2021 Season

Better Iceboating Opportunities Through Chemistry

About March 27th 2019 – Any Guesses?

Does anyone know where we might be able to get 900 million gallons of heavy water? It freezes at 39 degrees Fahrenheit and would be enough to fill a 500-acre pond to about five feet deep. That would surely extend our season on both ends. Start working on your deuterium-based steel runners for peak performance.

Spring is only days old and we are looking to make the most of it with some sailing. Some of the best iceboating days I have had over the years have been in spring-like or officially spring days.

After last week’s great Pushaw turnout and the CIBC’s successful completion of the Century Race (100 miles), the next venue rumors are again flying about where the next sailing opportunity will be. Moosehead Lake in Maine as well as locations in the greater Montreal area. The Canadian locations are typically just north of the St Lawrence River. Even though you will need a passport it is not that far and for some of us closer than domestic options.

Note, the above are just rumors at this point and will need to be confirmed over the next couple of days.

Don’t put your gear away just yet, as there is more hardwater sailing to be had.

Our regular call will be at 6:30 tonight. Not sure we will have any definitive weekend plans but show up to discuss.

Think Ice and Sail Fast,


Spring ICE!

Hey Folks-

Don’t throw the towel in just yet-

As you may have heard Pushaw was in fine form last weekend and we are hearing rumors of the ice hanging in there around Kingston / Montreal, Pushaw Lake and also Moosehead Lake a little further north up in Maine.

Don’t forget that we sailed Moosehead in early April last year… It was a blast! So get your taxes done, keep the boats loaded and ready, and stay tuned to this site (and the CIBC site at Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club) for the latest info.

Could be cruising, another Century Race, scratch racing, or even a regional regatta. You never know!

Think Ice and stay tuned…. T

Century Race!

Hey Folks-

Last Monday several sailors were able to complete a 100 Mile race up at Pushaw Lake in Maine.

Looked like a good day for it- good breeze, hard ice and a big lake….

While I didn’t participate I did pick up at least one tip for anyone trying this; Make sure to have a reliable way to count the laps! When each lap is over 12 miles it’s easy to lose count!

In any case congrats to all the finishers, especially the folks in the smaller boats. Well done!

Check out the video here: Thanks to Herb Crosby.
Century Ice Boat Race – YouTube


Century Ice Boat Race

Opportunity Whispers From The Pine Tree State

It’s been quite a while, since I have been able to press fingers to keys with something hopeful. Well, there is a whisper coming out of the PIne Tree State. Bill Bichholz has reported potentially favorable conditions on Pushaw Lake. That name has been tossed around over the last few weeks during our open weekly discussions and reported on both here and on the Chickawaukie site.

At this point one should read what Bill’s condition report on Pushaw. I know that sometimes the best ice times, like skiing, are often the first tracks. Taking a chance and being rewarded is a rewarding and unique natural sailing experience.

Check out the Pushaw Report: ON post and decide if and when you want to travel North. More updates promised so check iceboat.me for the latest, including where people are considering staying.

Think Ice,


Ice Opporutnities Down The Road

Wentworth 3/8/2020

Typically the news of a winter storm is exciting, as they are all part of the winter experience and contribute to the freeze cycles of our lakes. The snow is for skiing, but we have not gotten in much local sailing this season.

Our ongoing mantra, “we are not done yet” or “I am not done yet” continues to ring. Black Ice prospects are gone, but there is some grey ice, in our near future.

According to fresh local intel, only a few inches of the white stuff fell on lakes surrounding Bangor. Purshaw Lake is often a first-ice mecca. The lake is outside Old Town, Maine home of Old Town Canoe. I stopped by to visit my canoe’s birthplace the last time I was there. I was not the only tourist doing the same thing and bet many readers of this piece have a canoe or two of the same heritage.

Why is this important? Looking across and a little outside our region the potential sweet spots look to be around Bangor and perhaps Pushaw in a few days. This is outside many people usual travel zones but this year has been a challenge and iceboat fever is raging.

Block some travel time, coordinate with travel partner(s), and stand at the ready for the call. It will likely be last minute and any day of the week, so have your travel bag ready.

We will again gather on the phone to help coordinate our next ice pilgrimage.

Think Ice,


The Season is Not Over Yet

Lord of the Ice? – Shelburne Bay Champlain March 28th, 2015

Greetings all. Even though many of our usual haunts are in liquid, slush, or in the snowed-in state the season is not over just yet and we continue to keep our eyes on venues to the north.

