2021 Season

***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….

Vintage Returns On Hold For a Week

Greetings all. Sorry for the false start and stop but we all know how hard this year has been. Due to uncertain conditions on Sacandaga and the lateness of the call we will push the event out another week. We have eyes watching a few locations on Champlain and believe it will improve over the week.

The western side of Sacandaga is being scouted and the initial reports are positive. Scouting parties come from the ranks of stern steerers, DNs and other classes. Not sure what the final conclusion will be but keep this lake in mind if you want to sail this weekend.

This has indeed been a tough year and we have had trouble with most of our standard lakes and ponds. I am placing the blam on la niña traviesa.

More info on sailing and racing later today.

Think Ice and regañar a la niña for putting us through all this,


P.S. Let me know if you have any ice info

Sailing This Weekend

Greetings all in season I do not typically get in my car in the morning and see the dashboard temp at 54 degrees on February 10th. The rodent from Pennsylvania really got it wrong this time or maybe he knows something we don’t. Wait and see is the answer.

We had thirteen people on our call last night and reporting from all around our region is not great. There is still ice but there are issues in most places with the exception of what our friends are sailing in Maine. There is however some hope for Graet Sacandage lake Broadabin, NY just west of Saratoga Springs and Saratoga Lake. We have eyes headed to both lakes. If Sacandaga pans out we will be calling the Vintage.

I know this is not much notice but with the disappointing season, we need to make whatever we can out of it.

As to New England sailing it is Maine all the way so keep an eye on Bill’s reports on iceboat.me.

We have some hopeful reports from Champlain that could be good for next weekend.

Next update sometime after noon today.

Think Ice,



Hey Folks- The weather always makes things a challenge but lately that has hit new heights…. Wind, warm, precipitation, and timing all askew for good conditions…

That said, we may have some options- Two lakes in Central New York may in play; Sacondage and Saratoga. We hope to have eyes on the ground tomorrow and will post a report ASAP. IF we do have a regatta it will be the New England champs as it would be great to get that in the books. Also, there will be a Classics award for the person with the best finish in the least modern boat. So come race even if your boat is and old war horse and not a bleeding-edge thoroughbred. Stay tuned to this site for more info.

There may also be a gathering of Vintage Craft up that way… There have been plenty of people busy in the barn all summer and there should be some boats to show off. Always cool to see what they sailed back in the day…. Stay tuned for info on that too!

As if that weren’t enough I heard rumors of Skeeters being moved around. Make of that what you will.

As always, there are hazards and dangerous areas of these lakes- please stay off them until they have been scouted by locals.

Clear your calendars and load up!

T US 5224

Let’s Get out and Sail

The scent of urgency is in the air. While is over a month away, and we typically sail after March 21st, this year’s La Niña has presented some challenging conditions. Even those who racked up a large number of sailing days have noted the difference in ice structure across all our region.

We have all been blasted with sensationalized weather news on a daily basis which really offers very little understanding and contributes to panicked behavior. There is a whole lot more going on behind our recurring El Nino and La Ñina patterns. I vound this and other Severe Weather Europe articles very interesting and im sure many of you will as well. https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/sudden-stratospheric-warming-polar-vortex-collapse-effect-forecast-february-march-united-states-europe-fa/

Regardless of weather sensationalism or geek-level weather coverage, we still have ice and we will be out iceboating this weekend and in the remaining days of winter. We have miles of cruising to be done, laps to turn, and the “Vintage Returns” event to hold. We are currently looking at a few options in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and maybe Vermont. Sorry people looks lke MA is out as well as CT which hardly started and RI never had a chance this year. Information on where there might be sailing for the weekend will be published tomorrow night after our weekly open ice call at 6:30 PM. The Ice call is your chance to hear it first and give you more time to reach out to friends and plan.

No matter what the ice does or doesn’t do, we will be putting on an all are welcome spring gathering. The when and where details will follow in a few weeks.

Think Ice,


A Race To Remember

Chad Atkins was on fire at the DN NA champs and he gives this account of the final race. It was a wild one!

A Race to Remember: Race 3 of the DN North American Championship by Chad Atkins – iceboat.org

A Race to Remember: Race 3 of the DN North American Championship by Chad…

Deb Whitehorse

Chad Atkins and his travel partner, Chris Gordon, are east coast based but keep their DN and Renegade programs i…

How He Did It….

