or just distracted from the day job and think about ice boating. On my end the fitness training started two weeks ago, T infused my new plank with Jeff Kent over the weekend, and today I caved to distraction and sought out some you tube videos to bring me to that feeling of being on the ice…This video below popped up first. Spectacularly scenic.

I am sure the trusty officers of the club will start thinking about the fall swap meet and settle on a date and location very soon.

Lastly, it’s only five months to go until the Western Challenge. If you have never gone to a regatta before, I encourage you to seriously consider it. You will meet the most welcoming crowd and have a complete blast. After the last year with COVID treat yourself to doing more and hitting the road. You won’t regret it. I promise.

Get cracking!

BEYOND THE ICE | Ice Sailing Germany Cup 2020 |
Das diesjährige Eissegler Video ist da. Es waren zwei sehr witzige, kalte und schöne Wochenenden zum Jahreswechsel. Danke für diese Zeit und danke dass ich dieses Jahr ein Teil dieser absolut coolen Gruppe sein durfte. Und jetzt viel vergnügen mit dem Video. Music and SFX by Used Equipment: Sony A7 III Ronis S …

Think Ice,

Karen DN 5630/NEIYA Secretary

Ice in Maine…

Hi All,

Please check the Chickawaukee Ice Boat Club website for updates regarding sailing tomorrow/Friday….

Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends
One of the most common questions from people curious about iceboating is if we can sail in the snow. We hem and haw about bonded vs. unbonded and maximum depths,etc, and about loosing split rings and clevis pins in the powder.

If you can make it up, great. The weather forecast is good for Friday, but not for Saturday.

Bill has checked the ice and will be present to point any noted hazards, but keep in mind conditions may change overnight and everyone needs to use caution.

Please adhere to all COVID regulations, maintain social distancing in the pits, and wear masks.

Thanks, Karen Binder DN5630/NEIYA Secretary.

Ice FOUND! – Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, Sandwich Ma


This just in from Rick Bishop. Mashpee-Wakeby Pond in Sandwich MA has consistent 3"-4" of black/grey ice with no snow on top. T

Rick plans to set up his DN early tomorrow (Sunday) and sail. Wind prediction is a bit light. Slight chance of scattered showers.

General Information: Mashpee-Wakeby Ponds are two connected Great Ponds generally considered to be one large body of water covering 737 acres. Wakeby Pond is the northern basin and Mashpee Pond is the southern basin. Average depth is 30 feet and maximum depth is 95 feet.

Launch Area: A large paved boat ramp with a 30-vehicle parking lot is managed by the town of Mashpee. It is located on Fisherman’s Landing Road, to the north of Route 130, just after its intersection with Great Neck Road (70°28’53.07"W 41°39’7.24"N).


  • Be aware of and adhere to all local, state, or federal regulations.
  • If you have any symptoms get tested and be negative before you go. If in doubt, stay at home!.
  • Practice Social Distancing – Easy gauge, the length of a DN plank is eight(8) feet.
  • Keep congregating and socializing in the pits and parking areas to a minimum.
  • Wear your mask or face covering while setting up, transporting gear to and from your car or trailer, and while setting up.
  • The NEIYA will NOT be holding any official after ice activities so plan accordingly.
  • Let’s all be safe and keep the safety of others in mind in everything we do.

Ice Status – For Weekend of 2/11

Hi Everyone,

Our team of ice scouts were out the last few days searching for ice. Unfortunately, there is a lot of great thick ice covered with varying depths of snow.

Worden Pond in Wakefield, RI has about 6″ of ice consistently covered with 4″ of crusty snow.

Ninnigret in Charlestown, RI is a brackish body of water with an outlet to the Atlantic. It has 3-4″ of grey ice and is not currently covered in snow, but the top layer was slushy after a full day of sun which is not great. I will try to check this ice tomorrow.

Pocopoaug Lake in East Hampton, CT has about 6-7″ of ice, but snow depth is about 5″.

Seymour and Long Pond in Harwich were checked yesterday by Rick Bishop and they opened up sometime on Wednesday.

Bob S and his wife, Val, have been cross country skiing across many lakes this week and nothing found so far.

Jay says NH is fully snowed out. Bill reports the same in Maine.

If any things wets out for Monday, we will post ASAP.

Thanks to those that were out looking for ice.

Karen Binder
DN 5630

What’s Under the Ice We Sail On….

Heading back to RI tomorrow after a little more than two weeks in Michigan sailing a total of nine days on Black Lake, Lake Charlevoix, and Elk Lake. In addition to great sailing, elements of the natural world also came into focus for us to enjoy and experience.

Elk Lake was the clearest ice I had ever sailed on.. The ice measured 3.5 to 4.0 inches thick. The water depth here is about 10 feet, but even at 30′ you could see the bottom. We also saw lots of crayfish and Bob Gray saw a 20" lake pike.

With so little resistance, we were able to sail all day in just 5mph of wind.