No current prospects at the moment but keep your gear ready to load up and hit the road.

The Lord of the Ice is keeping a watchful eye and looking to welcome us back to sailing.
There will be a call tonight for anyone who wants to attend at 5:30 pm the usual number.

Keep the faith and Think Ice,


Sailing Museum Newport – Iceboating Lecture Friday (3/10)


There is an iceboating lecture at The Sailing Museum in Newport, RI this Friday. The lecture is in support of Don Sanford’s book On The Lake about lake Mendota. Mendota is the quintessential iceboating lake featured in many iceboating images complete with the Wisconson State Capital on the south shore. lecture details https://thesailingmuseum.org/expert-in-the-museum-series-iceboating-with-don-sanford/

Expert in The Museum Series

Join us Friday, March 10th from 1-4 and Meet Iceboating Expert Don Sanford!

Visit The Sailing Museum on Friday, March 10th between 1-4 PM and hear about the thrills of hardwater sailing from avid iceboater and local legend, Don Sanford!

About The Expert:

Don Sanford grew up in Syracuse NY. His summers were spent at the family camp on nearby Cazenovia Lake where he first developed his interest in boats and social history. Don has a degree communications studies from the State University of New York at Oswego and a M.S. from Syracuse University in radio, television, and film. He moved with his wife Barb to Madison, WI in 1976 to take a job as a production manager with Wisconsin Public Television.

A sailor and iceboater, Don spends his free time racing sailboats and iceboats in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. He is a member of the Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club, past commodore of the Mendota Yacht Club, the International Nite Ice Yacht Class Association and the International Skeeter Iceboat Association.

His book, On Fourth Lake:  A Social History of Lake Mendota tells the story of the people, places, and events that have shaped the lakeshore as we know it today. Published in 2015 it combines social, geological, technological, cultural, maritime and economic history in 340 illustrated pages.

Think Ice,


P.S. Let me know how it was if you go.

Waiting For The Thaw/Freeze Cycle

Winni March 20th, 2021 – We may be back this year.

With our recent snowfall, the scent of winter has returned, at least to the more southern parts of New England. I grew up in the NY Metro area, where people typically wouldn’t think about winter sports until there was local snow on the ground, even though winter was in full swing in the Adirondack, Green, and White Mountain areas. That being said, it is still cold up north, and our ice lies beneath the snow. The ice is just waiting to be exposed, resurfaced, and ready for us to sail.

Unfortunately, no matter which direction you look, there is no known ice to play on, at the moment. Even our most hardened hodophiles are staying put and tending to their equipment, shifting to snow sports, or catching up on things that need doing for the weekend.

It has been a challenging winter, but we are NOT DONE YET. Remember, late winter storms happen, and we usually return to our lakes after a thaw and freeze cycle.

Stay tuned, we are watching for the thaw which will come soon.

Our regular ice chat will take place tonight at 6:30 pm as usual. Reach out to me if you have a specific topic, or just come on and bring it up yourself. Email me if you have forgotten the #.

Think Ice,


After Storm Look


As hyped over the past week and seen in the NOAA snowfall graphic, the snow did come and has exited or will exit soon. The system has left a mess in its wake and covered up the ice we had been playing on or intend to use soon.
All is not lost. Remember snow blocks and or reflects UV radiation preserving the ice below for another day. Also, a potential snow slushy freeze-up has been reported on Winni but the snow needs to stop and more freeze time needs to pass before any verification can be made.

NOAA data aside how much snow did you get? Chime in with location and depth measurements.

Take the snowfall survey below or better yet dial in 6:30 pm tonight and let us know what you got along with some encouraging words from others eagerly waiting for sailable ice NEIYA members. Talk at 6:30 tonight

Think Ice,


NEIYA East / West Weekend Split

Schroon Lake NY 2/17 – 2/20/23 – Photo credit J. Stanton

Pesidents Day weekend saw NEIYA members congregating in the east (Jefferson & Camden Maine) and to the west just outside of New England in the Attarondacks on Schroon Lake, NY.

It was all DNs with a heavy concentration of racers ushered in by Race Chair T with an assist from our secretary Binder. Multiple scratch races were held in a flaky breeze that filled in towards the end of the day. the last couple of starts had some rather lively gusts that pegged the fun meter and kept us on our toes. Remember you do not have to be nationally ranked, to sail with or near the DN race crowd. All Sailing takes a lifetime to master and we can all use a few go-fast tuning and boat handling tips. So don’t be shy sharing knowledge is built into iceboating at all levels. As the cover photo shows, most of us sailed till the sun touched the trees on the western shore. A great time was had by all.

