Author Archive

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

Oh Canada! Sunshine, Smiles…Then Slush

Hi Everybody,

My boat and ribs are fixed from my little mishap on Lake Winnepeasauke…Late Saturday afternoon T and I were at Quaboag and heard there was ice to the north so we headed to Canada…Gorden from the Kingston Yacht Club found Consecon Lake in a little town called "Carrying Place" about an hour and half north of Kingston. When we arrived the ice was hard and fast with a wind of about 12 to start. Several folks from Kingston Yacht Club arrived including John Curtis and Peter van Rossom and Colin Duncan (he had just landed at 6 am that morning from a tropical paradise vacation in Cuba). Several others made a longer trek from Montreal to get in another day of sailing. Andre, Robyn, Jacek, and Nick.

We rigged and all of us were excited to scratch race. T suggested we do one lap races so that folks could make rig adjustments and see how those worked out. We all started on either port or starboard rather than split the fleet in half so we could all gauge our speed off the line as an entire group. Up at Lake Winnepeasauke the other week I didn’t feel like my mast was bending enough and I didn’t feel my runners were right based on the fast ice. Out at the North Americans, Chris Berger said if you want more mast mend one should raise the halyard. So, I did that and BOOM. My mast performed much better and in the bigger breeze I felt like my runners and boat hunkered down on the ice better. I am pleased to say I was really fast and at the top mark with all the guys. I finished in third in most of the races and I even won a race and took one off the current North American champ DN 5224.

The temperatures started to rise and the sun felt great, but the ice was getting very slushy. Once the wind died, if you lost speed you were done. I changed to a pair of slush runners. It was my first time using them. Although I lowered my halyard so the boat and runners would not compress down into the slush, I just could not maintain great speed. In my last race, I had to get out of boat and push a lot so my ribs started hurting. I knew to call it a day.

It was a super day of racing with our Canadian friends and there was lots of sharing information, boat swapping for races, and tips provided. But, the biggest take a way from the day and the weekend was the genuine interest by so many in sharing this sport with others and getting more people into ice boating…. On Saturday, T brought his older DN to Quaboag and my good friend, Marc, got to sail it all day. Marc is hooked and wants one. On Sunday, a guy that has a home on Lake Consecon and is a very competitive soft water sailor (he is bringing his boat and team to Newport this summer to compete in the J80 worlds) took out T’s old DN and yelled "Yahoo!" when he took off in the ice boat at a good pace and has already emailed T about getting a boat. Nick from Montreal shared his story of letting Robyn use his boat two years ago and Robyn immediately bought a boat and just finished 2nd at the New England Champs. Peter shared the story of how the Kingston Yacht Club started as an ice boating club decades ago, but no one had been ice boating for years. He and a friend bought an old DN and started to invite others to take 30 minutes turns on it. Then he bought another DN for $400 and more people came out to take turns. Ten years later, the club has 30 ice boaters and lots of boats.

And the same happened with me…over the years T would send an invite to go ice boating on his old DN. Two years ago, I took out his old DN on Wattupa Pond and look at me now. I am ridiculously into it, I think about how to get faster daily, and I travel everywhere for the chance to go ice boating. I hope we can all continue to share the sport and let others try it out. Keep sending invites out and if you have old boats bring them to the ice…

In the meantime, we are hopeful that conditions will allow for sailing in Maine this weekend. More soon.

Think Maine Ice,

Karen DN 5630

President’s Day Cup – A First!

Hi Everyone,

Quaboag Pond sure does surprise us with ice sometimes…it hit 70 in Antarctica this week, no ice in almost all of Europe, flooding wet ice in Sweden, and nothing to the North of us.

And it was VERY good ice. I loved Bob’s statement, "When it’s the only ice, it’s a 10!" I also really appreciated Bob reporting on the ice Friday and re-confirming Saturday that conditions were good. We had ICE. We had wind!

Since T our race chair is still across the pond, I volunteered to run a regatta. Since both very experienced and brand new racers had a great time on Lake Winnepesaukee a few weeks ago, I wanted to keep the momentum and interest going. There was some back and forth on what to call this regatta and, ultimately, I said, "We will call it the President’s Day Regatta." Done.

We are challenged by Quaboag given it’s not the biggest pond out there, but I asked Eben to set the windmark and was glad when the wind shifted slightly to the right so we could get a bit longer course by moving the leeward mark a bit to the left… A smaller course made for more tacking, but that’s good practice too.

