The old broken boat is now fixed, but in need of a new paint scheme. I've decided to paint it blue and black. The problem is, it's 20 degrees out and oil based paint just takes so darn long to stop being sticky at that temperature.

So I did the next best thing... I brought it all inside next to the fire

blueboat

I'm sure the Mrs will enjoy our new center piece!

Otter Pond has seen a few iceboats over the past week and per my personal tradition, I packed up my truck with my boat and headed north.

boatintruck

I'm quite lucky to live where I do. Massebesic as my home port only 20 minutes west of me and a lake such as Sunapee (with Otter Pond) more or less on the other side of the road about 45 minutes north-west, and Winnipesaukee an hour north of me.

I got to the ice and noticed not only iceboaters but a whole flock of iceflyers also.

iceflyers

I started to set up my DN and talked to the locals aleady there to be made aware of the hazards on the pond. On the right of the pond about 1000 feet out there is some very thin ice and open water due to a flowing inlet. Hard to see unless you are already on top of it. It was marked off with an orange cone.

Elsewhere in the far cove, just stay away from the shoreline. That was it.

It was the other hazards that made it difficult. More skaters than you would find in a Canadian town's hockey league... It's been a few years since I've stepped onto Otter, but I've never seen this many people skating here. Maybe a new local tradition? Honestly, as I was packing up a local school hockey team showed up.

The other hazard was the ever shifting, 15 knot gusting winds. I spun my DN in a 360 over the course of 2 minutes trying to keep the nose into the wind and one or two boats had to be caught as they thought they could pilot themselves apparently.

In the end it was easier to just do this:

mastdown

The ice was smooth and would be rated a 6 to 7. Little to no drag on the blades. Very fast.

Sounds like our Maine friends are having some good ice up there, but I'll take what I can get closer to home! Boats will be sailing there tomorrow and for as long as they can before the skies open up and give us that inevitable white stuff.

Get there early tomorrow. Most folks will be there at 10:00.

myboat

otherboat

Sides were cracking, the front bulkhead under the mast was smashed. I thought she had seen better days. But my first iceboat is about to get a new lease on life. In the infamous words of the million dollar man: "We can rebuild. . ."

Stickers removed, sides sanded down to show the cracks. The sides were pulled in to expose the cracks more, glued and then clamped down.

A proper block was built and put under the mast where no block was found before. Whomever originally built it neglected to strengthen the most important area of the boat. How it lasted so many years is beyond me.

broken boat

As you can see, no block under the mast.

So we're adding gunnels to help with the stiffening. A little spruce up with some paint and it will be good as new!

Next on the docket is to build some planks and hulls. Those are coming next. Maybe build up some Massabesic Class hulls for my friends. We like DN's, but we also like to do our own thing. Looking forward to some beer can races on the lake this year.

Anyhow, here's the current work in progress and should be ready for paint by tomorrow

fixing iceboat

fixing iceboat 3

fixing iceboat 2

Saturday was a very successful day. Got to meet a lot of old faces that I haven't seen in a year and a lot of new ones also. New faces are always a good thing in our sport that is currently dominated by an aging population.

Three of us from the Massabesic club met up and headed down through Boston, MA to get to our destination. The conversation was lively as we are looking forward to ice and spent most of the drive recounting our ice adventures of the prior season.

First off... A big thank you to the Lambs for hosting the event and feeding us. It's a great mid location for traveling and plenty of room so we're not on top of each other.

A huge thanks to Eric and others who were involved in the blade sharpening. This is such a key piece in our yearly maintenance that it can't be understated. I know I can hone my own blades and have done it many times in the past, but it has taken the hands of a master (not me) to remove a pit out of one of my blades. It has been a 3 year process, but this year was the year my goto "alligator" runners are perfect. Didn't have time to get my bullnose runners done so I'll just tackle those myself. There was easily 20 or so sets of runners in line waiting to be sharpened. That's over 60 blades / runners of different sizes and shapes (plate runners vs insert runners) that needed to be ground, shaped, checked, put on ice, and ground again.

So to all those involved, thank you!

Here's looking forward to a great season of icesailing!

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More photos can be found at the flickr album located here: 2014 NEIYA IceBoat Clinic Gallery