When I first started sailing DNs twenty or so years ago I was struck at how helpful other sailors were and at the free flow of information from top sailors down to newbies like me.

Since then I’ve heard other sailors comment on that very tradition and what a cool thing it is; and how it is not the case in every boat class out there.

A great example of this is most recent World and North American DN Champ Matt Struble breaking down his tips, tricks, techniques, and thoughts on campaigning a DN. Based on his results he is a good guy to study!

Click the link and take notes….

2023 DN World Championship Debrief with Matt Struble – DN North America (idniyra.org)

2023 DN World Championship Debrief with Matt Struble – DN North America

Deb Whitehorse

Link to video Matt Struble US183 won this year’s World and North American Championships on Lake Kegonsa in Madis…


Things are afoot up that way…. Thinking of a regatta this weekend if things hold up and weather cooperates- Stay tuned….

Thompson Lake 2/6 | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Gold Cup / NA Champs Pics

Hey Folks-

If you weren’t able to attend the DN GC or NA champs you can get an idea of what you missed by checking out Cathy Firmbach’s photos here-

Be sure to buy a few and make her efforts worthwhile!

Many thanks Cathy- was great to see you out there-

Cathy Firmbach 2023 DN World Championship Photos Available – DN North America (idniyra.org)

Cathy Firmbach 2023 DN World Championship Photos Available – DN North Am…

Deb Whitehorse

Via 2023 DN Worlds & North American Event Photographer Cathy Firmbach: Thanks for your patience! My online store…


The new Runner Tracks is out, packed as ever with cool photos and informative articles, including one by our very own Chad Atkins!

Take a look here:
Runner Tracks Newsletter February 2023 – DN North America (idniyra.org)

Runner Tracks Newsletter February 2023 – DN North America

Deb Whitehorse

Runner Tracks The Online Magazine of the International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association February 2023 We hope you…


Hey Gang- Sounds like there is sailable ice up in Maine-
Some RI sailors may be heading up this week-

Stay tuned to the CIBC site for details-

IF the ice survives all week it may be suitable for a regatta this weekend- keep an eye on this site for details!

Damariscotta ON | Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club

Damariscotta ON

Given the iffy nature of some lakes we’ve been watching and the open water on Jordan Bay, three clicks of the bo…

Sabago Didn’t Tip

Well, it just didn’t happen last night. Plenty of cold in the past 24 hours but the wind blew all night. There will be no big ice in the near term. Thanks to Dave Fortier for getting out earlier this morning in the negative air to check Segabo. Unfortunately, similar conditions stretched across our region.

Waiting on other regional findings. If you are thinking of taking a weekday off this might be a good week for it. That’s all for now.

Think Ice,


A Cold Momentum Moves Over Our Lakes

Off Ellacoya 1/2/2020

Last night 16 NEIYA members huddled on the phone and there was an air of anticipation. The simple reason, is it’s getting cold, real cold. Not that I need to remind anyone has been talking about the temperature drop for a week. My standard response was “isn’t it wonderful?”

Like many things in nature, there is the power of momentum and tipping points. This season’s momentum has been in a slower build and we are only approaching the tipping (ice) point now. I can say that we are behind the momentum curve and looking to cross the tipping point.

Randy Rice reported on Winnipausakee up in the center harbor area. There is skatable ice but the whole center of the lake is open and likely. Lets see what the weekend brings. There are similar open center issues around NH

Bill Buchholz reported that Jordan Bay on Sebago Lake has skimmed over and was hovering around two inches of ice. With the cold since last night we could be in business. Jordan Bay has given us miles of black ice in the past let’s hope this pans out. We should hear word from scouts by tomorrow afternoon and will report back here on the conditions.

Bob S is keeping a watchful eye on Quaboag but nothing at the moment. More after the weekend.

I am sure that tonight’s cold will bring a usable plate. Take the long way home tomorrow. Run by your favorite local lake pond and have a look. Let us know what you find no matter the size. Maybe just a few people get out but let people know. We have our eye on the next few weeks to pull off the “Vintage Return” event and get in some local racing and cruising.

Next update Saturday Afternoon.

Be ready to roll when we cross the tipping point and Think Ice,



Hey Folks-

As you all know we haven’t been doing much racing in NE over the last few years due to weather, COVID, scheduling issues, etc….