Running my first ice boating regatta for NEIYA, let’s say I got to feel…well…..very Presidential. The skipper meeting started on time, 11 skippers signed up to race, I announced racing would start at 10:30 am, and the flag dropped at 10:29.

My boat is out of commission and so are my ribs (long story), so I really enjoyed observing the racers’ style and techniques. Jeff Kent got faster and faster with each race stretching out his lead every leg and in every race. Three races, three bullets. He makes it look so easy!

Most of the tangling was between Bill (who sticks his leg out at the leeward mark rounding!?), Eben (who does the same!?), Matt Knowles (you should have stayed cause the wind came back), and Rick Bishop who much prefers bigger breeze. Scott Valentine was duking it out with returning racer Jack Ericcson…and a big sorry to Randy Rice who could not find the pond so he missed the first three races. Based on his other scores he would have been tops on the leader board…Lastly, congratulations to Ed Demerest in "Splinter DN/1914"…It’s an older boat and Ed is really getting good with his starts and seems to really enjoy this new thing called racing. Maybe he will find something at the next swap meet…

Jeff had his drone up for the 4th race and hopefully he will share some video of the racing…

We completed 7 races including a 45 minute break for lunch. I am not a tyrant…

Here are the scores.. And T is coming back tomorrow so I will graciously hand back the reigns of power. To all, thank you for letting me feel presidential yesterday.

Think more ice,

Karen Binder DN 5630

President’s Cup
Race 1 Race 2 Race 3 Race 4 Race 5 Race 6 Race 7 Total Score With 1 Drop Place
3535 Jeff Kent 1 1 1 DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) 51 39 8
1914 Ed Demerest 8 10 10 DNF (11) DNF (11) DNF (11) DNF (11) 72 61 11
5606 Matt Knowles 3 2 3 3 DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) 42 35 7
3314 Bill Bucholz 2 5 6 1 3 1 1 19 13 1
3869 Jack Ericson 6 7 9 6 4 4 5 41 32 5
3947 Scott Valentine 5 8 7 2 6 5 4 37 29 4
4316 Randall Rice DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) 4 2 3 2 47 35 6
4775 Eben Whitcomb 4 4 4 7 1 2 3 25 18 2
5023 John Stanton 7 9 8 DNF (11) DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) 71 59 10
5540 Rick Bishop DNS (12) 3 2 5 5 6 6 33 21 3
5573 Neal Fowler DNS (12) 6 5 8 7 7 7 52 40 9
??? Spencer DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) DNS (12) DNF (11) DNF (11) DNF (11)

Bob S. stated that the cruisers would all be mindful of the racing and that was really really appreciated. Thank you!

Bummer…no doc fellows tomorrow

Bill B investigated the ice and found styrofoam which is not good for sailing/racing. He said maybe after some rain on Monday conditions will improve.

I am really grateful to those doing ice checks this season. Thank you for time you spend traveling, etc.

Think better ice,

Karen DN 5630

Sent from my iPad

New England Champs – The scores! & This Weekend

Hi everyone,

It was very fun last weekend and I am so glad we were able to get in a regatta with so many boats on the line. I did my best to interpret the score sheets I was handed…if a mistake please let me know and I will do my best to review/correct. My email is

RE: This Weekend – Snow did hit north of us and Bill B said he will check how the ice fared. Sunday will be the day if anything this weekend. Ill send an update when I know more!

Doc Fellows this weekend – if ice holds up!

Hi Sailors,

Our NEIYA race chairman, T, landed in Germany and is heading to Sweden for the DN Gold Cup within the next day or two. But, that does not mean we in New England can’t race and have a fun regatta. Maybe our friends from Canada will come down, too! The "Baby Rule" will still be in effect.

Unfortunately, the only ice is in NH and Maine at this time. Thanks to John Stanton for mapping it out above. So, I hope all will be okay to hold to Doc Fellows Regatta somewhere north of Massachusetts. I am very sure the regattas namesake Don "Doc" Fellow would approve. That said, get ready to saddle up. Some of our Winni regulars are on Sunapee today and another group is sailing Newfound Lake, which had some very promising reports. Could this be the third week for NH sailing, maybe? Maine is also up there and Sebago was sailed yesterday.

So pencil this weekend in and I will report back Friday when we know more about the ice…


Karen Binder
DN 5630

New England DN Champs – Way more thrilling than the superbowl…it’s true.