Elk Lake is now covered in about 6" of snow as is Black Lake where the DN Nationals took place, but the snow didn’t stop the annual Black Lake Sturgeon fishing tournament from taking place. It’s the only sturgeon tournament in the state and each year between 500 and 600 fishermen register for the opportunity to catch a sturgeon. Sturgeon have been referred to as living fossils. The species dates back to 136 million years. Lake sturgeon can reach 7′ long 250lbs and live up to 150 years and they are classified as a threatened species in Michigan. The population is slowly on the rise due to careful management of the population.

This year a maximum of six sturgeon could be speared. Then the season/tournament officially ends. Last year the tournament took 20 minutes. When we heard that and that spears were used, we wanted to learn more about it. On Saturday morning we walked out onto Black Lake and talked to a few fisherman. A group of six friends drove five hours to saw a hole in the ice and stand in a fish tent/hut just for the chance to spear a sturgeon. This was their third year doing it and this year they’d brought a special decoy to try and lure one close. We also talked to a young teenager whose grandfather has done the tournament for 40 years and has yet to catch a sturgeon. The bell rung at 8:00 AM and all fisherman were notified of any catches via text messaging. By 8:45 AM three sturgeon were caught. We really wanted to see a sturgeon up close and because any caught sturgeon had to be brought to the DNR office for measurement, we headed to the office.

The spear or trident pictured below. If a sturgeon is seen, the fisherman aims and throws it into the hole using the rope to retrieve it and, hopefully, a sturgeon.

Due to COVID, the DNR office was not letting anyone into the gated parking lot other than those six that caught a sturgeon. We waited for a bit and soon a truck pulled in. I said, "Hi, do you have a sturgeon?" The driver said, "Yeah, we got one!" I said, "We are from Rhode Island, can we look?" Brian had not done the tournament in about ten years, but decided at the last minute to participate. He caught the 6th and last fish of the 2021 season.

We leave Onaway, MI and Black Lake tomorrow morning to return to Rhode Island. Given the uniqueness and importance of lake sturgeon, it’s clear why this sculpture welcomes all visitors to the area.

Lesson learned…ice boating and the traveling involved is also a great way to enjoy the natural world.

DN 5630

Six Days and Counting!

Frosty, Karen, T, Ron, Rhea – Great day of practice!


After six straight days of sailing, I woke up this morning with my brain was saying…"I am Living the Dream." My joints were saying, "Stop! Please!"

Yesterday, David Frost, Rhea Nicholas, and I had the incredibly benefit of an on the ice private coaching day with James "T" Thieler and Ron Sherry. Two of the very best….

We set up marks, the breeze filled to 10-12mph, and the drifts seemed a bit smaller. Scratch racing, switching boats, and mark rounding practice all afternoon. During Nationals my mast inverted several times during tacks. That is not fast because you have to bear off a ton and let out a lot of sheet to get it to pop over. I am sure that allowed for boats to zoom by me a few times. So, I asked Ron for tacking advice.

He broke down how he tacks and said I was probably tacking too fast. Ron heads up very gently/slowly. Then scoots forward, bends his knees, eases his body and his head under to slide under the boom, uses his knee to push the boom over to help the mast to rotate, then let’s out a TINY bit of sheet. As soon as the sail fills he straightens his legs by pushing hard on his steps and pulls the sheet hard back in. It worked. I was easing way too much sheet and going into the tacks way too fast. My tacks improved dramatically and no more mast inverting.

So, then I asked him about gybes. At the speeds we were going during Nationals, I felt my boat was floating a bit during gybes so I avoided doing too many gybes. That also probably cost me a few boats in various races. Ron said he does not let out any sheet when he gybes. He scoots forward, gets under the boom, and gybes. Boom. It worked. I felt my boat was staying down on the ice and I felt much safer.

The highlight of yesterday was beating Ron and T in a two-lap race. Maybe they started late. Maybe they were taking it easy. I don’t know. I raced really well and Ron’s tips were extremely helpful. I hope they will be to you, too.

Fun day as the picture shows. Today was a no wind day so no sailing. Joints are happy. We are here in northern Michigan for a few more days. With snow predicted everywhere else in the next few days maybe we are in the perfect spot to sail more.


DN 5630

Nationals Day #3 – Another Big Wind Day

16F felt so much warmer than yesterday’s 2F and despite a forecast for light wind, it piped up quickly once we walked a mile out to the plate. The race committee hoped to get in three races for the gold and silver fleet, but with changing wind direction, blowing snow, and huge puffs each fleet was only able to do one race before racing was halted for the day and the regatta called completed. When asked about the racing conditions T said "Hurtling down the downwind leg was equally exhilarating and terrifying! It’s a fine line."

Congratulations to James T. Thieler for placing 4th overall after 9 races, Ron Sherry for placing 1st, Chris Berger for placing 2nd, Eric Smith 3rd place and Steve Orlebeke for his 5th place finish. View the results

Here are the conditions on the ice when racing was called due to conditions. This picture does not do it justice. YOU HAD TO BE THERE!