That said, the Gold Cup and North Americans are behind us and there is plenty of winter ahead of us and our intention is to get back to a full slate of regattas this year. This weekend may be a possibility, we are looking at sites and printing up score sheets.

We are aware that we all just got back from the Big Show but winter is short! Do your laundry, knock a few things off the to-do list, load all the stuff back in the car and stay tuned!

Think Ice, T

A Deep Freeze is Coming

The New England contingent has returned from a successful run at the DN Worlds (aka Gold Cup) and North American Championships.

Congratulations to Matt Srubble on winning both the Worlds and North Americans. Team NE finished strongly with James T. Thieler and Chad Atkins finishing eighth and tenth respectively in the Worlds. Also of note, was Chris Gordon with a ninth in the Silver Fleet and Jay Whitehair, Sean Healey, and Milo Fleming with a second, sixth, and eighth respectively in the Bronze fleet. Full DN Worlds results here http://iceresults.org/dn/2023worlds.html

Team NE shined even brighter in the North American Championships. T and Chad took second and third in Gold. Jay Whitehair turned in an impressive 13th in his first Golf Fleet outing. Full DN NA results here https://iceresults.org/dn/2023nas.html

Coincidence or not, it would appear that the massive New England contingent brought the cold weather back with them from Lake Kegonsa in Stoughton WI. I think I can say that winter is finally arriving.

Randy Rice was scouting the top part of Lake Winnipesaukee out of Leavitt Beach. Things are looking positive but require another look. More on that in the days to come.

Last week’s club ice call was sparsely attended but I guess people kind of understand there was not much to talk about. this week is a different story. Don’t miss it at 6:30pm Thursday, February 2nd. We should have Ice scouts from around New England on the line. If you have forgotten the number it is published in the member’s section https://theneiya.org/members-only-pages/ If you missed my email with the password just reach out to me.

Looking forward to sailing with everyone real soon. Remember we are dealing with mostly new ice and since this is a recent freeze be extremely cautious. DO NOT go alone! Sail heads up till you are personally confident about the conditions. Dial into the call on Thursday if you are looking for someone to scout or sail with.

Think Ice,


The New England Iceman Cometh?

As Old King Colds icy breath makes its way east we have a fresh report of a building plate of ice on Lake Winnipesaukee NH. The size and quality look good at first glance but it has yet to be sailed and scouted. Consider this an early notice that the ‘soft’ waters of New Englands days are limited! Cold air is in the forecast and the precipitation rates look low for the week. Knock the rust off those runners if you have not yet done so…. set out your kit in a way that you don’t forget anything when bailing out the door late this week and keep your eyes on this website for any updates on New England ice boat cruising and racing.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on Randy Rice’s newest build (Randy is the Grand Master ice scout of mid-NH lakes). Don’t be fooled here, he was gearing up for a boat that looked vintage yet behaves like a modern build. His new boat “Zingo” boasts a 16’ carbon plank, 8’ front spring plank, 20’ tapered wing mast. Most of the build is redwood and is reported to be uber-light. Go, Randy! We look forward to seeing your new boat and you on the ice soon!

Excerpt(s) and inspirations from the famed late Larry Hardman of Downeast Maine.
Poem: “Ice Watch”

“When Old King Colds reach is bold down from his frozen lair,
it’s then we sleep in covers so deep and we shiver upon the stair.

Temperature seven? To us that’s heaven! We wish for seven below!
We disdain thermometers gain and we despise the snow…

When the ice goes “CRACK!” We ALL jump back! and we wait a day or so…..
Then three knuckles deep and back on we’ll creep and ice boating we will GO!”

Get Ready To Sail!
…and be sure to update the NEIYA with any local reports of quality ice.

Snow is the DN Fleet Divider

The last day of the 2023 DN Worlds featured 1-2" snow drifts dotted across the .8 mile long plate and caused difficult conditions for all three fleets. Silver started the day and with the breeze up most were able to complete their laps and the same was true for bronze. Then the sun started peaking out behind the clouds and caused the breeze to lighten and swirl quite a bit. I appreciated the race committee’s diligent efforts to get in one more gold fleet race. The team had to move and drag the starting line at least four times before our start.

Then we were called to the line. The night before the race organizers hosted a panel discussion with four of the best DN sailors in the world. One of those individuals Tomek Zakrzewski , a two-time world champion, discussed his starting technique. I was ready to try it. He and his compatriates sheet in almost 80% of max so that his blocks are just about touching. He is quite sure it helps with faster acceleration off the line and once in the boat.

