Geoff Sobering Reports
March 18, 2007
DN Centrals Results
DN Centrals: Day Two
Just got in after a remarkably
uneventful drive through Chicago. The
second day of the Centrals was almost perfect (again!). The forecast
~7 mph winds never arrived, but instead we were treated to another
"season in a day" with winds alternating from light/medium to
moderately strong (sometimes in just a couple of minutes). Three
races were run in both fleets, completing the full eight-race regatta.
Thanks to the eighth race, I was able to squeak into the last trophy
position; Dan and Wes finished higher in the standings (I forget
exactly where - sorry guys!), so the Western Region acquitted itself
decently. Photos are still on memory cards in the cameras; I'll try
and get a couple downloaded tomorrow.
March 17, 2007
DN Centrals: Day One
HOUGHTON LAKE, MICHIGAN
It was almost a "season in a day" on Houghton Lake. The wind varied
between a very light 5 mph up to a pretty brisk 20 mph. The ice is
generously described as "rough". Downwind in a good puff was quite
44 boats sailed in two fleets; fives races were sailed in both fleets.
Matt Struble leads the gold fleet with a string of bullets and one
second place. Regatta organizer Dave Zoll leads the Silver fleet with
Glen Betzold in second. Dan Hearn is leading "Team Madison" in 5th,
Wes is in 7th, and I'm - well, we won't talk about it.
All in all, great fun!
The pits just before the first
"Dueling runner sharpening"
DNWorld Championship & North American Regatta
SAILED AT MENOMINEE, MICHIGAN
Dates: February 18-24 2007
More DN Worlds Photos
page with an impressive amount of photos from the DN Worlds and North
Americans shot by Toledo Ice Yacht Club member Ann Foeller.
February 25, 2007
DN North American Regatta Results Now Posted on IDNIYRA Website
Congratulations to 4LIYC DNers Geoff Sobering 7th, and Wes Wilcox 8th in the Bronze fleet!
Enstrom Helicopter Factory Tour
High winds on Thursday forced a one-day postponement of the DN North Americans. A tour of Menominee' Enstrom Helicopter Factory was arranged for the regatta competitors. Photos by 4LIYC Skipper Wes Wilcox.
Wes Wilcox and Geoff.
February 24, 2007
DN North Americans: Final Day Report (Day Three)
Geoff Sobering is back home in Madison and sends this report:
Matt Struble is the World and North American Champion!
2nd through 5th place was in the NA Gold-Fleet was very close with
only 4 points separating Tomas Lindgren, Bernd Zeiger, Ron Sherry, and
Mike Derusha won the NA Silver Fleet.
Friday's final day of racing started out much windier than the
forecast predicted. The first Gold-Fleet race was run in winds in the
high teens. The winds diminished slowly, and after a brief delay to
move the windward mark to avoid some rough ice, the Silver-Fleet race
was started in the low teens. The wind was coming down fast enough
that Wes and I ran back to our boats and made some last-minute rig
changes; he switched from a speed-sail to a fuller one, and I kept my
flat sail but softened my rig a bit. Wes' decision was the the right
one as head lead me around the course, finishing in 3rd; I was happily
surprised at my 6th place finish. Time was running out on the 1:00pm
last race time. The Gold-Fleet started at about 12:45, but the RC
decided to bend the rules a little and give the Silver and Bronze
fleets a second race. The wind held up and I I was able to recover
from some mistakes and hold onto a mid-fleet finish; Wes did better,
finishing near the front of the fleet. It would be hard to imagine
better sailing conditions than clear ice and 10-13 mph winds.
