2021 Season

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

Great Advice On DN Racing….

Whether you race or cruise you will learn a lot by watching this video! Karol seems to have a knack for this iceboating stuff so pay attention….

Karol’s Winning Moves in the DN Ice Yacht – YouTube


Karol’s Winning Moves in the DN Ice Yacht

Mashpee-Wakeby update

This pond was sailed today- as always, there is thin ice and care needs to be taken-

We stayed in the Mashpee Pond portion, did not venture north into the Wakeby Pond part so no info on that-

In the southern part known hazards include thin and open spots along the SW shore of the the lake and care needs to be taken to avoid these. Also a “goose hole” was reported, not sure where.

The ice was a bit soft and there were many healed over drain holes- cold nightly temps could lock it up and warm temps could make it un sailable- as always, exercise extreme caution, follow safety protocols, and stay in known safe areas.

Do not sail alone, wear your ice picks, and keep your eyes open-

Think ice!! T

Ice FOUND! – Mashpee-Wakeby Pond, Sandwich Ma


This just in from Rick Bishop. Mashpee-Wakeby Pond in Sandwich MA has consistent 3"-4" of black/grey ice with no snow on top. T

Rick plans to set up his DN early tomorrow (Sunday) and sail. Wind prediction is a bit light. Slight chance of scattered showers.

General Information: Mashpee-Wakeby Ponds are two connected Great Ponds generally considered to be one large body of water covering 737 acres. Wakeby Pond is the northern basin and Mashpee Pond is the southern basin. Average depth is 30 feet and maximum depth is 95 feet.

Launch Area: A large paved boat ramp with a 30-vehicle parking lot is managed by the town of Mashpee. It is located on Fisherman’s Landing Road, to the north of Route 130, just after its intersection with Great Neck Road (70°28’53.07"W 41°39’7.24"N).


  • Be aware of and adhere to all local, state, or federal regulations.
  • If you have any symptoms get tested and be negative before you go. If in doubt, stay at home!.
  • Practice Social Distancing – Easy gauge, the length of a DN plank is eight(8) feet.
  • Keep congregating and socializing in the pits and parking areas to a minimum.
  • Wear your mask or face covering while setting up, transporting gear to and from your car or trailer, and while setting up.
  • The NEIYA will NOT be holding any official after ice activities so plan accordingly.
  • Let’s all be safe and keep the safety of others in mind in everything we do.

Ice Status – For Weekend of 2/11

Hi Everyone,

Our team of ice scouts were out the last few days searching for ice. Unfortunately, there is a lot of great thick ice covered with varying depths of snow.

Worden Pond in Wakefield, RI has about 6″ of ice consistently covered with 4″ of crusty snow.

Ninnigret in Charlestown, RI is a brackish body of water with an outlet to the Atlantic. It has 3-4″ of grey ice and is not currently covered in snow, but the top layer was slushy after a full day of sun which is not great. I will try to check this ice tomorrow.

Pocopoaug Lake in East Hampton, CT has about 6-7″ of ice, but snow depth is about 5″.

Seymour and Long Pond in Harwich were checked yesterday by Rick Bishop and they opened up sometime on Wednesday.

Bob S and his wife, Val, have been cross country skiing across many lakes this week and nothing found so far.

Jay says NH is fully snowed out. Bill reports the same in Maine.

If any things wets out for Monday, we will post ASAP.

Thanks to those that were out looking for ice.

Karen Binder
DN 5630

What’s Under the Ice We Sail On….

Heading back to RI tomorrow after a little more than two weeks in Michigan sailing a total of nine days on Black Lake, Lake Charlevoix, and Elk Lake. In addition to great sailing, elements of the natural world also came into focus for us to enjoy and experience.

Elk Lake was the clearest ice I had ever sailed on.. The ice measured 3.5 to 4.0 inches thick. The water depth here is about 10 feet, but even at 30′ you could see the bottom. We also saw lots of crayfish and Bob Gray saw a 20" lake pike.