A huge thanks to the race committee for three days of difficult and freezing conditions!

See you New England soon,

Karen Binder
DN 5630

Nationals Day 2- Low Temps/Big Winds

At the launch this morning the thermometer read 2F, but the wind was 0 mph. Racing was delayed for quite some time. By 11:00 am I noticed a head stay telltale flying straight out and said as much to a few guys in the pit, but no one was convinced. So, the guys gabbed and I forged out to plate. It’s about a 1.5 mile push through snow and very rough ice. It’s exhausting.

By the time I reached the sailable ice, the wind was definitely blowing a steady 10 mph and the race committee was just setting the windward mark. That gave me a lot of time to get settled and set up before others arrived. After one lap I was happy with my runner choice, but saw dark clouds and snow showers on the horizon so switched to my ABSS sail. A good call as the wind just got bigger as the afternoon progressed and at times racing was delayed due to white out conditions and marks falling down. T felt the wind was a steady 15 mph with gusts in the 20s. With blowing snow, he said the conditions were not for the faint of heart.

All of that made the racing really really fast. I thought yesterday was the fastest I’d ever gone in my boat, but today I reached a new kind of speed downwind. I felt like my boat had a jet engine and it was going to go insanely fast whether I wanted it to or not. It almost felt like it was ready to lift off the ice and fly. While I was working hard to race well, I didn’t focus too much on my place in the fleet. I took it as another good day to work on sailing in big wind. My last race was my best race, but I still lost two boats on the last downwind leg. ARGH. I did hear a few guys comment on how challenging the conditions were and so for me to stay in control, finish all the races, and beat a few gold fleet boats made for another great day of sailing.

A few of us at the end of the racing said out loud to each other how fast we all felt and then just shook our heads in disbelief that the top guys (Ron, Chris, T, Steve, JR) still finish a leg in front of us. How fast must they be going?

Tomorrow has us doing three more races to wrap up the Nationals. The wind is predicted to be light.

Cheers, Karen DN 5630

Nationals Day #1 – brief report

Hi folks,

Today was the first day of Nationals with 52 competitors traveling from as far as North Carolina, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Florida, and New York. Black Lake is located in Northern Michigan and the lake is large. The day had big winds with gusts to 20 at the start of the day and the temperatures hovered at the upper teens. Snow was whipping around and the pitted ice made sailing pretty exciting. T and I arrived early on Sunday and managed to practice both days. Given the limited sailing back east, it was nice to have two solid days on the ice before the racing began.

I squeaked into the gold fleet after finishing 12th in the qualifying race. For me, today was about sailing with confidence in big wind which has always made me very nervous. I started with my heavy 90 degree inserts and my flatter sail. I surprised myself with solid starts by sitting more back in my boat and hiking a bit until I was two blocked. I made good lay line decisions both upwind and downwind, and my mark roundings especially at the leeward mark were at good speeds but always in control. In one race I had a great start and rounded the top mark in 5th place just behind T, but what I am learning in the gold fleet is that these really experienced gold fleet sailors just ZOOM-ZOOM away while I watch from behind and wonder why?! It must come down to better and constant sail trim both upwind and downwind. T said he is constantly playing his sail. I tend to lock in and let her ride.

By the 3rd race I felt I could sail a bit faster so I switched to my 95 degree inserts. The wind was fading a bit and that was causing big slow-downs when hitting the drifts. That really helped a lot in my other races. Yes, my finishes are still at the bottom of the fleet. But given the very challenging wind and ice conditions I definitely sailed the fastest I have ever gone in my boat and I had a lot of confidence at those speeds. Last year, I remember being terrified in big wind. Today, frankly, it was a total rush.

More tomorrow!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

Ice in Maine – Sabattus Pond

Thanks to the Maine crew…this news just in for Sabattus Pond, Maine

We got on the plate at Martins Point launch where the ice is still tight to the ramp, but slightly submerged and covered with a puddle. Trailers can get down to the left of that puddle. A stream lead is off to the right, looking out, extending quite far. Be aware. We plan to show up around 9am and begin to mark hazzards. The sailing should be great.

The plate looks great. There is a thin film of water skimmed with ice. You’ll probably bump over our footprints tomorrow. It is four inches everywhere; very little variation. Ice is hard and will give us a 7ish surface. There is one open crack crossing the lake, and we found two drainholes that could eat a runner, but just barely. There might be others.

We checked the north end from Nason’s Beach, below, and found pretty much the same conditions. There was a flock of birds on the ice off in the distance. We don’t know if they had an open hole to hang out in or were just standing on the ice waiting for a cast off fish from the fishermen.

Most of Damariscotta is open again, except Muscongus Bay. It’s hanging in there with 3". Could recover by the end of the week if it get as cold as predicted, especially as the wind forecast is minimal. Wind could become the issue mid-week just as we get some good ice. Good news coming in from Squam and Wentworth as well. Stand by for updates from there.