More than 30 sailors arrived on Saturday with great anticipation given the great condition of the ice at Lake Winnipesaukee, but no sailing happened…Was the weekend going to be a repeat of windless Montana? Trust me, those of that did that road trip really hoped not.

We rigged and waited and waited…By 3:30 it was clear no racing was going to happen. Fortunately for all of us, John Eastman realized we’d all have an appetite to fill and he kindly found a place for us (about 35 people!) to gather and enjoy a nice dinner together. He even made sure the manager called in extra staff because well you know how sailors can be…John, thank you so much!

Sunday morning the breeze was up and T, Chris Miller, and Jacek Marzenski from Montreal went out early to set the course and the starting line BEFORE the skippers meeting at 9:30. Nicely done!

The scratch sheet had 22 racers signed up and in the pit one could see almost the complete history and evolution of the DN class on display with an early wooden mast model dating from 1964, Ed Demerest’s DN 1914 a $150 barn treasure, and several fully tricked out DNs with the most modern of materials that truly blaze across the ice at speeds of up to 50-60 mph. And even one with the funniest tiller any of us have seen…

Perfect wind, practically perfect ice and T, the race chairman, called for the racing to start at 10:30. When we picked out numbers from the bag T announced that during the previous night’s dinner a request was made by senior statesman for the DN class, Andre Baby, to consider having two starts…One for those over 70 and/or those with any artificial limb/artificial component and another start for everyone else.

There were some questions when this was announced…Do pacemakers count? What about Stents? In the end, an agreement was reached and the “Baby Rule” instituted. T went out with the flag and we lined up. Two arms were raised. When the first arm dropped, those that qualified for the “Baby Rule” started. When the 2nd hand dropped everyone else started.

The course was large…at least 7/10 of a mile possibly longer. That was very nice because everyone spread out and with experienced racers and some novices it made it safe and fun for everyone. Jeff Kent shared with me last year that large courses are much safer than small courses and its really true when you see it in action.

The battle for the lead began early with New England’s own Oliver Moore out on the course after a few years being away and a relatively new DN sailor Canadian Robin Lagraviere jockeying between the 1st and 2nd position throughout the day. Would the trophy stay in New England or leave us like the super bowl Vince Lombardi trophy?

The breeze was about 8-10 mph all day and the racing was fast with short breaks between. T was assisted in the scoring by a new guy to the DN scene "Mike" and Dave Fortier. In quick mark/course re-setting Eric Anderson jumped into help out. Thanks guys!

Also different in this regatta T, the race chair, had us just pick out of the bag new starting numbers for every race. This made it fun for those not accustomed to racing to start in "favored" position many times and it made those that were finishing in the top 5 often having to start as far down as the 20th position. That’s a good mental and sailing skill challenge to work through the fleet when you start in one of the less favored starting positions.

We got in 5 races by 12:30! The race chair quickly became known as Tyrant T, but in his benevolence, he gave us about 30 minutes to break for lunch. After lunch, and a course adjustment, racing began again.

The breeze picked up a bit more and some newer to racing headed in. The rest of us enjoyed two more great races. That means we did 7 races and I realized and remarked "We did more racing today than we did in Montana!"

Everyone headed back to the launch area and T tabulated the results…

And all of New England can now relax because the trophy stays in New England! Oliver Moore won the day with 9 points. (7 races/1 throw out). As an aside, did you know Oliver Moore co- owns Moore Brothers, a custom composite company and DN mast maker? Did you know 7 out of the 11 top finishers at the North Americans used Moore/Jeff Kent DN masts?

2nd place and big congratulations goes to Robin Lagraviere from Montreal who placed 2nd with 11 points. He is fast, talented, and will do lots of great things in the DN fleet.

3rd place goes to another Canadian sailor Jacek Marzenski DN 5247 sailing a brand new boat. He finished with 20 points. His new boat is the coolest shade of blue I have seen on the ice.

4th place goes to Canadian Andre’ Baby with 24 points…(who shared at Saturday’s dinner that he is releasing his 3rd book very soon!)

5th place goes to Long Island’s Chris Miller with 30 points (Chris taught me a good lesson on Sunday. I will share that in another post and the title is going to be “don’t take your foot off the gas”).

6th place goes to New Hampshire’s Jay Whitehair (in addition to DN sailing he is an avid hang-glider too!)

7th place and beyond – I have to finish cross referencing some score sheets and re-tabulate. So, I will post ASAP.

VINTAGE AWARD – Goes to Dan Neri sailing DN 2172 built in 1964.