By the time we'd loaded up our boats and switched back to ferry
runners, there were almost no boats left in the pits. Luckily Mike
Derusha and some the Menekaune Iceboat Club members were standing
by at the large crack that required carrying the boats to help out
(Many Thanks!). Unfortunately I missed the marker for the last
crossing and Wes and I sailed over a two-foot wide barely skinned over
crack. Luckily we were moving at a walking pace, so the only damage
was a bent bobstay on my boat and one plate runner that fell out
(thankfully both pairs of insert runners stayed in my boat, and I was
able to toss them onto the ice). Wes only got his feet wet, by when
my boat rolled sideways I ended up soaked to the waist. We were able
to pull the boats out pretty quickly, and we were only a half mile
from the landing, so we got back to the trailer before the cold was an
issue. We dumped the two inches of standing water/slush out of my
boat and packed everything into the trailer. The drive from Menominee
to Wes' house was uneventful, but as we were transferring all my
sodden gear and equipment from the trailer to my car the snow started.
I dragged almost my entire DN program into the basement and house to
defrost and dry out.
An eventful end to an eventful week. Thirteen races for three fleets
in two regattas over five days of sailing - not bad!
Because of our unceremonious (and rapid) boat disassembly, we missed
the awards so neither of us know where we placed in the final
standings. Hopefully the final results will be posted soon, as the
rest of the competitors arrive home.
From DN America Forum:
Posted by LorRehe:
Abbreviated North American results:
1. Matt Struble US 183 9 pts
2. Tomas Lindgren S 81 19 pts
3. Bernd Zeiger G 107 21 pts
4. Ron Sherry US 44 22 pts
5. Jakob Schneider P 679 23 pts
1. Mike Derusha US 2545 11 pts
2. Guy Lovejoy US 4638 13 pts
3. Richard Wollam US 4882 23 pts
4. Markham Chatterton US 4811 24 pts
5. Richard Lemberg US 4155 25 pts
1. Mathias Grothues-Spork G 900 7 pts
2. Dave Zoll US 4911 20 pts
3. George Long US 2138 24 pts
4. David Kickhafer US 4602 29 pts
5. Julie Richards US 4868 31 pts
Stayed tuned, more to follow as people arrive home.
Peg Stearn's Photo Gallery
Peg is a free-lance photographer who writes, "If there is any interest in purchasing high-quality prints in any size of these photos I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org."
February 23, 2007
DN North Americans: Day Three
110 boats are entered in the North Americans from the official current standings sheet. The factory tour was great fun. Wes will be sending a couple of photos soon. The forecasts here are moderating a bit (down to the 10mph and under range), so I may not be able to hold onto my "in the hardware position. We'll see.
DN Worlds Day Two Photo Gallery
Photo Credits: John Russell, GTIYC Commodore
February 22, 2007
DN Gold Cup Champion
Photo Credit: John Russell
Here's the new DN World Champion, Matt Struble.I'll have more photos from John posted on Friday.
Peter Crawford, Penalty Box Productions
producer, emails: "I also have been shooting the entire week
(Worlds/NAs) and will be putting together an awesome dvd for sale."
DN North American Preliminary Standings Posted
Matt Struble, Mike Derusha, and David Zoll lead the Gold, Silver, and Bronze respectively.
2007 World Gold Cup Results Posted on IDNIYRA Website
Birds Eye View of the DN Worlds
These were photographed by Grand Traverse Ice Yacht Club Commodore John Russell who is also a professional photographer on Tuesday, February 20. Here's John's website, Great Lakes Images LLC.
(Tip of the helmet: Kelly Jacobs)
DN North Americans: Day Two PM
UPDATE 2: Weather forecast for tomorrow looks great. 10 mph in the morning,building to low teens in the afternoon with temperatures starting at
20F and peaking at 25F - the ice should be fast! This afternoon we're
off to tour the Enstrom Helicopter factory. Currently I'm sitting in
9th position in the Bronze fleet, so who knows...
UPDATE 1:The winds are
howling. The speed out on the lake seems to be a
consistently a bit higher than the airport records, and for the last
couple of hours the average wind speed has varied from 20 to 27 mph,
with gusts from 26 to 33. We and I were loading up the trailer when
some friends came back from the landing and reported that my boat had
blown off it's chocks and was stuck in a drift about 100 feet from
where we left it. Some other DNers had taken the mast down
(THANKS!!), so it wasn't heading over to Door County. We quickly
headed down to the landing and secured the boats. Racing is off for
today, with a 9:30am skippers meeting tomorrow.
