2021 Season

Spring CIBC Gathering

Hey Folks- If you are so inclined and need to get out of the house head on up to the CIBC spring meeting- Always a good time to be had with the Maine-iacs!

Details here:

Spring Gatherings | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

The Prima Donna Has Belted Out Her Song….

Not a bad season considering everything that was going on over the winter. If you were able to get out and enjoy some hard water sailing during it all give yourself a pat on the back. If not, remember to get out twice as much next season!

Of course the official word of the ice going away gives us all reason to utter a few words that aren’t as polite as they should be. If anyone gives you any grief about it, feel free to use the attached retort, sent in by John Pepper. Thanks John!

Think Ice- Get cracking on that worklist for next season…..

Moosehead Lake Video

This drone video shot by Jonne Trees last weekend at Moosehead Lake, ME.

Two days of great sailing, April 3 and 4. Good breeze, good ice, sun, scenery, Just proves that it ain’t over ’til it’s over!

Thanks to Jonne for the video and the Maine gang for scouting it-

Click and enjoy!

Moosehead Lake Ice Sailing Aerials – YouTube


Moosehead Lake Ice Sailing Aerials

Moosehead- Pics And Video

Hey Folks-

For those of you who thought the Moosehead Lake news last weekend was some sick April Fool’s prank, let it be known that there was plenty of ice, plenty of breeze, plenty of sun, and plenty of speed to be had!

Great to sail on April 4, I think that is the latest I have ever gone….

In any case, keep it in mind for next year, just in case we get another chilly spring- Worth the trip!

The picture is from Jonne Trees, the video (I hope the link works) is from Jeff Kent.

Get tuned up, only about half a year until the next ice….




Moosehead Lake is delivering…. Ice is thick, surface a bit rough but hey, totally sailable and enjoyable.

Especially for early April!

Marks are set, will be scratch racing tomorrow if there is breeze.

Forget the holidays, never mind the family, they’ll get over it. Come on up!

Lodging at The Birches. See earlier posts for details.

Think Ice!

Moosehead Lake Update

It’s looking like more of a possibility as the weekend approaches- Scouts are headed there at this moment, we look forward to hear what they find-

The latest update is here:
Moosehead Lake | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Keep an eye here for more news:
Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends!

There should be a good number of boats there as quite a few people just aren’t ready to pack it in yet (myself included). With a little luck we will all be able to brag about sailing in April all summer!

Even if we can’t sail much the place is as scenic as it gets, great spot to sit in the spring sun and unwind before the summer craziness hits.

Load ’em up and stay tuned! T

April Iceboating Anyone?

It could happen- sounds like Moosehead Lake may still be sail-able. Get your soft-ice gear (full sails, slush runners, max inserts, skunners, whatever you have) out of the storage locker and think about it….

What better reason to put off getting your tax information together? Keep your priorities in order!

Keep an eye on the CIBC site for updates….

Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends

Moosehead Right Now | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

2021 DN US Nationals Phot CD Available

Hey Folks- Gretchen Dorian braved the wind and cold to get quite a few awesome shots of the action at the DN Nationals in MI last season-

Do yourself (and her) a favor and grab a disc!

2021 U.S. Nationals Photo CD – DN North America (idniyra.org)

2021 U.S. Nationals Photo CD – DN North America

Photographer Gretchen Dorian has put together a CD with over 850 images from the 2021 U.S. Nationals sailed on B…

Sad News From Up North

Mike Webber, KC 5591

The Nova Ice Yacht Club lost one of its most active members on March 17 and the IDNIYRA lost a newer, committed DN sailor.

Mike Webber, KC 5591, of Petite Riviere Nova Scotia was a professional mariner, a marine engineer. His marine engineering career began on the Great Lakes and then moved to the salt water where he worked in offshore support and then on tankers. Most recently he was the Chief Engineer and Chief Superintendent for the Polar Prince, a Lunenburg-based research icebreaker engaged in seismic surveys, contract icebreaking and other Arctic operations.