Great and very fun day of racing…hopefully we will do more this season! So nice that Robin, Andre’ and his wife Louise, and Jacek came down from Montreal/Quebec to race with us. Thank you!

In closing, T headed out to Europe today to race in the DN Gold Cup. At least five other Americans from the mid-west are heading across the pond later this week.

Think More Ice,

Karen Binder, DN 5630, NEIYA Secretary

North Americans – Day 1 – Wrap Up

Hey everybody,

I am sure everyone has seen the sail wave results, but here is the Rest of the Story…(Say it like Paul Harvey)

I am tired, so I am just going to write this in list style.

  1. We got to the reservoir. It was snowing and breezy and the drifts were still out there and only getting more hidden by the new snow fall.
  2. Yesterday, Joerg Boehn who had flown in from Germany that same day to some midwestern airport and then rented a car to drive to this place then decided to rent a small plane from the local airport and do recon mission to find better ice on the reservoir. He found a clean plate about 8 miles from the launch site.
  3. At this morning’s skippers meeting the race committee announced it was debating whether to have us all either sail or be towed to the area Joerg had found. They had sent another group out to check the Joerg ice and we had to wait to get a better real time report.
  4. The group came back from the ice investigation and the committee decided to instead stay put and try and get some races in closer to the launch location.
  5. The committee set the course and many of us did our best to sail it. I personally dove through a very deep drift at the windward mark. Others found drifts and some large puddles.
  6. The good new is the snow stopped, but then it started to sleet a bit which made the drifts super wet, heavy, and cement like.
  7. Then the Montana blue sky starting taking over and the clouds were dissipating.
  8. The lovely blue sky also stopped the wind from blowing.
  9. We waited a long time for the breeze to fill.
  10. The breeze eventually filled in very nicely about an hour and half later, but about a mile away from where we were and after a 90 degree wind shift. So, we all relocated.
  11. At last the race committee, who worked incredibly hard all day to pull of races despite very shift conditions, called up the silver fleet.

Okay, the next list is going to be about me. Sorry, but I only have that perspective.

  1. There were 36 racers on the line. I got assigned the #7 position on the line.
  2. The night before there was a panel discussion with ten of the best sailors at the regatta. One question posed to the group was on starting and T said, "I learned that you don’t get in your boat until the guy to leeward gets in."
  3. I was at the line and feeling very ready for the flag drop.
  4. The flag dropped and I pushed and sprinted with all I had and didn’t get in until the guy to leeward got in.
  5. I built speed really well, two blocked it, and just sailed fast.
  6. I ducked one boat that tacked early and I decided to go right for the layline.
  7. I tacked over and followed Ron Sherry’s advice from the night before to use my leeward knee to help push the boom over.
  8. I was approaching the windward mark and I realized no one was close to me.
  9. I rounded the windward mark IN FIRST PLACE in my first DN North American Race!
  10. My speed was good around the windward mark, but then I choked and gybed in a snow drift and I lost tremendous speed. A guy from Kingston passed me and by the time I was at the leeward mark I was in second place. I did a conservative leeward mark rounding and then just focused on keeping my boat fast.
  11. At the finish I was not sure where I placed, but T said I should head to the pits for measurements.
  12. I didn’t really understand why.
  13. Then one of the measurer’s looked at me and told me I had finished in 2nd Place!
  14. 2nd place! I could not believe it.
  15. Uh Oh..
  16. The problem with 2nd place is that means you get moved up to the GOLD FLEET for the rest of the regatta.
  17. Again due to shifting conditions, the race committee has to adjust the course and the starting line.
  18. The called for the Gold Fleet to line up and I had to race again. I got a good start, but the guy to windward of me and leeward of me just got up to speed faster and I got caught in dirty air.
  19. I was happy to keep my boat flat and just maintain control honestly. With the wind building, my plate runners were making noise and sliding a bit. I think I finished in 33 place.
  20. The race committee called another gold fleet race. I switched my runners and I had a good start, but these folks in gold fleet are just wicked fast. I think I got 32 place.
  21. Then the race committee called another gold fleet race because three races makes a regatta and if conditions deteriorate the regatta will be in the books.
  22. I, unfortunately, was putting on my mitten when I saw everyone around me running. Oops. I didn’t look up and I didn’t hear the flag was up. Lesson learned.
  23. I did get up to speed and I did end up beating a boat or two despite a really bad start.
  24. Congratulations to Chad and T who are leading the regatta. Eric and Eben also felt pleased with their races.
  25. I honestly had the best day of sailing in my life. I have never gone so fast while feeling in relative control. And, I also know my time in the boat and my 100 practice starts played a big role in my first race of the day.

