Always fun to take a walk back in time….
Hello All- In case anyone was wondering what the Deep Creek gang is up to…. Take a look!
DCL Ice Report #4
2020 – 2021 Ice Sailing Season
Yes! We have beautiful clear black ice this morning on the mountain top! See pictures
Positive LRT this morning! Ok, ok! I know the BRT (Big Rock Test) was negative today, but hopefully the cold temperatures will build the ice plate. See pictures. Sunrise at DCL this morning, Positive LRT, Negative BRT, and the IceMan patiently waiting in James Hillyer’s finished sidecar, strapped to Mark Haraway’s newest ride… waiting, waiting and more waiting.
The IceMan will be at the lake for the New Years weekend so stop by and get those last few items ready for sailing on the ice. Remember the conditions are tricky so when all the snow balls align we need to motivate and get out there and sail and enjoy each other’s company in the clean, cold fresh air. Together, we will sail on the ice, because it’s twice as nice!
Keep those weekends open for the next two months so we all can get out to enjoy the ice! Now we REALLY. REALLY, REALLY have to start wishing hard for hard water!
Now, please! Repeat after me…. “Ice, Smooth, Black, Beautiful Ice, Let’s Go…with Ice, Wind, and No to Snow…” Hey! Who out there isn’t chanting… let’s get with the program folks… grab your socks, break the locks, pull out the gear and head on over here!!!!!
*LRT = Little Rock Test **BRT = Big Rock Test… stand by you’ll see….
On behalf of myself and the officers, Vice Commodore Jay Whitehair, Secretary Karen Binder and Treasurer Bob Haag everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a reminder that our season has just begun.
Our season the best season in the world. The time when liquid turns to solid and the apparent wind is ever on the nose. While sailors in New England have already set up, cruised, and raced and some have journeyed to the Central Region to race, right after Christmas usually marks the unofficial beginning of the season. Once the weather cooperates things will kick it into high gear and become the most wonderful time of the year.
We are always challenged and sometimes feel like Goldie Locks trying to find ice to play on. “This ice is too thin or not at, this ice is covered with crud but this ice is just right.” We know about the wind but let’s not tempt fate. This year we have a layer of Covid-19 on top of the usual uncertainty. A layer of fear, a layer of uncertainty, a layer of doubt, and two scoops of RISK precariously perched on top of it all.
Our own comfort zones and the patchwork of local and state regulations is channeling us closer to home. Some people will still travel and this is a decision that each one of us has to make for ourselves. With that in mind let’s make the most out of the local scene everywhere. Whether that is in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or even Rhode Island. Let’s make our plan “B” this season’s plan “A”. As reported a group of us met up for an off-ice meet-up in CT a couple weeks ago and this is exactly what we discussed. Mark Friedman in New Hampshire ventured out onto Lake Waukegan this past Tuesday and would have welcomed other locals if they could come.
In Covid times let’s change it up. Get outdoors and see what nature has given us. Find that ice within your comfort zone. Some of it might not be as big or as good as some ice that is further away but you will be. Pick up the phone, clear your throat or start pounding the text keys and get others out to join you. No matter what have fun with like-minded folks. And you never know the ice you find may be steller.
Next steps check in on the tabs at the top of the home page Member Login/Directory and Member Login and Member Login/Forum. We will be publishing a weekly group text for people to join. Big Ice and Races will of course be posted on the home page. Enjoy family and friends and let’s
Think Ice and Have a Wonderful Christmas and see you on the ice,
P.S. Please reach out directly to me if you have any thoughts.
P.P.S. We are going to have fun this season regardless. So press on…
I am grateful that T and I both are able to find out about a regatta in Michigan late Thursday and be in a van driving west by 9:00 am Friday. Keep in mind this is just two weeks after we drove 24 hours to Minnesota for a practice weekend. Yes, maybe a bit crazy. But, with no ice in the New England forecast we blazed out on the long road.
Saturday had great ice, but light wind. The race committee got off three races for the gold fleet and two for the silver fleet. My sprint training totally made a difference with quickness off the line and gaining speed once in my boat. I surprised myself with being at the top mark in the top five in the gold fleet each race. Chirs Berger made me laugh when he said, "I swear your name when I keep seeing your boat…By the way that’s a compliment." Unfortunately, the wind would die and each race was red-flagged. But, I sailed really well upwind and downwind.
Sunday=Different conditions=Different story.
Overnight it snowed about an inch. I never raced on a full plate of snow. I thought nothing of it given the ice was still in good shape. Before the race I practiced with a 100 degree T runner on starboard and my 95 insert on port. I could hear the snow just hitting the top of T’s runner body so changed it out before the first race. Jeff Kent and T both say listen to your runners. It’s good advice.
The wind was about 8 mph when we started and built steadily through the day with steady 12 and maybe puffs to 15-16 mph. It was also shifty. The race committee did a great job with getting 7 races completed for each fleet. Kudos to the team.