Day One & Day Two AM
Wednesday was a whirlwind. Great sailing. Almost perfect.
Because sailing might not be possible later in the week, the
organizers wanted to get in enough races to have a regatta in the
first day. This meant that the Bronze Fleet mini-qualifier was going
to start on-time at 10:15am. Wes and I scrambled to get our boats
rigged and out to the course, but we made it just in time for some
quick rig adjustments and swapping off the ferry runners. The first
race was in medium winds (~10 mph), and Wes and I finished 6 and 7th.
While the other fleets were racing, the wind came up to around 13 mph
and we switched to flat sails. The next race was a disaster for me.
My steering had loosened up slightly, but it hadn't been a problem in
the lighter air race - the extra few mph of breeze made the boat
almost uncontrollable. I limped around the course to a 20th place
finish, Wes got a 12th. I was about to head in for the day, when I
thought to ask around for spare parts. Thankfully DNers are a helpful
bunch, and I finally found some parts I could use to fix the steering.
Good thing, because the wind wasn't dying much. It was a little
lighter and the ice was getting *much* softer in the warm
temperatures, so Wes and I switched back to our fuller sails. The
next two races were phenomenal. Almost perfect conditions for my
boat; it just took off like a rocket. I slightly over stood the
leeward mark a couple of times, and the ride from the gybe was
incredible; it was almost impossible to get rid of the speed and round
the mark. The temperatures steadily rose and the ice surface turned
to semi-slush. Lots of runner swaps in the pits as people tried to
find the right runner. I didn't see any slush runners, but I'm sure
there were many very flat 100-degree max. thickness inserts on the
line. The last race was in slightly lighter conditions, but just as
The landing has been deteriorating since Tuesday, and most people
pulled their trailers off the ice last night. The forecast for the
today is for 20-30 mph winds, and looking out the window this morning
it looks like that may be accurate. It's looking like yesterday may
have been the 2007 North Americans. If so, it was a great regatta!
Sorry for the lack of photos; I was too busy sailing, tuning, and
fixing my boat to ever get the camera out of my backpack.
February 21, 2007
Toledo Ice Yacht Club DN Worlds/NA Blog
Check this page out-more stories and photos from Menominee.
DN North Americans: Day One
Everything points to another wonderful day on the ice. The forecasts
all show SW winds building slowly over the day from around 5 mph to
around 10 mph or the low teens. The smokestacks by the lake look
pretty much like they did yesterday morning. Hopefully the
Bronze-Fleet qualifier (the first race) will have enough wind that we
can do well.
February 20, 2007
DN Worlds DayThree: Matt Struble Wins Gold
10:30 PM CST:
It was another great day of sailing - if you like light wind...
Actually, it was a great day by any measure. Warm, sunny, and enough
wind to sail with. Even when I was watching the boats ahead of me
inexorably pull away a hundred feet each lap, it was great sailing. I
even put together a one pretty good race, and finished 18th - we won't
talk about the other two... The final, last minute (almost literally)
Gold Fleet race really capped the day. Tomorrow sounds like a repeat
of today, but Thursday's forecast holds the promise of more wind. In
any case, the North American Championship starts tomorrow!
7:30 PM CST:
Great day of sailing! Medium/light wind filled in late in the morning
and we were racing just after noon. Finishing positions at the front
of the Gold-Fleet swapped around all day. Just ahead of the sunset
time limit, the race committee got the seventh Gold-Fleet race off.
Matt Struble brought his "A-Game" when it counted and finished half a
leg ahead of the second place boat, and nearly an entire leg from the
leaders in the main pack. With that performance he secured the World
More later - we need to eat something...
50-boat Gold-Fleet line
early in the day look both directions
from the center.
Here's Ron Sherry powering off the line.