Thanks to the Lake Saratoga iceboat group for drawing us all west.

As previously reported there was sailing in Maine On Damariscotta and Maguntacook let by Bill Buchholz. Since I didn’t get to Maine, catch up on happenings at iceboat.me.

There may have been some additional ice in the region but it was not thoroughly scouted and with the limited resource, we all congregated where we did. This is a reminder that we need human intel. Satellite images are nice but skilled scouting is a must before we draw people together to sail.

But for the incoming white stuff we are seeing some good prospects for the weekend. Just need to see what this system brings.

Remember our weekly conference call is Thursday 6:30 pm. Not sure any weekend call can be made at that time but at least we can get a baseline of how things looked before the white stuff started dropping.

Think Ice and Sail Fast,



Hey Folks-

Getting some good intel for anyone that wants to get on the ice Sunday;

Schroon Lake in NY was sailed today and preliminary reports are that there’s a good sized, sail-able plate. There will be enough DNs there Sunday for some scratch racing. Launch at 40 Dock St, Schroon Lake NY. at https://maps.apple.com/?address=Dock%20St,%20Schroon%20Lake,%20NY%20%2012870,%20United%20States&ll=43.834927,-73.760477&q=Dock%20St&t=m

Also getting reports that Damariscotta was good but was suffering from a lack of breeze…. Check CIBC website for details.

If you want to venture further north Colonel By Lake just north of Kingston was sailed today and was rated a 6-7. Not sure where launch is, but stay tuned here to find out.

As always exercise tremendous caution as the ice is less trustworthy as we get into the tail end of February. Talk w locals and people who have sailed there recently before heading out. Wear your picks and spikes and NEVER sail alone.

Sail safe tomorrow!


Weekend Options

OK, so no racing on Hay Bay.

BUT there are options around the area; Be advised that all of this ice has been subjected to warm temps and possibly precipitation so be extra cautious if you do venture out. Wear your spikes and picks, don’t sail alone, have safety gear, talk with locals about hazards, stay in one area etc…

Option 1 is Hay Bay. It will be scouted again tomorrow. Low temps tonight could make it sailable. Stay tuned to this site for details.

Option 2 is Maine. Keep an eye on the CIBC site for what is cooking up there. Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Option 3 is NY. Here is the only report I have from the Central NY gang; this ice will be scouted and hopefully sailed tomorrow. Be extra cautious as there are some hazards and thin areas….Schroon Lake DEC launch in Village behind Stewart’s

10″ ice. Top 1/2″ already refrozen, another 1/2-1″ slush, then granular black ice(not as porous as Great Sacondaga Lake but some)

Talked to ice fishermen – 4 wheeler broke thru near shore in front of pink camp (red X on map) they reported a fisherman farther south reported 4″ black ice

Some water at ramp on ice but also have ice bridges for access.

Stream inlet just south of ramp is cutting ice out from shore a little way. Can easily stay away from it.

Going to be colder at Schroon (25 deg at 4:30) than GSL. I think we should sail Schroon tomorrow. Parking curbside, also a lot available for trailers

Be safe, send reports, Think ICE

Canada Postponed….

This in from Kingston/Montreal…

Hello All,

Bad news. Upon sailing at Hay Bay, Peter went thru the ice on a snow patch. Looking at the photo he sent, there are other snow patches. Since we cannot know if this an isolated incident or there are other weak spots,

WE ARE HEREBY POSTPONING the regatta to a later date .

Any sailing there is very risky until more is known on the situation in general.

Please advise your respective groups.



CANADA UPDATE: Hold your horses….

Mother Nature being cruel again- some hazards have been found at the lake and the ice may not be Regatta-worthy after all. Dang.

Final decision coming within an hour. Scouts are still out looking.

Hope for the best….

Racing In Canada Update

The latest from the gang up in Kingston:

Good Afternoon All,

Peter van Rossem just called me after inspecting the ice this morning at Hay Bay.

The report is positive. The Kingston gang will definitely sail there this weekend.

The issue is whether or not it is a regatta as we are very short notice on getting volunteers. Montreal had them lined up but none can come to Napanee for the weekend.

Here is the Plan:

We are putting out this call for volunteers. Maybe you are a racer and can bring a friend. Maybe you are just someone whop follows this page and wants to see a regatta in action.

We need you to help find 3 volunteers to do the scoring and starting

Starting = raising the start flag and dropping it

Scoring = writting down sail numbers on a clip board as they pass the leeward mark and at the finish line (same location but we keep track of rounding position for each leg)

The racers will be called upon to help set marks and move teh starting line if required.