With so little resistance, we were able to sail all day in just 5mph of wind.

Elk Lake is now covered in about 6" of snow as is Black Lake where the DN Nationals took place, but the snow didn’t stop the annual Black Lake Sturgeon fishing tournament from taking place. It’s the only sturgeon tournament in the state and each year between 500 and 600 fishermen register for the opportunity to catch a sturgeon. Sturgeon have been referred to as living fossils. The species dates back to 136 million years. Lake sturgeon can reach 7′ long 250lbs and live up to 150 years and they are classified as a threatened species in Michigan. The population is slowly on the rise due to careful management of the population.

This year a maximum of six sturgeon could be speared. Then the season/tournament officially ends. Last year the tournament took 20 minutes. When we heard that and that spears were used, we wanted to learn more about it. On Saturday morning we walked out onto Black Lake and talked to a few fisherman. A group of six friends drove five hours to saw a hole in the ice and stand in a fish tent/hut just for the chance to spear a sturgeon. This was their third year doing it and this year they’d brought a special decoy to try and lure one close. We also talked to a young teenager whose grandfather has done the tournament for 40 years and has yet to catch a sturgeon. The bell rung at 8:00 AM and all fisherman were notified of any catches via text messaging. By 8:45 AM three sturgeon were caught. We really wanted to see a sturgeon up close and because any caught sturgeon had to be brought to the DNR office for measurement, we headed to the office.

The spear or trident pictured below. If a sturgeon is seen, the fisherman aims and throws it into the hole using the rope to retrieve it and, hopefully, a sturgeon.

Due to COVID, the DNR office was not letting anyone into the gated parking lot other than those six that caught a sturgeon. We waited for a bit and soon a truck pulled in. I said, "Hi, do you have a sturgeon?" The driver said, "Yeah, we got one!" I said, "We are from Rhode Island, can we look?" Brian had not done the tournament in about ten years, but decided at the last minute to participate. He caught the 6th and last fish of the 2021 season.

We leave Onaway, MI and Black Lake tomorrow morning to return to Rhode Island. Given the uniqueness and importance of lake sturgeon, it’s clear why this sculpture welcomes all visitors to the area.

Lesson learned…ice boating and the traveling involved is also a great way to enjoy the natural world.

DN 5630

2021 DN Iceboat Nationals – YouTube

Some good video from the recent DN Nationals out in MI…


No Sailable Ice to Be Found

Bantam Lake, CT 2/4/21

In case you don’t already know we are out of business for a little while. A little patience and we should find something. I know some people are hoping there is a miracle body of water that repels but sorry to say, no.

Best grab some skis or snow shoes and head out and enjoy the outdoors some other way.

Next update mid week next week or sooner if something materializes.


Leo A. Healy – Fairwell to an Ice legend

It is with a heavy heart that I must let everyone know that Leo A. Healy one of our founding members passed away last week. Leo led a rich and full 98 years on and off the ice. Here is a link to his obituary https://dockrayandthomasfuneralhome.com/Obituaries.html

He was one of the founding members of the New England Ice Yacht Association and had remained active to the end. He was a driving force behind racing for many years and a regular participant both in New England and where ever the ice took him. A brief club history by Bob Kilpatrick https://theneiya.org/neiya-a-brief-history/

One of the lasting memories for many of us was his voice on the ice hotline announcing the weekend’s activities. Way back when all we had was the phone to keep us in touch and Leo did it well. His signature sign offline and one that is continuously used to this day. “Remember, there is thin ice someplace”. We all know how true this can be!

On a personal note, Leo and I would spoke regularly both leading up to and during the season over the past number of years. He would preach about unity within the NEIYA and the need to be inclusive regarding new sailors and those wanting to enjoy iceboating away from the start finish line. The last time I talked to Leo was prior to our annual meeting last fall. I knew he would not be able to make it so gave him a call to let him know of our plans. I could clearly hear that he was thrilled that I called and told me that he was wearing a regatta coat that day. He was happy to here that we were continuing under difficult circumstances and told me “John, you seem to have everything under control” Of course, I did not know this would be the last time we would speak but looking back I think he believed that the organization on a good path. The NEIYA was his baby and he cared deeply about it currently and into the future.

