The day started out with warm rain and pretty much stayed that way the entire day.
The NEIYA fellowship began gathering, to set up, well before the official start time of official start time. From the start young, experienced, novice, and nubies began talking iceboating. A call to order to review the agenda was made at about 11:15am. First up Jay on ice safety review, followed by plank building with Paul Zucco and runner stoning with Eben. Along the way a break out team found time to help Bruce from NH rig his new, to him, DN for the first time inside the shop. Believe it or not only the battens were missing.
NEIYA veteran and founding member Leo Healey made an appearance. Leo was the voice of the hotline so long it’s hard not to think about that when one talks to him.
Jay Whitehead opened up talking about the effects of cold on the human body. Jay laid out simple steps in identifying, treating and preparing a hypothermic victim for the arrival of EMT personnel. People remained attentive for the entire presentation and through the question and answer session. Way to go guys for attention.
Paul Zucco was up next and had a number of plank building steps laid out so we could see how and understand. I overheard a comment from an experienced woodworker that he took away a number of tips from paul. Thanks, Jay we all learned a lot.
Eben Whitcomb was closer with a demonstration on stoning one’s runners. Eben stressed the importance of patience, consistency and attention to detail while slowing honing blade edges to perfection.
Have a question for Jay, Paul or Eben to leave a comment below.
None of this would be possible without the continued support of Steve and Linda Lamb and Linda’s sister Sharon.
Up next, conditions dependent, the the unraced races and the return of early season cruising.
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!
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,
Glommed from cibc and facebook
Lee Spiller sent this photo of the ice he found on Custer Pond maine (AKA Sabattus Pond) in Sabattus. Lee skated the lake top to bottom and reports 3 to 4 inches of ice mostly grade 9. The lake has not been sailed, as always caution is to be used. The boat ramp is located on the southwest side of the lake just northwest of the town of Sabattus at Martin Point off Lake Street. Lee plans to sail tomorrow as do I. Winds are forecast to 5 to 6 MPH with possible rain starting around 4PM. Info on the lake can be found at lakesofmaine.org search for town of Sabattus.
There are reports of some rough spots but worth the sail.
Its early in the season, be careful.
P. S. If you are planning on going leave a comment below.
It seems like that is all I have been doing the past few weeks. Talk about iceboating with friends, family, fellow softwater sailors and of course all of you ice devotees. Some of the non-devotees have lost interest so I was forced to go on the road this past weekend.
Saturday, first stop Week’s Yacht Yard Patchogue NY on Long Island. Located about halfway between the Throgs Neck Bridge and Montauk right on the Great South Bay. Thanks to all the guys at the Lake Ronkonkoma Iceboat club for good conversation and a freshly grilled burger. My first iceboat sail was on Lake Ronkonkoma so I always have fond memories of the place and people. Great to see all the LI people in one place and know our conversations will continue on the ice somewhere.
Sunday, brought me to Hudson NY and the Hudson River Ice Yacht Club‘s annual meeting. The HRIYC are iceboat historical custodians for the Jack Frost, Vixen and so many other boats. From time to time over the past 20+, I have ventured onto the Hudson to sail with the museum boats. The Hudson sailors might be the most patient iceboaters in the northeast as their venue does not freeze ever year and its a real chore to cart 1000’s of pounds of boat parts and gear to a new venue. We all share a passion for iceboating whether piloting a craft made of carbon fiber and constructed in an autoclave or rescued from a barn and lovingly restored to 1800’s splendor.
I let the group know that we have been keeping a keen eye on Winni over the past couple of years and wanted them to once again bring some of the big boats up for a Frolic. All were keen on the idea and pledged to make it happen if conditions cooperate.
The 2020 Wooden Boat Calendar featured Vixen one of the HRIYC’s boats for January. Nice to see an iceboat make the cut. Here are a couple places to check it out or just Google. NOAH Publications and Landfall
See everyone at the Lamb Tune-up in Canton MA this Saturday 10 – 3 PM. Details Here https://theneiya.org/2019/11/17/annual-tune-up-saturday-december-14th/
SO ENOUGH, TALK TALK and on to the doing part. Good luck to the NEIYA members that have ventured out to the Western Challenge to tune with the top tier. We look forward to hearing about what looks like near-perfect conditions.
Lastly, reports are coming in from all over and some are venturing out for a look and test. Careful out there with new ice and keep the information flow coming so we can gather when conditions allow.
P.S. FYI as some have noted Yahoo is about to turn off the Yahoo Groups including the Iceboating group many of us have been on for quite a few years. Doug Sharp and I are in the process of archiving all the content so it is not lost forever. I encourage everyone that has content on the Yahoo Iceboating group to download their own content HERE and follow the instructions. last call is December 14, though there are rumors they will extend that through the end of January but I would not bet on it. Now is the time to get your stuff before Yahoo does a big purge.