2017 Season


Hey Folks- Big day tomorrow as we have two events to choose from-

THE FIRST: If you’re on the mainland hit this!
The annual NEIYA Tune Up Clinic at Steve Lamb’s shop.

Date: Saturday December 9th
Time: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Arthur C. Lamb Company 85 Jackson St, Canton, MA 02021
Refreshments: Served continuously throughout the day

We have a full day of activities. Well worth the drive. And you might even learn something…

Clinics start right off at 10:30 AM

10:30 – Bob Haag – wielding his trusty dial indicator, learn his proven method for chock alignment. Misaligned chocks are slow!

11:15 – Chad Atkins– Sail Trim – Chad will demonstrate what he has learned developing sails for North and the DN Class. We will have a fully rigged boat and a sail hung horizontally so you can really see shape.

12 Noon – Lunch Rumors of Venison stew, the Lamb’s famous chili and hot dogs

12:30 – James “T” Thieler– What better guy to discuss “plank stiffness” then our own “T” ? He will discuss and demonstrate what your plank should look like and the benefits.

1:15 – TBD Runner profile benefits. Steve will tackle questions we have all had. 18” of flat? More? Less? Why?

2:00 – Eben Whitcomb – Safety and Race Rules- really something we can’t talkabout enough, and a good refresher for everyone.

All Ice boaters are Welcome to this Clinic Racers, Cruisers, Voyeurs and Vagabond.


In addition we welcome any newcomers trying to get into ice boating and onto the ice this season.

THE SECOND: If you’re out on LI Don’t miss this! There is a rumor that Steve Duhamel will be making an appearance….

Early Season Cobwebs

Not mentioning any names but word has it that someone did a lap or two out in MN with this setup- look closely, you’ll see the issue…. All good, I’m sure nobody out there gave him a hard time!

GWC Update

Sounds like they have PERFECT Ice and just enough breeze to sail at the GWC out in MN.

They don’t keep score at this one but it sounds like they got a lot of races in- looking forward to hearing how everyone did!

Have a look at these two photos- one is sunrise this morning and the other is Chris Gordon’s entire lunch and complete tool kit. Frankly, the lack of duct tape is baffling.

Have fun out there kids! Send updates….

Great Western Challenge- What We Are Missing!

Thought I’d torture myself and everyone else who is stuck out East this weekend with this photo from the Western Challenge, courtesy of Ron Sherry. Ice looks pretty darn good- I’m sure Atkins and Gordon won’t regret the drive….

Looks awesome! Have a blast, gang. Think of us!

Great Western Challenge, NEIYA On The Way

Hello All-

The NEIYA has an elite, eclectic duo headed to the Great Western Challenge at this very moment.

Two islanders as it happens. First is Chris Gordon (the man from Nantucket) and Chad Atkins (the man from Conanicut Island, or the Planet Zork, depending on who you ask).

They are approaching Chicago, burning up the highway and no doubt having lively discussions on the economy, philosophy, politics, and the books they’ve read recently.

We wish them well out there- sail fast, travel safe and send updates boys!

There is also a contingent from Deep Creek MD on the way, all the best to them as well.

Enjoy the trip and have a hotel breakfast room waffle for all of us stuck back here at work!

Think Ice!

Great Western Challenge Lodging

Hey Folks- If you are headed to the Western Challenge the regatta headquarters and rooms will be here- Book now!

Days Inn Baxter, MN. Iceboater special for king or 2queens @ $92/ nite. 218-829-3080

Great Western Challenge IS ON!!

December 1-3. Load up folks! If you have an empty seat or need a ride email me, t_thieler@yahoo.com and will try to get everyone matched up. Think ICE! Info here: http://iceboating.net/

James “T” Thieler
12 Channing St.
Newport, RI. 02840


Great Western Challenge and Local Ice!

Hey Folks! These pics just in from Lake Christina in MN, primary site for Western Challenge, coming up December 1-3! Thanks to Mike Bloom and the gang out there. See y’all soon!

For latest local Ice check the CIBC site- sounds like they are ripping it up just to the North! https://iceboat.me/

Happy Thanksgiving and here’s to sailing soon….

Ice Up North!

From the CIBC site- It’s on!!


Envy And Wait…

Now’s the time of year when frost is a regular and welcome part of our mornings. I am no longer surprised but eagerly await the real cold to set in.  Set in as it has done to the North and West (mostly North) of most of us. Thanks for the tease from Minnesota and Quebec! We eagerly await first sail reports from ME and VT. An inspiration to all.