Mike was a life-long sailor, who spent some of his time off as a professional mariner cruising the Caribbean with his wife and children. Mike only started iceboating about five years ago. He quickly graduated from beaters to competitive DNs. When he upgraded his DN program he helped others get started by giving way his beaters. He improved his performance through practice and seeking the advice of more experienced DN sailors. Last year he won his first race, and regatta, when he won the Maritimes Championship on Lake Mush-a-Mush, Nova Scotia. He finished 7th in the Silver fleet at the 2020 North American Championships at Fort Peck, Montana.

Mike will be remembered for his sunny personality. He could be counted on for support when help was required. Eight days driving with him, from Nova Scotia to Montana and back, was eight days well spent. Mike was 51: it was too soon for him to go.

Warren Nethercote, KC 3786

Mike’s full obituary can be seen at www.sweenysfuneralhome.com

Obituary of Michael Leigh Webber | Sweeny’s Funeral Home Ltd. – Bridgewater

WEBBER, Michael Leigh – Age 51, of Petite Riviere, passed away Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Beloved son of Warren …

Sailing Into Spring

Earlier in the week, I borrowed the words of the infamous John Belushi and in spite of a loose interpretation of world history, it came to pass. “Nothing is over until we decide it is!…” A number of sailors on a few venues proved that the season is still ON.

Saturday, the first day of spring saw New England action on Lake Winnipesaukee and up in Maine on Lake St George. Conditions were typical for this time of year. Cold overnights locking up the prior day’s slush from the high on the horizon late March sun. Randy said it was slush runner time, signaling the end is near.

Could we get another shot at sailing? The coming week’s weather is not promising. More north Moosehead maybe?

Sail Fast, Sail & Be Safe


P.S. People if you have never seen Animal House or not in a while you owe it to yourself to watch. They just don’t and probably can’t make ’em like that anymore.

NH and ME Sailing Saturday / Sunday

Hey Gang- Hope springs eternal!

Some boats will be sailing out of Leavitt Beach on Winnipesaukee Saturday and Sunday. Well, trying to sail anyway!

Forecast is for moderate breeze and temps well over freezing so bring the slush runners and skunners. We will have some marks set up so if possible scratch racing will be going on- if no scratch racing then some cruising. If neither, good times will be had flapping jaws in the parking lot!

There may be some sailing going on in Maine as well- check the CIBC site for any updates at Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends

Hope to see some people up to give it a go! It sounds like there is a good base on some lakes in NH and ME, always interesting to see how the surface and launches hold up. With a little luck we can get some more weekends in. Stay tuned to this and CIBC sites for details as we head kicking and screaming into April.

As always be sure to observe all ice safety guidelines- ice picks and other safety gear are mandatory. Also be sure to maintain social distancing and COVID protocols- Mask up, keep your distances, and don’t share drinks or smokes. Do the right thing and bring extras for everyone!

Think ICE!


Official Hardway #19 Recap

As those that were there and those who heard know, it was a true challenge for men, women, and craft. A single group of seven coordinated sailors completed the Hardway in a manner prescribed by the rules.

Official roster of finishers for the Fleet 19, March 16, 2021 Hardway

Charlie Silfvenius: Hardway Commodore
Ann Rowe
Jerome Holden
Peter Boynton
Bill Buchholz
Jim Gagnon
Milo Fleming

Special commendations go out to those who rendered assistance to those in need and specifically Jeff Kester who found the AWOL boat) and then towed it home. Jeff I am sure we will see you next time around.

This and all Hardways are a collection of stories from the sailors who participated. Some of those individuals (actually most, myself included) did not complete the up and back. There are lessons learned from everyone that hit the ice this past Monday.

I hope to have many of their accounts published for all to read.

Milo Fleming is probably the youngest sailor to complete the Hardway and his story will be posted in the next couple of days. He is working on it between his other high school assignments.

There was a toast made to Leo back at Brewster Beach and I know he is smiling down on all those that attempted and completed the Hardway. The legacy lives one.

I look forward to another attempt next time and know many other sailors do as well.

Sail Fast, Sail & Be Safe,


P.S. I know that people sailed Winni and St George in Maine today. Condition reports are being coordinated and posted for the weekend shortly.