New England Ice Report – not great, but promising for next week.

Hi Everyone,

Our scouts continue to search for sailable ice in the New England region. Thank you, scouts.

Jay Whitehair’s report for Wentworth/Sunapee/Winni: "Although I am no weather guy, I just looked at the weather and the temps up here look like they may have a Zamboni potential. On Saturday it seems the temps here will be warmish and Uber windy so who knows what is in store. Looking tonight at the week, after the warmish rolls through the temps are dropping up here and will be steady low. I’m hoping to discover more ice up here for next week. The precipitation looks low but god only knows. I’ll keep looking for bigger ice. If Sunapee and Winni get Zambonied and then a cold sets in we could have big ice soon.

Bill Bucholz: "I’m keeping an eye on Sabbattus. Sunday looks good if there’s not too much damage from rain Saturday. Hoping for some rubber boots on the ice Sat. afternoon to see how it looks, and then I’ll post yay or nay. Monday looks good as well. If we like it Sun. then maybe sailing/scratch racing/small regatta for Monday." Check the Chicawaukie website for direct updates. (If you are not a member of their club, please support their efforts by joining. The members scout a lot of far away places for all of us to enjoy.)

John Stanton: "From the home front in CT we are getting encouraging news about Bantam. Seems like things are progressing but need more time."

If I hear anything else, I will let you know ASAP especially since Monday is a holiday and many of you may have off.

Think Ice,

Karen Binder
DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

New IMPORTANT Information on Lake Monomonac, NH – LAUNCH INFO and Wentworth


I just spoke to Kit again. The launch area provides a smaller plate to sail on. The bigger plate that he sailed today is closer to his home and he can accommodate car top vehicles only. No trailers.

He is happy to assist those that want to unload at his house. He can accomodate up to 12 vehicles and will ask his neighbors for additional permission.

His address is:
Kit Tucker
11 Beauvais Point Lane
Rindge, NH

WENTWORTH Reports are coming from Dave Fortier and posted on Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club website for Wentworth. Randy Rice also reported Lake Wentworth has 4" of ice and he wing sailed today. Again, please check the CIBC website

Thanks, Karen

ICE – LAKE MONOMONAC – NH – Great news!


Thanks to NEIYA member Kit Tucker there is sailable ice this weekend. Lake Monomonac, NH has been scouted and sailed. The lake is about 600 acres (slightly bigger than Quabog). It straddles the state of Massachusetts and RI.

The black ice is covered with a 1/2" dusting of snow. Today’s drill holes indicate 4". I spoke to him at noon today. There is one pressure ridge and Kit will be there tomorrow to point it out and any other hazards. Remember, NO ice is Safe and needs to be checked daily as conditions may change. Do not sail alone.


While we are all anxious to get out and sail, especially as our season begins, While Covid-19 is still amongst us, we MUST all practice Enhanced Personal Responsibility. Basically, take the personal responsibility that we iceboaters already practice and turn it up a few notches.

Before you go:

  • Be aware of and adhere to all local, state, or federal regulations.
  • If you have any symptoms get tested and be negative before you go. If in doubt, stay at home!.
  • Practice Social Distancing – Easy gauge, the length of a DN plank is eight(8) feet.
  • Keep congregating and socializing in the pits and parking areas to a minimum.
  • Wear your mask or face covering while setting up, transporting gear to and from your car or trailer, and while setting up.
  • The NEIYA will NOT be holding any official after ice activities so plan accordingly.
  • Let’s all be safe and keep the safety of others in mind in everything we do.

The launch area is located at:

Lake Monomonac Boat Ramp

Position: 42°42.87’N 72°00.91’W
Boat Launch:
The state line Marina on Route 202 has the only access available at this time. It’s across from the fireworks factory. Pay $15.00 at the North of the Border Food Mart to used the paved boat ramp and parking for all types of boats. (NOT SURE IF THIS IS ONLY SUMMER RULE-KB)
Nearest Launch Address:
1207 US-202, Rindge, NH 03461​​​

Ice Report – Nothing

Hi Folks,

The hunt was on for ice over the last two days. Bill B reported Maine is snowed out. Bob reported Quabog now has open water. Another scout reported Sunapee and Wentworth both have open water. Squam Lake is being looked at. If we hear anything positive we will report ASAP.

NEIYA Secretary

Ice Reports – Scouts are watching NH, Maine, and Massachusetts


We have scouts in NH, Maine, and Massachusetts looking for sailable ice. Temperatures later this week are looking good. Snow is falling in Maine right now, but Bill will get a report on Plymouth Pond ASAP.

Hopefully, we can have some cruising and scratch racing somewhere this weekend.