During Sunday’s first race I saw three black watery looking circles each about 12" across and fairly close to the windwark mark. I was not sure if they were open or not, but everyone was avoiding the area. Those I asked after the first race were not sure if they were open either. That unsettled me a bit because the day prior we were told repeatedly to avoid going too far to the left because the ice was only 2" thick. I never knew quite where that line was between safe ice and not safe ice so I avoided that side as much as I could. All that probably planted a bad seed in my head that took me out of the mental game a bit.
After two races I was doing okay upwind but my tacks were super. For the next race I tried out my plates. Shorter runner length in snow means less for the runner to turn through during tacks. Well, they are also a sharp 90 degrees. My tacks were a bit faster, but maybe the ice was a little too soft for that really sharp edge. Downwind remained a disaster. I have never been awesome downwind, but I have never been that bad or slow since two years ago when I got lapped in my very first regatta. Back to my 95s.
As the wind was building and puffs hitting, my mast was not bending. I felt out of control upwind. T suggested adjusting the headstay. Next race I was more control, but I was getting more nervous about the holes and I still did not a lot of mast bend. So next race T suggested loosening the shrouds so the mast would bend more when I sheeted in. That actually worked much better and I was at least with the fleet at the mark and rounding with six other boats at the same moment. Then, I got bumped by another boat. That freaked me out.
I tried my best to remain calm, but that didn’t help the brain. So, I was even slower downwind. I parked my boat and took a really long walk after that race.
Now, the last race of the day. I gave it my best, but my brain was toast. I stopped after the first lap. I can’t remember quitting any race of any kind in my entire life. But, I said to myself, "Karen, your head is not in it – STOP."
Is that wisdom gained after so many disasters on the ice? Maybe. Too high expectations? Confidence shot? Definitely!
On the ride back to Rhode Island, T coached me on apparent wind and snow’s drag on speed. Snow makes makes downwind sailing 85 times harder. Any loss of speed shifts your apparent wind aft. Downwind sailing is the hardest point of DN sailing. You have to focus entirely on the flow of your leeward telltales at all times. Snow just amplifies loss of speed because it acts as a brake on the runners. It takes much longer to gain speed back and speed moves the apparent wind moves forward. Sounds simple in theory. Ease the sheet slightly and head up. I probably eased too much. Nothing would happen so then I’d ease more…etc.
In closing, there were three women sailing in this regatta. Rhea Nichols just took up the sport of soft water sailing four years ago and now she is out competing with ice boating. I have seen her progress since last year and I am really proud of her. Julie Richards is wicked fast and has been sailing for years. She is very petite, but handles big wind really well. I asked Julie after the regatta if any other women race DNs in the United States. She could not think of any…. It’s not an easy sport or a sport for the timid. That’s for sure.
I will just have to keep at it.
Up for a road trip? Michigan is an option…. Check IDNIYRA site for all details and updates-
The Maine-iacs are at it again- They sailed the Linc Davis regatta on some sweeeeeeet ice up there- Congrats to these guys for bringing in the season’s first regatta!
Hope the snow doesn’t bury everything- stay tuned….
T built a homemade sled for us to use. Converted Dining Room turned DN Sail Loft
November was spent getting sails and runners ready and staying consistent with the sprint training. Given Covid restrictions throughout the summer and early fall T and I were pretty consistent working out three days a week. I wrote our 40-yard dash times down each week and in two months some progress was made with slicing off a bit of time. In early November we saw a young woman sprinting at the high school track. She was literally the fastest person I’d ever see run in real life. Her form was perfect, her legs were moving like pistons, and she blew us both away. It was beautiful to watch someone with that much speed.
T and I joked that maybe she’d take us on as students. I was definitely intrigued with the idea so T urged me to talk to her. He said, "Come on. Go talk to her. Ask her. I’ll be your wingman." I finally worked up the nerve to approach her. I said awkwardly and lamely, "Hi, um, you are really fast." She politely said, "Thanks." I then said, "Did you run for your college? She said, "Yes, I ran for the Naval Academy." I then said, "Well, T and I are really old and we are really trying to get better at sprinting."
We told her about ice boating and even broke out the infamous Matt Struble you tube video to show her why we need to learn sprinting technique. She told us she was from Guam and had never heard of ice boating. We have since learned in Guam the average temperature rarely dips below 65F so that makes perfect sense. We then showed her a few of our sprints. She politely said our form was okay. I then said, "Well not sure if you are interested, but if you are at all willing to give us some coaching we will pay you for your time and we’d take it very seriously." I gave her my cell phone and said to please call if she was interested.
Three weeks went by and I didn’t hear from her. What’s the term nowadays…ghosting? I was all bummed out. I’d been ghosted.
Then, having given up hope I got a text from Regine. She said she’d been away, but would enjoy working with us. I was thrilled. We met at the track and got to work last Tuesday night.