The decision process of marginal conditions sailing… (Part 1 of 2)

(Part 1 of 2)
Sailing in elements that press your abilities…

Broken tiller in hand… split mast, wood chips and a sore knee… Ebben Whitehair is still thumbs up after a hard tumble.

“To Go…. or not to Go…”

In the world of ice boating we are often faced with the decision ‘to go, or not to go”. If one were to simply look out their breakfast room window and make the call for the day I think nobody would ever make it to the ice. So by nature most of us just kit up and run with the thought ‘maybe this will work out somehow?’, and more often than not we have great days of sailing. But what about those marginal decisions you have to make AFTER you arrive on site? Thin ice? Too much wind? Skills of others we are sailing with? If EVERYBODY else is going then why not me? These seemingly simple decisions can have dire consequences. Here is how I go about making those decisions when it comes to my extreme sporting adventures:

1) Conditions – using your personal experiences what are YOU seeing exactly? Take the time to look at all the signs you can i.e.. wind types, variable ice thickness, ice surfaces, cracks, open leads, holes, bob houses, tip ups, personal fitness, fatigue etc. From there I seek out a few of my more experienced mentors to gather what is on THEIR minds at that moment and to see what things I have overlooked. Generally I pick up a lot of local details and items of heightened concern. Chances are somebody on scene has been playing there for days and has all the insider info – like the stuff that could hurt you. This is where taking the time to arrive early pays off. Take all of these details and multiply them together with the end thought being: can I handle all of these concerns if thrown at me at once? Be honest with yourself and consider the simplicity of deciding “maybe i’ll sit this one out”.

2) Mates – exactly who will be out there with you? As a group (big or small) if things go bad do you have a balance of skills to unjam a crises? Are you able to trust/work with everybody in the pod? Are you truly independent as a group and do you have the resources to self extricate if need be? do you have the hardware to approach the day safely or summon help if required? Does everyone have the capacity to evaluate their own skills needed to participate? If you have less experienced participants in your group who insist on ‘giving it a go’ do you have the experience to cover their needs? These items may seem trivial in the pits, but if you land in a hostile environment they become essential elements. If the feeling persists that you are in over your head…. well, you just might be. Consider again to take a rain check.

3) Overall plan – Who is the key person who knows of your sporting plans today should something go terribly wrong? If your group succumbs to a catastrophic event what is the fallback plan? Make sure you have somebody keeping an eye on you. Someone that is not only reliable, but currently in communication and timely in character and able to initiate a rescue group if events run foul.

4) Is your kit up to the task – when was the last time you had your gear apart for inspection? Are you confident it will be able to handle the conditions including an extra margin for safety? Normal wear and tear only accumulates. The off season is a great time to tear into your entire kit – I assure you, it is not as pristine as you last remember – the damage incurred from heavy weather on your boats hardware can be shocking. A simple repair at home beats one in the field any day! And lastly, Is your clothing sufficient for a wet walk home in the worst conditions you might face? Evaluate everything, fix what you can early, and have spares on hand when possible.

Of course there are many more considerations to be made before any extreme adventures are undertaken but these are a few basic thoughts I try to entertain prior to stepping into a harness or on any boat. There is a common saying in my mountain flying circle which says: “it’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground”. When you find yourself too deep in the breeze it can be a terrifying experience. Understand that the decision to go, or not to go, is ultimately yours to make. Trust your gut feeling and keep in mind that by sailing with good mates, dependable gear and a solid plan, then, when you find yourself over your abilities a 180 turn is all thats needed to return home safely.

Stay tuned for part 2 – “6 miles under bare poles – arriving back home after a great day on the ice?!”

Sundowner over Vermont

VC Jay Whitehair

Don’t Put Your Gear Away Just Yet

…Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!…

After Monday’s Hardway assault on Winniaposaki, I know some people want another crack at the lake while others got more than enough. There is a little weather moving through that region. There will be people launching from Leavitt beach tomorrow Friday 3/19. Let’s see how they do and maybe Winni will come through for the weekend.

Still waiting on favorable conditions in Maine. I know that Bill Buchholz will find something to sail on. Stay tuned and check http://iceboat.me.

