Author Archive

Snow is the DN Fleet Divider

The last day of the 2023 DN Worlds featured 1-2" snow drifts dotted across the .8 mile long plate and caused difficult conditions for all three fleets. Silver started the day and with the breeze up most were able to complete their laps and the same was true for bronze. Then the sun started peaking out behind the clouds and caused the breeze to lighten and swirl quite a bit. I appreciated the race committee’s diligent efforts to get in one more gold fleet race. The team had to move and drag the starting line at least four times before our start.

Then we were called to the line. The night before the race organizers hosted a panel discussion with four of the best DN sailors in the world. One of those individuals Tomek Zakrzewski , a two-time world champion, discussed his starting technique. I was ready to try it. He and his compatriates sheet in almost 80% of max so that his blocks are just about touching. He is quite sure it helps with faster acceleration off the line and once in the boat.

It was my first time on the even side of the line all regatta. I positioned my boat. I cleared the drift in front of me with my spikes. I sheeted in at 80% of max and when the flag dropped I pushed with all my might. I was off and dusted the group except for one boat to leeward. I was getting close enough to the lay line so that when I tacked over I could implement another learned tip from Tomek (When coming in on port make sure to leave enough room on the starboard layline to build up speed to make for a fast windward mark rounding).

I easily crossed the bows of T, Chad, Karol Jablonski, and Tomek. And then…..the breeze stopped and the snow drift deep. I parked. I got out of my boat to push, tangled my main sheet around my foot, fell on my plank, my boat spun around as a puff came in, and it was Game Over. I was able to finish the race with some more sailing and some more pushing.

Then it was announced the Worlds were completed. Back in the pits, I learned even the best guys like T and Chad had to get out and push a few times. Several said no one had ever seen as many gold sailors pushing in a race before. It’s good to know I was not the only one that struggled to keep my boat moving through the drifts.

Overall, I accomplished my two goals of qualifying for the gold fleet and being the top female finisher overall. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the first DN worlds, it felt special to be a part of it. During the opening ceremony two sailors that participated in the first DN worlds 50 years ago were present and came back to race in this year’s event. Congratulations to Pete Johns and Hal Bowman for their 29th and 30th finishes in the Silver Fleet. Still racing hard at 80 plus years of age.

At the closing ceremony and awards Karol Jablonski, a 12-time DN world champion, spoke movingly about the camaraderie and friendships developed over his thiry-six years of racing DNs. Matt Struble this year’s Gold Fleet winner and now four-time world champion spoke about starting sailing DNs as a child in Northern Michigan and the memories of sailing with his dad and life-long friend and mentor, Ron Sherry.

DN sailing is fast and fun. The comraderie is the icing on the cake.

Onto the North Americans…

Karen Binder
DN 5630

DN Worlds – 1st Day of Racing

The day started with light winds and it made qualifying races a bit trickier for many…as the breeze would come down different sides of the course at different speeds. You really had to get your head out of the boat to see how the other half of the fleet was faring on the other side of the course. Given the size of the fleet, about 100 racers, the race committee divided us into three fleets: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Those with world rankings of about 25 or above where automatically placed into the gold fleet. Given three years of COVID, the DN rankings have not been updated since 2020 as that was the last time the DN worlds occurred and if you did not race in 2020 you lost your ranking. This means many experienced fast sailors were placed into the bronze fleet, had to qualify into the silver fleet, and then if they placed in the top 12 of that race were moved up to gold. My ranking of 39 put me into the silver fleet, but still offered the chance to qualify into gold.

For any qualifier, everyone is randomly assigned a starting position on the line. I gulped when I saw my assignment was 42. That’s so far down the stating line the guy next to me said, "I think we are in Iowa." I was determined not to freak out. I waited for the flag to drop, pushed, and ran as hard as I could. The wind on the left side was not great, but I built speed and tacked over in clear air. After that it was just keeping my speed up and grinding boats down both upwind and downwind. I had selected my FO Sail, my 100 degree minimum Ts, and put in super soft battens. I know they helped in the lighter wind areas of the course. I finished 9th which meant I officially qualified for the Gold Fleet in my very first Worlds. I now am the little fish in the big pond. Gulp.

The Race Committee then called for the first Gold Fleet race. I was assigned spot 35. I had a really good start and my mast popped out quickly. The first rounding I was mid-fleet. My second windward leg, I must have been in some amazing puff and the right phase of a shift as I was around the windward mark in the top ten. Seriously. I held my own downwind, but lost some speed at the 2nd leeward mark rounding. And that’s where the wind got weird and I went into the mode of tacking too much in order to chase more wind. That was dumb and it cost me a lot of places. By the end, I finished in 18th place. I am thrilled and excited for more racing tomorrow.

New England is really well represented with James Thieler, Oliver Moore, Chad Atkins, Chris Gordon, Jeff Roseberry, Paul Chamberland, Sean Healey, Bill Bucholz, Jay Whitehair, Ed Demerest, Milo Fleming, Rick Bishop, and our NY/Long Island friends Scott Valentine and Richard Glickman.