I will send updates tomorrow and/or Thursday. Fingers crossed!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

Mascoma Lake, NH – Looks Great! But turn computer 90 degrees to really see

Sorry folks. I can’t figure out how to rotate this lovely image Jay Whitehair sent of Mascoma Lake, NH

From Jay: I just checked the ice on Mascoma and found 4+Inches starting from the public access and going straight out to the middle of the lake. I also went quite a ways towards the dam it it was the same. I will likely set up my ice boat tomorrow and sail the broad area of the lake and run racing marks. We skated and walked all over late this afternoon with no cracking due to our body weight. The night will likely bring another 3/8” which is great.

No bob houses or snowmobiles. The lake is in top form. Grade 8.5/10.

Adventure awaits those willing to make it happen.

Ice boaters: Lake Mascoma is in Enfield NH. Public access point is at the end of the big bridge which crosses the middle of the lake. Can’t miss it. Great parking. Did I say no bob houses?

Check the forecast. It might be a bit warm tomorrow (Thursday), but looks like the best day to sail.

Karen Binder
NEIYA Secretary

Where Oh Where Did My Apparent Wind Go?

Hi everyone,

I am grateful that T and I both are able to find out about a regatta in Michigan late Thursday and be in a van driving west by 9:00 am Friday. Keep in mind this is just two weeks after we drove 24 hours to Minnesota for a practice weekend. Yes, maybe a bit crazy. But, with no ice in the New England forecast we blazed out on the long road.

Saturday had great ice, but light wind. The race committee got off three races for the gold fleet and two for the silver fleet. My sprint training totally made a difference with quickness off the line and gaining speed once in my boat. I surprised myself with being at the top mark in the top five in the gold fleet each race. Chirs Berger made me laugh when he said, "I swear your name when I keep seeing your boat…By the way that’s a compliment." Unfortunately, the wind would die and each race was red-flagged. But, I sailed really well upwind and downwind.

Sunday=Different conditions=Different story.

Overnight it snowed about an inch. I never raced on a full plate of snow. I thought nothing of it given the ice was still in good shape. Before the race I practiced with a 100 degree T runner on starboard and my 95 insert on port. I could hear the snow just hitting the top of T’s runner body so changed it out before the first race. Jeff Kent and T both say listen to your runners. It’s good advice.

The wind was about 8 mph when we started and built steadily through the day with steady 12 and maybe puffs to 15-16 mph. It was also shifty. The race committee did a great job with getting 7 races completed for each fleet. Kudos to the team.

During Sunday’s first race I saw three black watery looking circles each about 12" across and fairly close to the windwark mark. I was not sure if they were open or not, but everyone was avoiding the area. Those I asked after the first race were not sure if they were open either. That unsettled me a bit because the day prior we were told repeatedly to avoid going too far to the left because the ice was only 2" thick. I never knew quite where that line was between safe ice and not safe ice so I avoided that side as much as I could. All that probably planted a bad seed in my head that took me out of the mental game a bit.

After two races I was doing okay upwind but my tacks were super. For the next race I tried out my plates. Shorter runner length in snow means less for the runner to turn through during tacks. Well, they are also a sharp 90 degrees. My tacks were a bit faster, but maybe the ice was a little too soft for that really sharp edge. Downwind remained a disaster. I have never been awesome downwind, but I have never been that bad or slow since two years ago when I got lapped in my very first regatta. Back to my 95s.

As the wind was building and puffs hitting, my mast was not bending. I felt out of control upwind. T suggested adjusting the headstay. Next race I was more control, but I was getting more nervous about the holes and I still did not a lot of mast bend. So next race T suggested loosening the shrouds so the mast would bend more when I sheeted in. That actually worked much better and I was at least with the fleet at the mark and rounding with six other boats at the same moment. Then, I got bumped by another boat. That freaked me out.

I tried my best to remain calm, but that didn’t help the brain. So, I was even slower downwind. I parked my boat and took a really long walk after that race.

Now, the last race of the day. I gave it my best, but my brain was toast. I stopped after the first lap. I can’t remember quitting any race of any kind in my entire life. But, I said to myself, "Karen, your head is not in it – STOP."

Is that wisdom gained after so many disasters on the ice? Maybe. Too high expectations? Confidence shot? Definitely!

On the ride back to Rhode Island, T coached me on apparent wind and snow’s drag on speed. Snow makes makes downwind sailing 85 times harder. Any loss of speed shifts your apparent wind aft. Downwind sailing is the hardest point of DN sailing. You have to focus entirely on the flow of your leeward telltales at all times. Snow just amplifies loss of speed because it acts as a brake on the runners. It takes much longer to gain speed back and speed moves the apparent wind moves forward. Sounds simple in theory. Ease the sheet slightly and head up. I probably eased too much. Nothing would happen so then I’d ease more…etc.

In closing, there were three women sailing in this regatta. Rhea Nichols just took up the sport of soft water sailing four years ago and now she is out competing with ice boating. I have seen her progress since last year and I am really proud of her. Julie Richards is wicked fast and has been sailing for years. She is very petite, but handles big wind really well. I asked Julie after the regatta if any other women race DNs in the United States. She could not think of any…. It’s not an easy sport or a sport for the timid. That’s for sure.