Over and out,

Karen Binder, DN 5630.

Big Sky, But No Breeze

KB et al:Fort Peck Reservoir, MontanaI think this is near an Indian Reservation.
Just last week it was 40 below in Calgary, Alberta.
Hope warmer now where you are…and that
you get smooth ice and some wind.

I hope you are warmer in Montana.

On Jan 21, 2020, at 1:24 PM, Karen Binder <karenbinder> wrote:


Dear Friends,

Writing from the shore of Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana. Apparently, there is more shoreline here than the California coastline and I’d have to believe real estate prices are lower. Racing is to begin tomorrow, but we are all a bit concerned about forecast and ice conditions. While the picture makes the ice look nice and smooth, yesterday’s practice session found lots of Styrofoam like snow drifts no matter how far we sailed out.

The best ice was actually closer to shore right where the little ice huts are located. I stayed out kinda late yesterday and used the huts as my windward mark. The occupants inside didn’t come outside to complain that I was bothering the fish, but I do wonder if fish mind the sounds of rumbling ice boaters above.

We are all hoping the warmer temperatures today will melt off the snow. The challenge today is no wind. Our boats are already rigged and we are all just waiting.

Competitors have come from as far as Halifax, Martha’s Vineyard, and North Carolina. The challenge of getting to this remote location has everyone in good spirits. The landscape is stunningly barren and beautiful.

But, the bottom line is that we all really want to sail and get racing!

Think Ice,

Karen Binder DN 5630

Big Sky, But No Breeze

Dear Friends,

Writing from the shore of Fort Peck Reservoir, Montana. Apparently, there is more shoreline here than the California coastline and I’d have to believe real estate prices are lower. Racing is to begin tomorrow, but we are all a bit concerned about forecast and ice conditions. While the picture makes the ice look nice and smooth, yesterday’s practice session found lots of Styrofoam like snow drifts no matter how far we sailed out.

The best ice was actually closer to shore right where the little ice huts are located. I stayed out kinda late yesterday and used the huts as my windward mark. The occupants inside didn’t come outside to complain that I was bothering the fish, but I do wonder if fish mind the sounds of rumbling ice boaters above.

We are all hoping the warmer temperatures today will melt off the snow. The challenge today is no wind. Our boats are already rigged and we are all just waiting.

Competitors have come from as far as Halifax, Martha’s Vineyard, and North Carolina. The challenge of getting to this remote location has everyone in good spirits. The landscape is stunningly barren and beautiful.

But, the bottom line is that we all really want to sail and get racing!

Think Ice,

Karen Binder DN 5630

On our way to where?!

Hi Friends,

Eben, T, Eric and I departed yesterday from Connecticut at 11: 30 am in T’s big old Ford Transit with two DNs on the roof and two in a trailer. We made it through Pennsylvania with no issue, but the snow started falling heavily just outside Toledo, Ohio. By that time we’d heard that registration was delayed highways in Iowa and west of Minneapolis were already closed. We decided to be prudent and holed up in a motel/no tell off Rt. 80. By the time we woke up, things had turned to rain and as I type we are now heading into Chicago traffic.

We have heard from Jeff Kent, Charlie Blair and Berndt Zeiger (G-107). They took the far southern route…driving through Maryland across southern Ohio and Indiana. They missed the snow and drove through the night. They are currently in Iowa…will they drive into Nebraska next?

Apparently, the roads are still closed in North and South Dakota. This is quite the adventure and we are all kinda thinking it makes sense to keep driving towards the big state of Montana. The video of Fort Peck from yesterday looked pretty good. We all wait for the official site location.

I’ll keep you posted!

Think Ice,

Karen Binder, DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

Coming in HOT or maybe NOT


With just a week remaining until the North Americans and warm temperatures forecast for this weekend, I decided my day job could take a back seat to my DN training. T was up for heading up to Quaboag this past Thursday and I was glad. My goal for the day was to improve my leeward mark roundings.

To me, the two most exciting aspects of any one design sailboat race is the start and the leeward mark rounding. I love the strategy, the jockeying for position, and the count down at the start. At a leeward mark rounding, fun happens when several boats start to convene towards the mark. You execute your strategy to get inside, you call for room, you come in wide, sheet in, and ideally you are close hauled just as you round up hugging the mark close enough to almost touch it. Love it!