Stay tuned. More tomorrow.

Karen Binder
DN 5630

DN Worlds – Practice Day


Lake Kegonsa was selected out of three possible sites. Other debated options were Houghton Lake in northern Michigan and Fort Peck in Montana.I think everyone east of the Mississippi was relieved Lake Kagonsa was selected given it’s at least 32 hours from RI. Today’s ice recovered from the earlier ice/rain/snow mix that hit the area on Wednesday./Thursday. Ed Demerest, T, and I arrived yesterday morning, relaxed for a bit and then set up our boats. We went down to the ice early this morning and the breeze was blowing 7-10 mph for most of the day.

Two practice courses were set up with a natural selection breaking the fleet between the fastest sailors and the intermediate/beginner sailors. This is the first time I have had the pleasure of seeing the European contingent sail. Yes, it’s true. They are indeed super fast. Even when they count down at the starting line there is no wasted time. It’s the fastest 3-2-1-GO I have heard. And boom off they go sailing into the distance…I know T took at least one race of that group today. I did one race with the Euros then headed back to the intermediate course. I didn’t want to get all stressed out before the qualifier. I will see where I land and be happy.

Today, most sailors debated the ABSS and the FO sail choice. I chose the FO sail and was not overpowered. My speed was very good and my runner choice of 95 degree inserts was the right decision. Today, was also the first time I got to sail with the new addition of 5lbs of lead on the top my front runner. What a huge difference that made with my leeward mark rounding. Zoom Zoom! No slipping/No Sliding. Love it.

Tomorrow are the qualifiers and the breeze is expected to be light.

All for now,

Karen Binder

New England does awesome at Centrals!

Racing today was in winds averaging 5-8 mph. First off, a huge shout out to new racers Jeff Roseberry finishing second in the silver fleet and Paul finishing fifth. For their very first regatta they really performed incredibly well. Jeff actually won the first race of the day and his first official race! His beard and long locks popping out from his helmet in all directions was delightful to watch going wild in the breeze as he zoomed around the course.

The snow was a tad stickier than yesterday so most sailors who had them used their full F0 sails. Given the winds were lightish the best racers of the day were using 100 degree runners.

I used my 100 Minimum T insert runners all day and was able to sail fast and in control at all mark roundings. I was fast off the line and mostly played the middle of the course both upwind and downwind. I consciously avoided just banging the corners which could either pay off or result in disaster if a big shift came down the course. My strategy worked except in the last race, but having consistent finishes at a regatta is often more important than winning every single race and taking huge risks. I ended up winning the silver fleet with scores of 2-1-2. Felt great!

Tomorrow is another practice day with several racers hanging out for another day. More breeze predicted.

Go Team New England!

Karen Binder DN 5630

Central Regional Regatta Update #1

Five of uys from New England made the trip west to Stoughton Wisconsin. Jeff Kent, Chris Gordon, Karen Binder, T Thieler and two new racers Jeff Roseberry from Maine and Paul Chamberland from NY. Yesterday, scratch racing was competitive in light breeze. Everyone who had 100 degree runners and FO or full sails were putting them to good use. I used my 100 minimum T inserts for the first time and they were perfect for the conditions. I was able to finish first in two of the races which means my light air sailing has improved tremendously. T took the other three races.

Today, has about 34 competitors waiting for wind. It’s too bad as the ice is hard and smooth with just a light dusting of fluffy snow. With the world’s two weeks away everyone has pent up energy and excitement to burn off or many with a desire to try out their new masts, planks, runners, etc.

More updates as conditions change. Karen

Ice in NH – Ice Report!

Mark Friedman has reported that "Little Lake Sunapee" in New London, NH is being sailed and skated with very nice ice. He was on it today. I don’t know his plans for tomorrow.

In addition, Jay Whitehair has just sailed Mascoma Lake in Enfield, NH and it’s sailable. It is a smallish lake, like Quaboag in Massachusetts. Jay says 3" of consistent black ice 10 out of 10. He will be sailing it tomorrow and arriving at around 12:00 pm tomorrow. There is one spot with open water so note hazards before sailing. Take Rt. 89 and take Exit 17 to RT. At end of exit turn right onto 4A. There is a bridge on the left that you cross and you will see a parking lot. Wind looks light for next two days.

Remember NO ice is entirely safe. Don’t sail alone and check conditions before sailing. Wear ice picks.

Thanks. Karen Binder/DN 5630

Roll Call for Gold Cup – Team New England/Who is In?!

Hi Ice Boaters…

With the Gold Cup and North American’s four weeks away, New England’s representation is looking very strong this year with several NEW participants wanting to make the trip. If you haven’t picked up on the fact that I am a competitive person, let it be known I am very competitive. I am hoping and thinking New England may win the prize for the most number of regional participants/NEIYA members? I am counting 15 members so far…who else is IN?