I will just have to keep at it.

Karen Binder
DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary.

Where Guam and Ice Collide

T built a homemade sled for us to use. Converted Dining Room turned DN Sail Loft

Hi everyone,

November was spent getting sails and runners ready and staying consistent with the sprint training. Given Covid restrictions throughout the summer and early fall T and I were pretty consistent working out three days a week. I wrote our 40-yard dash times down each week and in two months some progress was made with slicing off a bit of time. In early November we saw a young woman sprinting at the high school track. She was literally the fastest person I’d ever see run in real life. Her form was perfect, her legs were moving like pistons, and she blew us both away. It was beautiful to watch someone with that much speed.

T and I joked that maybe she’d take us on as students. I was definitely intrigued with the idea so T urged me to talk to her. He said, "Come on. Go talk to her. Ask her. I’ll be your wingman." I finally worked up the nerve to approach her. I said awkwardly and lamely, "Hi, um, you are really fast." She politely said, "Thanks." I then said, "Did you run for your college? She said, "Yes, I ran for the Naval Academy." I then said, "Well, T and I are really old and we are really trying to get better at sprinting."

We told her about ice boating and even broke out the infamous Matt Struble you tube video to show her why we need to learn sprinting technique. She told us she was from Guam and had never heard of ice boating. We have since learned in Guam the average temperature rarely dips below 65F so that makes perfect sense. We then showed her a few of our sprints. She politely said our form was okay. I then said, "Well not sure if you are interested, but if you are at all willing to give us some coaching we will pay you for your time and we’d take it very seriously." I gave her my cell phone and said to please call if she was interested.

Three weeks went by and I didn’t hear from her. What’s the term nowadays…ghosting? I was all bummed out. I’d been ghosted.

Then, having given up hope I got a text from Regine. She said she’d been away, but would enjoy working with us. I was thrilled. We met at the track and got to work last Tuesday night.

At some point in our first session we were talking about Usain Bolt. She described him as a sprinting phenomenon. She pulled out her phone. It was a picture of her standing with Hussien Bolt. I said, "Wow, where was that?" She said Rio de Janeirio. I said, Wait, was that taken at the Olympics? She said, "Yes, he was so nice. Look how tiny I am next to him." I then said, "Wait…you were at Olympics running?" She said, "Yes, I ran for Quam."

Holy smokes. We are being trained by a real OLYMPIC ATHLETE!

We have had three sessions. Already T has shaved over a full second off his sprint time and I have whittled off .40 seconds. Neither sounds like a lot, but with sprinting over a short distance winning is determined by thousandths of a second. It’s huge progress and totally attributable to our Olympic trainer, Regine. We are doing drills I’d never seen or heard of and learning the body positions for starting, powering up, and going full speed.

Sprinting, like most things in life, is a matter of technique, repetition, and a commitment of time. The bad news is Regine is being reassigned for her Naval service in another week so we may just have one or two sessions left. I will keep you posted!

Karen Binder
DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

Covid Crazy Preseason Training


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,

Karen Binder
DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

Around the Track, Not Around the World

Getting back to fitness requires motivation and sometimes that’s hard to find, but the other night I found some. I prefer going to the track because it’s the easiest way for me to set measurable goals. Lately, I am walking a lot longer before I pick up the pace to a slow run. I know I need to run. I just don’t like to run. The other night it was running night. At the track I saw an acquaintance that competed and won the 1999 Around Alone solo race for his class. Our respective sons wrestled together in high school and I will admit to being fairly awe struck around the guy. He sailed around the world – alone. That’s huge.

He was walking too and we said hello, but we kept to our own fitness thing. After walking two laps, I started to jog and passed him. Then after a bit I started to hear some steps and breathing behind me. Around the world guy had started running too. I really wanted to stop and likely would have, but I decided that the guy that won the around the world race was not going to be beat me on the track. After another two laps, I noticed he’d departed.

Yes, it was a small cheap victory and he didn’t even know I was racing him! What can I say? I needed motivation. Later that evening, T and I watched some ice boating starts of those fast Europeans. Those folks run REALLY FAR before they slide into their boats. That will keep me motivated for a while…

Stay safe everyone!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

The List! It’s starting….

It’s official. The DN season has begun with the making of the "work list." My boat is in great shape, but there a pit and slush runners to make, a new step to accommodate my height so I can get a better push when I sheet in, some sails to purchase and numbers to buy, a little bag for my stands to fit into and attach to my runner box, drilling a bigger hole for my halyard lobster clasps to slide in and out of, and maybe if time a new plank. Of course, several of these projects will rely on the kindness and skills of others…

I am excited to start on DN projects given almost every soft water regatta this summer has been cancelled. COVID-19 restrictions made me realize how lucky I was last winter to travel to so many places to sail. MONTANA!

It’s also time to start Project Karen which will include a running and sprint regimen, some weights, and more yoga.