Another weekend is coming up quickly hope to see you all out there

The pictures keep on coming in from a great day on Webster Lake (MA) a couple weeks ago. Thanks go out to Bill Converse for sharing with us. More online here https://photos.app.goo.gl/asC6jsg8HUxYGhETA
Keep the pictures coming people. There is plenty of room in the cloud for iceboating pictures.

Sail Fast, Sail Safe and be Safe,


Bantam Lake Tracks

Mike Acebo did what could be called a thorough job sailing the southern part of Bantam Lake over the last few days-

Take a look at his tracks vs the map of the lake and you’ll see….

Well done Mike, I think you may have invented a new art form!

2021 Hardway Reflection

Date 3/15/2021
Winds 15 with gusts to, you don’t really want to know.
Temperatures low 20s with the wind chill below zero
Bright sunshine
Fleet #19
29 participants sign up

Ice was scouted the week before with only one major barrier noted and that was a major pressure ridge off Welsh island going clear across the lake at the north end of the Broads. Cold nights over the weekend did some major repair while also opening up a few other minor hazards along the way.

Ice was scouted the week before with only one major barrier noted and that was a major pressure ridge off Welsh island going clear across the lake at the north end of the Broads. Cold nights over the weekend did some major repair while also opening up a few other minor hazards along the way. 

Ice surface was rough appr. Grade 4 and solid

Skippers meeting was held at 10:15 and fleet left at 10:30

Directions were given to pick a sailing buddy and stay within quick closing distance in cease of assistance.

My phone number was given out and participants were told to text me if they turned back and were safe in harbor.

The first meetup was in the lee of Parker Island. The whizzes and J14s were there quickly and when I arrived they were ready to continue. I held back and waited for the remainder of the fleet to weather. The attrition rate was high as the main part of the big lake showed its power. A dozen boats from the second wave left shortly after the first sailing conservatively to the pressure ridge. A crossing was quickly found and we made our way up to 6 mile island.  After a brief rest, we headed out again. The miniskeeters were having some problems and pulled into the lee of another island. After crossing another small break my sail came down as my halyard shackle had worked open from sail flapping I assume. The group continued up the lake while I ran sweep.  After a quick rest and a check on the minis, I continued on only to have my mast fall down due to a quick pin on the forestay popping out. ( I Had just replaced the clevis I had in there yesterday. Lesson learned ) I then proceeded up the narrows and joined the fleet at Center Harbor at about 2:30. After a quick bite, the discussion was made about the return. There was great concern about running downwind and coming about to avoid hazards. About half the second wave decided to park their boats and hitch a ride back to Wolfeboro to get their cars.

Four of us started back under sail as a trial rounding up behind the first island to reassess our comfort level.  One tried bare poling for a bit but decided he would rig and try again. Running dead down wind proved effective and we continued down the lake catching up to the minis as they were Body sailing back.(using their bodies as sails) They were making fair progress so we continued helping each other over some more minor ridges that had formed since morning. I made several loops back to check on the body sailors while the fleet continued on down to Parker for the final check. With everyone in sight we then rounded into the Wolfeboro bay for a congratulatory high five.

The minis get the red lantern award for being the last in.

The remaining sailors then gave a toast to Leo and we packed up for the day.

Respectively submitted,

Charles Silfvenius
Hardway Chairman

P.S. There will be some Hardway committee discussions in the months after the ice leaves us.

P.P.S. Commodores note, every Hardway is a collection of sailing tales from individual pilots. Additional stories to follow in the next few days.


There will be a Hardway attempt on Monday the 15th! If you don’t know what the Hardway is take a look at the posts below, that will tell you all you need to know-

It’s always an adventure and with a little luck you can make it happen this year!

Launch will be at Brewster Beach in Wolfeboro NH. There will be a push off time of 10:00 AM SHARP to take advantage of the hard ice in the morning. So be there early, rigged and ready to go by 10!

Keep an eye on this site for further details. Info may also be up on the CIBC site- Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends

All usual safety protocols must be followed since this is a long haul over large expanses of the lake- helmets, picks, warm clothes, GPS, food/water, comm gear all even more necessary than usual.