James Thieler

Karen Binder
Jeff Kent
Rick Bishop
Bill Bucholz
Milo Fleming – NEW
Ed Demerest
Dave Silsby
Jeff Roseberry – NEW
John Stanton –
Jay Whitehair
Paul Chamberlain – NEW
Sean Healey
Peter Truesdale
Scott Valentine

ZOOM CALL – If anyone would like to talk logistics or what to expect at the Gold Cup/North Americans, please email me at Karenbinder and I will send you a zoom meeting link to discuss, ask questions, maybe help with car-pooling logistics…

ZOOM MEETING – MONDAY, December 26, 2022 at 6:30 PM.

Thanks! Karen Binder DN 5630

Moosehead Lake – ON Monday & Tuesday

Good morning,

This report below is from Bill Bucholz. Sailing at Moosehead is an unbelievable experience. The lake, scenery and stars are gorgeous. If you can take the day off from work DO IT! This may be the last ice of the season. Thanks, Karen, NEIYA Secretary

From Bill:

Here’s the lake this morning just after sunrise taken in Greenville Junction. The slush alongshore has frozen, and the plate is reported to be hard but not totally smooth. Sounds about right. Wind today and tomorrow is excellent. Accommodations at Kelly”s Landing. Launch at Greenville Junction boat launch. The launch ramp itself may be rotten but there are other slopes right alongside. Call me if you are coming so we don’t loose anyone. 207-975-6980.

billbuchholz | March 28, 2022 at 8:25 am | Categories: 2021 Season | URL:

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More info for Dammariscotta Lake – Monday, February 14th

Here is additional information for tomorrow.

Thanks to Bill Bucholz for the report.

"The surface hardened right up nice last night and is now ready to go. Looks like about a 5.5-6. We will be launching from Lake Farm Circle. Here’s how it looks today. Sixteen inches of hard ice. No idea what happened with the cracks and ridges out there in the north broads from last time, so consider that plate unscouted for now."

Here’s how it looks today. Sixteen inches of hard ice. No idea what happened with the cracks and ridges out there in the north broads from last time, so consider this plate unscouted for now.

New post Damariscotta Lake ON for Tomorrow. Launch North End

If you can take the day off go sailing in Maine. Remember no ice is totally safe, check in with others for hazards, and do not sail alone.

Karen Binder
NEIYA Secretary

Quabog Pond, Massachusetts – Ice is IN

This news is just in from Bob S who we are all so grateful to for his dedication to scouting ice for all of us. This picture is from today at Quabog Pond in Massachusetts. Bob S. reports 4" of ice and he plans to sail tomorrow, Thursday, 1/13/2022.

REMEMBER: Use Caution! There are always hazards! Talk to people who have gone out before you head out. Never sail or scout alone. Sail Head’s Up!

Thanks, Karen

Take Notes Any Way You Can!

When you are on the phone with a multiple DN North American and World Champion and riding shotgun with a DN North American champion one should ALWAYS TAKE NOTES! Not having a pen and paper at the ready, the sharpie and my right hand had to suffice.

Yesterday, T and I were driving back to RI after three days of great sailing on Walled Lake in Michigan. The ice was HARD and the wind was UP! I am pleased to say I did really well. No one was taking scores, but I am pretty sure I won every B fleet race. My starts were spot on and I was really focused on my body position in the boat. Yet, the fear factor remains high when coming into the leeward mark at a high rate of speed. I was definitely slipping more than I wanted to and in one race I almost spun out. Sunday was even windier with monster puffs in the upper 20s. I had little traction during my tacks and gybes.

I used my heavy 90-degree max inserts all weekend and my front runner has a 95-degree profile. The bigger and more experienced sailors were using 95-degree side runners and still maintaining control and going incredibly fast. Impressive! It’s truly these little things in DN racing that can make all the difference in terms of speed and your position in the fleet.

Mid-day on Saturday, I remembered Jane Pegel, kindly emailed me last year about big wind and her runner choice. I recalled something about an 85-degree front runner. Today, I just reviewed the notes she sent me. Yes, indeed, her front runner was 85 degrees. She said she rarely used her 90-degree side runners even in windy conditions If Jane was able to go fast and maintain control with her 95s and rarely used her 90s, because they are just too sharp and dig into the ice too deeply, should I get a new front runner for better traction? I am definitely considering it.

Then yesterday, Ron Sherry called us on the road. Ron gave me two key tips for big air and they went onto my right hand. Loosen my side stays and lower the halyard a bit. He said both of those small changes will make a huge difference and help you stick on the ice more. Thanks Ron for always being willing to share your knowledge!

I always think I am going to remember things people tell me, but in this sport there are so many variables and scenarios. There is different ice and wind conditions, multiple runner options, rig adjustments, and I am nowhere close to considering the different batten options that exist. I know now taking notes and keeping them for reference will help me make better sense of this sport.

Can’t wait for more sailing soon!

NEIYA Secretary

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