Well, I did that aggressive maneuvering last year at the leeward mark in my DN up in Vermont on Lake Champlain when the wind was pretty big. Chris Gordon’s words still haunt me. "Well, she was coming in really HOT."

Do I remember flying out of my boat? No

I just remember the excitement I felt at the approach, wanting to catch Eben, and seeing Chris standing by the starting area. Then, I was sliding on my back across the ice with my eyes still closed. When I finally stopped, I took a deep breath. I looked back and saw my boat dismasted about 30 yards behind me. Chris came over to make sure I was okay. I was fine and so was my boat. Reconstructing the scene, the gash in my right pant leg meant my leg hit the side stay as my body lifted and flew out of the boat. Is that horizontal G force action? I don’t know, but I don’t wish to repeat it and I have been hesitant at the leeward mark roundings ever since.

So on Thursday two marks were set, the breeze was up, and doing a ton of leeward mark roundings was my job for the day. My teacher is patient and wise. He gave me all the tips and advice he could give, but I gotta DO IT to LEARN IT.

Hour after hour after hour with a small warm up break in the van I basically went around and around and around the two marks. I even started cutting short the windward leg so I could fall off and build speed and just do more leeward mark roundings. I was fast downwind and with my mast all popped out I’d do my final gybe. With my eyes on that mark and still going fast, I’d bear off straight down to lose some speed as instructed. Then, I’d ease the sheet and head up and make my approach. But I just could not pick the best point at which to turn up and round the mark close hauled. I’d either come in too HOT or NOT.

After sailing directly behind T a bunch of times and trying to mirror his track, I thought I had the whole approach down. In a late day attempt, with a few folks watching, I felt confident I was going to nail it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Instead, I almost spun out. Argh!

I kept trying and I remained inconsistent. It was getting late in the day, my arms were getting tired, and it was not going to happen. Clearly, more work remains.

I will head to the North Americans with some leeward mark regret. Maybe if I just stayed out another hour, but the moon was rising over Quaboag when we finally called it a day.

I’ll keep you posted on the trip west.

Think Ice!

Karen DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

100 Starts – Progress Report


As I mentioned in my last post, my goal was to do 100 starts ASAP. After two days on Quaboag last weekend with no wind practicing starts were pretty much all I did each day. T, Jeff Kent, and Eric Anderson joined in for various parts of the those sessions. This weekend at Lake Something With a Very Long Name in Sidney Maine it was a combination of starts and scratch racing. By yesterday afternoon, I met my goal of doing 100 starts. Here are some things I learned.

  1. Pointy spikes make a difference. On a track, I am a very fast sprinter. At the Western Challenge and for one day at Quaboag I was not able to get off the line, push my boat as I expected, or beat anyone in the sprint aspect. At the Western Challange, I thought it was just because I am beginner. But on Saturday my traction wasn’t great and I was getting frustrated because I was getting beat so handily right off the line. Saturday night I finally looked at the bottom of my borrowed spikes and compared them to a new set. New spikes are POINTY. Mine spikes were ground little nubs with some even missing from the tread. Fortunately, a nice person switched the old nubs out and Sunday was a whole different ball game in terms of traction and speed. I have been so focused on "boat stuff" I didn’t think my own personal gear made that much difference. Then, for Christmas, Santa got me a set of spikes that fit my foot better and zoom zoom. Lesson learned: Good gear can help.
  2. I was realized I was standing too upright. When I ran my feet were getting too close to the plank. Since I am dreadfully fearful of repeating the superman scene at a start, I realized I was looking down too much at my feet rather than ahead. Solution, crouch down at the start and lean more into your shroud and tiller with your upper body. Hard to explain, but my feet are now farther aft of my plank and I get a longer stride and don’t come to close to my plank when I run. Lesson learned: Body position matters.
  3. I also started to feel as though I was not getting a good push on the tiller. I realized my tiller and tiller extension were too long for my body type. Fortunately, a nice person cut a few inches off and, wow, what a difference. I can really push and the boat moves. Lesson learned: Your boat needs to become an extension of you and must be tuned to you.