[Mike Derusha reported that the wind was coming up at they were planning to head out to the large ice sheet to race at about 12:30 PM.-Ed]
Loretta Rehe has posted the top standings as of last night at:
Looking out the hotel window at the smoke-stacks over by the lake, the
wind looks like it's about 10 mph from the NW. This is a bit higher
than the forecasts, but they all predict steady or slightly building
breeze all day, so this is a hopeful sign that we'll have a good day
February 19, 2007
DN Worlds DayTwo
The day started out windy. Getting out to the course involved
crossing the same two cracks and sailing out about 3 miles into the
bay. Overnight the wind had switched around to the southwest, so the
course was turned around from the previous days.
The wind was solidly above 20 mph when the Gold fleet was called to
the line. The carnage started quickly after the start, and continued
at a steady pace through the race. One Polish boat spun out and tore
both chocks off the plank. A number of boats had other breakdowns;
Ron Sherry (US-44) and his nephew Michael Rehe (US-5144) broke masts.
One boat flipped over coming into the leeward mark tossing the skipper
out and pinning him under the hull; luckily he was OK. Many of the
boats were put back together in time for the next race (Ron and
Michael had new masts ferried out from shore). Jorge Bohn and Jeff
Kent finished near the front of the fleet. After a pause to collect
the wreckage and clear the course, the starting-sequence was adjusted
and Silver fleet called to the line. The wind had moderated a bit
into the high-teens and there were few breakdowns. The Bronze fleet
was sent out next and we got around the course without any major
problems. It was a great race; windy enough to be exciting but not out
of control. On a personal note, my high-wind form didn't fail me and
I was able to finish at a much improved 3rd spot. Ken Smith was ahead
of me by quite a ways, hot on the heels of first-place finisher Mike
Derusha [Who also won the NIYA Renegade Championship on Sunday-Ed].
After the Bronze race the wind declined substantially. One more
entire Gold/Silver/Bronze sequence was run before dusk. All fleets
now have three races, and Tuesday is expected to be the last day of
the Worlds, with registration for the North American regatta Tuesday
The banquet at Schlussers in Peshtigo was incredible. We were sitting
with a couple of Germans who apologized that they hadn't eaten since
breakfast... They hardly made a dent into the amount of food
delivered to our table...
Tomorrow's forecast is for lighter winds; hopefully they will end up
at the upper end of the predicted range and give us some more
excellent 10 mph racing.
From the DN America Forum:
Some results with more to follow after 3 races in each fleet:
1. Tomas Lindgren S81
2. Matt Struble US 183
3T. Bernd Zeiger G 107
4T. John Dennis US 4691
5. Jorg Bohn G 737
1. Christian Jensen D 324
2. Torsten Siems G 666
3. Michael Ulbrick US 1059
4. Harry Defer US 99
5. Matthias Grothues-Spork G 900
1. Mike Derusha US 2545
2. Adam Koller US 5366
3. Glenn Betzoldt US 5172
4. Ken Smith US 4137
5. Ribert Rast US 1313
Wes waiting for the Silver-Fleet start.
February 18, 2007
DN Worlds Day One
The first day of racing for the DN Worlds was very up and down... In
the early morning the wind was quite strong. The Nites and Northwest
regattas got out early in an attempt to finish up their races early.
After the opening ceremonies, the DN race-committee went out to scout
the very large plate of for the best area to race. The found a nice
sheet out past the Northwest course (about 3 miles out). At 11:00 the
fleet headed out. A little after noon the first Bronze-fleet
mini-qualifier race started in variable winds from 5-10 mph. Dan and
I kept our flat sails and had trouble. Wes had switched to a
fuller-sail and finished in the first 12 places - so he advanced to
the Silver Fleet! Unfortunately, that meant he got to race the next
race, which was run (literally) in very light and shifty winds. After
waiting awhile for the wind to settle down, the race-committee decided
to start everybody on the long push home. As we were heading in the
wind shifted 180 degrees and build into the mid-teens. The good news
is we didn't have to push the three miles back - the bad news is that
crossing the two cracks between the course and the pits became quite a
Currently there is a protest about the Silver-fleet race, so we don't
know if the first race tomorrow will be a Silver-fleet re-run, or the
first Gold-fleet race. Whatever it is, the forecast is for more wind
(in the teens) and warmer temperatures (above freezing!).