At some point in our first session we were talking about Usain Bolt. She described him as a sprinting phenomenon. She pulled out her phone. It was a picture of her standing with Hussien Bolt. I said, "Wow, where was that?" She said Rio de Janeirio. I said, Wait, was that taken at the Olympics? She said, "Yes, he was so nice. Look how tiny I am next to him." I then said, "Wait…you were at Olympics running?" She said, "Yes, I ran for Quam."
Holy smokes. We are being trained by a real OLYMPIC ATHLETE!
We have had three sessions. Already T has shaved over a full second off his sprint time and I have whittled off .40 seconds. Neither sounds like a lot, but with sprinting over a short distance winning is determined by thousandths of a second. It’s huge progress and totally attributable to our Olympic trainer, Regine. We are doing drills I’d never seen or heard of and learning the body positions for starting, powering up, and going full speed.
Sprinting, like most things in life, is a matter of technique, repetition, and a commitment of time. The bad news is Regine is being reassigned for her Naval service in another week so we may just have one or two sessions left. I will keep you posted!
This past Saturday was a welcome dose of normal for this time of year for a group of NEIYA members. No, we were not able to hit the ice anywhere in New England but we did get a group of people safely together to talk about iceboating. Getting ready for the season and talking over those plans with like-minded friends.
We had a good mix of seasoned, newer, and newbie iceboaters at Landfall Navigation in Stamford CT. There were questions asked and solutions drawn out from the 100+ years of experience at the gathering. A local rigger from Ocean Rigging stopped by Landfall and was able to help out someone make up a setup stays.
The only problem we could not solve was provide a nice place of fresh Black Ice. That will come as it always does. Sometimes a little earlier sometimes a little later.
In the meantime be sure your buddies are ready to sail. Drop them an email, give them a call, or invite them over to Talk & Tune as the ice coming soon. Need help or looking to lend a hand check the member directory for contact info. NOTE if your dues year is marked with anything but 2021 and is RED.
The Member Directory is here https://theneiya.org/member-directory/ it is password protected. if there is trouble just let me know. It will be sent out this morning via email. Note, there are additional older list below the current list. Please thank our Club Secretary Karen Binder in the pits or between races for keeping track of all the details! Rumor has it that she will be posting another segment in her Drive for Excellence blog series. Watch out for it here.
This year we may not be traveling as far but there will be ice and we need to find, scout, and sail it. In other words get ready for hyper local and or extended day trips.
Think Ice and Be Safe,
I don’t have to remind anyone that this year and into 2021 is not what we are used to. In ordinary times we have gotten together for an off-ice tune-up and education sessions at Steve Lamb’s place of business. Steve has been kind enough to open his vast shop for us to set up iceboats indoors and gather without worrying about the elements. As you have already guessed we are going to forgo the event this year and have already begun planning for an even grander event in 2021.
While the complex patchwork of rules, regulations, and risk factors have made it imprudent for everyone to gather from the far corners of New England, that should not stop us from talking about and preparing for sailing in a remote and safe plate of ice.
I will be working this coming Saturday, December 12th at Landfall Navigation in Stamford, CT. Since I have to be there I will be setting up my DN in the parking lot for a customer demonstration. I welcome local NEIYA members or those interested to stop by from 10am to 3pm. Have a boat you want to get on the ice this season bring it by for a once over the collection of seasoned iceboaters. Drop me an email if you have any questions, John@neiya.org.
Like our sailing other spontaneous small local gatherings may be occurring in the coming days before we have ice.
Think Ice and Be Safe
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Hoping everyone is safe and enjoying some level of the usual traditions. Things are not the same but I am thankful we can preserve some level of normalcy. We have already gone virtual for a few events and there are discussions about more as well as safe, sensible, responsible, and compliant ice time. We are in a fluid situation so stand by. Keep Saturday, December 12 in mind. Details to follow.
Big events are just not going to happen this year but with miles of ice coming to bogs, frog ponds, small lakes, and big ice we will sail.
Hope everyone enjoyed the Iron Duck Movie featuring a couple of our own Vermont Iceboaters Bob Dill and Schumacher. Through their endless determination, they earned a place in sailing history. Special thanks to the director of Iron Duck Ben Dolenc for bringing the Iron Duck Story to all of us last week and to screens of all sizes. While the NEIYA sponsored watch party has come and gone you can still see the film here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/iron-duck-watch-party-tickets-130323688661. If you love sailing on ice, dirt, and going fast it’s a must-see.
Make and keep a promise to call an iceboat friend this long weekend. Talk about the great times you have had, what you need to get on the ice again and how and when blades will meet the ice again. Be thankful for the ice time we have had together and for the ice time yet to come.
Think Ice and be safe,
P.S. Check out the Pocket Skeeter that just went up on our Classified Section. Available from one of our premier boat builders Bill Buchholz. https://theneiya.org/classifieds/
Read this and keep it in mind- If you see some iceboats (Renegades) or parts and or a trailer like this for sale give Ron a shout- his email is in the post.
Click and read-