By yesterday morning, I was consistently really fast off the line and easing to my boat smoothly automatically. By 3:00 pm yesterday everyone else had left for the day. It was getting cold and you could feel the air was getting wet. I was cold, but I still wanted a bit more practice so T and I agreed to go back to van to warm up. Just as we were getting ready to go back out to the ice, six bald eagles circled around and landed in the area where we’d been sailing all day. They were standing in a circle as though they were having a meeting of some sort and commiserating to each other "Finally, those ice boaters have left the lake." Little did they know that I wanted to practice more. We gave them some time to chat and then T and I went out for one more fast start, a very fast upwind leg, and then a gybing practice session downwind. We got off the ice just as the snow was starting. It was lovely and peaceful and I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

I said on the van ride home, the next element I need to practice is leeward mark roundings. Stay tuned.

And as secretary my New Year’s request is IF YOU HAVE NOT RENEWED YOUR MEMBERSHIP PLEASE DO SO ASAP! Look to the right and you will see the area to click and renew!

​Happy New Year and Happy Ice Time,

Karen Binder DN 5630
NEIYA Secretary

Western Challenge Wrap Up by a Newbie

Sunday’s breeze was as predicted – light! The first race for the gold fleet was for 10:00 am. It was blowing maybe 5-6 and by the last race of the silver fleet it died to about 3-4. But, the good news was we had bright sun light and that made the 5 F temperature not feel too extreme. The brighter day also made for better visibility which certainly made me feel A LOT safer on the course.

With the lighter breeze, sun light, and a good safe day of racing behind me with an additional few hours of practice in my new boat after Saturday’s racing I felt ready to push myself a bit. Based on the result of the previous day’s last race, I was assigned to start on left side of the course in #18 position. When I lined up, I really scratched the ice with my spikes to make sure I had good traction for my push. When the flag dropped, I pushed off and sprinted very hard and kept sprinting until I couldn’t anymore and then slid into my boat gently (as I have been told to do). There was a good enough breeze that I could power up fairly quickly and I got my boom locked down into my shoulder. I learned the day before I really had not been pulling my main sheet into the proverbial “two block position” which I have been told is the speed nirvana point. So, I pulled and pulled until I saw the little gold marker coloration.

Many boats tacked under me over to port, but I wanted to go almost to the lay line. When I tacked over I could see just a few starboard boats coming towards the mark. I picked my spot and tacked over. From there, I stayed high around the windward mark to maintain speed as I have been encouraged to do and I easily gained ground and passed many of the boats to leeward of me. I had a good downwind leg and in that race I finished 6th in the first race of the day. I was really excited.

The 2nd race I was on the left side again and after sprinting got into a rough patch of ice with no speed. It was like the brake was on. I still ended up finishing that race in 8th place.

For the 3rd race, I really gave my start all I could give because the committee announced it was the last race of the regatta. When I slipped into the boat I really focused on building speed because the wind was very very light. I was PATIENT and I built speed. Again, most people below me tacked behind me. I kept going almost to the lay line as I was going fast and in clean air, but not too close to the lay line because I knew when I tacked over to the starboard lay line I would need speed going into and around the mark….T told me “speed begets speed” so tacking too close to the windward mark is a bad idea. I had good speed and stayed high around the mark. Some boats gybed quickly, but I did not. That has never worked well for me. So, I stayed high passed several other boats, went to the lay line and then gybed. As I approached the leeward mark all these people in the pit were raising their arms and cheering. After my rounding I was looking up the course and no other boats were there. I had rounded the leeward mark in first place. Amazing! And then I did the proverbial “Binder Choke”

My second windward leg was not good. I was low and slow and overshot the layline by a quarter mile. When I finally got to mark I’d let at least 8 boats round in front of me. I had little speed around the windward mark. The wind was really dying. I decided to gybe since I saw Bill B. do it. I caught some wind, but we were all pretty slow. Some were getting out and pushing. I decided to push too. I did that twice and by the time I got to the leeward mark I did have speed. My 3rd windward and leeward legs were better. When I approached the finish line, I figured I was maybe top ten. I was bummed, but okay with it. Then, a very nice woman named Maureen (who sails and races a Nite) approached me and said “great job!” and I said “thanks.” She then said “You got 3rd!” My silly enthusiasm got the best of me and I jumped up and down and screamed. Then, I gave her a big hug and told her she made my weekend.

When the final results were posted Bill, T, and I were already in the van driving home. I learned I’d moved from 16th place on Saturday to 11th place by the end of the regatta out of 27 boats. Last year and exactly the same weekend during the New England Challenge held in Maine, I was lapped during two different races and I did the “superman”at a start (where you lose your footing and fall on your plank, hold onto it for dear life, and get dragged around for a while). So, progress has been made.

