2021 Season

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!

Saturday Launch And Parking

Saturday launch site:136 N Shore Rd
Bantam, CT

Just NE of the White Memorial Family Campground

Will be there at about 10. Show up any time!

Scratch Racing and Cruising This Weekend!!!

Hello All- The title above isn’t one you’d normally expect to see at this time of year BUT it isn’t the craziest thing we’ve seen lately….

As I said in an earlier post we have an embarrassment of riches in terms of ice and we would be remiss if we didn’t try to make the best of it. So here goes, a cunning plan to take advantage of as much as possible…. As I once heard Eddie Van Halen say; “If it’s all you can eat for a buck I’ll take three bucks worth!”

Of course racing and cruising is welcome on all of these lakes but if racing is what gets you going consider the following:

-Bantam Lake in western CT. Bantam Lake – Wikipedia
On SATURDAY marks will be set, flags will be waved, and the clipboard and score sheets will be in use…. Stay tuned for launch site info

An extra DN will be available for anyone who wants to give it a try

-Webster Lake in eastern MA Lake Chaubunagungamaug – Wikipedia

On SUNDAY marks will be set, flags will be waved, and the clipboard and score sheets will be in use…. Stay tuned for launch site info

An extra DN will be available for anyone who wants to give it a try

If cruising is your speed consider the following:

-Damariscotta Lake in coastal ME Damariscotta Lake – Wikipedia

I sailed this last weekend and it was on the rough side but very sailable and very enjoyable- it may be smoother now than last weekend due to a rain event that rolled through. See the CIBC site for details Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends

-Lake Winnepesaukee in central NH Lake Winnipesaukee – Wikipedia
Sources say Winni is being scouted for a Hard Way trip, maybe this will be a good year for it! Again, stay tuned to this site for details

We have also heard rumors about ice on Mahopac Lake in southeast NY and some lakes in NJ but we don’t have any details.

AS ALWAYS, USE PROPER PRECAUTIONS AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS WHEN GOING ON THE ICE. Do not venture out without talking with locals and other sailors and doing a proper evaluation of the conditions and potential hazards. There are always plenty, especially at this time of year.


Fast Downwind Technique

Hey Gang- We have an embarrassment of riches in the ice department but will post about all that later-

In the meantime take a look and listen to the latest SailJuice video by Mike Madge- in this one he talks with Matt Struble about how to get through the downwind leg in a hurry- If you’ve ever seen Matt sail downwind you know he is worth listening to!

Click and learn- Stay tuned

Downwind Speed in the DN Ice Yacht – YouTube


Downwind Speed in the DN Ice Yacht

Get Out and Go Iceboating

At this point, you have heard people are sailing, seen the pictures, sailed on or stomped on, or wish you had sailed on the various plates of ice scattered around the New England Region. Well, they are true. Sailing always starts with a desire to sail and efforts made to go out and evaluate and test conditions. Sometimes those searches payout sometimes not. Remember to thank those that scouted the areas long before everyone else sets up. I know I will be leaving people out but here is a good start for what is on our top locals today. Bob Strzelewicz aka Bob S. in the Webster / Quabaug Area, Bill Buchholz (iceboat.me) for well pretty much the entire state of Maine and I am just going to say many including myself for Bantam. While there is nothing yet in New Hampshire our team is beginning to venture out.

Many of us are suffering from Ice Deprivation Psychosis or IDS. We have sailed so little this season so are ready to hit the ice as soon as something appears. Use caution and do not go on just rumors but listen to people that have actually been on the ice. When you arrive check with those that have been out. Below is where we know people have scouted and are currently sailing.

Top locations at the moment

  • Bantam Lake – Bantam, CT
  • Webster Lake – Webster, MA
  • Dammarascota Lake – Jefferson, ME

Others locations are currently being looked at and will be reported if sailable.

There will be not organized racing this weekend. However, I am sure that cones will be set up for some spirited practicing. Primary date and location to be determined by tomorrow.

A few grizzled veterans including myself and T (James Thieler) and others have extended offers for newbies to get out and try iceboating this weekend. Can we convert a few of our soft water sailing friends to the Hard Side? Consider inviting an interested out for a ride this weekend.

Sail Fast and adhere to local and state Covid distancing regulations.

Think Ice,


Melt, Drain/Refreeze and Sail!

We have lost a lot of snow recently!

We asked for it and it rolled through late in the third period. The Zamboni has resurfaced our ice and getting it ready for review and fun.

Conditions are being confirmed and we have favorable reports coming out of most of the usual places. Naming names and starting outside of New England Budd Lake in NJ and Lake Mahopac in NY are both being scouted today. Moving west Bantam in CT is showing some good signs and is being checked out today. Further West off the Mass Pike Quabaug and down I395 Lake Chaubunagungamaug aka Webster Lake will both be looked at today. Reports are very positive out of Maine and it sounds like some of the best and biggest conditions will be had there. As always check out the Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club for the best coverage in that area.

There have to be other places but they have either not been scouted or they are being kept close to the vest. We rely upon condition information please share to our forum or pass it on me, Race Committee Chair T, or any of the officers.

Im not going to say we are in overtime just yet but now is the time to break loose of whatever is holding you back, work etc. As always conditions will vary and do change, sometimes very quickly, ice should not be considered safe until you have confirmed it for yourself. Sail heads up on any new piece of ice. Please be wary of the continued Covid 19 threat and be socially distant and follow all state and local regulations.

Sail Fast, Sail Safe and be safe,


P.S. I will say it again this opportunity will not last get out there and sail.