An inspiration from the ice Muse. An inspiration to move the canoe, pile of brake rotors and assorted car parts and set up my DN work area once again. Runners need to be stoned and somewhere are the notes from last years alignment exercise. I was told by a wise and talented DNer that I should have this all written in a notebook. Again something for the ice Muse to inspire for the future.

There is an answer. in just a short three weeks we will gather for our annual Lamb off ice Tune Up in Canton MA. We will be holding formalized sessions on the following topics:

  • Chock alignment.  Misaligned chocks are slow! 
  • Sail Trim – including sail shape and development
  • Food throughout the day and if sights are true and a little luck venison stew
  • Plank stiffness and its contribution to overall performance
  • Runner profile with attention to blade entrance, flat and exit
  • Safety and Race Rules discussions

In addition we welcome any newcomers trying to get onto the ice this season. Do you have a boat sitting in your garage, barn or cellar? Bring it down we have experts waiting to go over your craft and develop a plan to get you out on the ice this season. Don’t know how to rig your boat? We will show you. Not sure if all the pieces are there? We will go over it with you. We are here to help usher you safely onto the ice. No reservation needed but would appreciate you dropping me a note so we can be sure to reserve room.

Before the sun goes down early tonight turn your Envy into Action and lay your gear out and make a must do list. Don’t wait till the Tune up on December 9th to start getting ready. Find your ice Muse and if she does not come we will assign one to you on the Ninth. The Tune Up is a far far cheaper and burden free Muse than anyone is likely to find on their own. Trust me I know…



This Will Get You Thinking!

Denis Guertin put this video together- Very well done and should be sent along to any prospective iceboaters you know.

Thanks Denis!

Whizz Iceboating Lake Damariscotta Jan 2017


Whizz Iceboating Lake Damariscotta Jan 2017

First Whizz Regatta. Scouting the ice and getting ready for the race.


Lake Christina was sailed yesterday by about a dozen DNs…. Where is Lake Christina you ask? Just a bit west of here….. check the sign….

This bodes well for the upcoming Western Challenge, possibly on that very lake on December 1,2,3. Get those boats tuned up and get ready for the road trip!

James “T” Thieler

Choose The Right Equipment: Boat & Head To Toe

We all woke up to brisk and refreshing overnight temperatures in the 20’s, teens and maybe even high single digits, we are collectively thinking about getting on the ice.

Preparation is key your choice of foot wear and head gear is essential. We often talk about boat prep but keeping the pilot warm and stable on the ice is the real starting point. Take a few moments t0 look at your spikes, ice claws and helmet to be sure they are sharp and in good shape. If you had an out of boat experience or connected with something hard last season, you probably want to replace your helmet.

Our Annual Lamb Tune-up Clinic is just four weeks away. Saturday December 9th. Mark your calender’s. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone just getting started. If you have a boat in your garage, shed or cellar gather it up and bring it over for help on getting you on the ice this winter. Experts standing by. More on the tune up to follow.

Below are a couple of lighter examples of ice preparedness or lack there of.

This first the golfer in this first video is clearly unprepared for the conditions. While the addition of spikes would not have improved his swing, at least he would have avoided potential injury. I should not comment on bad golf swings, so will withhold additional comments. And, don’t forget the helmet.

The second ice golfer is prepared with a stable (blades) platform and is able to safely execute his swing. As well as chase his ball down a beautiful plate. I would impose a five minute Major Penalty for not wearing a helmet.

Looking forward to seeing many of you on December 9th. Remember, if you have an ice boat that you always wanted to sail bring it by. We will show you how to rig your craft and do a safety check on your equipment. It would be best to contact us first but last minute boats are more than welcome.

Think Ice!


P.S. Stay tuned to neiya.org and our friends up in Maine iceboat.me for the latest updates. Please sign up to have web posts go to your email as soon as they are published. The boys in Maine will surely get on the ice soon if this weather continues.

P.P.S If your looking to buy or need to get rid of ice boat gear please check the classified section and please if you have sold something let me know so I can take it down.




Ice in Thunder Bay & Coming to You Soon!

Mike Madge Thunder BayThanks to iceboat.org for the picture and the good news.

