The Spaight Street Syndicate has a guest columnist this week, DN sailor Erin Bury US5397:
Since the December Spaight St. Syndicate wrote about me, I bought my own iceboat (DN 5397) and sailed it on two occasions – the day I bought it and at the U.S. DN Nationals. At Nationals, it seemed like anything that could go wrong did go wrong – boom jaw broke off, outhaul on the boom that was loaned to me in the wake of the broken boom jaw disappeared mid-warmup (sorry Daniel), and I was catapulted from my DN in a 40 mph gust. What I learned – my boom jaw was overtightened, things can shake loose on chunky ice, and how far a 109-pound human missile can fly when launched 30-40 mph. The launch was due to my plank being too stiff for my body weight and this would need to addressed in order for me to stay competitive (and in my boat).
It may be indelicate for a lady to discuss her weight, but in this sport, weight matters. (Plus, let’s be done with body shaming already.) In ice sailing, one can use her weight to her advantage. An ice sailor gets to tailor her boat to her body instead of tailoring her body to her boat. Imagine having precise input on how something fits you and you do not have to change anything about yourself to make it happen. Cue plank shaving!
Over the course of a weekend, Daniel Hearn (DN 5352, walking encyclopedia of all things sailing, ranked seventh internationally as of the 2020 Gold Cup, and a killer catamaran sailor) and Dave Shea (motorcycle number 426, engineer who races dirt bikes on the ice and motorcycles in the road race circuit) helped me customize the plank on my DN for my weight. First, we measured how much it was bending under my weight, which was around 21 millimeters, while the ideal range is 42-44 millimeters (translation: I was having zero impact on it). We decided on an arc that could be described as “sexy” and began planing the plank. After shaving off large chunks, we started sanding. Once we achieved the desired shape, it was time to set it in stone (or glass). Once the fiberglass was set, it was time to sand it again to remove stiffness and maintain that “sexy” shape. The goal is to have it ready in time for the Western Region Championship; thanks to Daniel and Dave this will be possible.
These are usual growing pains of buying a new toy and learning a new sport. When trying something new, I ask myself “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” I’d get flung from my iceboat a hundred more times if it means I get to learn something. I cannot wait to get out on the ice to see how my boat performs and what I am capable of with a new boom jaw, a secured outhaul, and a newly formed and customized plank. Anything worth doing will come with challenges and opportunities for growth. As my late grandma/best friend/inspiration (who was third in the world as an All-American triathlete) would say, “Live while you are alive.”
Thank you to Dave Shea for being hands-on in helping with this new endeavor and supporting this little lady at the helm!
Extra special shoutout to Daniel Hearn who is a marvelous sailing mentor. I would not have had access to the same resources nor be exposed to as many opportunities in ice sailing. Thank you for all you do for the sailing communities and for supporting newbies like me!
No matter what type of iceboat you race, watch and listen closely to this interview with 12 times DN World Champion Karol Jablonski. Karol breaks down every racing move he made on a short course with shifty winds.
Below is the original video Karol and Mike are discussing.
When was the last time you clocked in at 100 mph in your sailboat when the breeze was a steady 15 knots? Not recently? Let’s chat with Harken Director of Engineering Steve Orlebeke. He brought his freaky fast Class A Skeeter and brand new DN into the factory to give you an inside look.
Here’s the link to the full video of Steve racing his Skeeter.
Watch this DN U.S. Nationals regatta film shot by professional videographer and DN sailor Peter Norton KA2 (yes, that’s an Australian sail designation because Peter’s by way of Australia.) Peter shared the raw video with DNer and University of Wisconsin Madison student Sam Bartel for editing. The result is outstanding.
U.S. Nationals Information
Dave Elsmo at the 2021 US Nationals Photo: Gretchen Dorian
Good morning from Cheboygan, Michigan, site of the DN U.S. Nationals. We are on 10,000 acres of hard ice on Black Lake,, a 20-minute drive from Cheboygan. The first day of the regatta had plenty of breeze and plenty of cold. We were able to bang off 10 races, 5 in each fleet. Looks like we’d best be prepared for another cold day but a lighter breeze. There are some drifts to be avoided but it’s totally raceable. This would make a great site for any type of future regatta as long as the lake effect snows stayed away.
Via Daniel Hearn:
Chicks Dig It
Not a PC headline, but what can you expect from a sport dominated by old white dudes with hair growing out of their ears. Long past time to change our demographics.
Meet Erin Bury. She’s the size of a gymnast with a personality as big as the Deuce. Still in her twenties, she calls the Twin Cities home. She showed up on the catamaran racing circuit last summer with another Gopher and thought ice sailing sounded rad, when she heard us talking about it.
Last weekend, she stepped off a plane from Hawaii jet-lagged, took a quick cat nap, and headed to Lake Christina where she knew we were going to be. After checking out the boats big and small, she was convinced this sport was her kind of thing. Erin also brought her boyfriend, Dave. He’s cool. He brought his dirt bike with studded tires. He even let a couple of old dudes ride it, chiding us to lay it down like we mean it. He’s young and invincible. We know better. Sort of.
Also joining us from the Twin Cities for some tiller time was another cat sailor, Gretchen Wilbrandt. Gretchen’s first DN experience was the World Championships two years ago when she casually mentioned that ice sailing sounded like fun. Another first-timer, Renee Fields, also flew in from Arizona for the Worlds. First time…world championships…no big deal. Chicks rock!
Anyway, back to Erin. This weekend, she and Dave met us at Lake Altoona. Erin was itching to give it a go. Wind was light, but so is Erin, so with a little boost from a powered kick sled, she was up and going. (Side note: We discovered that the sleds are great coaching tools, too. My brother Brian sat on the seat, while I drove. He could easily get Erin started with his foot on the stern, and we both were right there for instructions). Next weekend, Erin will be meeting us on Lake Puckaway, if the weather cooperates for that regatta. Who knows…maybe she’ll be an iceboat owner by then.
Thanks to our friends Tim Mower and Bill Ecklund for inviting us to come and sail with them. And it was great to meet other locals, Dan, Dan and Rolf. Hope to sail with you again sometime.