Also COVID is still out there as well so be sure to mask up and maintain some distance between yourself and the rest of the gang. Even in the parking lot.

Stay tuned and sail safe. Think ICE!

Baikal In This Hemisphere…..

While we’re waiting for all this wonderful slush to freeze and the gale to calm down, think about this for next March. Can’t make it to Siberia? Montana’s the next best thing! Potential for a container full of iceboats departing Boston area. Fly to Billings, rent a car for the four hour drive to Glasgow, or take the one hour flight. The container full of boats will be there on the beach, Baklal style, waiting for you.

Could be interesting- Having sailed out in Montana last season I can vouch for the venue, it really is out in the middle of nowhere and the scenery is AMAZING.

Take a look:

Home – MONTANA ICE SAILING (iceboat.org)

“Fast Females in DN Ice Yachts” – an inspiring interview on Sailjuice.com

Karen Binder at speed. Photo Courtesy: Gretchen Dorian 2021

Due to the humble nature of the NEIYA’s Secretary treasurer Karen Binder I had to stumble into this great Zoom interview on SailJuice.com by good fortune. Check out the link below to hear how Karen and her growing troupe of fast female pilots have been gaining speed over the years and are now running the marks in the exclusive DN Gold Fleet. As always host Mike Madge throws a handful of great questions, this time to Karen and Julie Richards (2014 Central Regional Champion) and they spill the beans on what it takes to get their ships moving….. FAST. Common to both of them was their appreciation that we as a group are very welcoming to new comers and that picking up the pace into racing is a function of group support, commitment, and practice, as much as facing the inevitable fears of speed that we all encounter. If you are interested in learning what it takes to jumpstart your racing program, this interview will help you get to the line in style, with a smile.


Jay Whitehair
NEIYA Vice Commodore

Ice This Weekend- Quality And Quantity?

OK Folks….

Hope springs eternal, even for us chronically pessimistic and cranky New Englanders….

Ice reports are coming in from up north and it sounds like a matter of quality vs quality. As is fairly typical for this time of year there are some fairly good base plates of ice on Winni, Dammi, and Sunapee BUT with warm temps and sun there can be some quick degradation and rapid changes such as thin spots getting thinner, cracks appearing and widening rapidly, and pressure ridges forming almost instantly as ice sheets expand and heave. None of this is conducive to safe sailing…. So the thickness is there but the surface leaves a lot to be desired in terms of sailability and safety.

On the other hand we see all kinds of strange things on the ice and even those of us who have been at this for awhile still get surprised. The next few days are fairly warm and sunny all over the region and the nights will be chilly but not cold enough to tighten things up until Saturday night. Maybe there is a chance of a good Sunday morning this coming weekend. Or maybe a good day to hang out in the parking lot. Who knows?!?

All we can do is wait and see what the scouts report as this week grinds on- Many thanks to them, I know a few have really been all over the map looking for the good stuff…. On the subject of scouting ice, if you know of a decent sailing prospect let it be known, the karma points will be generous! So don’t mothball the ice toys just yet. Ya nevah know….

As always exercise extreme caution if you are venturing out on the ice- this time of year can be especially hazardous. Spikes, throw ropes, life jacket, thermal gear, spotters and partners are a MUST.

Think ICE!!

America’s Cup Day 1 Highlights

Hey Folks-

If you had as much trouble finding the America’s Cup on TV last night as I did and were as reluctant to pay the $130 NBC wanted to watch the series live (ouch!) as I was don’t despair, the highlights are on YouTube for free.

Fun to watch the racing and some of the stuff they do seems to apply to our hard-water world.

I won’t spoil the results for you but I will paraphrase Bill Bunting- When he and his brother would match race their two Nites Bill would say “I’m usually first runner-up and he usually comes in next to last….” Always got a kick out of that one. And so it is in match racing!

Click and enjoy here: 36th America’s Cup Day 1 Highlights – YouTube

America’s Cup Race 1 Tonight!

Hey Gang- could be more hard water sailing in NE this weekend, more on that later.

For now take a look at Race 1 of the America’s Cup tonight. Interesting craft in the event- sometimes they even go about as fast as an ice boat….