Jori's Photo Gallery
February 17, 2007
Madison had a number of DN sailors heading to Menominee this weekend.
Jori Lenon and Byron Tetzlaff set out early Saturday to get some
"tiller time"; Wes Wilcox, Dan Hearn, and I left around noon and
arrived in the late afternoon - just in time to get our boats setup on
horses before the sun went down. Talk around the hotel lobby and in
the line for the DN Worlds' registration was of the carnage during the
day. A number of DNs met with untoward circumstances during the day's
races. Thankfully, all the skippers seemed to be in one piece,
although a number of boats didn't fare as well. We didn't run into
either Jori or Byron this evening, although we're hoping to see them
on the ice tomorrow. The DN Worlds' skippers meeting is scheduled for
9:00am with a 10:15am first race, so we'll be up and out early. Most
of the weather forecasts have moderate winds around 10mph or in the
low teens all day. The morning temperatures may be a bit bracing
though - just under 10F (although it seems colder out on the ice...).
http://www.geoff-s.net/photos/main.php?g2_itemId=31IMG_8820 - Leaving Wes' house - three sailors, two vehicles and one trailer...
IMG_8825 - The pits at Menominee - "that's a lot of boats!"
IMG_8831 - A blast from the past - Team-Australia flys the "Boxing
IMG_8835 - Our little section of the pits...
DN Western Regionals
DN Western Regional Results
119 DN Western Regional Photos!
January 6-7, 2007
Gull Lake, Brainerd, MN
The DN Western Region Championship regatta (the first official iceboat
regatta of the 2006-2007 season) was a big success. Seven races in
two fleets over two days of racing in varied conditions on a great
sheet of ice made for a wonderful weekend of iceboating.
"Team Madison" (Dan, Frankie, and Sheridan Hearn; Wes Wilcox; and I)
traveled in great style in Dan's mini-van with all the gear securely
stored inside Dan and Wes' brand-new DN trailer. We loaded up Friday
afternoon and arrived at Cragun's Resort around 11:00pm. Saturday we
got an early morning start, and headed to the launch site after a
quick detour into Brainerd for some last-minute warm clothes
purchases. "Ernies On Gull" ranks in the same category as "Chuck's" on Lake Geneva, "The Sunnyside" on Lake Kegonsa, and "The Pickle Factory" on Lake Pepin -just perfect! The ice was thick enough to drive and park on the lake. We unpacked and rigged the small flotilla of iceboats (three DNs and
After a quick competitors' meeting the fleet of 66 DNs and 2 Ice-Optis
headed out past a couple of cracks to the racing area on the north end
of the lake. The wind at the landing and for the first leg out to the
course was very light and fluky, but about half way out it picked up
to around 10 mph. The course was set on a large sheet of ice between
a couple of heaves. The first start was delayed briefly after Leszek
Ziolkowski (P-71) unfortunately sailed over one of the heaves from the
wrong direction and beat up himself and his boat pretty badly (he was
back and hobbling around Ernie's at the awards ceremony).
The wind was up and down all Saturday, and generally felt lighter than
the 10 mph recorded at the Brainerd airport. A good start and clean
tacks/gybes were crucial to getting around the course quickly. In the
Gold-Fleet, John "JD" Dennis settled into his first-place "rut" after
finishing behind Jan Gougeon and Pete Johns in the second race. Among
"Team Madison", Dan slowly worked his way up the standings into the
single-digits, while Wes and I had somewhat more varied results (my
back-to-back 25th and 3rd place finishes must set some kind of
Sunday was much windier. The airport reported winds in the low teens
with gusts over 20 mph, which seemed about right. The biggest
challenge on the course was a strong persistent "blast" over the top
third of the course and especially right at the windward mark; the
wind was much lighter over much of the lower part of the course, and
managing the transition between the two zones was a key to doing well.