At the 2017 NEIYA annual meeting Leo was honored for his years of service and awarded a perpetual membership in the club. That membership is still current and will renew everytime we think about him and especially when we next do the “Hard Way”.

A proposal will be put forward to rename the “Hard Way” in honor of Leo. “Leo’s Hard Way” etc. Submit your ideas.

I have talked and communicated with many of you and need your help in putting together a proper memorial/tribute page for Leo. Need pictures, stories, and thoughts. Please help us preserve memories.

Leo sail fast on boundless ice,

John Stanton
Commodore, NEIYA

Reflections on Going Through the Ice

When I learned to ride a horse as a boy I was told, “There are two kinds of horsemen, those who have fallen and those who are going to fall.”

I suppose one might say the same of ice boaters.

When I started ice boating 40 years ago on a “cheap skate”, I used to carry two Phillips screwdrivers attached by a thin line run thru the sleeves of my parka. I never had occasion to use them, but they were there.

More recently when I started Nordic skating and purchased a DN, I bought a pair of more upscale “ice-claws” that hang around my neck on a plastic holder. Last season after a “wake- up call” on Newfound Lake (sailing towards open water at 30 knots) I bought a dry suit and started wearing it out on the ice.

I am comfortable in the water, a strong swimmer and confident sailor, but having jumped into 34-degree water once (intentionally) I recognized the danger.

Today on Lake Winnipesaukee I went through the ice not once, but twice. The first time was in a trench where one ice plate was subducting beneath another and the surface looked sound, but the boat broke through. Thanks to the drysuit there was no submersion shock of hitting the freezing water.

To my pleasant surprise, my DN floats, though I know most DNs do not. I crawled /swam over the top of the floating hull to the edge of the ice. I was actually quite buoyant in the drysuit. Once there I was confronted by a 45degree angled sheet of slippery wet ice that I could not surmount. Out came the ice picks and I clawed my way up the slippery slope, pulling a line that was attached to the mast (in anticipation of just such an incident).

Not from incident but a great example from From Bob Dill’s http://lakeice.squarespace.com/pressure-ridges/

Classic downfolded ridge. Photo by Jeff Brown

Once up on the ice I was able to flag down a fellow ice-boater (Randy Rice) who helped me rescue the boat from the “drink”. Thanks to him and my attached line.

Eager to get back to the car, but feeling warm enough and not wet through (due to the dry suit), I headed back to the beach, but wandered off course and found another gap between two plates.  Again the boat floated and I was able to get back up on the ice. As I tried to rescue the boat a second time I heard a high pitched cracking and realized the ice I was standing on was less than an inch. At that point, 200yds from shore and with no help in sight I abandoned the boat and walked ashore.

A homeowner was kind enough to drive me back to the launch point and my car.

“After action report”

The point of the story is not to embarrass myself, but to present a cautionary tale and encourage all my fellow ice enthusiasts to consider the merits of dry suit technology, and by all means, keep those ice picks handy.

I was moving slowly, scouting what I recognized as a sketchy situation, so there was no high-speed trauma. I climbed out of the water twice, was not cold, did not end up in the ER with hypothermia, was able to get back in my car and drive myself home.

I notified the people who were out on the ice and knew I had gone in before I went home, so that they would not undertake a search and rescue operation (they had already started looking for me).  Luckily my phone was still working. I also notified the local police so that if the boat was discovered by anyone else they would not undertake a search and rescue mission.

Your fellow ice–boater,

Mark Friedman

Iceboat Tours And Stories

Some good videos and stories here to while away the time until the snow melts….

At The Front – February 2021 (adobe.com)