Oh yeah…I am going into this season BIG TIME!

Karen Binder – DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

Sail-able ice on Great Pond in Maine

This is just in from Bill B. in Maine. One of his scouts reported in and this is the summary "Great Pond looking good. Better surface than Pushaw last weekend. He is calling it a six. Four inches of ice over an inch of slush over still more ice. Overall thickness unknown. No pressures ridges observed through binoculars from shore. Launch is tight. We will sail it tomorrow."

I asked about any pictures and none were taken.

Great Pond is a town in Hancock County, Maine, United States.

I know the forecast tonight is for very cold temps and the same for tomorrow night too. Wind looks good for both days.

Check Chickawaukie website for additional updates.

Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends
The race was postponed because of wind: too much of a good thing. Four Whizz with DN storm sails managed to keep boat and body in one piece enough to get a couple of test laps, reset the marks that were blown down and find a quiet lunch lee.

Cheers to Canada & to Frosty (David Frost DN5358)!!!

Karen Binder & David Frost at 2020 Canadian Nationals

Hi Everyone,

Last weekend’s 2020 Canadian Nationals had great sailors, great wind, and great ice for mid- March. The weekend also provided me with a lot of opportunity to reflect on how far I have come in a year’s time. Some of my posts have mentioned my hiccups last year. In my first ever regatta, I was lapped in several races and I got pulled around by my plank after a bad start. On a practice day in VT I flew out of my boat at the leeward mark and during another day of scratch racing in MA I was in a significant collision which resulted in my hull being shattered and painful whiplash and headaches for weeks.

Last year’s 2019 Canadian Nationals was about eight weeks after my collision. Those weeks were spent recuperating and working with T to get a new boat ready. When they called everyone to the line that morning I was overwhelmed with nervousness and I quickly decided I was going to sit out and watch the first race. I soon saw how on bigger ice with a big course the fleet spreads so by the second race I felt safe enough to join in for the rest of the regatta, but I finished in 21st place. Not great. But I had gotten back on the proverbial horse and that felt good.

I guess one would say I don’t give up easily on things and I am pretty sure my competitive nature started in third grade. My teacher held a "multiplication bee" for our classroom. It was single elimination and it came down to me and this very cute boy with brown curly hair and blue eyes. His name was Andrew Keegan. I’d liked him since Kindergarten. I literally asked myself, "Hmm, I like Andrew. Should I let him win?" Something took over and I won the multiplication bee on 12X9 and went home with a real Silver Dollar as my prize.

So, last winter during a very nice dinner in Augusta, Maine during the Easterns T, "Frosty"/David Frost, his lovely daughter, Audrey, and I were talking. I’d never met Frosty before. I asked the usual questions…where do you live?…what kind of work do you do?…when did you start ice boating?

We were all having a great time. THEN DAVID SAID IT…."It takes TEN years to get good at this sport."

I let Frosty’s statement sink in. It was my first regatta and I was clearly awful. Later that night I asked T in a shaky voice, "Is it really going to take me ten years?" I am positive he said something encouraging and supportive, but honestly I can’t remember it. I just kept hearing "Ten Years… Ten Years… Ten Years." I was 49 years old. At this point, who has ten years to get good at anything?

So, I came to a decision. It was not going to take me ten years. At the start of this season I used Frosty’s comments as a source of inspiration and motivation.

Last weekend, at the 2020 Canadian Nationals, in two different races I was third going into the windward mark. In one race I was rounding right behind Ron Sherry and T. Sure, I totally BLEW IT downwind, but I was behind Ron and T going around the first windward mark rounding in a race! And, then in another race Ron was behind me at the first windward mark rounding. He said at dinner, "Karen, I saw you up there at the windward mark with us. Griffin and I passed you to windward and leeward just as we were rounding, but you were THERE."

I gulped. That was a huge compliment in my book.

I have shared my progress and challenges this season as a way for me to process this difficult sport. I am still struggling downwind and at the leeward mark roundings, but with more practice I know those things will get better. I am breaking this sport into chunks and working on certain elements at a time. It seems to help.

When the final results were posted, I chuckled a bit and found it ironically funny that I tied with "Frosty" David Frost for 11th place at the 2020 Canadian Nationals. The guy that said the magic words that motivated me all season. He got me in the end, but well done, David!

Frosty, Eben, Me, and T (congrats on the win T!))

As we were saying our goodbyes on Sunday in the parking lot, I did mentioned to Frosty that his new nickname from me might be "Decade Dave." We laughed. I have sincerely appreciated his support, his good nature, and his encouragement this entire season. Thanks Dave!

Maybe one more weekend of ice ahead..Bill B has scouts looking at Moosehead Lake in Maine and South Twin in Millimocket. His words…"We’re on it like hawks."

Cheers again to Canada and to Frosty!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

Dama – that was good!