Ice in Maine…

Hi All,

Please check the Chickawaukee Ice Boat Club website for updates regarding sailing tomorrow/Friday….https://iceboat.me/

Chickawaukie Ice Boat Club | Maine ice boat enthusiasts and friends
One of the most common questions from people curious about iceboating is if we can sail in the snow. We hem and haw about bonded vs. unbonded and maximum depths,etc, and about loosing split rings and clevis pins in the powder.

If you can make it up, great. The weather forecast is good for Friday, but not for Saturday.

Bill has checked the ice and will be present to point any noted hazards, but keep in mind conditions may change overnight and everyone needs to use caution.

Please adhere to all COVID regulations, maintain social distancing in the pits, and wear masks.

Thanks, Karen Binder DN5630/NEIYA Secretary.

All Eyes Are Focused on Finding Ice

Our challenges have mounted this year but we did not give up. Small groups found small ice and had big fun over the past few days. But We all know how this story goes the fun stops when the white stuff falls from the skies. Temperatures are moderate and there is some melt going on so maybe just maybe some venues will make a brief sailable appearance.

Whether hope springs eternal or just plain Spring Hope we will be on the ice again. Thanks, Eben for helping me tailor a coined phrase for our own purpose.

With that in mind, there are definite possibilities in the heart of mid-coast Maine as well as points further east. At the more southerly end of our range, Lake Mahopac in NY is being looked at and there is some promise there. There are im sure other potential venues but the weather is a little tricky and heightened caution is needed. If you are keeping an eye on anyting please share in a comment here or in the comments section.

Weekend condition updates will be coming in tonight and tomorrow. Load up your gear and be ready do roll…

Don’t forget to check the classified section items wanted and for sale HERE https://theneiya.org/classifieds/

Think ICE and be safe,


360 Degree Cameral On A DN

Andre’ Baby was good enough to send this video our way- Good footage and be sure to take advantage of the 360 degree feature!

Hello guys,

In case you haven’t seen the latest . You can orient the camera any which way while Tomek is sailing, with the arrows on the left upper corner of the screen.

Enjoy !

Tak ślizga się Mistrz Polski 2021 – Tomasz Zakrzewski / Sailing with Polish Champ Tomasz Zakrzewski


Tak ślizga się Mistrz Polski 2021 – Tomasz Zakrzewski / Sailing with Pol…

A Rookie Checks In

Great to see the enthusiasm and guts this youngster has! She did well at the Nationals and we look forward to seeing her improve with a well tuned boat and some more time on the ice.

Iceboating bug can be dangerous >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News (sailingscuttlebutt.com)

Iceboating bug can be dangerous >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

The passion and persistence of iceboaters sets them apart. With the hours perfecting their boats and the miles d…

Pretty Much a Snow Hold – Weekend Feb 20-21

The weather has dealt us a bad hand once again. Most of the region got some snow. This is on top of some already snowed in lakes as well as some on top of newly sailable bodies.

At the current moment we do not have reliable reports of any sailable ice. Please use extreme caution when checking out surfaces that are covered in snow. “Here is always thin ice someplace” and if its under snow you increase your chances. Just use your head and be safe.

There may be a possibility in Maine. Bill Buchholz reported on Tunk Lake in Maine. For those so inclined, he should have info on iceboat.me later today.

Anyone for some short tacks on the Alton Bay Ice Runway (Lake Winnipesaukee). The runway opened for the season last week and is reported to be 18+ inches thick. With a good thaw and refrozen surface we could be on Winni again.

Skip to 2:15 for the ice.

If anything turns up over the weekend we will report back. Maybe just maybe something will happen.

Think Ice, Sail Fast and Be Save,


Going Faster Upwind in DN Ice Yachts, with Matt Struble – YouTube

More great tips from a top DN sailor- click and learn!

Thanks to Mike Madge for putting these together-


Fastest Laser In The World….

Not sure where this is but you have to love it….

EurILCA – No matter the weather, you can always sail your… (facebook.com)


As far as we know iceboating originated in the Netherlands a few hundred years ago and there is still a strong fleet there.

They don’t get to sail in their own back yard much these days but last week things got cold and they were lucky to have some primo ice to break the drought!

Thanks to Margreet Elfring for sending this from the land of windmills, legal weed, red light districts, black ice, and colorful tulips.

Could be some sailing options coming together closer to home, stay tuned- Scouts are out and about.

Think ICE!!

Don’t let complacency ruin your day….

The pilot of the DN that recently broke through in this photo was wearing a dry suit, used picks, and had informed others of his sail route. Because of this incident I again re evaluated the way I sail.

NEIYA cruisers and racers – please browse this excellent link about cold water immersion:


In all my years of emergency rescue work the link above is perhaps the most concise and clearly written explanation of cold water shock that i have ever seen. Written specifically for sport enthusiasts its contents are short and to the point. We all talk about the importance of ice claws, the benefits of dry suits, never sailing alone etc. But how often do we step out on the plate and take chances that later could cost us (or our want-to-be-rescuers) our lives? Have you had a few close calls and now are becoming complacent? I am sending this out and asking all of you to re evaluate the way you approach the associated risks of hard water sailing.

Every season I try to remind myself what it really means to fall through the ice. Some of you may recall my version of the “ice bucket challenge” where I pass around an ice filled water bucket and ask friends to hold their hand deep in it for one minute and then see what is left for dexterity after only 60 seconds have passed (spoiler: very little is left to work with). I hope every one of you will explore the contents this link opens up and from there reach out further and look at the way you, your friends, and others around you approach the ice.

Sail fast, safe, and whenever you can!

VC Jay Whitehair