If we can find 3 volunteers by 2 pm we will call on the Canadian Championships if not it will be King of the Universe.

Ice Report:

Peter reported a minimum of 8 inches of black ice. The surface is level but not entirely smooth. Meaning that in the areas where there is texture to the ice there are depressions. He indicated thgat they are quite close together so that a 36” runner would touch in 7-10 places. He did not sail he ice so he is not certain how much rattling this will cause but rated teh ice as being from a 6- 8. If the surface texture leads to a lot of vibration a 6 and if the runners provide a smooth ride and 8.

Please let us know if you want to volunteer or can bring a volunteer.

Launch site is the boat ramp at Cuthill Lane south of Napanee. Please do not park on the ramp. Google Maps


Google Maps

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Hey Folks-

Looks like we are going to give it a shot this weekend- Hay Bay near Kingston Ontario has been checked and cleared. Not perfect ice but certainly regatta-worthy!

IF we can get a few volunteers to keep score and drop flags we can call it the Canadian Champs; if not it will just be a great weekend of big-time scratch racing.

So if you know someone who would be ready willing and able to get dragged over the border and onto the ice for the weekend throw them in the car and let me know so I can tell the powers that be up there….

Stay tuned for details- all I have for now is the launch is at Hay Bay at the end of Cuthill Road (I think).

Think Ice- Load ’em up! T

Ice Thoughts For the Week

Following up on Jay’s important words of caution, Take Heed! The above images were generated via AI using htps://openai.com/dall-e-2/ part of the ChatGPT website. I requested art for lake ice with a danger thin ice sign in watercolor. It did pretty well at borrowing elements from previous works created by humans. While the images are so-called AI-generated, the DANGERS are VERY REAL.

I wish I had great news to share but again the message is to wait and see. As we are all aware it has been a little warm lately even up north. This includes Champlain and Winnipausakee, Squam, etc. any other place you might have thought to look this time of year. In general, people are seeing ice coverage but it has not been cold enough to harden and thicken. Don’t be fooled, these surfaces are not stable and require some colder weather before being further assessed. Possibilities may abound when the cold returns.

We have two positive notes. Bill and the folks in Maine are hopeful and will share what they find before the weekend on iceboat.me. The other, as previously posted by T, some racing in the Montreal Canada area. Unfortunately, they are waiting to confirm the impact of the snow moving through the entire region. As always and be on the ready when the call comes.

We will have our regular call tonight at 6:30 pm. Not much ice so discussion topics are open. Be sure to call on time as we will get right into it. The line will remain open while there are things to discuss.

Think Ice


P.S. Bring your thoughts forward tonight.

***Hazardous Ice Warning***


As much as we all want to be taking advantage of spring sailing conditions, please be advised that this years weather patterns have produced some of the most unpredictable and inconsistent ice coverings most of us have seen in decades. This warning is based on numerous reported accidents throughout New England, most notably, on lake Champlain alone three fishermen died in the past week. A few points worth considering in these accidents: each of the victims was a frequent visitor to their area and likely assumed they knew the conditions due to their history and time on that ice surface. At least one of the victims died of hypothermia while dressed in a dry suit after being immersed in the ice water for a significant time – he was not able to extricate himself from the cold water and get back onto the ice surface. One of the victims passed away due to exposure yet was wearing a personal floatation device.

As a career fire rescue technician who specializes in ice rescue and SCUBA recovery of victims who have fallen through the ice here are a few thoughts that I feel we all should consider: Ice boating is particularly hazardous if you find yourself having *sailed* onto thin ice. The geometry of our runner base spreads our weight loading to a very low lb/sq foot ratio. In other words; by the time your boat drops into the lake you may likely be a great distance from an ice surface that can support your loaded body weight without your wide boat base. This will result in you having to break the ice surface back to a point where you can self extricate. This type of swimming is not only exhausting but very limited in time due to the cold water wreaking havoc on your body’s ability to maintain itself (whether or not your are in a dry suit).

All of us should ask ourselves “would I be able to self extricate if I fall through the ice?”. The time to sort this out is NOT while alone in ice water. If you carry a heavy body frame or are not a skilled swimmer, if you have not practiced pulling yourself along a surface with ice claws in full gear (or better yet in warm water onto a dock or surface similar to an ice edge) then the answer is likely; “no… I don’t have those skills yet”.

