Author Archive

Three cheers to New England’s youngest hard-water sailors of 2019-2020!

Every year brings change to all of us in the ice boating world. For me, I noticed that some of my happiest moments out on the ice this season came when I spotted new sailors. One thing that I noticed right off was that each and every one of them were smiling ear to ear. I well recall my first experiences on the ice under sail, lots of minor mechanical fails, a couple of bumps and bruises, and then of course the first feeling of rush…. wow! now how do I slow this thing down!! Ice sailing is always such a thrill. It does not matter what class you sail, whether you build your own boat, or have just purchased the oldest or newest boat in the fleet. It does not matter your skill level, beginner or sledgehammer racer…. it’s all about the smiles, the fun, being out and about in the fresh air, and of course the great company!

As the 2019-2020 season winds down its a great time to think about the new sailors of next year. Who can I share this game with? What kids can I invite into to the fold and how can we get them up and running for first ice of next season. I hope to see some new young faces out there and I pledge to finally get this loaner DN out on the plate for anybody to try when we cross paths…. I hope you will connect with me and bring some young folks out too!

I’d like to recognize Rosemary Pope (seen here with her father David) for being among the youngest pilots in New England this season! I know she had other family members on the ice too but she went whizzing by so fast I couldn’t get many details!

Also spotted out on the ice were the Atkins family with some notably young skippers – hopefully next year we can grab a photo or two?

On the deck of the pink boat is a well familiar face to many at this point – that’s Bella Langley! Her program has been supported by her father Brian who many know as an extraordinary builder of many fine ice boats. We hope you’ll see them both on the ice again next season and if you have questions about getting started they are wonderful connections to make!

For the sailor kids I missed in this post get ready for next season… and if you see my camera out for goodness sake slow down so I can take a snap or two and collect some details!

Here’s to the new sailors of 2020-2021

Jay Whitehair
Vice Commodore – New England Ice Yacht Association

Sunapee Ice Watchman…

The Ice Watchman

Ice Watchman on Lake Sunapee….

When it came to spotting lake Sunapee flashing over early this winter we got the jump on the local crowds. Through his living room window (the kind we iceboaters dream of) high on the southwest shoreline, NEIYA member Dr. Mark Friedman, was able to monitor the early freeze and it was through his communications we were the first to set blades on this seasons glorious sheet of perfect black ice. Unfortunately mother nature had plans of her own to limit the days of sailing but Mark was able to stretch the miles via skates and hand-sail to enjoy much of the lake with his two bladed friends. But WAIT!?!…

Somehow, somewhere, since then, the DN bug entered his system. Note the attached photo where his skate-sail was left in the barn and he is now ripping by the camera balanced like a true sailor gentleman. Can you recognize the hull?

NEIYA would like to give a big shout-out to Dr Friedman for being among the newest iceboaters in the Sunapee fold, for keeping a fresh and vigilant eye on a legendary NH iceboating lake and for his early reporting of green light sailing status. May we be lucky enough to enjoy many more years of Sunapee scouting! Thanks Mark!

If you are able to report sailable conditions anywhere in New England please help us all by sending current info to NEIYA’s ice report at:

Bonus Fact: The beautiful hull seen in the photo is none other than “Yellow Ice”. A lightning bolt of sorts assembled in the secret basement laboratory of Steve Duhamel – Northwind Iceboats.

Sail New England!

Jay Whitehair


Black-Ice Friday Is Here!

Coming to a Lake Near You Soon


What is Black-Ice Friday you ask?

The holiday is here!
Never mind the doorbuster super sales or the crowd trampling media events. We New England iceboat jocks know the value of a full vacation day! Consider this: Maine’s late iceboating legend Larry Hardman would blissfully don his fireball orange helmet and goggles for the season by epoxy stapling his helmet chin-strap tight under his chin while reciting his latest iceboat poetry. Another legend, Warner St Clair was known to visit his arch neighborhood DN competitors, gaining eager post-holiday access with a friendly knock and an entry-level gift, just so he could place his bootleg over a prized box of runners and release the #20 grit black beauty sandblasting sand down his leg from the carefully crafted hole in his pocket – such a clever competitor he was! Or, consider our cherished living local legend Lloyd Roberts… who on black-ice Friday is known to sit knee-deep in his rusty lawn chair in the ice-crusted waters of the Damariscotta public beach, under an umbrella, in his underwear, pontificating such things as the elastic modulus co-efficiencies of splintered Sitka spruce sliding along a perfect ice surface. The value of his all-inclusive hard-water daydreaming has yet to be fully appreciated. Get the idea? Make your plans NOW.

Take advantage of this all-important holiday… gather your buddies to safely check your local ice and forward your ice alerts to the NEIYA ice report (Contact me, John or Karen for details). Mark December 14th on the calendar to meet with your chillest friends by attending the 2019 annual tune-up clinic. Order a 50’ throw rope/bag, ice awls, two space blankets, a 6’ x 6’ poly tarp, and a couple of instant hand warmers to build the survival-assist kit we spoke of at the annual swap meet. If there is interest we can make a group purchase contack John ( Make those last-minute trades/orders for the parts you needed last season.

The season is here…. and for many of us, it officially begins on Black-Ice Friday!!

See you on the ice!

Jay Whitehair
Norwich, VT
Vice Commodore NEIYA