We can all be envious of Mike Madge, this crazy DN-er who sailed Thunder Bay, Ontario today. As far as we know he is the first person sailing in North America. Well done Mike! Glad you got to be first on the dance floor. See article and pics on http://www.iceboat.org

This bodes well for the upcoming Great Western Challenge, the season opener for the rest of us. To be held on the best ice in Minnesota, first weekend in December, which this year is December 1-3, Friday to Sunday. There will be a ton of DNs there, maybe other classes as well.

IF you are planning on going or want to go and need a ride, please email me at t_thieler@yahoo.com Let me know what kind of car you have, how many empty seats you have, where you are leaving from and when, and whether or not you have a trailer. Hopefully we can match cars and drivers with copilots and navigators. Whatever it takes to show up with a big eastern contingent! The site to watch for official info on this one is http://iceboating.net/ although http://www.iceboat.org will have info and this site should as well.

And the weekend after that the Tune Up Clinic will be held at Steve Lamb’s shop. Rick Bishop is putting together a good itinerary for this event and no matter what class of boat you sail you will learn something that will make you better and faster! December 9 is the day, tune in to this site for details.

Cold snap is on the way, time to THINK ICE!!

James “T” Thieler


NEIYA Meeting Recap And Photos

Hello All!

The NEIYA Annual Meeting and Swap Meet was a great time as usual! Great to see everyone and of course all the gear on display. Everything from the slick to the agricultural to the bizarre and whatever else can blow across a frozen lake! Fascinating to see all the craft that have evolved over the years….

And of course the crowd was unique as ever! Always good to see the usual suspects and we got to welcome a few new faces as well.

Have to mention the food was outstanding and I don’t think there was a dull story told at any table.

Eben Whitcomb gave a talk about our trip to Lake Baikal last spring which I’m sure has a few people thinking…. If anyone is interested in getting on board for that one this spring email me or Eben and we can tell you how to go about it- Easier and cheaper than you think!

Chad Atkins talked about the upcoming North American DN champs to be hosted in NE (If anyone wants to volunteer email me or Chad) and Bill Bucholz told us all what is happening on Planet Maine. And Rick Bishop has what promises to be a great tune-up clinic getting organized in early December at Steve Lamb’s shop. Stay tuned for details on that one.

Then it was on to the real highlight. Leo Healy was honored as a founding member of the club and all around legendary iceboater. He has sailed more regattas and more miles than most of us will ever dream of, including six Winnie The Hard Way trips and a trip to Russia to sail in the DN Worlds. This is back when going to Russia was not a simple matter. The story involves shipping a loaded Wagoneer to Finland, swapping boats, eating reindeer, and a mysterious local commenting on the MA license plates in perfect English in downtown St. Petersburg.

Greg Cornelius got up and gave us a fascinating overview of all of Leo’s accomplishments and achievements and had the whole room in stitches which proved that even Greg can tell a good story if he has good material to work with!

In honor of his achievements and service to the club Leo was then (with great fanfare as John Stanton tore up his check for annual dues) given free membership in perpetuity.

Leo then share a bit of wisdom with the group, almost reads as a poem:
“In heavy air, know your rules
In light air, know your boat
There is always thin ice somewhere
Never sail alone
Think ICE!”

And of course a few people stood up and told a few of their own stories about the man. Congrats Leo and can’t wait to see you on the ice in a month or two!

All in all a great time. Thanks to John Stanton, Henry Capotosto, Bob Haag and everyone else who put it all together. Much appreciated guys! And thanks to all who participated.

See y’all at the Tune-Up Clinic and on the ice! James “T” Thieler DN US 5224 t_thieler@yahoo.com

Today’s The Day NEIYA Swap – Open Season 

Grab a friend and go. Bring someone new. Let’s all think ice and please don’t forget your  dues below. The New England Ice Yacht Association’s annual gathering is just a week away. Come out and see old friends, and make new ones. Buy some old gear or new stuff, regardless it will be new to you.

October 28th,
Knights of Columbus Hall

17 Willow St, Westborough, MA  01581.
Swap meet starts at 9AM in the parking lot, lunch at meeting starts at noon in the hall.

Please take a moment and pay your dues and or lunch. Can’t make it, please take this opportunity to pay your dues online. Get it done now. Our off ice Lamb Tune Up is coming in December.

Description Price
2018 Membership $30

2018 Membership and Lunch $45

2018 Membership for one & Lunch x2 $60

Lunch Only $15

See you there,



Season Opens In Five Days…

Seen on Lake Champlain Shelburne area, no idea where it came from – Photo 2015 Doug Raymond

Five Days till our annual Swap, Meeting and Banquet. The Champlain Ice Specter lays in wait ready to haunt all those who do not attend. Be forewarned!