My biggest take away from the weekend is that just like soft water one design racing, a good start makes your race so much easier. I will be continuing to work on that as the weeks progress. In college, I read Sailing Smart by Buddy Melges and I remember he recommended doing doing 100 tacks and 100 gybes in a practice session. For me, I want to practice 100 starts ASAP.

Congratulations to T and Bill for finishing in 2nd place in their respective divisions. I also want to thank T, Jeff Kent, Steve Madden, and Steve Duhamel for all their help, encouragement, and my DN equipment upgrades over the last year! I am very grateful.


Karen Binder
DN 5630
Secretary NEIYA

In the Hunt @ the Western Challenge

Western Challenge Puckaway

In the hunt. Photo borrowed from Puckaway Ice Sailing Squadron group on facebook. Return the favor and like them @

Saturday morning brought a total of 56 sailors to the shore of Lake Puckaway with grade 7 ice. As predicted the breeze was a steady 10-12 with puffs to 15. Two fleets were raced with T, Chad, Jeff and Greg in the gold fleet and Chris, Bill, and me in silver.

The first race was called for 11 am and each fleet did a total of five races for the day. I can’t find the days results online to confirm, but T and Chad had great days with T getting two firsts and finishing the day in first place with a one point lead over Ron Sherry. Chad had a very good day ending in 7th place Jeff raced two or three races and was top ten in those races. Greg was just back to racing after two years and some knee issues and also ripped it up.

In the silver fleet, the breeze was on for Chris Gordon to crush with five bullets…Way to go Chris! And Bill, who we are all hoping switches from the skeeter fleet to the DN fleet on a more regular basis, gave Chris a good run for his money and was right on his tail, finished the day in 2nd place.

Way to go NEIYA!

For me, as a new racer with several hiccups last year, I was extremely nervous before the first race. I call it vomit nervous. But I got on the line, pushed and did my best to get a feel of my new boat and move my head around a lot to watch other boats. My goal for the day was to be very aware of others at all times, stay in my boat, keep my mast up, not do what’s a called a superman at the start, and be conservative around mark roundings. That’s especially hard for someone who has been a pretty aggressive laser sailor and have found mark roundings a great place to make gains.

My best race of the day was a 9th out of 25 boats. That race was about getting a great start the left going to the lay line and finding a good-sized hole to tack over when all the other boats were coming to the mark on starboard. After that race, some rig adjustments were made to adjust for heavier breeze and I just had a bit more trouble getting up to speed. By the end of the day, I landed in 16th in my division out of 25 boats. Respectful for my first big regatta.

After racing, T And I stayed out for about two more hours with me just doing lap after lap after lap. It was the absolute best to sail the course without the distraction of other boats because you can go all out and really dig into the speed. I am quite sure I went faster than I have ever been in my boat as I was going around the windward mark a few times. I’m hooked!

Today lighter winds are predicted…wish us all luck!

Karen Binder
DN 5630

NEIYA @ The Great Western Challenge


The drive out to the midwest was relatively easy with only a mild snow squall in Pennsylvania but no traffic or accidents to hold us up. T, Bill and I got out of Newport

by 10 am and by midday on Wednesday we learned the regatta was moving from Minnesota to Princeton, Wisconsin on Lake Puckaway. That reduced the drive time considerably. We arrived by about 4 am, slept for a bit, and headed to the lake later in the morning. There were already a few guys from Canada, Chris Berger from Chicago, and a couple from Wisconsin setting up and sailing with a stiff breeze. It was the first sailing of the season for most…

The New England Ice Yacht Association is well represented with ..Bill Bucholz from Maine, Chad Atkins, Chris Gordon from Nantucket, Jeff Kent, T, Greg Cornelius, and me.

The wind was blowing between 6-8 maybe puffs to 10 by the time I got out. The ice was relatively smooth but a big hole was found by one of the Canadians (one of his runners actually went into the hole) and quickly marked. A course was not set up so folks were just practicing and coming back to the pit to adjust setting etc.

Friday was to be the the first day of racing but no wind predicted and the forecast was spot on. Many other sailors arrived including Ron Sherry, John Dennis, and several brand new to the sport sailors even one guy from Georgia.

And today. T is sitting in first with a one point lead over Ron Sherry. Chad is seventh. In the silver fleet Chris Gordon is first and Bill Buchholz is second. New England is looking good!

From the shores of Puckway,