I started the day with my rig setup for the higher wind range and
suffered at the bottom of the course. After every race I adjusted
things, looking for the elusive balance between good speed in the
lighter lulls while also handling the stronger wind; by the end of the
day I was going pretty well, but stupid mistakes kept me back in the
pack (D'oh!). Dan posted a 4th place finish, and Wes was the highest
finishing boat in the plate-runner division!
At the awards ceremony, Western Region Rear-Commodore Mark Isabell
presented the Junior awards to Frankie and Sheridan saying, "If you
looked up the course you could see today's racers, but if you turned
and looked below the pits you could see the next generation of
The Next Generation
Strange coincidence! Three iceboat rigs at one gas-station in
the middle of Wisconsin! (l-r: "Team Madison", Mike Jankowski, and Joe
Half of the Gold Fleet on Saturday.
DN Western Challenge
December 1,2,3, 2006
Dead Lake, Maine, MN
Click here for map
Sunday, December 3, 2006
Saturday was pretty much summed up in one word: incredible.
Just rounding the marks was was quite the experience. Hitting one of
the plank-high drifts at speed was something else. There were three
races for each of the Gold and Silver fleets (I only raced in one...).
Mark Kiefer described it as "spiritual"
Word from "down south" came in during the afternoon that Buffalo Lake looked good. Some smart folks packed up their boats on the chance of a move. While we were at dinner the call was made to move the regatta.
Everyone got up bright and early Sunday morning, packed up the boats
just at sunrise (temperature: 1F), and headed down the highway to
Buffalo Lake. As promised the brand-new ice was almost perfect.
There were some rough patches, and a couple of holes. The wind was up
and down, and generally on the light side. No matter how I adjusted
things, I couldn't get my boat setup like I had on Friday, so I pretty
much followed the fleet with my usual (terrible) light-air form. But
it was great fun anyway. There were three races for each fleet, along
with a number of scrub races and hot laps. Great day to finish the
2006 Western Challenge!
Jorge Bohn (G737) blasts through a drift.
More drifts get plowed.
Doug Kolner's old boat out with it's new owner.
Saturday, December 2, 2006
[Today] was pretty exciting. Most people weren't out at 10 (JD was!),
but it didn't get any better. I just checked the Fergus Falls airport's record for the day, and pretty much all day the averages were above 20 mph, and the gusts were in the upper 20's. Not to mention temps that peaked at 12F!
One of the dozen or so GPSes mounted on boats by the kattack.com guys -should be interesting.
JD gives an interview for the ABC affiliate in Alexandria.
One of the Gold Fleet starts,
Friday, December 1, 2006
When I left Madison at 5:00am (thankfully before the snow hit), the
wind was blowing pretty solidly from the NW. As I was driving around
Minneapolis, I noticed the wind-noise in the car was much less, and my
fears were confirmed when I drove past the power plant on the west
side of the city... The steam from the cooling towers was rising
absolutely straight up... However, as I continued north-west past the
city high clouds cam back and the wind filled in from the SW.
I arrived at the Dead Lake launch site around 12:30, and found a place
in the pits to setup my boat. I didn't count, but there are at least
50 boats on the lake today. Not surprising for early-season ice,
there were some spots to avoid on the lake. JD, Mark Kiefer and the
other organizers set a course on the far western lobe of the lake just
off the landing for scrub racing and practice, while they went to the
east and scouted out a nice patch of ice away from the "problems" (aka
open water). Around mid-afternoon they had a second course set on the
eastern end of the lake, and we ran a number of quick two lap races
before the sun set.
I could have hardly been a nicer day to start the season. By the time
I arrived, the wind was down below 10 mph, but the hard ice let the
boats get up to good speed. The temperature rose from the high teens
at noon to around 25F when we left at sundown. Almost perfect
conditions to "shake off the cobwebs". I was particularly happy
because the modifications to my mast seem to have made it much
bendier, and my boat felt better than last year.
Tomorrow's forecast is a bit of a question. One forecast has 20mph
wind and a high of 10F. Others are predicting more reasonable winds
in the mid-teens and temperatures around 15. I think everybody is
hoping for the latter.