October 28th,
Knights of Columbus Hall

17 Willow St, Westborough, MA  01581.
Swap meet starts at 9AM in the parking lot, lunch at meeting starts at noon in the hall. There will be great door prizes.

Please take a moment and pay your dues and lunch. We are locking in our head count.

Description Price
2018 Membership $30

2018 Membership and Lunch $45

2018 Membership for one & Lunch x2 $60

Lunch Only $15

See you there,


P.S. The Specter is one of so many odd and interesting things we have collectively seen on the ice over the years. Share your own experiences.





Swap Meets All Around- SOON!

Hey Folks- there’s a few iceboat swap meets going on over the next few weeks- NEIYA is smack in the middle of all of them on October 28 but if you are west or even south of New England there’s a meet for you! Hope to see everyone at at least one….

Think ICE.

If you are looking to kick the tires on an iceboat, acquire some new components, or learn about the sport of ice sailing, make plans to attend one of the upcoming iceboat swap meets across the country. Expand your ice sailing network, spend a few hours getting to know more about sailing iceboats in your area.

MICHIGAN: Western Michigan Iceboat Swap Meet, November 3-4, 2017 at the Muskegon Yacht Club, 3198 Edgewater St, Muskegon, MI. More information.

MINNESOTA: Ice Boat Swap Meet on November 4, 2017, from 10 AM – 12 PM at Sailcrafters 7450 Oxford St., Saint Louis Park, Minnesota 55426. More information.

NEW ENGLAND: New England Ice Yachting Association Swap Meet, October 28 9 AM, Knights of Columbus Hall, 17 Willow St, Westborough, MA. More information.

NEW YORK: Lake Ronkonkoma Ice Boat Yacht Club, December 9th, from 1 PM – 4 PM at Weeks Yacht Yard, 10 Riverview Ct, Patchogue, NY. More information.

WISCONSIN: Skeeter Iceboat Club Swap Meet on November 5, 2017 from 9 AM – 12 PM at Lucke’s Cantina
220 N. Elkhorn Rd. (WI Hwy 67), Williams Bay, WI. More information.


Congrats To Henry Bossett!

Longtime DN Campaigner Henry Bossett has hung up his scissors after 42 years in the biz. Well done sir!
Check out this summary of his sailing and sailmaking career here- Worth the read!


Happy 50th Birthday to Iceboating In Poland!

Hello All- It’s not news to anyone that the Polish sailors do VERY well on the DN circuit- they have certainly set the standard over the last few decades-

Take a look at how it all got started here- click and learn!

And congrats to all the Polish team that have done so well for so long!


Regatta Locations….

Now THIS is cool- It’s hard to know where regattas WILL be but now it’s easy to see where they were thanks to this nifty map of regatta sites and dates from the past.

Check it out, take a stroll down memory lane. And see if the DN NA’s were really held on Bantam Lake???

Click and enjoy….


Ever wondered or been asked why iceboating isn’t in the Olympics? Find some answers here….

Why Ice Sailing is not an Olympic Sport >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Why Ice Sailing is not an Olympic Sport >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

by Deb Whitehorse, NA IDNIYRA Secretary On February 25, the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics will ta…

James “T” Thieler

12 Channing St.

Newport, RI 02840

401 258 6230


Greenport Maritime Festival: Iceboat Display This Weekend

Come on out to Eastern Long Island this weekend for the Maritime Festival in Greenport, NY, Sep. 23rd & 24th.  The organizers have asked that we display some Iceboats again in the regular location.  I will be attending my daughters wedding but have 2 J14s and an Option Ice for display.
Back in the shop  and under construction in Greenport. A Pat Heppert design C Skeeter for George Neyssen, this will be the 3rd model to this design.

Meade Gougeon, Fair Winds….

Hello All-

Sad time in the world of hard water, soft water, and all around. Meade Gougeon passed away recently at the age of 78.

What he crammed into those years staggers the imagination- Off the top of my head I can say he was a DN World and NA champ, built and sailed a multitude of softwater craft that included cats, tris, proas, motorboats, keelboats and God knows what else. A 40 foot trimaran called ADRENALIN which had pivoting amas comes to mind.

