Competitors and Race Committee members are slowly making their way back to reality (home) after spending an amazing week on a sheet of Montana ice. Several car loads of sailors went full tourist and headed over to Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse statue, and Devil’s Tower before turning east. Above is the best drone video ever made of iceboat racing by Glasgow, MT photographer Sean Heavey. Be sure to check out his photo gallery as well here. The drone video focuses on Detroit’s Ron Sherry US44 (2nd place in the regatta) and Pewaukee and 4LIYC Skeeter sailor Steve Orlebeke US4926 (4th place in the regatta) as they battle for first place in the last race.
Day 4 of the IDNIYA 2020 North America Ice Yacht Championship on Fort Peck Lake …
Today was epic!! The Montana wind we all know and at times hate came ready to play. While I can write about the day and probably describe it pretty good I’m a visual person so I think maybe a visual will do it more justice.
But first let me set the scene… This is a drone clip of the last Gold fleet race of the day before the regatta was called due to excessive wind speed. The wind had ratchet up to a sustained 18 mph range with gusts to 22+. These boats go 4 to 5 time the wind speed so let’s just say they were scooting along and it’s really hard for a drone to keep up. But I was starting to get the hang of how to fly with them and keep the leaders in sight. The race consists of three laps and this clip picks up the leaders about half way through the second lap. Nobody is going down with out a fight… Does the first place boat hang on?
As a side note… a big thank you to all the racers and race officials for coming all this way to the middle of nowhere. What a great event you put on and I hope your return trips home are made safely. Also thank you to everyone in NE Montana for your hospitality and support. You made everyone feel at home and part of the middle of nowhere family…
It’s day 3 of the DN North American championship and I’m using my phone to compose this post while sitting on frozen Ft. Peck Reservoir. The second silver race was successfully sailed at 10 AM. Three attempts have been made to sail the third Silver race this morning but the wind had other plans. We are waiting on the ice for the wind to join the fun so we can complete the third Silver race. I’m having trouble uploading photos from the phone. Dan Biermann, the official measurer, is relaxing in a lawn chair directly in front of me. Several are napping in their boats. Gold fleeters are looking over their boats and equipment. Not a bad way to spend a Friday afternoon.
Day one is in the books with 4 total races completed. Visibility was low as we drove to the launch site but the weather here must be like Wisconsin, wait 5 minutes and it changes. In classic ice sailing style, competitors waited around for the wind to fill in. The wind finally made an appearance but kept the race committee on their toes with many shifts and swings. The ice changed during the day as the warm temperatures and sun softened it up. Facebook is filled with pictures of a beautiful sunset that accompanied us as we made our way back to the launch. A new term we learned that will literally stick with us all for months is “Montana Gumbo”, aka mud- caused by the warmer temperatures. Off to the lake for day 2 of racing, sorry for the short report but there are lot of details to take care of here.
Good morning from the Middle of Nowhere, the motto of Glasglow, MT. A sunny but windless day yesterday meant more time to visit, make deals, and soak in the vastness of this place. Registration was held last night at the hotel followed by a Speed Symposium where the top racers answered questions from the crowd. 61 competitors checked in last night and we were lucky enough to pick up 3 local DN racers. Click here to see line up for today’s racing.
Off to the lake soon for race day.
Canyon Ferry iceboater Dave Gluek (yes, Jim’s brother) shared some local knowledge about how to seriously anchor a boat in case a 70 mph wind comes up in the middle of the night.
Kasia Macur and Ron Sherry. Kasia has been scoring iceboat races in Poland since she was 13 years old. She is spending a year in the states and is joining us for this championship.
We were in blatant tourist mode yesterday and frequently pulled over to the side of the road to take photos of the magnificent scenery here. We finally met Tim Ogrinic, the local DN sailor who scouted the ice. DN trailers began arriving to the launch site throughout the day. The mood was relaxed and a few caught some rides in the light air. The sun and dry air made for a beautiful day. A Montana 7 F temperature is not like a Wisconsin 7 F because the climate is so much drier. At the end of the day, we drove to the Fort Peck Dam and watched a group of eagles fishing the open water. Everyone I spoke with shared their own stories of the wildlife they saw on their way here. NOAA is calling for sunshine and west winds 6 – 13 mph today. Registration and a Speed Symposium are on the agenda for tonight while racing officially begins Wednesday, January 22.
Time lapse video from Jeff Kent’s 40 hour journey from Boston to Montana. Jeff and his traveling partners Charlie Blair of Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Bernd Zeiger of Kiel, Germany drove nearly non-stop and completely avoided winter storm Jacob with a wide rounding maneuver.
The scorers practicing counting boats on the line.
A quick update before heading to the launch. Our caravan pulled in to the hotel at 9 PM Sunday evening. The winner to the race to Montana goes to Jeff Kent and crew who arrived a few hours ahead of us. The drive was fairly uneventful with a few miles of black ice to deal with in Minnesota. We stopped near sunset at Keelboat Park on the Missouri River in Bismark, North Dakota to let it sink in that we had reached the west. Heading to the launch in an hour and will update later. At breakfast, Peter Johanson, IDNIYRA Vice Commodore Jody Kjoller, and Trey Rose appeared after having driven straight through from the Toledo area. They stopped at the launch before coming to the hotel and planted the TIYC colors.