***Although wearing a dry suit is a great level of protection against hypothermia, it is not enough to keep you alive for a long duration.
***Ice claws are essential in many situations such as smooth wet ice but knowing how to use them *with an efficient swim kick* is key. Often, you will not be able to simply pull yourself up and onto a safe surface. Practice in warm water! Expect to need assistance from others.
***Life jackets are great but offer no thermal protection. Expect only a few minutes in ice water of ability to help yourself and a mere ten minutes of consciousness. Otherwise they keep you afloat for an unconscious rescue/recovery. The ideal life jacket for ice use is otter smooth on the front and will not hang up on jagged ice chunks as you pull yourself up and out.
***Never sail alone! Keep your buddies in sight and in mind.
***Have a throw rope and long rope available. An ice screw in your emergency kit can help pull a heavy person out. Set the screw in the ice and run the long rope through it – aids in preventing back slip of the victim.
***Call 911 immediately if anybody is in the water and unable to quickly extricate. Any prolonged exposure victims should be handled very gently (for cardiac reasons) and transported to the emergency department for evaluation. It is likely they will say they are fine…. until they are not.
***Only check conditions with others who have proper equipment. Sail in areas that are demonstrated as safe.

***Have fun and sail safe!

Jay Whitehair
NEIYA Vice Commodore

Racing This Weekend

Hey Folks-

Good chance of racing this weekend just north of the border-

The Montreal crowd is optimistic about racing out of Beaconsfield, Montreal, Quebec. The ice on Lac St Louis is looking good and hopefully will stay in shape for the weekend.

This isn’t written in stone yet but stay tuned to this site and the IDNIYRA website and forum for updates-

Tune everything up, dig the passport out, make sure there is no contraband in the vehicle and be ready!

Think Ice, eh?

Maine Comes Through

Hey Folks-

The Maine-iacs have done it! They squeezed in a regatta; informal, spur of the moment, and I think on a weekday. Something to be said for that!

Good time had by all it seems- Newcomers Roseberry and Chamberland nearly tied for top spot and no doubt this tussle will speed them up even more. They are certainly putting in the time and effort-

Paul was able to lend total newcomer (and I mean TOTAL; he had literally zero time in an iceboat) Tristan Lewis his extra boat and it paid off- Tristan made it around the course every race and was even able to take a 3 and a 4. He was even able to take one off Paul in the fourth race. No good deed goes unpunished, eh Paul?

Hope Tristan will keep at it- He must have some aptitude! And the fact that Paul was good enough to hand over a whole boat is a feel-good story that warms even my ice-cold little heart….

Well done to all! Click here for the whole story;
Linc Davis Cup | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Linc Davis Cup | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Sacandaga Comes Through

Unfortunately, the timing and conditions did not allow us to hold the NEIYA Vintage Returns event this weekend. With all our planing fresh in minds Jay Whitehair and I could not pass up the opportunity to see what the Hudson River and NJ guys brought to Sacandaga.

Conditions on Sacandaga were the best that any of us could find and we were lucky to be on the ice at all. The rest of the NEIYA gang found sailable conditions on Damariscotta in Maine.

There was a great collection of stern steerers, and plenty of front steering craft all out to play. Spirits were high and the hospitality and shared interest in iceboats ruled the day.

Don’t put your boats away just yet we are monitoring several locations for next week and hope to get in our Vintage event plus a bit of racing. Remember racing is not just for DNs and the iceboat rivalry between NJ and the Hudson is over a century old.

Think Ice,


Dammy Feb 11

Several boats sailed Damariscotta today, the north end was decent. Snow ice, some cracks and barely-healed thin spots were enough to either keep you on your toes or play it safe and call it a day….

A few boats will be back tomorrow and of breeze cooperates maybe some cruising and scratch racing-

Stay tuned- Things could be looking good for next week; we are getting optimistic reports from Kingston and the Central region. NY state may be back in action as well

Keep da faith! T

Sacandaga Redux

Sacandaga Lake Launch at Lanzis Restaurant Mayfield, NY

While we postponed our Vintage Returns The guys from NJ and the Hudson set up and going to give it a go in the morning.

Come on up to sail. Come to watch. Come to talk about iceboating. See you there.

Think Ice


Bad News

Folks, I just can’t bring myself to call a real regatta on for any of the lakes we checked in NY. Quite a bit of water and slush, a bit worrisome for a fragile little DN.

Good news is there will be scratch racing on Damariscotta Lake in Maine. Take a look at the CIBC site for details.

And don’t give up hope!

Think Ice….