In addition to being a major player in the DN world he also sailed the Everglades Challenge several times, a crazy event in the southern boondocks of Florida. Not for the faint of heart!

And he helped bring epoxy to the masses. Let’s not forget that.

His exploits and adventures are well documented elsewhere but I’d like to share my own story about the man.

When I first started sailing DNs twenty years ago I was in awe of the way he and his brother Jan (Hard to talk about one without mentioning the other) got around the course- two decades later I still can’t get over it! I remember thinking “Who is this guy with the skinny legs and the red helmet and how the hell does he do it??”

I got to chat with him a bit a various regattas and he always made time to answer my many questions- Which as a budding DN-er I appreciated very much!

That was cool but a few years ago Meade and a friend of his were travelling the east coast promoting the new G-Flex epoxy they’d developed. They were hitting all the wooden boat shops along the east coast, doing demos and doling out samples. His friend had a vision disorder and dealt with it by video taping the whole trip and watching it later on a special viewer that put the images right onto his retinas or some such thing.

I bumped into this pair purely by chance on the dock at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI one afternoon. They were checking out the legendary DORADE, the Olin Stephens design that is winning races to this very day. I was captain of DORADE’s less pretty cousin, a boat called SONNY that was across the dock.

The owner had called and asked me to round up a few people to go for a little afternoon sail. I’d found one or two people to go along and wanted at least one more but had resigned myself to sailing short-handed. Walking down the dock to the boat I saw a familiar figure…. Tall, slim dude…. Skinny legs…. Tan cap with a short brim? Had to be Meade!! Sure enough it was him, and sure enough when I introduced myself he didn’t really react until I said my sail number was DN 5224. At that he lit up! DN-ers are great that way. We shot the breeze for a few minutes and I convinced him and his buddy to come along for a quick sail.

His friend had his big video camera going the whole time and Meade tended the mainsheet perfectly without even thinking about it. All the while chatting away with the owner of the boat (a trustee and board member of the Yacht Restoration School) about the virtues and values of teaching and preserving the woodworking skills and classic boats the school focuses on. Traditional plank-and-frame stuff.

It was one of the most pleasant afternoons of sailing you could ask for, and I was thrilled to be on a boat with a legend like Meade. But the story doesn’t end there-

A few weeks later his friend with the video camera sent me a DVD of their trip, a well put-together travelogue (complete with bluegrass music and his own narration) that started in Michigan and followed them to Maine and down the coast to Newport and beyond. I was excited to see what the Newport segment had in store and it began with Meade eating ice cream across the street from the Restoration School. So far so good, harmless enough. Then across the street they went to look at the derelict boats awaiting restoration by the students at the school.

Next thing you see on the screen is Meade inside one of the boats, ripping rotting timbers off with his bare hands, and literally yelling about how these boats didn’t last long, required too many rebuilds, too much time, too much effort…. He was really on a tear! He sounded like a preacher thumping the Bible in front of the flock, punctuating every sentence by ripping off another hunk of rotten timber and throwing it in the bilge. I remember the last sentence of his tirade was “…and to glorify this method of construction IS WRONG!!!!” It was amazing!

And to think that thirty minutes after this was filmed he was out having a blast on the old plank and frame boat I was running and having a great time, chatting away with all on board. When I saw the video all I could think was that it was a good thing he got all that out of his system before he met one of the main guys that ran the place!

The lessons I took away from that were:
1- Know your audience. He sure did.
2- Don’t skip a chance to go sailing!
3- Know your history and how things were done before you came along.
4- Don’t stop looking forward!

And he always did look forward, always thinking of the next cool boat or the next neat modification or the next crazy event.

That said, my folks bumped into Meade at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Micheal’s, MD. Checking out all the old boats, taking in the history and no doubt pondering some better ways to make the things…. Somehow my father recognized him and started talking boats and DNs. Of course Meade lit up when he mentioned DNs! My dad was thrilled to meet him and still loves to brag about meeting a big player like Meade.

I’ve met a lot of fantastic characters through sailing and the the DN gang is another breed altogether- but getting to know Meade and Jan has been one of the greatest parts of my whole hard-water career. I always admired the way they sailed but more importantly how they were always friendly and made time to answer every question a wide-eyed rookie like me could pester them with. I’ve tried to do the same over the years and I thank Meade and Jan both for setting a great example!

Fair winds and perfect ice, Meade. Know that I am far from the only person you’ve made a mark on.

DN US 5224