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Anyway coverage starts at 10pm here in the east, I think on NBC sports. Click the link below for more info.

Place your bets and clear your calendars for this weekend just in case!


Spreading The Stoke On Webster Lake

Webster Lake 3/7/21 Photo Credit Emily Babbitt

Sunday on Webster was one for the books-  Good breeze but not too much, good turnout but not a traffic jam, ice that was hard yet grippy, bright sun but not blinding, and temps cold enough to keep the ice hard but not make an iceboater think twice about getting out of the van.

Yep, a banner day to be sure-  not bad for early March!  I don’t know exactly how many boats were on the lake but there must have been at least 20-30 craft of all varieties-  DNs (old and new), Skeeters, BDXs, maybe a Whizz or two, a Lockley Skimmer, and who knows what else.  All were able to get out and enjoy the day.

There was a good bunch of cruising boats buzzing around and when race marks were set everyone seemed to take an interest in doing some hot laps-  It’s hard for any sailor to resist seeing how your boat matches up with the boat next door!  Great to see everyone living it up and always interesting to compare the performance and sailing styles of the different designs and skippers.  Watching the fleet doing lap after lap was oddly calming and mesmerizing…  Like watching clothes tumble in a dryer but way more interesting.  Later on when some loosely organized races were run that was interesting too!  Good time had by all, that’s for sure.

Thanks to Emily Babbitt for getting some great shots yesterday. You can view her pics here https://photos.app.goo.gl/FZqg7axhqo3tEkAE7

And a few from my phone https://photos.app.goo.gl/dAw2pmbPYDBvsNAp6

Along with the range of boats were a range of skippers, male, female, older (don’t ask), younger (some in their twenties), and at least one who I don’t think is a teenager yet (ah, to be that young again!)  Bella was crushing it in her new BDX by the way, clearly, the kid has some talent and will be leaving her father in the dust soon enough!

We also had a good group of first-timers out;  One gent about my age (again, don’t ask) who has been a keen ocean racer and involved in numerous ’round the world race and America’s Cup campaigns doing bleeding-edge electronic and computer data, control, and navigation stuff.  All known in the biz as “mega-tronics.” His stories are a fascinating glimpse into that rarified world, and those are just the ones he can tell (I get the impression he has signed more NDAs than most of us have signed credit card receipts.)  In any case he is keen to delve further into the science and art of DN sailing-  Should be interesting!

Also in the mix was a young couple with extensive collegiate sailing experience and resume’s that include a lot of campaigning in Moth and 49er dinghies.  Another relatively new guy was out with a green sail, older hull, and aluminum mast and was doing quite well in the scratch racing that broke out.

Rounding out this bunch were two women I know from the classic yacht world, one who works on them for a living and one who has a real, respectable job but trims mainsheet one of the fastest classics out there!  All of these people sailed my 1962 DN for a bit and some of them moved up to the modern DNs after that.  All of them were STOKED and one of them is shopping for an old DN at this very moment.    Hope they will all dive in on some level!

Either way, it was great to see new faces out there giving this amazing sport a go.  We are all very lucky to have found it (or stumbled onto it) and we all know how much excitement and adrenalin it can generate no matter how we participate.  Which brings me to another point; My friend Dave always says that if you have something that revs you up and get’s you “stoked” (he lived in California for a while and he must have picked up some of the lingo) you have a duty to share it with like-minded folks.  Whether it’s a song, a boat, a band, movie, windsurfer, iceboat, whatever it may be you have to “Spread The Stoke!!” as he says.  Fair to say that The Stoke was spread far and wide yesterday!

There was a big regatta in Michigan last weekend and I have no remorse at all over skipping it; as much as I would have enjoyed racing (that’s my “stoke”) it was just as much or even more fun to get some new people out and see their reactions-  I re-learn this lesson every so often and I hope everyone in the group will make it a point to drag some new sailors out onto the ice and keep that stoke going!

Think Ice, T

Webster Lake Today

There should be good sailing on Webster Lake today- A groupbe launching from

Waterfront Mary’s

103 Birch Island Rd
Webster, MA 01570
United States

Hope to see some people there!