It was my first time on the even side of the line all regatta. I positioned my boat. I cleared the drift in front of me with my spikes. I sheeted in at 80% of max and when the flag dropped I pushed with all my might. I was off and dusted the group except for one boat to leeward. I was getting close enough to the lay line so that when I tacked over I could implement another learned tip from Tomek (When coming in on port make sure to leave enough room on the starboard layline to build up speed to make for a fast windward mark rounding).

I easily crossed the bows of T, Chad, Karol Jablonski, and Tomek. And then…..the breeze stopped and the snow drift deep. I parked. I got out of my boat to push, tangled my main sheet around my foot, fell on my plank, my boat spun around as a puff came in, and it was Game Over. I was able to finish the race with some more sailing and some more pushing.

Then it was announced the Worlds were completed. Back in the pits, I learned even the best guys like T and Chad had to get out and push a few times. Several said no one had ever seen as many gold sailors pushing in a race before. It’s good to know I was not the only one that struggled to keep my boat moving through the drifts.

Overall, I accomplished my two goals of qualifying for the gold fleet and being the top female finisher overall. With this year being the 50th anniversary of the first DN worlds, it felt special to be a part of it. During the opening ceremony two sailors that participated in the first DN worlds 50 years ago were present and came back to race in this year’s event. Congratulations to Pete Johns and Hal Bowman for their 29th and 30th finishes in the Silver Fleet. Still racing hard at 80 plus years of age.

At the closing ceremony and awards Karol Jablonski, a 12-time DN world champion, spoke movingly about the camaraderie and friendships developed over his thiry-six years of racing DNs. Matt Struble this year’s Gold Fleet winner and now four-time world champion spoke about starting sailing DNs as a child in Northern Michigan and the memories of sailing with his dad and life-long friend and mentor, Ron Sherry.

DN sailing is fast and fun. The comraderie is the icing on the cake.

Onto the North Americans…

Karen Binder
DN 5630

DN Worlds – 1st Day of Racing

The day started with light winds and it made qualifying races a bit trickier for many…as the breeze would come down different sides of the course at different speeds. You really had to get your head out of the boat to see how the other half of the fleet was faring on the other side of the course. Given the size of the fleet, about 100 racers, the race committee divided us into three fleets: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Those with world rankings of about 25 or above where automatically placed into the gold fleet. Given three years of COVID, the DN rankings have not been updated since 2020 as that was the last time the DN worlds occurred and if you did not race in 2020 you lost your ranking. This means many experienced fast sailors were placed into the bronze fleet, had to qualify into the silver fleet, and then if they placed in the top 12 of that race were moved up to gold. My ranking of 39 put me into the silver fleet, but still offered the chance to qualify into gold.

For any qualifier, everyone is randomly assigned a starting position on the line. I gulped when I saw my assignment was 42. That’s so far down the stating line the guy next to me said, "I think we are in Iowa." I was determined not to freak out. I waited for the flag to drop, pushed, and ran as hard as I could. The wind on the left side was not great, but I built speed and tacked over in clear air. After that it was just keeping my speed up and grinding boats down both upwind and downwind. I had selected my FO Sail, my 100 degree minimum Ts, and put in super soft battens. I know they helped in the lighter wind areas of the course. I finished 9th which meant I officially qualified for the Gold Fleet in my very first Worlds. I now am the little fish in the big pond. Gulp.

The Race Committee then called for the first Gold Fleet race. I was assigned spot 35. I had a really good start and my mast popped out quickly. The first rounding I was mid-fleet. My second windward leg, I must have been in some amazing puff and the right phase of a shift as I was around the windward mark in the top ten. Seriously. I held my own downwind, but lost some speed at the 2nd leeward mark rounding. And that’s where the wind got weird and I went into the mode of tacking too much in order to chase more wind. That was dumb and it cost me a lot of places. By the end, I finished in 18th place. I am thrilled and excited for more racing tomorrow.

New England is really well represented with James Thieler, Oliver Moore, Chad Atkins, Chris Gordon, Jeff Roseberry, Paul Chamberland, Sean Healey, Bill Bucholz, Jay Whitehair, Ed Demerest, Milo Fleming, Rick Bishop, and our NY/Long Island friends Scott Valentine and Richard Glickman.

Stay tuned. More tomorrow.

Karen Binder
DN 5630