Hi Friends,

Seventeen racers from New England, New Jersey, and Canada decided to take on the Doc Fellows challenge at Damariscotta. The ice was hard and we had wind. T set the course early and racing started on time. Nice job T, Chad, and Oliver with all the committee stuff.

All season I have raced with my ABS sail no matter the wind or ice conditions. For several years racing my laser, I just used the full sail. I am small for a laser, but I dealt. When I finally cracked open the wallet and decided to buy a radial rig, I found myself constantly agonizing over sail choice if the wind prediction was 12+. On the course and depending on a race outcome, I’d say "Ugh, did I make the right choice? Should I go back in and switch out?" It was not necessarily great for me having two sails.

And, frankly, there is enough to be confused about ice boating that I didn’t want to muddy my brain with more decisions this season, but on Saturday T suggested I try his old FO sail. He said the fuller shaped sail would help move the boat through rough patches and lighter wind. I said what I usually say when advice comes from the top, "Okay, sounds good. Thanks!"

I was pleased to find the FO sail a little easier to trim given in its fuller shape. In the first race, I was just getting used to the new shape and finished in 8th. Not terrible, but I just felt I could do a bit better. The shape and tell tales in an FO sail seemed to fly a bit more similar to a laser sail given its fuller shape especially downwind. As the day progressed, I was really fast off the line with building speed and I was consistently surprised that I was rounding the first mark right with the top guys and holding my own downwind. When you are anywhere close to a mark with Chad, Oliver, Jeff K, or T – it’s a GOOD day. The most surprising thing is that I was close to them A LOT at the top mark (even in front of some of them at times) and I stayed with them at the bottom mark and then back up at the windward mark. And so on…

The breeze was very shifty. We had to re-position the marks and starting line mid-morning. In one race I did what almost felt like an auto-tack close to the windward mark, but the shifts were effecting everyone. Seven races allowed for one throw out. Phew.

Here are the scores below…I am not sure if it was the sail choice, luck, or maybe I am actually getting the hang of this sport but DAMN – I ROCKED! Is it lame to self congratulate? Probably. But the difference between last year’s crazy season with lots of "incidents" and this season is dramatic. Honestly, I am feeling in the ZONE a lot!

We scratch raced on Sunday on rougher ice and in huge wind. Jack from New Jersey (he knows wind from being a fighter jet and glider pilot-that’s cool!!) said some gusts were 25 mph. I felt so good after Saturday and with a hoped for regatta next weekend (stay tuned), I didn’t want to break me or my boat. I held the flag for several races and everyone was FLYING around the windward mark. The mast bend was incredible.

By lunch time most headed back to get home, but Robin, Nick, Peter and Colin were game for more racing. Canadians, clearly LOVE heavy air. They all gave T good consistent pressure and Peter took the last scratch race off T. Nicely done, Peter!

By this time several boats were straining under loads and a few sailors found cracks on planks and hulls. It was decided to call it a day and get boats home to be fixed before next weekend…Stay tuned. We are hearing good things from Canada and Lake Champlain…

(Here are the results…If you did race committee one or two times your average cumulative score was put in for those races. Then, there was one throw out. If anyone sees an error, let me know. )

Think Spring Ice,

Karen Binder DN 5630

DOC FELLOW REGATTA – LEAP DAY – February 29, 2020 – Damariscotta, Maine

17 Registered Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Total Score With 1 Drop Place
4487 Chad Atkins 1 RC-2 2 1 2 5 2 15 10 1
5457 Colin Duncan DNS-19 DNS-19 DNF-18 14 6 14 11 108 82 13
5629 Robin Lagraviere 4 2 7 8 9 DNF-18 3 51 33 5
5608 Nick Marboux 5 3 9 7 4 9 7 44 35 6
5573 Neil Fowler 11 11 11 11 5 2 6 57 46 8
5540 Rick Bishop 15 5 10 10 8 10 DNS-19 77 58 10
Wicked Michael Young 13 DNS-19 DNS-19 DNS-19 DNS-19 DNS-19 DNS-19
4775 Eben Whitcomb DNS-19 13 8 12 14 8 5 79 60 11
5469 Oliver Moore 2 1 RC=3 2 3 3 4 18 14 3
2766 Peter Van Rossem 12 8 DNF-18 3 7 6 1 55 37 7
4596 Chris Mayer 14 9 DNF-18 13 11 13 9 87 69 13
5193 Eric Anderson 3 7 4 DNF-18 Race Race Race
3535 Jeff Kent 7 10 3 6 DNS-19 DNS-19 DNS-19 83 64 12
5521 Fred Steinbaum 10 DNF-18 DNF-18 15 15 15 15 106 88
5478 Jack Goritski 6 DNF-18 6 9 10 12 10 71 53 9
3947 Jay Whitehair 9 12 12 4 13 7 8 65 52 8
5630 Karen Binder 8 4 5 5 12 4 RC-6 44 32 4
5224 James "T" Thieler RC-2 6 1 RC-2 1 1 DNF-18 31 13 2